Well, here we are, the last week of the Head2Head Regular Season. This week is tough as teams are playing some younger guys to catch a first glimpse of them for next year and a number of veterans with injuries will start to shut it down. The best way to combat this is to focus on guys on teams who have something to play for. You know these guys will be in the lineup no matter what. A lot of Head2Head playoff slots are up for grabs this week, so this is a last gasp to focus and catch up in the standings in make up ground in total points.
This should be a good week to find some high point totals as half the league has seven games this week. The Braves, Marlins, Phillies and Mariners have five game slates, so make sure to get those players out of your lineup for the final push. Among the seven game teams, the first one that jumps off the page is the Arizona Diamondbacks. They get two home games followed by four games at Coors Field over the weekend. The DBacks are on the outskirts of the second Wild Card spot so hopefully they will keep pushing for another week. The Rockies do get five of their games at home, but they have nothing to play for and Jim Tracy has even been sitting Carlos Gonzalez a few times down the stretch. The Brewers have seven this week and they have been just mashing as a team and have put themselves in the Wild Card hunt with their recent run. I wish they were at home for the week, but I will still consider some of their guys on the road. The Yankees schedule looks good with five of their seven games at home, but make sure to check the injury report as a number of their stars are banged up currently. The Cardinals hitters look like a solid choice this week with seven games as they get the weak pitching of the Astros, then the Cubs and finish with the Astros again. Wow, that will work. Finally, the Rangers and their powerful offense do get seven this week, but the first five are in Seattle and Oakland. Make sure to note that Baltimore actually has seven games this week and the Blue Jays have eight due a doubleheader on Monday between the two.
Catcher: Buster Posey continues to be the class of the catching position, but Matt Wieters has gotten really hot lately to push him for the top spot of the last three weeks. Carlos Santana has seven games this week and has been very solid lately, just behind Posey and Wieters. If you wanted to go one of these three, I like Santana more strictly based on the extra game as I assume Wieters is a slam dunk to sit one of the games of their doubleheader. Yadier Molina has slowed way off his first half pace, but he is still a solid option with seven games, especially facing the weak teams that the Cardinals face. Joe Mauer also has seven games this week and while he has been swinging the bat very well, he has been a little banged up and with the Twins playing for nothing these last few weeks, I worry about the number of at bats he sees the rest of the way. The best cap saver this week at Catcher will be the impressive Willin Rosario with seven games. Rosario has been one of the breakout stories of the season and even more impressive, RotoWire's Jeff Erickson took him in Round 30 of the NFBC Main Event in March. 24 homers from your 30th Round pick at Catcher is pure gold. With the DBacks schedule looking so good, I think I will ride Miguel Montero one more week and hope for an explosion by the DBacks in Denver.
First Base: This position continues to be very different than most years as the usual suspects have just not performed up to par, especially recently. Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder have been nothing special the last three weeks, Adrian Gonzalez has been horrible in Los Angeles and Mark Teixeira is still hurt. Joey Votto has been ok average wise since returning from the DL, but has yet to homer in 10 games. Anthony Rizzo has been very hot for the Cubs including a two homer, six RBI game over the weekend and is a nice place to save some cap, but he does only have six games. Adam LaRoche continues to surprise and has seven homers in the last three weeks. LaRoche has seven this week and could be a very solid choice especially at his very cheap price. A few other names to consider with seven games that could get hot, but have struggled recently are Freddie Freeman and Paul Konerko. Justin Morneau and Garrett Jones also have seven and have been decent lately, but I prefer LaRoche to both of them.
Second Base: Out of nowhere, Rickie Weeks has been utterly dominant at 2B in the last three weeks. Weeks has been hitting for averaging and power as well as stealing bases. After three to four month of complete ineptitude, Weeks is apparently trying to cram a season's worth of stats into six weeks. The Brewers have seven road games this week, but as hot as Weeks has been, I'm not sure that matters. Robinson Cano has seven games, including five at home, which always makes him a consideration. Cano has not been hitting for average the last few weeks, but has been hitting for power and walking a lot. The DBacks have a nice schedule, which makes Aaron Hill a consideration. He has slowed a bit off his torrid pace, but is still hitting for average and you have to like the chance of some bombs in Coors this weekend.
Third Base: Adrian Beltre is just a beast. It seems like he has been killing the ball every week and has put himself in the middle of the MVP discussion in the AL. Beltre does play most of his seven games this week away from Arlington, but he is still so hot that you need to consider him. I cannot believe how good Chase Headley has been every time I sit down and look at third base. He only has six games this week, but the season he has had playing half his games in Petco Park is flat remarkable. Ryan Zimmerman has been solid as a rock lately and is another option for us this week with seven games. If you wanted to save some cap and take on some risk, Pedro Alvarez has been really hitting well and the Pirates get seven games and while they are slowing sliding out of contention, they are not throwing in the towel this week by any means. Finally, I can't leave out my boy Aramis Ramirez with seven games this week. A Ram has very quietly had a fantastic season overall and has been swinging the bat very well the last few weeks. Again, I wish the Brewers were at home for their seven but Ramirez deserves consideration.
Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins turned out to be an absolute gem of a play for me this week and I would love to just leave him in as he is easily the hottest SS, but the Phils only get five games this week. Amazingly, Ian Desmond has come back from his injury and has not missed a single beat. He is hitting over .350 for the week and even tossing in some solid power. Derek Jeter is always a consideration when the Yankees play seven games, but I am a tad concerned about his foot injury. He seems to be playing through it and I doubt he sits with the Yankees in the middle of a very heated race in the AL East. If you are looking on the cheaper end of the spectrum, Josh Rutledge has the nice Rockies schedule, but the league has been getting the better of him finally as he is down to .222 for the last three weeks.
Outfield: Brewers outfielders Ryan Braun and Norichika Aoki have been just crushing the ball lately. Braun is hitting .360 over the last three weeks with six homers and 18 RBI. As we discussed before, the Brewers are on the road for seven, so consider that a slight downgrade for Braun this week. Aoki has very quietly been a huge catalyst leading off for the Brewers in their mad dash to get into the Wild Card hunt. He has hit nearly .350 the last three weeks and tossed in seven steals for good measure. How about Bryce Harper lately? The hype seemed to cool down some as the summer heated up, but Harper has been fantastic the last three weeks, hitting .343 with seven homers. It is crazy to think how good this dude could be next year. Any time the Rangers have seven games, we need to consider Josh Hamilton. The schedule isn't great and Hamilton has been scuffling a little in the batting average (but still hitting HR), but the Rangers are right in the mix of the playoff hunt, so you know Josh will be in there every day.
After a summer slump that coincided with the Pirates' slump, Andrew McCutchen has come back to life the last three weeks hitting nearly .340 with four home runs. The Pirates are going all out right now, so you know McCutchen will be right in the middle of that in his seven games this week. Of course, we have out every week play, Mike Trout. He has remained very solid and has been the best value of the Head2Head season, but I think I will slide Harper in for him this week with the extra game at the same price. I'm guessing Trout's price sees the biggest bump of anyone in 2013. Yoenis Cespedes has a great schedule this week with a weekend trip to Yankee Stadium and then two games in Arlington. When he is hot, he is very hot, but he is struggling a bit with a minor wrist injury. He has maintained he wants to play through it though. Some cheap options that have nice schedules this week include Josh Reddick, Carlos Gomez and Tyler Colvin. I think I am off the Carlos Gonzalez and Justin Upton trains for this year, even with their advantageous schedules this week. Cargo has lost all his power in the second half and Upton just couldn't seem to find a way to get things going this year.
Pitching: Well, we are back to having the Nationals with seven games, but this time it is without Stephen Strasburg who has been shut down in the most followed baseball drama of the season. The Nationals are still very good without Stras, but their two steps this week are from John Lannan and Ross Detwiler. Jordan Zimmerman looks a bit gassed too so I will likely look elsewhere this week. The Brewers have been winning a lot lately and their pitching has helped the cause. They get two starts this week from Marco Estrada, who strikes out a lot of guys, and Mike Fiers who started hot, but has cooled a bit lately. I don't love their four game set in Washington this weekend though. The Cardinals face weak competition and also get the return of Chris Carpenter this week. The always enigmatic Jaime Garcia gets two starts which could either look great a week from now or come with 12 ER.
The Yankees present an intriguing option this week as they really need to win and their two steps are form CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes. Hughes tends to be prone to blowups, but if you take out his first two months, Hughes has an ERA well under four for a high scoring team. Hughes has an ERA of 3.46 since the All Star Break. The Yankees get the A's for a weekend set and also get a bonus of their last two games in Target Field. The Tigers look like the best option in AL with two steps from Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez. In addition, the three teams they face this week are the A's, Twins and Royals. I love my A's, but they are not a team that you avoid if you have pitchers against them. The Tigers look like a god shot to have a nice run based on their opponents, which could impact the Wild Card race to a huge degree. I would have considered the A's and their stable of stud young pitchers, but trips to New York, Baltimore and Texas tossed that out the window rapidly. The other AL team I would consider is the Texas Rangers. The Rangers get two steps from Derek Holland and Yu Darvish who finally seem to both be finding their groove. They get most of their seven games away from Arlington, which is always an aide for pitchers. Holland has an ERA under 3.00 and a WHIP under 1.00 in three September starts.
For the last time in the 2012 regular season, here is where I ended up this week, hopefully finishing off the quest for a 24-1 record. Boy that one loss still bugs me!
C: Miguel Montero ($8.3)
1B: Adam LaRoche ($6.7)
2B: Rickie Weeks ($6.7)
3B: Adrian Beltre ($9.0)
SS: Ian Desmond ($7.3)
OF: Ryan Braun ($12.0)
OF: Andrew McCutchen ($10.3)
OF: Bryce Harper ($7.0)
Flex: Josh Hamilton ($10.9)
P: Detroit Tigers ($19.9)
Thanks so much for reading this whole regular season and hopefully I made some positive contributions to your strategy in the game and helped you some with your weekly lineups.