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Salary Cap Chronicles: Druby, Druby, Do

Scott Jenstad

Scott Jenstad is a veteran of both NFBC and CDM fantasy games. He has won three NFBC Main Event league titles and finished twice in the Top 10 Overall. Scott is a hardcore fan of the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A's and Golden State Warriors. Follow him on Twitter @ScottJenstad.

Week 13 has been a very solid one from my squad with two days left in the week. I am currently leading my league in total points for the week, but locked in a pretty tough battle in my head-to-head matchup with a team who is currently fourth in points for the week in my league. One of us is going to end up with a very tough loss. My offense has been exceptional across the board with seven of my nine players on offense over 20 points for the week with two days still remaining. My pitching staff, however, has been a pretty big letdown. The Braves are only at 32 points for the week after another bad start on Sunday against the Nationals.

Looking ahead to Week 14, it is the start of a two-week stretch where the All Star Break wreaks havoc with the number of games played. Due to Head2Head's Wednesday-Tuesday weekly schedule, we get affected on the back end of this week and the front end of next week. Also, don't forget that offensive stats amassed in the All-Star Game count for this period. I guess every point does count, but guys usually only get an AB or two in the All-Star Game so I am not sure I will make many based on extra AB or two. I suppose if I am torn between two guys maybe that could be a tiebreaker. Almost every team plays five games this week, but make sure to note that there are two teams with only four games, the A's and Mariners. Do not forget that the Yankees and Red Sox have a doubleheader this weekend as a makeup game for one postponed earlier this year, so while the grid shows 4 games for the Yankees and Red Sox, they do play five games.

Another item to note is that a number of underperforming players have had their salary reduced for the rest of the season. Make sure to check out this list before you enter your team for this week. Some of the stars that had their salary lowered by more than $1.5 million include Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Jose Reyes and both Upton brothers.

Catcher: Miguel Montero has been the top-scoring catcher in June, hitting .329 for the month with 6 homers. The Diamondbacks play all their games at home this week so Montero will remain my play for another week. Yadier Molina has cooled a little bit in June, but he is still a very solid play, especially with five home games this week. If you are looking to cut some cap at catcher, Willin Rosario remains the best cheap play, but the Rockies are on the road for the whole week. The last guy I considered this week is Joe Mauer. Mauer hit nearly .400 in June, but the power is not there and the rest of the Twins lineup hurts his runs and RBI. However, if you want to use Mauer, this is a nice week to do it as the Twins spend the weekend in Texas.

First Base: Mark Trumbo just keeps hitting and is bring all kinds of value for his low salary cap. The Angels get Baltimore and Cleveland pitching this week, so I will likely leave Trumbo in for another week of cap savings and solid production. David Ortiz just continues to mash and racked up nine homers in June. He faces five righties this week and none of them scare me very much. Papi is a solid choice this week at first base. While the power has not totally returned for Albert Pujols, he is hitting well and racking up points and is now even more of a play with his reduced salary. If you wanted to go with someone on the cheap side besides Trumbo, Paul Goldschmidt has been on fire with a huge June and gets five home games. After a slow start, Goldschmidt led the entire National League in slugging percentage in June.

Second Base: After a bit of a slow start at the plate, Robinson Cano has started to dominate the 2B position like it was assumed he would when he was a consensus Top 10 pick in drafts. Cano had 11 HR in June at a position when no one else had more than six. The other red-hot 2B is Aaron Hill, who hit .370 in June with 20 RBI. He also hit for his second cycle of the season this week, truly a rare feat. Hill gets five homes games this week and also is a considerable cap difference from Cano. Jason Kipnis continues to be one of the best values at 2B and I cannot fault anyone for sticking with him for another week at his price, but I would recommend going up a bit to Hill if you are going on the cheap side this week at 2B.

Third Base: David Wright continued his great season with another great month. Wright hit .340 for the month and while his four homers are a bit low, his consistent runs and RBI can do a lot to make up for the lack of bombs. Brett Lawrie had his best month of the year and is finally paying off for the folks who reached up to grab him in Round 3 of the NFBC. His teammate, Edwin Encarnacion, had another great month and continues to be one of the top values overall in the Head2Head game. Rounding out the best options at third base this week (and throughout the first half) and two pricier options, Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Beltre. I have Lawrie in right now and am leaning towards leaving him in for another week, although I would have swapped if Beltre were home for the whole week.

Shortstop: This continues to be a tough position, but I was able to hit a gold mine this week with Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera has a huge 31 points with two games left and is actually my highest point-scorer this week. I am pretty sure I have not had a SS lead my team at any point this year. Cabrera and Jimmy Rollins have been the two best point-scoring SS in June. The SS position has been hurt by its assumed top-end guys, Jose Reyes (production) and Troy Tulowitzki (injuries). I keep looking for values at SS each week and while Ian Desmond has been pretty solid and Jed Lowrie got hot for a bit, I will likely stick with Cabrera or Rollins for this week.

Outfield: How about Jose Baustista's June? Bautista exploded for 14 home runs in June and has passed Josh Hamilton and Adam Dunn to take the MLB home run lead. I see no reason not to just keep riding Joey Bats this week. On the cheap side of the salary range, the Mike Trout breakout continues to be just ridiculous. Trout followed up his incredible May by merely hitting .372 in June with a remarkable 14 steals. The third guy who separated himself in the OF in June was Andrew McCutchen. I had all three of the above in this week, but McCutchen sprained his wrist in the game on Saturday so I will play it safe if he misses Monday and Tuesday. If Cutch plays early in the week, I will leave him in my lineup for Week 14.

If you want to save some cap in the OF along with Trout, Trevor Plouffe continues to hit HR's at a crazy pace. Another young guy who has broken out in the past few weeks is Colby Rasmus (finally). That Blue Jays lineup really is potent! Some of the other OF to consider who raked in June include Shin-Soo Choo, Alex Rios and Jason Heyward. Carlos Beltran continues his strong 2012 and is always a great way to cheapen up your team in the OF. On the expensive side, Ryan Braun continues to kill it and is probably the consensus pick to be the best OF in the second half. A few other cheap guys to consider if you need the cap to use on other positions are Allen Craig, Bryce Harper and Jason Kubel.

Starting Pitching: I had a lot of trouble coming up with a pitching staff last week and the call to go with the Braves has not worked out well. Looking back, the Rangers were probably the best play of the teams I considered strongly. This week will be very tough as there is no real schedule edge to go with and we don't have any pitchers who will start twice in the period; two of the ways we have been successful with pitching staffs. The best bet is probably to look for a solid staff that faces some weak offenses. My initial thought is not surprising and that is the Washington Nationals and their stable of young strikeout pitchers. The Nats have been a great play this year and have an all-home week where they face the Giants and Rockies. They will definitely be a strong consideration.

The Reds are probably the best schedule play this week as they get four of their five games in Petco against the anemic Padres offense. Mat Latos has finally had a couple of good games back to back and Johnny Cueto has been solid all year. It is hard to go wrong with Petco for pitchers so the Reds are definitely an option this week. The Tigers are another squad to consider this week with a set of home games against the Twins and Royals. In addition, the struggling Tigers had their price drop more than $4 million placing them in the middle of the pack salary wise rather than near the top. I decided to just go with the Nats, but if cap was an issue (thanks to Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo it was not), I would have gambled and played the Reds.

Tough week without seven gamers and schedule to separate a lot of guys, but I ended up with the following:

Catcher: Miguel Montero ($8.3)
First Base: Mark Trumbo ($6.1)
Second Base: Aaron Hill ($7.2)
Third Base: Brett Lawrie ($9.0)
Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera ($8.7)
Outfield: Ryan Braun ($12.0)
Outfield: Andrew McCutchen ($10.3)
Outfield: Mike Trout ($7.0)
Flex: Jose Bautista ($10.6)
Pitching: Washington Nationals ($19.2)

Total: $98.4