h2h Corner ~ Back to the Future, Week IV Preview

This column will predict how awesome/bad your team can be during next week’s contests. It will prove invaluable for those of you in weekly leagues, but will also help daily league owners because some leagues have started with weekly move caps to cut down on the nefarious streaming pitchers strategy. This makes it important to maximize your move allotment on two-start pitchers and key hitters who will have good matchups.

So I’m fine tuning this whilst watching the NFL Draft, which is all about projections. This brings me to an aside alert.

The NFL draft is the biggest game of craps in the world, Much like with gambling, it is better to not to play at all, to quote Gregg Easterbrook:

“This year the buzz question has been whether the Lions, holding the first choice, should simply refuse to pick — putting the Rams on the clock and allowing the Lions to go second, thus saving maybe $5 million in bonus money.”

So, it would be better not to pick first, odd eh?

In 1998, I remember liking Ryan Leaf way more than Peyton Manning – I was one of those people that just didn’t like Peyton. He seemed a tad overrated because he never won the big game at Tennessee (hello Tee Martin). Since then, Peyton has won and put up astronomical numbers, while limiting turnovers – he is unquestionably in the pantheon of great QBs. You know who isn’t a top five QB? Brett Favre. My roommate can attest to my vitriol for Favre. Sure, he won a Super Bowl, but for two reasons: Reggie White (who set a record with three sacks) and Desmond Howard (Super Bowl MVP).

Sure Favre has great numbers, but also bad numbers. My top QBs of all-time are: Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas, John Elway, Fran Tarkenton, Otto Graham, Terry Bradshaw, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Dan Marino and then Brett Favre.

Yeah I tend to value winning, and you should to, except when selecting fantasy starting pitchers. There are four stats when it comes to starters, and they are all equal. You can’t predict or chase wins (bullpens get in the way too often). So make sure you focus on ERA/WHIP and Ks. That said, onto the best performers who haven’t performed yet.

You will most likely get the best returns on moves from adding starting pitchers, as they can impact Wins, Ks, ERA and WHIP. If you are in a weekly league, you need to decide which two-start pitchers you are inserting into your line-up. Here’s a handy, dandy, ranked list:

  1. Chad Billingsley – Los Angeles Dodgers – at San Francisco & home against San Diego
  2. Dan Haren – Arizona Diamondbacks – home against Chicago Cubs & at Milwaukee
  3. Ted Lilly – Chicago Cubs – at Arizona & home against Florida
  4. Gil Meche – Kansas City Royals – home against Toronto & at Minnesota
  5. C.C. Sabathia – New York Yankees – at Detroit & home against Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  6. John Danks – Chicago White Sox – home against Seattle & at Texas
  7. James Shields – Tampa Bay Rays – at Minnesota & home against Boston
  8. Jair Jurrjens – Atlanta Braves – home against St. Louis & home against Houston
  9. Johnny Cueto – Cincinnati Reds – home against Houston & at Pittsburgh
  10. Carlos Zambrano – Chicago Cubs – at Arizona & home against Florida
  11. Randy Wolf – Los Angeles Dodges – at San Francisco & home against San Diego
  12. Roy Oswalt – Houston Astros – at Cincinnati & at Atlanta
  13. Kyle Lohse – St. Louis Cardinals – at Atlanta & at Washington
  14. Cliff Lee – Cleveland Indians – home against Boston & at Detroit
  15. Ricky Nolasco – Florida Marlins – at New York Mets & at Chicago Cubs
  16. Dave Bush – Milwaukee Brewers – home against Pittsburgh & home against Arizona
  17. Tim Wakefield – Boston Red Sox – at Cleveland & at Tampa Bay
  18. Chris Young – San Diego Padres – at Colorado & at Los Angeles Dodgers
  19. Phil Hughes – New York Yankees – at Detroit & home against Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim
  20. Joe Saunders – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – at Baltimore & at New York Yankees

There are a number of good two-start pitchers this week. So, at this point, you’d probably do best to grab one of the above instead of trying to maximize one start from a comparable pitcher. Still, if you want to maximize one start from a likely available starter, I’d look to:

  1. Gavin Floyd – Chicago White Sox – home against Seattle
  2. Kenshin Kawakami – Atlanta Braves – home against Houston
  3. Nick Blackburn – Minnesota Twins – home against Tampa Bay
  4. Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins – home against Kansas City

As I’ve mentioned, leagues are starting to limit the amount of moves you can make on a weekly basis. So, if you are looking to maximize your moves, while boosting your offense, look to the following teams (players).

  1. Texas Rangers (at Baltimore for one game, and home for six games against Oakland and Chicago White Sox). Players potentially available: Andrew Jones, Marlon Byrd, Hank Blalock, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
  2. Chicago White Sox (home for three games against Seattle & three games at Texas). Players potentially available: Paul Konerko, Chris Getz, A.J. Pierzynski.
  3. Philadelphia Phillies (home for six games against Washington and New York Mets). Players potentially available: Pedro Feliz.
  4. Chicago Cubs (home for four games against Florida). Players potentially available: Kosuke Fukudome, Micah Hoffpauir.
  5. Baltimore Orioles (home for three games against Texas and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). Players potentially available: Luke Scott, Ty Wigginton.
  6. Cincinnati Reds (home for three games against Houston). Players potentially available: Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Dickerson.

The players mentioned above should be available in most 12-team leagues (some of them *cough* Paul Konerko, shockingly so). This is simply an endorsement for an increase in their value for this week – do not make long-term roster plans based solely on this.

If you have any questions about weekly roster management, feel free to post a comment or DM me on Twitter.

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