h2h Corner ~ Back to the Future, Next Week’s h2h Preview

This column will predict how awesome/bad your team can be during next week’s contest. It will prove invaluable for those of you about to set your lineups in weekly leagues.

However, it 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 match-ups.

When making roster moves, it is important to focus on the categories you want to win. For 5×5 h2h leagues, you only need to win six categories a week. I focus on runs, HRs and SBs for hitters, so I lean to the rare combination of power and speed. For pitchers, I focus on saves first and foremost – there is safety in quantity. Then I let the early returns from my starters do the talking. If they start off great in ERA/WHIP, I focus on diligently tracking my ratio categories and keeping those down. If they give up a ton of runs and walk a bunch, then I throw all my pitchers into the mix and go for wins and strikeouts. By focusing on these four categories and letting your starters figure out the other two, you can get yourself a handy winning percentage near .600.

You will most likely get the best returns on moves from adding starting pitchers, as they can – hopefully positively – 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 lineup. Here’s a handy, dandy, ranked list:

  1. Cliff Lee – Cleveland Indians – at Toronto and at Seattle
  2. Tommy Hanson – Atlanta Braves – home against San Francisco and at Milwaukee
  3. Gavin Floyd – Chicago White Sox – against Tampa Bay and at Detroit
  4. Chad Gaudin – San Diego Padres – against Florida and at Washington
  5. John Lannan – Washington Nationals – against New York Mets and against San Diego
  6. Derek Lowe – Atlanta Braves – against San Francisco and at Milwaukee
  7. Nick Blackburn – Minnesota Twins – at Oakland and at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  8. Ted Lilly – Chicago Cubs – at Philadelphia and home against Cincinnati
  9. Max Scherzer – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Colorado and home against Pittsburgh
  10. Kevin Millwood – Texas Rangers – against Boston and at Kansas City
  11. Ervin Santana – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – at Kansas City and against Minnesota
  12. Joe Blanton – Philadelphia Phillies – against Chicago Cubs and against St. Louis
  13. Anthony Swarzak – Minnesota Twins – at Oakland and at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

There are some other two-start pitchers (Jeff Niemann, John Smoltz, Joel Pineiro, Dallas Braden, Jonathan Sanchez, David Price, and Andy Pettitte), however those are pretty poor options. So you might want to try to maximize one start from a more serviceable pitcher. Also, if you need to stream pitchers later in the week from a likely available starter, I’d look to:

  1. Ricky Nolasco – Florida Marlins – at San Diego
  2. Chris Volstad – Florida Marlins – at San Diego
  3. Randy Wolf – Los Angeles Dodgers – against Cincinnati
  4. Ricky Romero – Toronto Blue Jays – against Cleveland
  5. Joba Chamberlain – New York Yankees – at Oakland
  6. Ubaldo Jimenez – Colorado Rockies – against Arizona
  7. Randy Wells – Chicago Cubs – against Cincinnati

If you are looking to maximize your moves, while boosting your offense, look to the following teams (players).

  1. New York Yankees (home for three games against Orioles and four against Oakland). Players potentially available: Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner.
  2. Philadelphia Phillies (home for three games against Chicago Cubs and St. Louis and one game against San Diego). Players potentially available: Pedro Feliz, Greg Dobbs.
  3. Chicago Cubs (at Philadelphia for three games and home for three games against Cincinnati). Players potentially available: Milton Bradley, Ryan Theriot, Jake Fox, Micah Hoffpauir,
  4. Colorado Rockies (home for three games against Arizona and San Francisco). Players potentially available: Dexter Fowler, Seth Smith.

The players mentioned above should be available in most 12-team leagues. 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.

However, those are slightly slim pickings, so if you are desperate for some hitting help, try grabbing:

  • Franklin Gutierrez (for runs/SBs);
  • Josh Willingham (for runs/AVE/OBP);
  • Marcus Thames (for HRs);
  • Martin Prado (for runs/AVE/OBP);
  • Orlando Cabrera (for SBs/AVE/OBP);
  • Garrett Jones (HRs);
  • Dexter Fowler (for runs/SBs);
  • Andruw Jones (for HRs/RBIs); and
  • Emilio Bonifacio (for Runs/SBs).

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

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