Salary Cap Baseball – Week 7

Matt Kemp had the most talked about hamstring in fantasy baseball this week.  He left last Sunday’s Dodgers game after a third inning ground out to Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.  Fantasy owners that didn’t see the highlight of Kemp’s reaction in the dugout immediately afterwards might have believed the injury was less severe than he led reporters to believe in his post game interview.

“I’m definitely not going on the DL,” he said. “That isn’t going to happen. The team needs me. I don’t think this is a 15-day thing. I think it’s a one-, two- or three-day thing. I won’t need to go on the DL for it.”

While it was obvious Matt’s consecutive games streak was going to end at 399, the exact number of games he was going to miss was still unknown.  Kemp’s long term salary cap owners (that were still awake to hear the news) found themselves in a debacle.  Dropping the highest scoring CF in the game is never an easy decision when you’re under the gun.  The savvy ESPN Baseball Challenge owner knew that Kemp’s left hamstring was an ongoing issue and likely made a move before the 3AM EST weekly format deadline (or had already avoided him altogether).

However leaving Matt Kemp on your team in weekly formats was by no means a death sentence.  Current weekly format leader Jock Full O’ Nuts left Matt Kemp on his team going into Week 6.  Clearly playing with a set-it-and-forget-it mindset, Jock has found tremendous value in starting Carlos Ruiz (LKD $3.9) and Rafael Furcal ($3.8) along with superstars Josh Hamilton, David Wright, and Matt Kemp.  I am curious to see what Jock does with Matt Kemp heading into Week 7.

Matt Kemp will be as good as new and provide 6+ weeks of fantasy entertainment when he returns from the DL – Photo Courtesy of

Personally I’m going to accept another short-term loss by keeping Kemp in my lineup.  I’m going to need him when he’s healthy, especially if I still want to make the 95th percentile.  Assuming Matt Kemp only plays in 5.5 of the remaining weeks, he should still finish will more total point than Andrew McCutchen based on the average points per game.  My best option is to just pretend this is salary cap football and Matt Kemp is Calvin Johnson on a bye week.

My lineup for Week 7 of the ESPN Baseball Challenge:

C:  Mike Napoli – TEX $4.6 (MKT $5.2) – Carlos Santana – CLE ($5.8) and Carlos Ruiz – PHI ($4.8) are the hottest catchers in the game.  The each have 131 points on the year.  Napoli is costing me less than Ruiz would now so I am going to ride it out.

1B: Albert Pujols – LAA $5.2 ($5.2) – Joey Votto – CIN ($6.1) is in beast mode.  Last week’s recommendation, Adam LaRoche – WAS ($4.5) is tied for the lead in RBI’s amongst first baseman and is fourth in total points.  The Albert Pujols market has reached its bottom.  I am selling high on Adrian Gonzalez $5.2 ($5.6).  I expect Gonzalez to struggle this week against @BAL and TB.

2B: Ian Kinsler – TEX $5.0 ($5.9) – And still the points leader at 2B.  Ben Zobrist – TB ($5.7) is heating up.  He has racked up 35 points over the last 7 days.   Omar Infante – MIA ($5.0), continues to give owners Robinson Cano – NYY ($5.7) like production.

3B: Chase Headley – SD $5.0 ($5.0) – Headley gave me his first solid week since replacing Evan Longoria in Week 5.  Despite his manager not letting him take one for the team, David Wright – NYM ($5.7) was the top producer at 3B with 41 points.

SS: Zack Cozart – CIN $3.5 ($4.3) – I jinxed Cozart.  But at ($3.5) I won’t be letting go anytime soon.  J.J. Hardy – BAL ($5.2) went for 30+ again this week.  The 31 points Brian Dozier – MIN ($4.0) gave his fantasy owners over the last 7 days could go along way in earning him a regular spot in Ron Gardenhire’s lineup.

LF: Melky Cabrera – SF $4.6 ($5.6) –   My love for Melky played a role in my decision to keep Kemp.  The only was I was dropping Kemp was to pick up Josh Hamilton – TEX ($6.1).  The problem was that none of Hamilton’s possible center field counterparts could equal Melky’s production in left.  I really didn’t think Kemp would end up on the DL.

CF: Matt Kemp – LAD $5.3 ($5.8) – Denial.  Now I can’t afford to make the Hamilton-Trout swap out.  Mike Trout – LAA ($4.3) gave owners 30+ over the last 7 days.  Adam Jones – BAL ($5.5) killed it again this week but I can’t afford him either.  Andrew McCutchen – PIT ($4.9) is an excellent replacement, but picking him up means I won’t see Kemp again until Segment 2.  I seriously doubt Kemp drops more than $0.3 this week.  I am in this for the long haul.

RF: Andre Ethier – LAD $4.8 ($5.4) –  The other problem with Matt Kemp’s pending injury was implied effect that it would have on Andre Ethier.  I bought low on Ethier and I am all-in on Kemp.  Josh Reddick – OAK ($4.5) continues reward his fantasy faithful.

DH:  Edwin Encarnacion $4.7 ($5.9) – The top DH for the week and now the season.  Allen Craig – STL ($5.0) was a solid recommendation last week but his owners may need to look elsewhere because of a nagging hamstring (15 Day DL).  Luke Scott – TB ($4.6) is the best possible replacement without going over budget.

PS: Los Angeles Dodgers $7.3 ($7.8)  – Another solid week out of the Dodger pitching staff.  No reason to drop them now.  @ARZ, HOU aren’t the worst match ups.  Baltimore is a bargain at ($6.6) but face tough match ups next week BOS, KC.

Total Cost of Ownership $50.0 – 1764 Total Points (88.3 Percentile)

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