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This Week In Streaming Strategy

We're only a handful of games into the 2012 season, but it's never too early to pick up some extra fantasy points. Picking streaming options is a bit difficult in the early going, since pitching rotations haven't quite been settled due to extra off-days, but here are a few matchups and players to both use and avoid when it comes to setting this week's lineups.

* Reid Brignac, Matt Joyce, Carlos Pena, Luke Scott. The Rays are scheduled to face right-handed starters in five of their six scheduled games next week, so these four left-handed bats are in good position to produce, even though a couple of those righty starters include the likes of Justin Verlander and Josh BeckettSean Rodriguez is the first-choice shortstop in Tampa Bay, but you would expect Joe Maddon to play the percentages and give Brignac the majority of the starts this week. Switch-hitter Elliot Johnson could also get a couple of starts at second base ahead of right-handed-hitting starter Jeff Keppinger this week. 

* Danny Espinosa. The Nationals are one of six teams who play all seven days next week, and the Nats are set to face right-handers in all but one of those seven games.  That doesn't bode well for Espinosa, a switch-hitter who has performed better against lefties over his career. While most of Washington's right-handed opponents this week are no great shakes (i.e. Bronson Arroyo, Mike Pelfrey, Dillon Gee), it might be wise to give your backup second baseman a look if he has a more favorable matchup than Espinosa over this stretch.

* Yu Darvish. Just in case you thought about giving Darvish a "wait and see" benching as he begins his Major League career, his first two starts are against the Mariners at home and then at pitcher-friendly Target Field against the light-hitting Twins. You could hardly have asked for a better set of opponent to ease Darvish into the big leagues. 

* Matt Moore. Like Darvish, Moore is also a two-start pitcher this week, but his opposition is much stiffer.  Moore is scheduled to start on Tuesday against the Tigers and then on Sunday against the Red Sox, both road outings.  You could argue that this is pretty tough competition for a pitcher who, as heralded a prospect as he is, will be making just his second and third regular-season starts. My counter to that (admittedly strawman) argument is that in two 2011 starts, Moore tossed five shutout innings at Yankee Stadium and then shut out the Rangers on two hits over seven innings during the ALDS.  Have no fear in starting Moore in the unfriendly confines of Comerica and Fenway Parks. 

* Daniel Descalso. The left-handed-hitting side of the Cardinals' second base platoon could be a busy man this week. St. Louis is scheduled to face right-handers in five of their six games this week, leaving little room for Descalso's platoonmate, Tyler Greene

* The Twins. Not to paint Minnesota's roster with too broad a brush here, but look at the six starters the Twins are lined up to face this week --- C.J. Wilson, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Matt Harrison, Darvish and Neftali Feliz.  Even though the Twins will be at home for all six games, it's hard to see this questionable lineup generating much of an attack against these pitchers. Obviously you'll keep Joe Mauer in your lineup every day, and Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau are fairly safe bets, but for borderline fantasy starters like Denard Span, Ryan Doumit, Alexi Casilla or Jamey Carroll, go with another roster option if you have one available.


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