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Back-to-back strategy

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - One of the best ways to accumulate a lot of fantasy points is to get two or more hitters from the same team in your lineup. It's particularly potent when the two hit back-to-back in the lineup. When they are going well, each helps the other post better numbers.

There are obvious pairs to link up, such as Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, Rodriguez and Robinson Cano, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau or Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, and a few that might not come to mind as quickly.

Through the first two weeks of the season, there's not a hotter hitting duo that Braun and Fielder.

Braun is batting .353 with an OPS of 1.211 including four homers, eight RBIs and 10 runs scored. Fielder is hitting .400 with an OPS of 1.174, a pair of home runs and a league-leading 11 RBI.

Saturday's game was a perfect example of how each helped the other produce big fantasy statistics. In the 6-0 win over the Cubs, Braun got on base three times -- with a walk and two hits -- and each time Fielder knocked him in with a double.

If they aren't the hottest pair, then the 4-5 combination along Chicago's southside -- Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin might be. Konerko, who is coming off his best season since 2006 (39 HR, 111 RBI last year), is off to another hot start with a .400 batting average, an OPS of 1.149 and 11 RBI. Quentin bats just behind him in the order and is hitting .353 with an OPS of 1.142 and 10 runs batted in.

But it might be too late to group these to guys on your team as both were likely high selections and the cornerstone to their owner's fantasy team. They'll be pricey to get in a deal.

Here are a few pairs which might be more easily hooked up with less expensive trades or waiver claims;

Pittsburgh outfielder and leadoff hitter Jose Tabata and second baseman Neil Walker are giving fantasy owners a reason to check the Pirates' box score besides Andrew McCutchen. Both Tabata and Walker were 11th-round selections, ADP 126 and 129, respectively, and still available as a free agent in 10-15 percent of all leagues.

Tabata is batting .342, has an OPS of 1.009 with three homers, 11 runs scored and five stolen bases. Walker is batting .300 with a pair of home runs and nine RBI.

Even if they are owned in your league, they are probably available in a trade and certainly cheaper than trying to get the Brewers or White Sox combos.

How about looking at the Kansas City hitting pair of Alex Gordon and Billy Butler? Butler was well regarded before the season began, but not many fantasy owners were ready to believe that Gordon was finally going to be a fantasy factor. Gordon is off to a hot start, batting .357 and leading the league in hits with 15. Gordon is likely available as a free agent in 40 percent of all leagues.

Butler is batting .394 with an OPS of 1.179. He was fifth-round selection, so he might be a little bit more expensive to obtain.

The Cubs pair of Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez are off to a solid start. Byrd is batting .342 and has scored eight runs and Ramirez is hitting .314 with an OPS of .940.

Another under-the-radar pair off to a solid start is Anaheim's Howie Kendrick and Bobby Abreu. Kendrick is tearing it up, batting .389 with four homers and an OPS of 1.294.

Abreu, who batted just .255 last year, his worst average since 1997, is back to his "old" self, hitting .371 in the early going. He was one of just seven "20-20" guys from last season, but still he had an ADP of just 118 this year. While both are owned in almost 90 percent of all leagues, I'll bet the price to obtain them in a trade is still reasonable.

So while your competition tries to pry the "big name" player in a blockbuster deal, which usually never materializes, you can accumulate plenty of points by using the "back-to-back strategy" with lesser-known stars.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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