By Sam McPherson
In Major League Baseball history, the final two weeks of the regular season have proven to be quite volatile. Teams move up and down the standings, creating heartbreak for some fans and establishing lifelong memories for others. This fluidity is what we love and hate about America’s pastime.
The same crazy potential comes with fantasy baseball: Look at the standings in your league today, and they probably will look very different on the evening of October 2 when the regular season is complete. What that means for you is that there is still time to move up in your league—as well as too much time left for you to drop down the standings as well!
We keep pounding this theme, because it’s true. Fantasy baseball standings also are impacted by the effort, or lack thereof, of the other teams in the league as well. You want to control your team’s destiny as much as you can, so keep looking for roster upgrades right up until the final day of the season. You won’t regret it as much as you will if you lose a spot in the standings by a stolen base or two after not trying to improve your roster in September.
This happens to all of us, even if we do push ourselves right up until the end of the last game. However, it’s better to have tried and come up short than to have not tried and come up short. Don’t hate yourself for the rest of the offseason by slacking off now!
Players to Get On Your Roster Now
- Ryon Healy, 3B, Oakland Athletics: Not too many A’s players have been worth a fantasy gander this season, but Healy is an exception. He’s hitting well over .300 with power, too, so if you need some cheap home runs in the final two weeks, pick Healy up quickly before someone else does.
- Seth Lugo, SP, New York Mets: With the team competing for a postseason berth and its core starting rotation dropping like flies to injuries, the Mets have scored with Lugo this summer. You can, too, if you’re smart. He’s given up just nine earned runs in six starts, and New York wants to ride his arm to the playoffs. Follow their lead.
- Brandon Drury, UTL, Arizona Diamondbacks: Depending on your league rules, he could be eligible at 2B, 3B and/or OF. Drury also had a recent streak of seven straight games with an RBI. He’s hitting .289 since the All-Star break, which isn’t amazing or anything, but his position flexibility can plug almost any gap in your lineup.
- Nick Markakis, OF, Atlanta Braves: He had a strange season in 2015, hitting just three HRs. But with 86 RBI this season, Markakis is having his best statistical season since 2009. He’s under the radar playing for the bad Braves, but that is often the best place to find gems for your own fantasy lineup.
Players to Sit/Drop This Week
- Josh Harrison, UTL, Pittsburgh Pirates: His season is over, so waive him immediately. There’s no point in keeping a guy with a groin strain on your roster. With 19 stolen bases this year, Harrison hopefully served you well in a middle-infield slot in 2016.
- Danny Salazar, SP, Cleveland Indians: With a forearm strain and the Tribe closing in on a postseason berth, Salazar probably won’t pitch again during the regular season. Let him go, but thank Salazar first for those 11 wins and 161 strikeouts.
- Billy Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds: It was a career year for the speedster in 2016, as he hit .260 and stole 58 bases. However, he probably won’t play again this season with the Reds far from the postseason chase. Cincinnati doesn’t want to risk his future by rushing him back from an oblique injury this September.
- Fernando Rodney, RP, Miami Marlins: It’s been an up-and-down season for Rodney, as he was great in the first half with San Diego before being traded to Miami. His closer status is once again on the shelf with A.J. Ramos healthy again for the Marlins. Hopefully, you milked every one of his 25 saves this season for all they were worth.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf and fantasy sports for CBS Local. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach. Follow him on Twitter @sxmcp, because he’s quite prolific despite also being a college English professor and a certified copy editor.