By Sam McPherson
Standard fantasy baseball leagues often have position limits to ensure sneaky owners do not exploit rules loopholes in order to unfairly win a league title. About this time of year, with just two weeks left in the baseball season, is a great time to make sure you’re not going to go over your league’s position limits—or fall way short of them, for that matter. You want to make sure you maximize all your opportunities in fantasy baseball.
Rotisseries leagues generally have around a 162-game limit per offensive position and around a 200-start limit for pitchers. If you’ve been diligent in replacing injured players in your lineup regularly, you should be getting close to these limits as the final 12-14 games of each MLB team’s season come up over the next 14 days. However, making sure you don’t max out before October 1, the final day of the regular season, is very important.
If that is a possibility for you, use wise judgment in choosing which games to start your hitters: Pick the worst opposing pitchers, for example. That way, you have the best chance to get the best statistics. Same for the pitchers: Choose an opponent that has struggled to score runs all season, rather than starting one of your pitchers against the high-scoring teams in MLB.
Players to Get Onto Your Roster Now
1. Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox: If you need some steals over the final two weeks, Anderson should be available in your league. He stole 49 bases in 2015 when he was in the minors, but Anderson has swiped just 23 bases in two years with the ChiSox. However, he has stolen seven bases in 14 games this month, and Anderson clearly wants to add this element to his game now. Grab him and enjoy the benefits.
2. Juan Nicasio, RP, St. Louis Cardinals: In the never-ending quest for saves, Nicaso is now the end man in the Cards’ bullpen. He’s having a career year at age 30, as he had one career save prior to 2017, but Nicasio now has four this season. He’s also posted his lowest single-season ERA (2.78) ever as well. The extra save or three he can get you between now and the end of the season could make a big impact on the standings.
3. Garrett Richards, SP, Los Angeles Angels: He’s back from injury and pitching well down the stretch for the Halos in their playoff quest. Richards went 13-4 in 2014 when L.A. last made the postseason, and in his comeback this year, he’s given up just four earned runs in 18 innings while notching 18 strikeouts. Richards has three starts left this season; make them count for your fantasy team.
4. Eduardo Rodríguez, SP, Boston Red Sox: Surprisingly, this guy is on waivers is too many leagues. With 135 strikeouts in just 122 1/3 innings, Rodríguez is setting himself up for a high draft position in 2018, but you can still use him in the final weeks of 2017. He should get three more starts this season, and with a 2.25 ERA this month, Rodríguez is closing strong.
Players to Sit/Drop This Week
1. Jimmy Nelson, SP, Milwaukee Brewers: He’s having season-ending shoulder surgery on Tuesday, so Nelson cannot help you in the final two weeks of the season. If you were fortunate enough to take a chance on him this year, he delivered 12 wins, a 3.49 ERA and 199 Ks. Those were all career-best numbers for the 28-year-old starter. Here’s hoping he doesn’t miss too much time in 2018.
2. Kelvin Herrera, RP, Kansas City Royals: The Royals won’t use him to close games again any time soon, and it’s clear after this season that Herrera is best suited for set-up work. He was an All-Star selection in 2015 and 2016 as a set-up man, and his ERA this year (4.56) was almost two runs higher than in those two seasons. Keep this in mind for next year’s draft!
3. Eduardo Núñez, UTL, Boston Red Sox: He hasn’t played since September 9 due to a knee problem, and since Boston is playoff bound, the club won’t be rushing him back into the lineup. Núñez has been great this year, hitting .312, stealing 24 bases and adding some power, too (12 HRs, 58 RBI). But you can’t rely on him in the final two weeks, so cut him loose.
4. Jedd Gyorko, UTL, St. Louis Cardinals: After a hot start to the season, Gyorko cooled off and then got hurt. He’s back off the disabled list now, but his hamstring isn’t fully healed yet. The Cards just wanted to get his bat back for pinch-hitting duties as they chase a wild-card spot. He won’t start regularly, and Gyorko won’t get multiple at-bats in the same game. He’s worthless at this point.