Fantasy Baseball: 10 Players Who Will Overachieve in Fantasy Championship Weeks

Tim Karan@timkaranContributor IISeptember 17, 2012

Fantasy Baseball: 10 Players Who Will Overachieve in Fantasy Championship Weeks

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    At this point in the fantasy baseball season, you're either on the brink of living the dream or watching reality crash back down around you.

    While it's always sweet to dance with the one that brought you, nobody (probably not even you) will remember that you faithfully stuck with Xavier Nady all year—especially if you don't take home the trophy. Stats are stats and here are 10 guys (who you can likely still get for next to nothing) primed to give them to you when you need them most.

10. Chris Davis

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    You could actually make the argument that Chris Davis has been overachieving all year. 

    Always promising with the Rangers and now consistently productive with the Orioles, Davis has thrived in his full-time status with career bests in home runs (26) and RBI (69). Primarily a DH, he was even more valuable in fantasy with position eligibility at 1B, 3B and OF. 

    Hitting .326 in September with three homers and four RBI, Davis and the Orioles take on the Mariners and Red Sox before four games with the Blue Jays and three with the Rays to close out the fantasy playoffs.

    In 13 games against Toronto this year, Davis is hitting .400 with seven home runs and 12 RBI, and in 12 against Tampa, he's hitting .293 with two home runs and eight RBI.

9. Derek Holland

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    It isn't just that Derek Holland looks like he's coming back around. It's that he's also been here before.

    In 22 innings this month, he's got 24 strikeouts, a 2.05 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. But during last season's fantasy playoffs, Holland was a veritable Cy Young candidate by going 4-0 with a 0.94 WHIP and 35 Ks in 32.2 innings.

    He'll have his hands full with his final two opponents: the Athletics and the Angels. Both teams have managed to get to Holland this season. Of course, that was before September, and this is the time that all of Holland's numbers tend to be at their peak.

8. Norichika Aoki

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    If a lot of your attention was diverted when football started, you probably don't realize how ridiculous rookie Norichika Aoki has been. 

    Settling in nicely as the Brewers' starting right fielder and leadoff hitter, Aoki had an impressive season with respectable pop (eight homers) and bargain speed (26 steals). But he's been particularly impressive down the fantasy stretch, ranking as one of top outfielders since the start of September.

    And there's room for even more improvement: His last games for you include contests against the Reds and Astros, and he's (weirdly) hitting .317 in 41 at-bats versus each, combining for eight RBI and six stolen bases.  

7. Jon Jay

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    You've really got to like most of the Cardinals for the fantasy playoffs. After all, not every team gets to play nine combined against the Astros and Cubs.

    But Jon Jay in particular seems to best fit the description of a potential overachiever. After being sidelined by an injured shoulder, he came alive in August with two home runs, 11 RBI, five steals and a .355 average. And in September, he's still hitting .300.

    The Cardinals' finale will include six against the Astros (Jay is .407 against them) and three against the Cubs (Jay is .345 with six RBI and three steals against them).

6. Chris Nelson

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    After an otherworldly June during which Chris Nelson hit .325 with five home runs and 16 RBI, an irregular heartbeat knocked him out of action and off of fantasy rosters.

    But in some leagues—especially those in which he's eligible at second base—Nelson and his more regular playing time could provide an unexpected offensive spark. This month alone, he's batting .347 with three homers and 12 RBI.

    As long as he's in the Rockies lineup, Nelson's recent history suggests he should be in store for more. His final games of the season include series against the Cubs and Giants (the latter of which he's batting .414 against this year).

5. John Mayberry Jr.

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    John Mayberry was a sneaky sleeper pick for many going into this year, but it took the Phillies' mid-season outfield clearance sale to make him fantasy relevant.

    Since Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino left town, Mayberry has elevated his game across the board with five homers and 13 RBI in August to go with a .327 average and eight RBI so far in September.

    The Phillies will be doing one last tour through the NL East to close out the fantasy playoffs, and Mayberry could be working his way up next year's draft boards as we speak. He's had success against the Nationals (.306 career average) and he's been a consistent contributor this year against the Mets (.304, 1 HR, 4 RBI) and Braves (.297, 2 HR, 5 RBI).

4. Glen Perkins

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    He's been a surprise source of saves since Matt Capps went down, but Glen Perkins could be an invaluable weapon during your championship run.

    Although save opportunities can be few and far between for a Twins team that seldom wins, manager Ron Gardenhire has gone on the record saying Perkins will be the first choice to see them. He's got 11 saves to his name so far and has been next to perfect in September while allowing only two hits in three saves.

    The Twins might not have much need for Perkins in fantasy playoff series against the likes of the Indians and Tigers, but he's already got two saves against both teams without allowing a run to either.  

3. Garrett Jones

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    The Pirates need every win they can get down the stretch, and Garrett Jones has gradually ascended from the role of platoon player to essential presence.

    The career-high 23 home runs seem a lot like his natural progression, but the .285 average (and success against lefties) has been a pleasant surprise. And Jones has been on a blistering pace since early summer with at least five home runs and 15 RBI in each of the past three months.

    The Pirates have three each against the Reds and Braves, and both have kept Jones in check. But he should be good for three against the Brewers (he's hitting .317 against them this year) and incredible in three against the Astros (.404 with four homers and 13 RBI).

2. A.J. Griffin

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    At this point, there's just no real reason to believe A.J. Griffin will slow down—and the timing couldn't be better if you're crawling towards the championship.

    Since arriving on the scene over the summer, the rookie Griffin has been as good as anyone with a 6-0 record, 53 Ks, a 1.94 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Those stats are downright Verlanderesque.

    The Athletics will be thoroughly tested over the next few weeks with a road trip against the Tigers, Yankees and Rangers, but the Tigers have never seen Griffin and the Rangers only managed two hits (and zero runs) in his only appearance against them.

1. Anthony Rizzo

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    This is probably last call on Anthony Rizzo. Still available in 30 percent of leagues, he's fresh off a two-homer, six-RBI performance against the Pirates.

    Widely considered a huge upside guy to own next season, he's making good on his promise before this season's over. Not only did he have that crazy seven-home-run July, now he's hitting .327 in September with two home runs and six RBI so far.

    The Cubs will wind down with series against three teams Rizzo's done well against this year: the Diamondbacks (.364 in 11 AB), Cardinals (.348 with 2 HR in 23 AB) and Rockies (.300 in 10 AB). Oh, and those games against the Rockies happen to be at Coors Field.