For owners in head-to-head formats, the fantasy playoffs are either underway or about to begin.
Everyone knows how frustrating it can be to come all this way and not go, well, all the way, but that's why it's especially important now to do everything in your power to take home the title.
Last week, we discussed the blueprint to dominating your playoffs, and if you're still searching for a few under-the-radar players who just might overachieve the next few weeks and help you to Titletown, we've got you covered below with 12 who could be readily-available in your league.
Each of these players qualifies as an overachiever for one of the following reasons:
- They're youngsters getting regular run down the stretch as their team evaluates them for 2014
- They're backups in line to see more action because their team has all but locked up a playoff spot
- They're hot of late, but you haven't realized because football has stolen some of your focus
- They're finally healthy after season-long struggles with injury
Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP, Indians
In case you haven't noticed: Jimenez is sporting a 2.42 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 9.2 K/9 over his past 12 starts dating back to the start of July. Oh, and he's in line to face the White Sox on Saturday before finishing up against the Astros and White Sox again.
Jonathan Villar, SS, Astros
As expected, the 22-year-old has been streaky in his rookie season, but he's getting plenty of playing time as the Astros eye the future. If you need speed, grab Villar, who has 17 swipes in his first 42 games.
Evan Gattis, C/OF, Braves
You already know all about "El Oso Blanco," who leads all rookies in homers with 19, including four in his past eight games. But after a midseason injury and slump, the 27-year-old is now playing nearly regularly as an outfielder, because Atlanta needs healthy bodies out there and is this-close to locking up a playoff spot, anyway.
Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals
This rookie was having a fine season as St. Louis' backup first baseman, but now that Allen Craig is out for the next few weeks, Adams gets a chance to show what he can do on an everyday basis. His home Wednesday was No. 12 on the year, and there should be more where that came from in a potent lineup.
Dillon Gee, RHP, Mets
Gee, 27, got off to such a brutal start that owners wrote him off when they saw his ERA at 6.34 after his start on May 25. Except all Gee has done since is compile a 2.56 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in his past 19 outings. Plus, he gets the Marlins at home on Sunday. Add now!
Angel Pagan, OF, Giants
Because of a serious hamstring injury that cost him three months, 2013 has been more or less a lost season for Pagan, who had been a useful fantasy contributor the past few years. Now finally healthy, the 32-year-old has been doing some damage, going 15-for-41 (.366) with a pair of steals since returning 11 games ago.
Wilson Ramos, C, Nationals
Unless you have one of the very top backstops, catcher is always a tough position to fill. One savvy strategy is to treat them like streaming pitchers and just go with the hot hand. In this case, that would be Ramos, who has four home runs and 14 RBI in his past 12 games and is getting lots (and lots) of PT.
Kole Calhoun, OF, Angels
With Peter Bourjos down for the count, Calhoun has stepped up and made himself a nice pickup in deeper formats, like AL-only or 12- or 14-team leagues. The 25-year-old rookie is 14-for-35 (.400) with a homer and 11 RBI since September started.
Garrett Richards, RHP, Angels
With the Angels' hugely disappointing 2013 coming to a close, they've been giving more PT to guys like Calhoun and Richards, who is making a case to be in their 2014 rotation. The 25-year-old throws in the mid-90s and owns a 2.96 ERA in nine starts since LA rightly gave up on Joe Blanton.
Cody Asche, 3B, Phillies
Since his averaged bottomed out on August 18 in his 17th big league game, Asche has rewarded the Phillies for sticking with him. The 23-year-old rookie is hitting .323/.382/.548 with three homers and 12 RBI in his second 17 games. He may well be earning the Opening Day hot corner gig.
Brandon McCarthy, RHP, Diamondbacks
After missing two months with shoulder problems (as usual), it's too late for McCarthy to contribute much in his first season in the desert, but that doesn't mean he can't help your fantasy team down the stretch. The 30-year-old has been a roller-coaster performer when healthy, but having given up just five earned runs in his last three starts (24 innings), he may be on the climbing part of the ride.
Josh Fields, RHP, Astros
Hey, it's not every day a "closer" is available in fantasy leagues in September. Of course, if you're picking up Fields, you're playing with fire, and it better be because one or two saves means the difference between advancing and going home. The hard-throwing 28-year-old has a ghastly 5.91 ERA, but he does have a 9.0 K/9 and, most importantly, he notched two saves for the 'Stros in the past week.
Only players owned in less than 51 percent of ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues were considered.
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