As desperation grows in the tightest of fantasy leagues, fewer options for a boost to your team remain. The slightest of adjustments can raise or drop you in the current standings.
Players like Yadier Molina and Ryan Raburn offer great available help this week. Sitting players like Garrett Jones and even the talented Michael Young in favor of other, stronger starters could prove to be the winning push your team needs.
Garrett Jones | Pittsburgh Pirates | 82.1 percent
Jones has been on a steady decline in the last half of the season (.211 average since the break). This week he faces both the Cardinals and the Astros. Two of his opposing pitchers are left-handed. This is extremely important due to his poor performance against lefties (.216 average against).
This year the Cardinals and the Astros have held Jones to a combined .190 average in 84 at-bats. His current shoulder ailments also warrant some second-guessing on starting him.
Michael Young | Texas Rangers | 100 percent
This is the “guts” pick of the week. The Ballpark in Arlington has had a Coors Field effect on Michael Young. Good for him, except all of his games this week are on the road, where he experiences a huge power drop-off (his OPS drops from .893 to .682). His two opponents this week, Oakland and LA Angels, have held Young to a .264 average in 110 at-bats this year, which is subpar for him.
Yadier Molina | St. Louis Cardinals | 71.1 percent
Yadier has been picking up steam lately, hitting .476 through his last seven games. All of his games will come on the road this week, where he hits 50 points higher.
He fared well in his previous matchups against both opponents (Cubs, Pirates). Against the Pirates this year Yadier is hitting .438 with a 1.017 OPS through 32 at-bats. Against the Cubs this year he is hitting .303 through 30 at-bats.
Ryan Raburn | Detroit Tigers | 85.7 percent
If your league is close and your team is shallow on hitters, then Raburn should be your waiver wire acquisition in mind. So far in September he’s scorching opposing pitching at a .404 clip with an OPS of 1.167. He owns the KC pitching staff with a career .315 average and four home runs in only 54 at-bats against.
Two-Start Pitchers to Avoid
Phil Hughes | New York Yankees | 85 percent