There's only one precious week left in the MLB regular season, commencing with one of the smallest slates of the season. Only 10 clubs are in action, all taking part in evening affairs. The rule of thumb at this stage of the season is to focus on players on contending teams since they'll play their regulars for the entire game. On Monday, this entails targeting the Nationals, Phillies, Rays, Mets, Cardinals and Diamondbacks.
That said, since there's only so many players to go around, one batter from each of these teams will be highlighted. Good luck, everyone! Here are some players in a favorable spot to help -- all available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues.
Steven Matz (L), rostered in 45% of ESPN leagues, New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins: Matz was in the middle of a solid second half, then Coors Field happened. Before his last outing, Matz had posted a 2.52 ERA and 1.10 WHIP since the break, fanning 61 batters in 64 1/3 innings. The Rockies blasted him for seven runs in four frames in his last outing. Look for Matz to get back on track facing the lowly Marlins as the Mets try to capture the second wild card in the Senior Circuit.
Adam Wainwright (R), 29%, St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks: The second half has also been kind to Wainwright as the veteran has posted an 8-2 record with a 3.25 ERA. He's outpitched his peripherals, but he's still in play as the Cardinals look to clinch the NL Central. It won't be easy, as the Diamondbacks are clinging to slim playoff hopes. They'll bring their A-game for this tilt in the desert.
Another tip for the final week is to think ahead. The Nationals and Phillies play a doubleheader on Tuesday, giving Sean Doolittle and Hector Neris extra chances for a save. We're at the time of the season where closers are dropped by fantasy teams no longer needing saves, so it's worth the effort to check on their availability.
Catcher -- Yan Gomes (R), 10%, Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (RHP Zach Eflin): Kurt Suzuki hasn't started since Sept. 7 as he's been dealing with a sore elbow -- although he did pinch-hit on Saturday night. Gomes has been the bell cow in his absence, posting an OPS of .870 over this span, including three homers and a rare steal.
First Base -- Rio Ruiz (L), under 1%, Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays (RHP Clay Buchholz): Let's call this the "deep-league special" as teammates Hanser Alberto, Anthony Santander and Austin Hays have all been featured a lot of late. Ruiz is slashing .307/.407/.609 over the past week and has historically fared better with the platoon edge.
Second Base -- Cavan Biggio (L), 18%, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Chandler Shepherd): An elevated strikeout rate renders batting average an issue, but Biggio's excellent walk rate is ideal for OBP or points leagues. Filling the counting categories won't be an issue as he prorates to a 20/20 campaign over a full season.
Third Base -- J.D. Davis (R), 30%, New York Mets vs. Miami Marlins (LHP Caleb Smith): Davis has cooled off considerably, but he's still a threat -- especially with a left-hander on the hill. For the season, Davis is slashing .311/.377/.523 with the platoon advantage.
Shortstop -- Willy Adames (R), 10%, Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox (RHP Jhoulys Chacin): The Red Sox will open with Chacin before calling upon a myriad of relievers. Adames gets lost in the shuffle with all the young, productive shortstops populating major-league rosters but he's developing -- especially in the power department. It's been a good series for the 23-year-old, walking off Friday's extra-inning affair with a double and then blasting a 460-foot homer in Saturday's victory by the Rays.
Corner Infield -- Miguel Rojas (R), 3%, Miami Marlins at New York Mets (LHP Steven Matz): The focus is usually on counting stats at this time of the season, but if you need a batting-average boost (especially in head-to-head leagues), Rojas is in a good spot against a lefty. For the season, Rojas is batting .288/.340/.402 with the platoon edge.
Middle Infield -- Marco Hernandez (R), under 1%, Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays (LHP Blake Snell): Hernandez and Sam Travis are both in play for Boston as they play out the string. More useful in deep formats, both enjoy the platoon edge on Snell. The Rays left-hander isn't expected to pitch more than a few innings before passing the baton to the bullpen.
Outfield -- Harrison Bader (R), 40%, St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks (LHP Alex Young): Overall, it's been a disappointing season for Bader, who is sporting a tepid .690 OPS. However, he's been running wild lately, pilfering four bags over the past two weeks.
Outfield -- Scott Kingery (R), 34%, Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals (LHP Patrick Corbin): Admittedly, Kingery isn't the ideal pick. He's in a rut and Corbin is pitching well. In the interest of including a player from every "contending" team, however, the sophomore gets the nod. He's playing every day, which counts for something when making sure your active lineup is as complete as possible. Despite fanning at a high rate of late, Kingery has managed four homers and a pair of steals over the past two weeks.
Outfield -- Josh Rojas (L), 6%, Arizona Diamondbacks vs. St. Louis Cardinals (RHP Adam Wainwright): Rojas is also mired in a rut but, like Bader and Kingery, he's been chipping in, specifically with three steals over the last two weeks. Monday may be a good day to take advantage of the players with a chance to swipe a base, before pivoting to power hitters for the rest of the week.