Cool, I once again get to use penultimate — correctly — in my column! Yes, it is the second to last game of the major league regular season. While there are still some teams fighting for playoff spots or to improve their seeding, there are a lot more teams who have little or nothing to play for Saturday. What that means for you is that you need to make sure that your players actually play. Pay even more attention to line ups than you usually do today. With that in mind, here are some players to consider on Saturday:
Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees ($10,800) — Tanaka has averaged 28.1 fantasy points per game against Boston this season. Sure, the Red Sox offense has been better since the all-star-break, but for the season they rank 21st in runs scored. Unlike some other high priced options, we know that Tanaka will start today.
Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh ($10,500) — Honestly, I do not love Liriano’s price on Saturday. That is a good deal of money for a guy averaging 17.3 fantasy points per start. However, he is averaging over 21 fantasy points per start his last ten games, and has been better on the road — where he is starting today — than at home. He is also starting for a team that still has something to play for.
J. A. Happ, Toronto ($7,300) — You know those teams with nothing to play for I mentioned in the introduction? I present to you the Baltimore Orioles who will be getting ready for their playoff run rather than worrying about beating Toronto today. Happ has topped 20 fantasy points in two of his last three starts and is averaging 16.7 fantasy points per game the last ten.
Kyle Lobstein, Detroit ($6,800) — Minnesota is averaging just over three runs per game in their last seven contests. Lobstein is far from a sure thing, and consistency is not his thing — his fantasy point totals the last five games are 18.2, 3.1, 17.2, 23.2 and 8.5. Sure, you are risking a bad start, but three of those starts were very good and the Twins are very bad.
Carlos Santana, 1B/C, Cleveland ($4,100) — Out of the expensive catchers on Saturday, Santana is the one playing the best, who is also playing for a team that has something to play for. Santana is averaging 6.2 fantasy points per game his last ten games and has averaged seven fantasy points per game at home this season.
Edward Encarnacion, 1B, Toronto ($5,400) — Sometimes it does not take a lot to take a player, I think that is the case with Encarnacion. He is averaging 9.7 points per game the last ten games and is playing at home against a team with nothing to play for Saturday.
Neil Walker, 2B, Pittsburgh ($3,900) — Inconsistency is why Walker is priced so low Saturday. While Walker is averaging 7.5 fantasy points per game over his last ten contests, he has five games with no points. He has also topped 18 fantasy points in three of the last ten games. Walker is a risk, but there is a big potential reward with him today too.
Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati ($4,400) — Like Walker, Frazier has had some pretty low scoring games lately, unlike Walker, Frazier has not provided no value in half of his last ten games. Frazier is at home where he has average 8.8 fantasy points per game this season, and has average 7.6 fantasy points per game the last ten games. He also has two home runs in 20 at-bats against Liriano this season.
Jose Reyes, SS, Toronto ($4,800) — It was not my intention to stack Blue Jays today, it just turned out that way after I studied the match ups and pricing for Saturday. Reyes has been playing very well lately — 9.1 fantasy points per game over his last ten games — and winning this game is not likely to be a high priority for Baltimore.
Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto ($5,700) — Hey look, another player from Toronto! What can I say, I am a sucker for guys who are on hot streaks. Bautista is averaging over 11 fantasy points per game over his last ten contests.
Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh ($5,600) — McCutchen has also averaged over 11 fantasy points per game over his last ten contests. He also seems to be able to deliver in games where his team needs him. Expensive? No doubt, but if McCutchen delivers his average game the last ten games Saturday, he will provide almost double value. We also know he is capable of a monster game.
Michael Cuddyer, OF, Colorado ($5,200) — McCutchen and Bautista only wish they were playing as well as Cuddyer. You are not often going to find a batter averaging over 13 fantasy points per game for more than a few games; Cuddyer is averaging 13.2 per game over his last ten games.
Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City ($3,400) — I am going a little off plan with Perez. I usually like guys playing well, Perez has not been all that good lately — he is averaging only 4.9 fantasy points per game over his last ten games — but he does have a 13 and 12 point game in two of his last three and is facing John Danks Saturday.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B/3B, San Diego ($3,200) — Gyorko is a little different than most of the players I recommend. I tend to go with hot players who have recently had big games. Gyorko has been decent lately — averaging 5.4 fantasy points per game over the last ten games — but he has not topped nine points in any of those contests. So, he is not likely to have a monster game, but could easily provide double or even triple value today.
Ruben Tejada, SS, New York Mets ($2,900) — Tejada is averaging the same 5.4 fantasy points per game over the last ten games as Gyorko is. What is different with Tejada, is he actually has topped ten points in some of those games — two of his last four in fact. He is also facing a starter with a 1.45 WHIP this season. I really like Tejada at that price.
Travis Snider, OF, Pittsburgh ($3,000) — Snider has scored 41 fantasy points in his last three games in route to a ten game average of 6.5 fantasy points per game. Sure, Alfredo Simon has pitched well this season, but his September WHIP is 1.42 and he has not pitched as well at home as he has on the road. Snider also has hit .417 with a .967 OPS against Simon this season.
Will Venable, OF, San Diego ($2,600) — This is a major risk pick. Venable has not been getting many starts lately. If he is starting today, he is a very nice option though. While Venable has only started six of the Padres last ten games, he has averaged 7.3 fantasy points in the games in which he has started.
Good luck with your teams today; may all of your starters pitch perfect games, and may all of your batters hit for the cycle. You can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.