Fantasy Baseball: Top 10 sleeper hitters for Week 26 include Matt Olson, Tim Anderson and Jeimer Candelario
The end of the regular season makes for some curious pitching choices, which of course only benefits the hitters. Scott White thinks Matt Olson, Tim Anderson and Jeimer Candelario will continue to take advantage.
Well, we've made it. Final week of the regular season. Many twist and turns along the way.
And many still to come.
That's more on the pitching side of things, though, where nothing is what it seems to be even a few days out on the schedule. Granted, teams also experiment with some of their younger bats while rosters are expanded, but for the most part, managers will start their best hitters right up to the very end.
And those bats will get to feast on inferior pitching.
You might need to be a little more cautious with the hitters whose teams are certain for the playoffs, but only if they're known to be nursing an injury of some kind. The wild card game has added so many off days before the start of the first playoff series that rust is as much a concern as rest.
If you have any doubts about your tried-and-trues with everything on the line, though, here are 10 alternatives owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
Matt Olson Oakland Athletics 1B
|It's not complicated. Matt Olson has hit 15 home runs in his last 22 games, and against the Mariners and Rangers pitching staffs this week, he should add to that total. He even has four homers and an .827 OPS in 42 at-bats against lefties, so the three on tap aren't a deal-breaker.|
Justin Bour Miami Marlins 1B
|One of the first half's breakthrough players, Justin Bour picked up where he left off upon returning from a strained oblique in early September, batting .359 (14 for 39) with two homers and a 1.027 OPS in 11 games. The Marlins get three games at Coors Field and then four against the Braves pitching staff, so he should finish the year on a high note.|
Eddie Rosario Minnesota Twins LF
|A letdown so far in Week 25 (Sept. 18-24), Eddie Rosario is nonetheless batting .312 with 21 homers and a .924 OPS in his last 87 games, which suggests he has been good enough long enough that he should have graduated from this list by now. I don't so much care who he's facing, but Josh Tomlin and three games of whatever the Tigers throw out there can only help.|
Ozzie Albies Atlanta Braves 2B
|The Braves are scheduled for eight games this week (and against the Mets and Marlins pitching staffs, no less) thanks to a doubleheader Monday, and Ozzie Albies' youth gives him a decent chance of playing in all of them. He's one of the Braves' more exciting hitters anyway, showing more extra-base pop than expected at age 20 while also making contact at a high rate.|
Nicholas Castellanos Detroit Tigers 3B
|The Tigers get some of the best the Royals and Twins have to offer this week, but they also face mashable types like Jason Vargas, Jason Hammel and Bartolo Colon. And all Nicholas Castellanos has done over the past six weeks is mash, turning his high line-drive and hard-contact rates into a .359 (56 for 156) batting average, eight home runs and 1.004 OPS over his last 38 games.|
Jose Reyes New York Mets SS
|Jose Reyes is another player whose recent hot streak is more of a statistical correction, judging by his still-suspect .261 BABIP and impressive strikeout and walk rates. He's batting .352 (32 for 91) with five homers, nine steals and 15 walks over his past 25 games, showing an array of skills that doesn't necessarily require him to maintain a high batting average, but he should against the Braves and Phillies pitching staffs anyway.|
Tim Anderson Chicago White Sox SS
|Among shortstops, Reyes figures to be the better all-around performer this week, but if you specifically need stolen bases, Tim Anderson is the safer bet. He has eight -- or more than half his season total -- in his past 14 games, taking a more aggressive approach after admitting to being too cautious early in his career, and it helps that he's batting .426 (23 for 54) with two homers during a 12-game hitting streak.|
Jed Lowrie Oakland Athletics 2B
|Jed Lowrie is on the verge of a 15-homer, 50-double, 70-walk season as a middle infielder, and yet he's only 42 percent owned in CBS Sports leagues. These types of performances tend to slip through the cracks during the juiced-ball era, but Lowrie has made plenty of noise lately, batting .362 with a 1.093 OPS in September, and gets the same tasty matchups Matt Olson has.|
Jacoby Ellsbury New York Yankees CF
|Jacoby Ellsbury himself has hit .429 (24 for 56) with five stolen bases and a 1.168 OPS in September, walking 13 times while striking out just eight, so he seems to be seeing the ball well right now. And while I wouldn't expect him to help as much in stolen bases as Tim Anderson, I do expect him to keep performing against pitchers like Ian Kennedy, Matt Andriese, Joe Biagini and Brett Anderson.|
Jeimer Candelario Detroit Tigers 3B
|It's amazing Jeimer Candelario is still just 16 percent owned in CBS Sports leagues, but it'd be even more amazing if I left him off this list considering he has hit .358 (24 for 67) with two homers, seven doubles and more walks (12) than strikeouts (10) since inheriting the starting third base job Sept. 2. That walk rate helped him stand out in the minors, and now that it's translating to the majors, the floor is high from week to week.|
Best hitter matchups for Week 26
1. Braves @NYM4, @MIA4
2. Marlins @COL3, ATL4
3. Dodgers SD3, @COL3
4. Angels @CHW4, SEA3
5. Mets ATL4, @PHI3
Worst hitter matchups for Week 26
1. Pirates BAL2, @WAS4
2. Padres @LAD3 @SF3
3. Giants @ARI3, SD3
4. Blue Jays @BOS3, @NYY3
5. Cardinals CHC4, MIL3
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