You may have noticed the season is ending on a Wednesday this year. Blame the lockout. If your league continues to the very last game, it means you're looking at a 10-day scoring period to end the year. In Rotisserie leagues, you may have a chance to reset your lineup for the final three games, but not in Head-to-Head.
- Week 26: Sleeper pitchers
So these recommendations are with the full 10 days in mind. As always, it's better not to rely on a waiver wire pickup if you can help it, but if you have a hole to fill, here are my favorite 10 hitters rostered in no more than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
All information is up to date as of Sunday afternoon.
BAL Baltimore • #2 • Age: 21
Henderson's roster rate has finally begun to climb to more appropriate levels, but we're to the point now where the rookie is basically must-start, particularly with the Orioles being one of just eight teams with 10 games in the final scoring period.
Joey Meneses 1B
WAS Washington • #45 • Age: 30
Meneses' matchups in the final scoring period aren't even all that favorable, but lately, it hasn't mattered. He still boasts a .324 batting average and .930 OPS and has maintained those numbers long enough that we should probably give him the stud treatment even if there's good reason to doubt he's actually a stud.
Elvis Andrus 2B
CHW Chi. White Sox • #1 • Age: 34
Andrus continues his inexplicable production at the top of the White Sox lineup, and lately, he's been running wild as well with six stolen bases in his past 10 games. The White Sox's matchups are decent enough, featuring six games against the Twins rotation over a nine-game span.
Luis Rengifo 2B
LAA L.A. Angels • #2 • Age: 26
Rengifo has had a couple of two-homer games recently and is batting .299 for the month of September, so just as a hot-hand play, he's advisable. But the Angels also have the second-best matchups this week, including four vs. left-handers, against whom he's batting .333 with a .954 OPS.
CLE Cleveland • #39 • Age: 25
Gonzalez has been swinging a hot bat for all of September, having recently enjoyed a two-homer game, and should benefit from the Guardians having the fourth-best hitter matchups this week. They're facing the Royals six times over a nine-game span.
KC Kansas City • #9 • Age: 25
I can't quit on Pasquantino, who's been doing an adequate job since returning from a shoulder issue but is still awaiting that big surge in production. The Royals' matchups are decent enough, with only two lefties on the schedule in nine games, and his contact remains both high quantity and high quality.
Taylor Ward LF
LAA L.A. Angels • #3 • Age: 29
Ward caught the league by surprise the first two months and then went missing thereafter, but he's suddenly showing signs of life again with a .329 batting average (24 for 73) and four home runs in September. The Angels have the second-best hitter matchups this week, featuring three games against Rangers pitchers and six against Athletics pitchers.
PIT Pittsburgh • #41 • Age: 36
Santana has been home run or bust lately, but the home runs are adding up -- seven in 14 games, actually. He's a good bet to capitalize on the Mariners' top-ranked hitter matchups, which include three games against the Rangers, three against the Athletics and four against the Tigers.
Nick Gordon 2B
MIN Minnesota • #1 • Age: 27
Gordon earns high marks for quality of contact, according to Statcast, and is hitting .297 with an .840 OPS since the All-Star break. You can start him at second base, shortstop or outfield in Fantasy, making him a handy pickup for the final scoring period in which he won't be facing a single ace-caliber pitcher over a nine-game span.
DET Detroit • #30 • Age: 25
A breakout slugger in the minors this year, Carpenter is finally beginning to live up to that potential in the majors, homering four times in his past 12 games. He tends to sit against left-handers, but the Tigers are scheduled to face only three of those in their final 10 games, making Carpenter a sneaky play in five-outfielder leagues.
Best hitter matchups for Week 26
1. Mariners TEX3, OAK3, DET4
2. Angels OAK3, TEX3, @OAK3
3. Reds @PIT3, @CHC3, CHC3
4. Guardians TB3, KC6
5. Blue Jays NYY3, BOS3, @BAL3
Worst hitter matchups for Week 26
1. Rockies @SF3, @LAD6
2. Diamondbacks @HOU2, @SF3, @MIL3
3. Padres LAD3, CHW3, SF3
4. Braves @WAS3, NYM3, @MIA3
5. Rays @CLE3, @HOU3, @BOS3