Getting it right has never been more important than right now.
That's especially true in Head-to-Head leagues, where one bad week can end your season, no matter how much you've dominated along the way. Now isn't the time to cut corners. Due diligence is a must.
So why not get a jump on your competition now, turning your attention to the next scoring period while this one has barely started? There are only two left, after all, so the next one is either your semifinal or final round, depending whether your league runs through the final week (many Head-to-Head leagues don't). Sure, you could wait until Friday to find out my recommended streamers for the upcoming scoring period, but by then, your competition may have already beat you to the punch.
So let's get out ahead of him or her by considering which potential pickups would be of the most use in Championship Week, whether that's next week or the week to follow. The long haul is no longer a consideration for your roster decisions, which probably frees up a couple spots to use either on streaming options for yourself or streaming obstructions for your opponent. Yes, sometimes the best move is simply to prevent an upside play from falling into the wrong hands.
Just keep in mind that projecting exactly when a pitcher will start is always fraught and increasingly so the further out you go. It's why you'll still want to check back Friday, and again Sunday, for the latest and greatest information. Based on what we know now, though, here are 15 players rostered in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues who could decide your league's championship.
Nolan Jones LF
COL Colorado • #22 • Age: 25
Jones is too good for matchups, really, and just needs to be rostered everywhere at this point as a viable five-category threat. But it certainly doesn't hurt that he'll get to enjoy the comforts of Coors Field for the final seven games of the season.
Mitch Garver DH
TEX Texas • #18 • Age: 32
Playing time has gone from a weakness to a strength for Garver so quickly that much of the Fantasy-playing world hasn't caught up to it yet. He has started 24 of the last 25 games for the Rangers, making him the No. 1 catcher during that time, and that's enough for you to consider starting him over underachievers like J.T. Realmuto and Sean Murphy right now.
Ryan Pepiot RP
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #47 • Age: 26
Control was the biggest concern for Pepiot coming up through the minor-league ranks, but it's taken a huge leap forward this year, allowing him to go practically untouched in his first few turns through the Dodgers rotation. He's a particularly attractive option with two favorable matchups next week but will also be a solid play the following week at the Giants.
Seth Lugo SP
SD San Diego • #67 • Age: 34
A couple of unravelings against top-tier offenses have kept Lugo's ERA on the high side, but the game log shows far more good than bad. Whether it's against the Rockies next week or at the Giants and White Sox the following week, he'll be an advisable, if not automatic, play.
MIN Minnesota • #11 • Age: 30
No team has better hitter matchups down the stretch than the Twins, particularly that final week against the Athletics and at the Rockies. There will probably be too many lefties to make Edouard Julien and Matt Wallner advisable plays, but Polanco's hot hitting has gone overlooked amid the Royce Lewis hubbub.
Zack Gelof 3B
OAK Oakland • #46 • Age: 24
The Athletics will face at least one bad pitching staff each of the final two weeks, which is more than enough to anoint Gelof here. The rookie has emerged as a genuine power-speed threat at a position where most players specialize at one or the other, so unless you have Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve, Marcus Semien or Ozzie Albies there, he's worth considering.
TOR Toronto • #36 • Age: 24
As productive as Schneider was at Triple-A Buffalo, with his home run and walk totals standing out in particular, this hot start to his major-league career isn't to be taken lightly. He's eligible at second base, third base and probably outfield soon, which makes him an ideal injury sub should it come to that.
MIA Miami • #27 • Age: 25
The walks can sometimes sabotage Cabrera, but sometimes doesn't mean always. He's a bat-missing marvel at his best, so even if you can't bring yourself to start him over the final two weeks, you don't want to leave him out there for your opponent with matchups like the Mets, Brewers and Pirates ahead.
Reid Detmers SP
LAA L.A. Angels • #48 • Age: 24
Detmers has had a good couple of starts after a rough couple of months, changing up his pitch mix in a way that's interesting, if nothing else. His two matchups next week include a strikeout-prone Twins team, and then he gets the Athletics in the final week.
Kris Bryant RF
COL Colorado • #23 • Age: 31
While Bryant has again spent most of this season on the IL, he recently returned from a fractured finger and reminded us with his big game Tuesday the sort of damage he can do at Coors Field. That's where the Rockies will be for their final seven games of the season, making him too dangerous of a weapon to leave on the waiver wire.
Bryan Woo SP
SEA Seattle • #33 • Age: 23
It's hard to imagine you'd use Woo against the Rangers in the final week, but he gets two starts next week, the first of which being against a miserable Athletics lineup. He hasn't been working particularly deep into games but has been highly effective in three of four starts since returning from a forearm injury.
CLE Cleveland • #41 • Age: 25
Allen's starts tend to be short and his output erratic, so there isn't much danger to leaving him for your opponent if you just can't make room. But if you're short on pitching yourself, you have to like that he draws the Royals among his two starts next week and then the Tigers in the final week.
Jake Burger 3B
MIA Miami • #36 • Age: 27
The Marlins aren't far behind the Twins with regard to how hitter-friendly their matchups are down the stretch, and while several players from their lineup could be worthwhile pickups as a result, the most likely is Burger, particularly if home runs are your primary focus.
Michael King RP
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #34 • Age: 28
Making the conversion from the bullpen to the starting rotation, King has seen no letup in velocity and has finally gotten his pitch count to a point where we can consider using him in Fantasy. He may only be of interest in points leagues, where you can take advantage of his relief pitcher eligibility, with one start next week, but then he lines up for two, including one at the Royals, in the final week.
Javier Assad RP
CHC Chi. Cubs • #72 • Age: 26
Assad isn't the most skilled pitcher and already appears to be coming back to earth after an impressive August, but you won't find anyone with better matchups than his the rest of the way. I wouldn't call him automatic against the Pirates and Rockies next week, but he's a potentially dangerous pickup that's better off with you than your opponent.