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Finding Value in the Rockies

When teams no longer have a shot at the postseason, fans sometimes are able to rally around that team becoming a “spoiler” down the stretch. At this point in the fantasy season, teams that are out of it can no longer play “spoiler.” In most leagues, it’s probably time for the championship. And if you’re the owner of one of those championship teams, then you’ve obviously done things right this year. But the season is far from over. And you never hear fantasy owners talk about the year they finished second. Hearing about someone else’s fantasy team is boring enough, you definitely don’t want to hear about a second place finish.

In order to win, you may still have to make some savvy moves. That’s where playing “spoiler” comes in. Bad real-life teams are hardly relevant at the end of the season, and sometimes that leads to their players being undervalued in fantasy leagues. The Colorado Rockies may be 58-94, and 30.5 games out of the NL West, but some of their players are currently on huge hot streaks. If you’re looking for one last move to push you over the edge, the Rockies may allow you to play “spoiler” during your championship.

Don’t look now, but Chris Nelson is finally living up to expectations. The middle infielder is owned in 51.2% of ESPN leagues and 29% of Yahoo leagues. On both sites, Nelson has both second and third base eligibility. That’s significant considering neither of those positions are particularly strong. If you’re getting by with an average guy at that position, you might consider riding out Nelson’s hot streak for your final matchup.

Nelson’s turnaround actually started in June, when he hit .325/.366/.597 in 82 plate appearances. Problem is, Nelson suffered from an irregular heartbeat in July, forcing him to miss some time. He returned strong, and has hit .355/.380/.566 this month. Nelson has only hit 9 home runs this season, but his .464 slugging percentage this season shows that he’s capable of hitting for some power. It also helps that he plays in Colorado, but only for the first four games of the week. Though, the team does finish up in Arizona, which is known to be a hitter’s park. Nelson’s on a hot streak and has some versatility, he can definitely be useful in the final week of the season if you can still get him.

Nelson’s teammate Wilin Rosario is in a similar situation. The catcher is owned in just 46.6% of ESPN leagues and 47% of Yahoo leagues. If your league allows for daily lineup changes, carrying a second catcher during your final week can be a significant advantage. Catchers obviously won’t play every day, and if you can split your playing time between two guys, it will ensure that you have a starting catcher each day of the week. As long as the replacement isn’t terrible, it should be a good way to boost your counting stats when it really matters.

Rosario has been far from awful the past couple of months. He’s shown a ton of power this season, almost quietly hitting 26 home runs, but he’s been able to supplement that power with a high average recently. Since August, Rosario has hit over .300, with strong on-base and slugging numbers. Using ESPN’s player rankings for the past 30 days, Rosario actually rates as the third best catcher in the league during that period. If you need a catcher upgrade, or are simply looking for a 2-3 game spot start at the position, Rosario could be your man.