A lesson should probably have been learned from last week's touting of Jake Arrieta, but screw it -- with a handful of my Fantasy teams clawing to get into the top three, I'm all about the gamble right now.
I've added Daisuke Matsuzaka in several Roto leagues.
I'm not doing this in Head-to-Head points formats because playoffs are a different beast than just chipping away at a bunch of separate categories over the next month in hopes of getting enough stats to make a run in the standings. This is a pure Roto play.
We last saw Matsuzaka in an emergency spot start for the Mets on Aug. 23, giving up five runs in five innings and striking out four. He threw 86 pitches, his fastball averaged about 88 to 89 mph and he gave up two home runs.
But there were some encouraging signs. Often plagued with control issues, Matsuzaka only walked one batter. And after the second inning (once all five runs had been scored), Matsuzaka was perfect, firing three frames of 1-2-3 baseball. Additionally, he was facing the Tigers, who have the second-most runs scored in baseball this year, as well as the best batting average and OBP.
I don't care what he did Wednesday night against the Phillies; it won't change the fact that Matsuzaka -- owned in 3 percent of leagues -- has two starts next week and a good amount of my Roto teams could use two chances at a win, as well as a boost in strikeouts.
The Big Leaps
Khris Davis, OF, Brewers (63 percent ownership, up from 19)
Khris Davis has been a man on a mission since his mid-July recall from the minors. In 27 games (17 of which he started), Davis is hitting .343 with eight home runs, five doubles and a steal. He's also sporting a 1.170 OPS.
The power output shouldn't come as a big surprise -- Davis has hit double-digit homers in each of his last four minor league seasons, including the last two, in which he was kept below 275 at-bats in each (260 in 2012, 243 in 2013).
Davis is a little erratic in batting average and OBP, and his steals output is unpredictable, but in a late-season, no-pressure role (replacing Ryan Braun on a Brewers team well out of the playoff hunt), Davis could be a nice addition to a Fantasy team. I'd be a little reluctant to start him a 12-team standard roster in the middle of the playoffs, just because this could have a bit of Yuniesky Betancourt flavor to it. But Davis has produced enough in the majors to start in a Roto league and makes for a nice addition to a team's bench in a shallower league, in case injury strikes a starter.
Carlos Ruiz, C, Phililes (42 percent ownership, up from 27)
Ruiz started the season serving out a PED suspension (more of the amphetamine nature than steroid), which pushed his value down significantly -- especially in 12-team Head-to-Head leagues, where you only really need one catcher and can add and drop at will using the wire if anything goes awry. After a brief, unspectacular return in late April, Ruiz found himself sidelined again in mid-May, forced to the DL with a hamstring injury. Batting .235 at the time, Ruiz became a forgotten man, left to toil in the free agent waters.
Fast forward to August and Ruiz is back to form. In 22 games this month, he is hitting .342 with three home runs, six doubles and a .916 OPS. His .278 average fits his career lines much better than his early season .240s, and Ruiz is getting his slugging and OBP totals up to where they should be.
With the Phillies out of the playoff hunt, Ruiz -- who will be a free agent after the season -- is playing for a new contract. The 34-year-old has incentive to finish the year on a high note and could be a nice addition to a Fantasy team in need of a steady presence at catcher. Owned in 42 percent of leagues, Ruiz -- who has gotten MVP votes in each of the last three seasons -- is an underrated option for the rest of 2013.
Danny Duffy, SP, Royals (11 percent ownership)
In a year where seemingly every pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery has hit some sort of snag (Brandon Beachy, Ryan Madson, Daniel Hudson), Danny Duffy has quietly re-entered the scene without much attention and has worked his way back into the Royals rotation with the team still technically in the postseason mix.
At 24 years old, Duffy hasn't had the chance to "wow" at the major league level -- his 3.90 ERA and 9.1 K/9 over six starts last year were impressive, but had to be somewhat marred by the elbow injury. In the minors, though, Duffy was a borderline stud. His K/9 was sub-10.0 just one season of his five, pre-surgery. Despite having a 4.04 ERA this season, his career ERA in the minors is still 2.88. And he's been great recently -- in his last 10 minor league appearances Duffy has a 2.76 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings.
We've seen Duffy twice this season -- in 9 2/3 innings, spanning two starts -- and he's been excellent, with a 1.86 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, striking out 10 batters. With a return to the rotation, Duffy becomes a slam-dunk AL-only play and has value in 12-team Roto leagues and deeper dynasty formats, as well. Take advantage of other owners dialing out for the season and snatch up Duffy where you can. He should be good for nice ERA and WHIP, with a K/9 nearing the 9.5-10 zone.
Tyler Moore, OF, Nationals (2 percent ownership)
Just looking at Tyler Moore's stats this year does little for you -- he's hitting .214 in 131 at-bats, with three home runs and six doubles. But much of that ugliness came earlier in the season, when Moore was playing sparingly and not afforded regular at-bats.
After heading back down to Triple-A, where Moore hit .318 with 10 home runs and 14 doubles over 173 at-bats, the 26-year-old was recalled a couple weeks ago. He's been a man possessed since, starting six games and getting multiple hits in five of them. Over that six-game span, Moore is hitting .480 with a 1.000 OPS. He's still playing somewhat sparingly, but with the team essentially out of the postseason, Moore can slot in at first and give Washington's starters occasional days of rest in the outfield, as well. He has a ton of power (Moore hit 31 home runs in two straight minor league campaigns) and has kept an average above .300 the last two seasons.
Moore will still see days off, but as the season winds down, the Nationals should play him plenty, if for no other reason than to see what they have in this would-be power hitting outfielder/first baseman.
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