Surprises Star in Week 22

This week’s best fantasy players aren’t likely to finish high in the post-season awards voting, but if you’re in a weekly head-to-head league, they’ve sure been fun to watch in week 22.
Brandon Moss led the shallow 5×5 Mixed League  ($70.17)as well as deeper 4×4 AL Only ($57.63) and 5×5 AL Only ($54.89) leagues in RotoValue for the week, as he hit .364, led the majors with 4 HR and 11 RBI, and added 8 runs scored and a steal. Moss is another Oakland reclamation project, and he did hit 21 HRs in only 265 AB last season, so he has shown power. His huge week helped the Athletics post a 6-1 record on the week, and their sweep of Tampa Bay put the in the first wild-card spot, and just 1 game behind Texas in the AL West.
Shane Victorino was right behind Moss, especially in the 5×5 formats, after a week where he led the majors with 9 runs scored, and hit .435 with 3 HR, 10 RBI, and 1 SB. Those stats were worth $67.51 in the 5×5 Mixed, $52.04 in the 4×4 AL Only, and $54.19 in the 5×5 AL Only.
The next two spots in the 5×5 mixed league went to a pair of starters with very similar stats: Zack Greinke fanned 16 batters in 15.67 IP, winning both his starts with an ERA of 1.72 and a WHIP of 0.702; James Shields had an even lower ERA, 0.63, and a 0.837 WHIP in 14.33 IP while also striking out 16 and winning twice. Greinke’s WHIP advantage, plus the extra inning-plus, put him slightly ahead in RotoValue, $58.65 to $57.74. He’s won his last 6 starts, after having a 5 start winning streak early in the year, as his Dodgers team has rebounded from a slow start (they hit a season-worst 12 games under .500 on June 21st) to a double-digit lead in the AL West, and are just 2 games behind Atlanta for baseball’s best record. Since June 21st, the Dodgers have gone 51-13, a .797 winning percentage.
Greinke’s rookie sensation Yasiel Puig is the weekly MVP for the 4×4 NL Only league, edging out Nationals’ SS Ian Desmond. Puig hit .458 with 2 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, and 3 SB on the week, worth $45.27 in that format. Oddly, Puig had just 1 RBI that wasn’t himself, and he scored just once when he didn’t homer despite 11 hits and a .500 OBP on the week. One potential caution – despite 10 SB on the year, Puig has been caught 8 times, including 2 times this week. He’ll need to improve that success ratio to justify continuing to steal so often.
Desmond hit .480 with 1 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI, and 2 SB, earning $44.78 in the 4×4 NL, as his extra 3 RBI and slightly higher average nearly offset Puig’s extra HR and SB. Greinke was clearly the NL’s top pitcher in this format, earning $40.09 to rank 5th overall. Braves closer Craig Kimbrel had the league’s second-best pitching week in 4×4, as his 2 saves, 1 relief win, and 4 perfect innings was worth $34.65 .
A pair of Mets barely edged out Greinke for top honors in the 5×5 NL Only league. Eric Young hit .375, led the league with 5 SB, tied for the lead with 7 runs scored,  and added 5 RBI to earn $43.67. Teammate Daniel Murphy hit .448, matched Young’s 7 runs scored, drove in 7 and also stole 2 bases, earning $43.14. Neither player homered on the week, but they still topped Greinke’s $43.04 RotoValue, which led 5×5 NL pitchers. Next among pitchers was the Giants’ Yusmeiro Petit, who like Greinke won twice and fanned 16, but he earned $30.04 because his ERA (3.00) and WHIP (1.417) were much worse. The third best week was a stellar single start from Greinke’s new teammate Ricky Nolasco ($26.60), who pitched 8 shutout innings to beat the Cubs while striking out 11 and yielding just 3 hits and a walk for a 0.500 WHIP. Kimbrell was again the most valuable closer in this format, at $25.86, 4th best among all pitchers.
In the 5×5 AL Only, Moss, Victorino, and Shields ($45.18) were easily the top 3 players. The second-best pitcher in that was the Angels’ Ernesto Frieri, who had struggled a few weeks ago and was yanked from the closer role for a while. But he’s much more secure now, after a great week where he notched 3 saves and a win in 4.67 IP, with 5 Ks, a 0.643 WHIP, and a 0.00 ERA. Ironically, Frieri hasn’t given up a run since his August 6th meltdown which prompted manager Mike Scioscia to pull him from the role. In the 5×5 AL this week was worth $33.75, just ahead of last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey ($32.04), who had 2 wins, 12 Ks, a 1.88 ERA, and 1.356 WHIP.
When not counting strikeouts, Frieri’s week ($42.26) winds up as the best in the 4×4 AL, just ahead of Shields ($41.19), with Red Sox closer Koji Uehara a distant 3rd ($30.68; 0.00 ERA, 0.000 WHIP, 3 saves, 4 Ks in 3.33 IP).