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Opening Time: Pickups with flex appeal

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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The pacific coast Beltway (USP)

When it comes to fantasy baseball, September truly is the silly season. The rosters expand, non-contenders get experimental, and rotoheads have to make quicker-than-usual adjustments. There's nothing new to this theme; we talk about it every year and I'm sure I offered similar words earlier this month. Learn it, know it, live it.

Look at some of the names currently sitting in the most-dropped column. Mark Teixeira is out 10-14 days? Get out the shears. Mark Trumbo sinks into a month-long slump? Thanks for the memories, you're punted. Todd Frazier gets thrown into Dusty Baker limbo? We'll find fresher options, thanks. Carlos Gomez suffers a right quad contusion? Frustrating news, but we'll play through it.

Position flexibility can be your best friend at this time of year. You might be dealing with a transaction cap in some leagues, or working with a shallow bench. Having a last-second option to utilize when a surprise game-day scratch comes down is critical.

With that in mind, let's hunt for some pickups who offer production and a pinch of versatility.

Brandon Belt, 1B/OF, Giants: Bruce Bochy is finally leaving Belt alone, so it seems, and a productive month has gone on the board (.315-9-2-18-2). Never underestimate what it means to a young player to know that he's finally solidified in the lineup. If you want to steer Belt away from left-handers, fine, but note that he's been terrific at home (.878 OPS) and against right-handed pitching (.803). The line-drive machine (a zesty 24.7 percent) is unowned in 80 percent of Y! Nation.

Logan Forsythe, 2B/3B, Padres: He's Funston-approved and sizzling hot, on a .395/.452/.658 slash this month and hitting .297 since the break. Forsythe isn't a category-juice monster, but he does offer a respectable five homers and seven steals over 253 at-bats (Wednesday's clout off Kyle Lohse hasn't landed yet). And don't sweat the Petco Park Effect: Forsythe has a pretty .320 average at home. He's owned in a modest eight percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, Athletics: The well-traveled slugger saw most of the USA over the last few years, but he's settled into a good thing with Oakland. A snappy 18 homers over 206 at-bats moves the needle, especially in the post-juice world, and although Moss has a bunch of strikeouts on the resume (72), he's doing just fine in the batting-average and walk columns (.262 and 17, respectively). You can gather this Moss in 93 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Josh Donaldson, C/3B, Athletics: We've discussed Donaldson before (and some of our readers were on this story before he received proper Arcade props), but we'll repeat the facts for today's theme. You love a catcher-eligible player who isn't actually forced to wear the tools of ignorance, and that's what Donaldson has settled into — he's the third baseman by the bay, locked into the job with Brandon Inge hurt. Donaldson's seasonal stats might push you off the case, but he's rocking a .330-15-6-17-2 line over the past 30 days. He's only rostered in 22 percent of Yahoo! pools.

Chris Nelson, 2B/3B, Rockies: He's settled into a regular gig as one of Jim Tracy's favorites, and although Nelson isn't running at all, there's nothing wrong with a .307-14-3-18 run over the past 30 days. If you love a post, post, post, post-hype sort of story, Nelson qualifies: he was the ninth overall pick in the 2004 draft, though he just turned 27. He's only rostered in four percent of Yahoo! leagues.

John Mayberry, 1B/OF, Phillies: The Men of Manuel are putting together a crazy push for the playoffs, and Mayberry's development has played into that story. The Stanford product has a very playable .284/.358/.485 slash in the second half, with eight homers in 168 at-bats. Forget the Phillies you saw in the first half, this run has me in an investing mood. Kid Mayberry is unowned in 87 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Everth Cabrera, 2B/SS, Padres: If steals are all you want out of this exercise, we point to this unheralded speed merchant. Cabrera has 11 swipes over the past month — tied with Gomez for most in the majors — and he's 30-for-32 since re-joining the Padres (after a perfect 15-for-15 run in the minors). The other categories aren't meaty with Cabrera, but is .263 average over the last month isn't a deal breaker. He's yours for the asking in 94 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Jordan Pacheco, 1B/3B, Rockies: If you're pushing for batting-average points, Pacheco's .307 mark (built from a 28.3 line-drive rate) should gain your attention. The float is higher at Coors, of course — a 224-point jump in OPS — so keep the Colorado schedule handy. Pacheco can be had for nothing in 91 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

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