The official start of football has put fantasy baseball on the back burner, as the NFL kicked off its regular season Sept. 6. It happens every year, but we know if we stay focused we can take advantage. There's only three weeks left in the regular season, so it goes without saying that every decision is critical.
1. St. Louis Cardinals Outfielder Marcell Ozuna -- After hitting 37 home runs in 2017, Ozuna has been a disappointment this season. However, timing is always important, and the 27-year-old is finishing strong which is a big boost for fantasy owners. Ozuna hit .268 during the first half, but is batting .301 during the second half of the year and has hit five home runs during September. Ozuna definitely won't match last year's totals -- and he may not even hit 30 home runs -- but at least he is finally hitting stride, and hopefully it's for owners who are vying for a championship.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks Starting Pitcher Robbie Ray -- Like Ozuna, Ray has been a huge disappointment in 2018 but is finally hitting his stride down the stretch. It's always a great debate about when you want your players to put up great stats. Ray has struggled this season, so is there any team fighting for a championship that actually has the left-hander on their roster? It's frustrating, but the 26-year-old has been dominant lately. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer during six of his past seven starts while striking out at least seven during four of those. We'll see if he can keep it up. Hopefully, he is actually helping fantasy owners down the stretch.
3. Los Angeles Angels Designated Hitter Shohei Ohtani -- The Ohtani storyline has been a crazy ride dating back to March. We don't need to rehash it, but it appears Ohtani won't be helping fantasy owners in the pitching department anytime soon. However, he can flat out hit and will hold off on the recommended Tommy John surgery. It remains to be seen what happens next year, but Ohtani is currently batting .291 with 19 home runs during just 85 games this year. If he decides to not have surgery and just focus on hitting in 2019, he will be high on the fantasy radar due to his ability to hit for average and power.
1. New York Yankees Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton -- After struggling throughout the first month of the season, the slugger found his stride to be one of the more productive hitters in the game. However, September has been a nightmare for the 28-year-old; he's collected just three hits and struck out 14 times this month. Stanton struggling this much down the stretch is not good for fantasy owners hoping to make a move in the standings.
2. San Francisco Giants Starting Pitcher Madison Bumgarner -- Entering the month of September, the veteran was pitching to a 2.68 ERA. However, the left-hander allowed 11 earned runs during his two starts this month and now has a 3.30 ERA. The overall numbers aren’t bad, but struggling during the last month is not what we want. Bumgarner only has a couple more starts, so he needs to turn this around quickly as he's killing fantasy teams right now.
3. Seattle Mariners Shortstop Jean Segura -- It was a week to forget for the shortstop; he collected just two hits and now has only six hits in September. Due to this recent slump, Segura’s batting average has dropped from .321 at the beginning of the month to .310. Like the first two mentioned, Segura has been a fantasy monster this season, so the slump is coming at the wrong time.