NL Players to Watch as the MLB Playoffs approach

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The National League playoff picture is heating with less than three weeks of the season remaining. Over that stretch nine teams will be fighting for three division titles and two wild card sports. The division leaders are led by the Washington Nationals (8 game lead in NL East), St. Louis Cardinals (3.5 game lead in the NL Central) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2.5 game lead in NL West). The other six teams include the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Miami Marlins and New York Mets.

The crowded playoff picture paints a great picture down the stretch for fantasy baseball owners as teams fight for wins. When we look at the National League a few fantasy players that stand out include Giancarlo Stanton and Clayton Kershaw. All three of these players can make an argument over the NL MVP award.

Stanton is having the best season of his career for himself and his fantasy owners. Currently Stanton leads the NL in home runs with 37, runs batted in with 105 and in the top 20 in batting average. The Marlins outfielder also is one of the key contributors in keeping the Marlins in the playoff picture. Over his last 10 games, Stanton has four home runs, seven runs driven in and six runs scored.

Kershaw is the other key factor in the NL MVP running as well as the top fantasy pitcher this season. The NL leader in wins and earned run average has also missed five games compared to Adam Wainwright who has 17 wins. The Dodgers ace has also racked up the third most strikeouts only trailing Stephen Strasburg and Johnny Cueto.

Here are some other NL fantasy players to watch down the stretch from the playoff picture.

Josh Harrison, Third Baseman: The NL leader is average is hitting .318 on the season and has been hot of late. Over his last 10 games, Harrison has used 19 hits to raise his batting average over ten points. Seven of the 10 games, Harrison has had at least two hits and his best game came against the Cubs as he finished with four.

Lucas Duda, First Baseman: The New York Mets first baseman is having a very quiet season with very little mention of his name. In 137 games this season, Duda has 27 home runs, 81 runs batted in and 65 runs scored. The downside for fantasy owners is his .248 batting average but he has shown some consistence picking up at least one hit in seven of his last ten games played.

Dee Gordon, Second Baseman: Gordon will help any fantasy owner down the stretch as he currently leads the league with 59 stolen bases. The Dodgers second baseman has been hot of late picking up 10 hits in his last five games.

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