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Lessons Learned From Our Deeper Waiver Wire Adds (American League)

With the season wrapping up this weekend, I wanted to take a moment in this final entry in the column this year to reflect on the 2016 fantasy season in terms of deep AL-only cuts. Quite a few fantasy relevant players made their way into this column this season, including more than a handful that transformed into legit big-name producers. We're going to take a look at some fantasy "rules" learned or re-enforced over the season from all those players to see what can help us in 2017. Editor's Note: Purchase a full season NFL Premium Pass (including DFS Premium), and also get MLB Premium + DFS for free through the playoffs. Premium DFS research, lineup picks, expert lineups, tools and more. You can see screenshots of our NFL Premium and MLB Premium and DFS tools. What are you waiting for?  

Some 2016 Takeaways for Fantasy Baseball

Lesson #1: The Oakland prospect river still runs deep. This year, the A's had one of their nowhere years where the team's underwhelming roster of talent never gets out to sea and just collapses under its own weight, not unlike an severely overweight dog trying to stand for too long. But with that brought new opportunities, and not just for veteran slugger-without-a-home Danny Valencia. Though they had plenty of growing pains along the way, the future in Oakland is bright thanks to rookie hurlers Sean Manaea, Ryan Dull and Jharel Cotton impressing on the mound and rookie batters Ryon Healy and Bruce Maxwell III in the field. Those are just the successful ones too. The A's helped many a fantasy team with their aggressive promoting of their minor leaguers, a reminder to not forget about the power of a rookie. Lesson #2: Relievers are becoming more and more viable in fantasy. With all the injuries happening in baseball as a whole to pitchers, the need to have a ton of surplus is at an all-time high. This means bringing up more and more bodies to fill those roles, be they starter or reliever. But with more and more high-strikeout relievers appearing, it only takes two solid relievers to equal or beat the production of many, many starting pitchers on their own, and at a fraction of the price. Any combination of pitchers such as Matt Bush, Dan Otero, Mychal Givens, and Chris Devenski were able to put up performances outweighing that of sought-after draft-day starters such as Clay Buchholz, James Shields, Yovani Gallardo and Edinson Volquez. Lesson #3: There's still no need to go hard on closers during the draft. This has been a lesson that many an expert shares during those pre-draft weeks, and it continues to ring 100% true: don't go big on draft day when it comes to closers. It takes a little extra work to monitor bullpen job security mid-season, but by simply knowing which bullpens have a shaky foundation, you can pinpoint closer-in-waiting rather easily. So while the competition was crying over big-ticket busts like Steve Cishek, Sean Doolittle and Huston Street for ending up as wasted investments for the most part, waiver wire targets like Edwin Diaz, Ryan Madson and Cam Bedrosian others delivered saves for a fraction of the cost. Lesson #4: Identify impact rookies and stash them ASAP. This lesson was big this year as multiple rookies made a huge fantasy impact, and these players were either under-owned at the time of their promotion, if owned at all. Now, while we all know that every hot prospect isn't going to blow up--some like Jose Berrios just get blown up. But when they do hit, wow, do they ever hit. Outfielders Max Kepler, Tyler Naquin and Nomar Mazara, infielders Ryon Healy, Alex Bregman and Yulieski Gurriel and pitchers Michael Fulmer and Dylan Bundy all contributed huge numbers and were available on waiver wires in most leagues before their call-ups/season debuts. Lesson #5: Work that waiver wire! This is a lesson as old as fantasy sports itself: thou who rocks the waiver wire rocks the body that rocks the mind. Don't get me wrong: nearly all great teams start with at least a decent draft foundation to build upon. But even a poorly drafted team in a deep league can be salvaged using waivers. In the American League alone, un-to-minimally drafted players such as infielders Jose Ramirez, Steve Pearce and Brad Miller, outfielders Leonys Martin and Michael Saunders and pitchers J.A. Happ, CC Sabathia and Kendall Graveman all greatly outperformed their projections going into the season. That's why the saying "never give up, never surrender" is considered old. Baseball has always been a magical, unpredictable sport.  

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Bullpen Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 26

It is the final few days of fantasy baseball! While holds are even tougher to predict than saves, the players we’ll highlight today include some elite setup men that have proven to be closer candidates to target off the waiver wire for Week 26 and the final week of the fantasy baseball season. Good luck to everyone competing for the championship. The more likely a team is to win, the more likely a pitcher will be eligible to earn the holds that could be the difference between winning or losing in your fantasy league. Bear in mind, an effective relief pitcher highlighted today could find himself in a closer's role if the everyday closer is unavailable or recently ineffective. Editor's Note: Purchase a full season NFL Premium Pass (including DFS Premium), and also get MLB Premium + DFS for free through the playoffs. Premium DFS research, lineup picks, expert lineups, tools and more. You can see screenshots of our NFL Premium and MLB Premium and DFS tools. What are you waiting for?   Adam Ottavino, Colorado Rockies 6 Saves, 4 Holds, 2.52 ERA, 25.0 IP, 30 K, 0.96 WHIP The season is wrapping up and the Colorado Rockies have long since been eliminated from playoff contention. The Rockies can still finish strong this year and closing out saves, Adam Ottavino will get the call. The 30-year-old Ottavino is pitching well this year. Opponents are hitting just .187 against his 93.7 MPH fastball and 81.6 MPH sweeping slider. Despite finishing the season at home, Ottavino is generating ground balls at a remarkable 62.3% rate. Ottavino could be the difference maker in the final days of a postseason push in any fantasy league. Pick him up if saves are needed. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants 3 Saves, 14 Holds, 2.93 ERA, 27.2 IP, 30 K, 1.12 WHIP The Giants are looking for any peace of mind out of the bullpen so former closer Sergio Romo is getting another chance. Opponents are hitting .242 against Romo this year. Signature of Romo; the righty relies on his 75.8 MPH slider first with his 85.8 MPH fastball complimenting it. It's an even year so history favors the Giants but they also field a very talented team. They will put every ounce into fighting for an opportunity at the postseason, pick up Romo as each of the last games for the Giants are as crucial to them as they are to your championship-competing fantasy team. Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds 17 Saves, 8 Holds, 4.13 ERA, 61.0 IP, 47 K, 1.46 WHIP The Cincinnati Reds are simply looking to find out what they have for next season and Tony Cingrani will look to make a good lasting impression entering the offseason. This year opponents are hitting .234 against Cingrani. Nearly solely relying on a 94.2 MPH fastball, Cingrani has found success at the major league level. The Reds are wrapping up the season against the best team in the league but they do not have anything to compete for. If the Chicago Cubs field a weak lineup in anticipation of their bid for a long-sought championship, pickup Cingrani and hope he has a good end to a lackluster Reds season. Andrew Bailey, Los Angeles Angels 6 Saves, 5 Holds, 5.48 ERA, 42.2 IP, 40 K, 1.31 WHIP The Los Angeles Angels continue searching for a positive season with one of the best in the game. The Angels will finish the season against a ravaged slim contender in the Astros so they can put the nail in the coffin. Closer Andrew Bailey can be the hammer to that nail. In 11 games with the Angels, opponents are hitting to a .189 batting average. Bailey provides varying speeds, a 92.1 MPH fastball, 84.4 MPH cutter and 76.8 MPH curveball. He is striking out just under a batter per inning and could wrap up this year with a positive impression to improve his stock for next year as he hopes for another job. Jim Johnson, Atlanta Braves 18 Saves, 8 Holds, 2.92 ERA, 61.2 IP, 64 K, 1.17 WHIP The Atlanta Braves have a chance to finish the season strong and as a spoiler to the Wild Card-contending Detroit Tigers. In a season worthy of receiving Comeback Player of the Year votes, Jim Johnson pitched a strong year with opponents hitting .228 against him. With his 93.3 MPH two-seam fastball and 79.1 MPH slider, Johnson generates ground balls 55.3% of the time. In addition to generating ground balls, Johnson has struck out more than a batter per inning. The Braves have seen parts of their future in present day and Johnson will look to increase his value going into free agency in the offseason.  

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Deeper Waiver Wire Pickups 2016 Fantasy Awards (National League)

A long season has finally come to an end. Hopefully good fortune found you and your teams in 2016. Of course, us RotoBallers know that winning isn't just a matter of luck! I would like to think this column gave you NL-only and deep-league owners some helpful advice along the way. I n lieu of a list of suggestions for waiver adds with just four days remaining, here are some of the most valuable players that were regularly nominated on this list. These players may turn out to be even more valuable in 2017 and some could still be draft-day sleepers. Editor's Note: Purchase a full season NFL Premium Pass (including DFS Premium), and also get MLB Premium + DFS for free through the playoffs. Premium DFS research, lineup picks, expert lineups, tools and more. You can see screenshots of our NFL Premium and MLB Premium and DFS tools. What are you waiting for?  


Speed Demon - Jonathan Villar (2B/3B/SS, MIL)  You may not have drafted Villar (let's face it, almost nobody did), but if you scooped him up early on, he rewarded you handsomely. Villar has been running wild all season and isn't stopping. Despite being caught a league-high 18 times, he is still leading the NL with 59 steals. Even with an awful September slump to close things out, he is hitting .283 and delivered more than just speed with 88 R as well. With middle and corner infield eligibility, Villar has become a more valuable version of Billy Hamilton. Honorable mention: Travis Jankowski (OF, SD)   Cheap Seats Investor - Ryan Schimpf (2B/3B, SD) Don't pretend you knew who Schimpf was before this season. This 28 year old rookie was languishing in the minors until the desperate Padres threw him in the lineup mid-season. He delivered far more power than anyone could have predicted, launching nine homers in 23 games in July. He now has 19 HR and 48 RBI in 266 AB, giving him a ridiculous .312 ISO. His .218 average may have been a drag, but if you needed help in homers alone, he was your man. He may not even stick in the lineup next year as the new wave of Padres enters the fray, but he could become a streaming waiver option at some point again. Honorable mention: Jedd Gyorko (1B/2B/3B/SS, STL)   Late Season Savior - Trea Turner (2B/OF, WAS) Fantasy owners were eagerly awaiting Turner's call-up throughout the first half, but it wasn't until July that Turner began to see regular playing time. He was serviceable, but didn't really turn it on until after the trade deadline. Turner hit a blazing .357/5/15 with 11 SB in the month of August and has been just as good in September, hitting .333/7/15 with nine SB. He was truly a savior to many fantasy owners down the stretch and will surely be a high draft selection in 2017. Honorable Mention: Ender Inciarte   Mr. Consistency - Angel Pagan (OF, SF) Pagan got off to a hot start, hitting .315 and scoring 17 runs in the first 24 games of the season. Injuries derailed his season slightly with two separate DL stints, but he never showed ill effects from the missed time. Pagan managed to go the entire season without letting his average slip below .270 until September 23rd. Pagan didn't dominate any one category, but contributed in all of them, including 66 R, 11 HR, 51 RBI and 14 SB. He makes an ideal third or fourth outfielder in deep leagues where consistency matters. Honorable mention: Yasmani Grandal (C, LA)   Maybe Next Year - Hunter Renfroe/Manuel Margot (OF, SD) This pair of Futures stars in San Diego were shoo-ins to be recalled once the Padres traded away Melvin Upton and Matt Kemp. Then they weren't. Once the rosters expanded to 40, they were sure to see time in the month of September. Then they didn't. The PCL playoffs took priority, so it was with one week left in the season that we got ever so slight a glimpse of Renfroe's power (two HR, seven RBI in one game) and Margot's speed (a double, triple and steal in one game). Sure to be hot commodities next year, we can only imagine what they might have done for us as regulars a month ago. Honorable mention: J.P. Crawford (SS, PHI)   Fool's Gold - Jhonny Peralta (3B/SS, STL) Peralta experienced a revival season in 2014 when he moved to St. Louis and then found himself an NL All-Star in 2015. It was known he would miss the first chunk of the 2016 season with a torn thumb ligament, but he was expected to pickup where he left off once he returned. Instead, Peralta has a .252 average and seven HR, 25 RBI in 266 at-bats. Hardly worth rostering, Peralta proved that not all injuries are quite so easy to recover from. Honorable mention: Brandon Drury (2B/3B/OF, ARI)   NL Waiver Wire MVP - Adam Duvall (OF, CIN) Duvall was featured in the very first week of this column due to his starting nod in left field. Nine weeks into the season and Duvall still registered a 12% ownership rate, warranting a third mention. By July he was participating in the Home Run Derby and representing the Reds at the mid-summer classic. With less than a week remaining, he has a whopping 33 HR and 100 RBI. If you snagged him early on (when I suggested), then you gladly reaped the benefits of a power outburst. And yes, it's true that I picked him up on Opening Day in an NL-only league and proceeded to drop him a week later. Lesson learned... Honorable mention: Trea Turner (2B/OF, WAS)  


Strikeout King - Robbie Ray (SP, ARI) Robbie Ray boasts a strong 11.4 K/9 and his 215 K rank him ninth in the majors. How could such a flamethrower be nothing more than a streaming option for most of the season? A 4.77 ERA and 1.46 WHIP might have something to do with it. Ray continues to frustrate with erratic control and an 8.9% BB%. He will also need to limit hard hits by lowering his 28% LD% in the hitter-friendly confines of Arizona. He can get you strikeouts in bunches though. Honorable mention: Jon Gray   Fireman - Fernando Rodney (RP, MIA) Although it was known Rodney would be the closer in San Diego to begin the year, his ownership rate was below 25% for several weeks. Even as he threw 25 consecutive scoreless innings to start the season and boasted a 0.00 ERA as late as June 20th, he was widely available in fantasy leagues. He eventually moved to a setup role in Miami after being traded, but his 17 first half saves came at quite the cheap price for many of you. Honorable mention: Jim Johnson (RP, ATL)   Late Season Savior - Seth Lugo (SP, NYM) If the Metropolitans somehow find a way to hang onto a wild card spot without the majority of their vaunted, young rotation, it will be a miracle. Although Terry Collins is unlikely to get any credit, some of it should definitely go to Seth Lugo. A less than impressive minor league career and injury-filled past conspired to make Lugo a desperation call-up in July. He was forced into the rotation in late August and promptly delivered four straight wins and four QS out of eight. He is still yet to allow more than three ER in an appearance. It's hard to imagine him sticking in the rotation next year if everyone manages to return healthy, but he could find himself bailing out the rotation once again if the need arises. If nothing else, look him up on Youtube to watch one of the filthiest curveballs you'll ever see. Honorable mention: Mike Montgomery (RP/SP, CHC)   Mr. Consistency - Tyler Anderson (SP, COL) Fellow rookie Jon Gray gave fantasy owners some outstanding games and certainly helped in the strikeout category, but he also experienced wild fluctuations in performance. Anderson proved to be the most reliable Rockies pitcher and even, dare I say, Coors Field proof. Anderson's 3.00 ERA and 1.25 ERA in 12 home starts are remarkably good for a rookie, much less one in Colorado. A decent 7.8 K/9 and promising 3.54 K/BB rate should have warranted much higher ownership than Anderson ever experienced. He could fly under the radar in fantasy drafts next season and make for a savvy late round pick. Honorable mention: David Phelps (RP/SP, MIA)   Maybe Next Year - Lucas Giolito (SP, WAS) Like Trea Turner, teammate Lucas Giolito was the pitching equivalent - a top prospect that only needed a chance to strut his stuff. The difference is that Turner delivered, whereas Giolito disappointed. He ends the year with an ugly 6.75 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in four starts and two relief appearances. Giolito remains a top prospect, but his star has lost a little bit of shine. Honorable mention: Jose De Leon (SP, LAD)   Fool's Gold - Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP, LAD) A sneaky mid-season waiver add turned into a wasted roster spot within a matter of days. Ryu's recovery from Tommy John surgery didn't go over as expected, leading to one ugly start (6 ER in 4.2 IP) and an immediate placement back on the DL. Ryu never recovered and will be a risky proposition again next season. Honorable mention: Zach Eflin (SP, PHI)   MVP - Bartolo Colon (SP, NYM) This had to go to Big Sexy. Nobody could have predicted, unfortunately, that the 43 year old would lead the team in games started or wind up as the #2 man in the rotation. With a 3.42 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and NL-leading 1.5 BB/9, Colon earned an All-Star birth and continues to defy conventional wisdom. At this rate, he may be pitching until he's 50. At least we can hope so. Honorable mention: Junior Guerra  

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Week 26 Waiver Wire: First Base (1B) and Third Base (3B)

The tragic death of Jose Fernandez in a boating accident yesterday morning was a sobering reminder of how trivial this game truly is. And yet it was also an affirmation, because baseball is how he found his way into so many lives. Fernandez’s joyous nature and enthusiasm for the game was as plain as day to anyone who ever watched him on the field. He was a truly special talent and, by all accounts, a special person as well. We are all poorer for his untimely passing. This game we play is, at the end of the day, just a distraction. Distractions are important; anything that brings us pleasure or happiness can and should matter to us. Events like yesterday’s shouldn’t make anyone feel guilty for caring so much about an ultimately frivolous pursuit, but they should offer a healthy dose of perspective. If you’re still in the race as we enter the final week, enjoy that you’ve gotten this far, and remember that even if you fall short, it’s just a game. Good luck, and thanks for reading all season. Editor's Note: Purchase a full season NFL Premium Pass (including DFS Premium), and also get MLB Premium + DFS for free through the playoffs. Premium DFS research, lineup picks, expert lineups, tools and more. You can see screenshots of our NFL Premium and MLB Premium and DFS tools. What are you waiting for?  

Week 26 Corner Infield Waiver Wire Targets

Logan Forsythe, 1B/2B, Tampa Bay Rays (50 percent owned) Since the end of July, Forsythe’s hit .282/.368/.492 with 10 home runs and 56 R+RBI in 46 games. Overall, he’s sitting at .273/.343/.462 with a career-best 20 homers in a pretty solid sequel to his 2015 breakout. The Rays close out their season with road series against the White Sox and a Rangers squad that will likely be resting players after clinching the AL West title. Unsurprisingly, given Tropicana Field’s pitcher-friendly tendencies, Forsythe has hit significantly better away from home this year. Ryon Healy, 3B, Oakland Athletics (31 percent) Even with a final slate of games in a couple of pitchers’ parks (Angel Stadium and Safeco Field), Healy gets a nod in this space for the second straight week. He’s simply hitting too well to exclude - .341/.376/.602 with six homers and 31 R+RBI in 22 September contests. He also gets to face some pretty mediocre starters, like Jered Weaver, Alex Meyer, and Ariel Miranda. Yangervis Solarte, 1B/2B/3B, San Diego Padres (20 percent) Solarte returned to the lineup yesterday after missing a little over a week of action due to his wife’s passing from cancer. That horrific event came during what has been the best season of Solarte’s career. The Padres host the Dodgers and then finish the year on the road at Arizona, and the only quality starting pitcher they’ll face is Kenta Maeda. Hopefully baseball can help him through the grieving process. Just one more reason to root for someone who has become one of my favorite players. Adonis Garcia, 3B/OF, Atlanta Braves (18 percent) The Braves have actually been hitting pretty well recently. That’s partly attributable to Garcia, who’s hitting .293/.336/.468 with nine homers in the second half. He’s recorded multiple hits in 11 of his last 24 games, while failing to reach base in just four of those contests. The Braves will finish 2016 at home, hosting the Phillies and Tigers. Apart from Justin Verlander on Sunday, they don’t have any especially tough matchups. Cheslor Cuthbert, 3B, Kansas City Royals (4 percent) The Royals will be eliminated from the playoff picture in the next day or two, ending their bid for a World Series repeat and third straight AL pennant. One of the bright spots to emerge in 2016 was Cuthbert, who filled in admirably for the injured Mike Moustakas at third base. He’s hit .368/.500/.579 over the past week, with a home run and stolen base to his credit. Kansas City visits Minnesota and Cleveland to end the year. Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson (both with ERAs over 6.00) will pitch in the Twins series, and the Indians could very well be resting players.  

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Early Deep Sleepers / Dynasty Stashes for 2017 (Part Two)

It's never too early to dream about next year. Whether you're looking for the perfect sneaky keeper or dynasty stash, or you're already eliminated from contention from your playoffs, there exists a smorgasbord of underowned players at every position ripe for the picking. The premise is simple: identify players with very low ownership rates who have the potential to gain relevance in standard mixed formats. Low ownership rates serve as a proxy for general interest in players heading into next season; the lower the ownership rate, the lower that player will likely slip on draft day 2017. Editor's Note: Purchase a full season NFL Premium Pass (including DFS Premium), and also get MLB Premium + DFS for free through the playoffs. Premium DFS research, lineup picks, expert lineups, tools and more. You can see screenshots of our NFL Premium and MLB Premium and DFS tools. What are you waiting for?  

It's Never Too Early

This week will feature a shortstop, third baseman and outfielder. Next week will feature three starting pitchers. Each of the following players are owned in 10 percent or less of fantasy leagues, according to FleaFlicker.  


Chris Owings, ARI 2016 stats: 4 HR, 48 R, 42 RBI, 18 SB, .274/.316/.415 in 439 PA Owings isn't the gold standard of excellence in on-base percentage (OBP) leagues. With an 18.7% strikeout rate (K%) and 4.6% walk rate (BB%), he has a Starlin Castro feel to him, albeit with the home run and stolen base columns swapped. Accordingly, Owings doesn't immediately project to be a special bat, despite his status as a former 1st-round pick. He looks a lot like the player he demonstrated he was in the minor leagues, which is actually a compliment -- guys like Owings frequently don't pan out with his skill set. But, with an 89 wRC+, he is a decidedly below-average hitter. He does a few things well, though. He mitigates his aversion to free trips to first base by hitting the ball well when he makes contact, running a .320 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) through his first 1,400-ish plate appearances. His elevated line drive rate (LD%), above-average infield fly ball rate (IFFB%), decent hard-hit rate (Hard%) and plus speed all support his perennially robust BABIP. Speaking of speed: it's the second time in two years that Owings has surpassed the 15-steal threshold. It's nothing exemplary, but with power more plentiful than ever, stolen bases have become relatively scarce. Owings' 17 steals place him tied for 6th among shortstops, making him something like a poor man's Elvis Andrus (owned in 69% of leagues; NFBC ADP 7th among shortstops) or a normal man's Alcides Escobar (16%; 15th). (Note: Owings also qualifies at outfield. If you play in a league with single-position eligibility, he likely will only qualify for outfield.)  

Third Base

Ryon Healy, OAK 2016 stats: 12 HR, 32 R, 33 RBI, 0 SB, .303/.336/.519 in 254 PA It's hard to find sleepers at a position that runs so deep. Healy likely won't be starting fodder in shallow leagues or possibly even in deeper mixed leagues. He's showing a good deal of promise, though, especially as his Athletics teammates flounder around him, so it's difficult not to look his way. Healy actually looks a lot like Owings in terms of plate approach, from his various swing and contact rates to his resultant plate discipline metrics (19.6% K, 4.4% BB). Healy is far from a burner on the base paths, though; at 6-foot-5, (allegedly) 225 pounds, he probably eats guys like Owings for breakfast. So it won't surprise you, then, that he's on pace to hit 30 home runs over a full season. That'll play in shallow leagues, even if he doesn't walk and the league-wide power surge rolls over into 2017. With decent pull-side and fly ball rates, Healy at least swings it like a slugger. The hard-hit rate leaves something to be desired -- 28.6% is not only lower than league average, it's lower than Owings' -- so it'd be nice to see him barrel up a few more balls before buying into the 16% HR/FB rate. With that said, even a little regression in that regard doesn't hurt his stock too much. A 23- to 25-homer pace will do from a third baseman I expected to drafted barely in the top-25 third basemen, if that high. And, again, despite the power surge this season, only a dozen third baseman have topped the 25-homer mark. It gives him the opportunity to be something like a poor man's Jake Lamb breakout, but for 2016. That's something of a discredit to Lamb -- his peripherals looked great last season, and he actually attempts stolen bases -- but next summer Healy could conjure fond memories of Lamb's incredibly first half of 2016.  


Alex Dickerson, SDP 2016 stats: 10 HR, 37 R, 37 RBI, 5 SB, .256/.228/.459 in 271 PA I featured Dickerson last week at FanGraphs. It feels cheap to feature him again, but I like him so much more than other players in the same ownership range who will be wide-awake sleepers, such as Tyler Naquin and Keon Broxton. Frankly, I think Dickerson is better than both of them, if less flashy. He's far safer. To touch on the finer points: outside of a suppressed BABIP, Dickerson looks a lot like an outfielding Kyle Seager. He might not have quite the power, but it's something he could (should) grow into, given it was his calling card when being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft. Meanwhile, the strong gains in contact skills he made at Triple-A this season carried over to the Major League level, resulting in an impressive power-plate discipline combination reminiscent of Maikel Franco. Franco has had his troubles this season, stemming mostly from a BABIP as equally marred as Dickerson's. But Dickerson's batted ball profile is much more authoritative and his speed much more impressive, which should help pull his batting average out of the depths. His power pace right now is completely reasonable. Extrapolating his current line, and adjusting his BABIP to a league-average rate, we're looking at a player capable of slashing .280/.350/.470 with 20 home runs and a dozen stolen bases. If keep talking in terms of poor men: that's a poor man's (vintage) Michael Brantley.  

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Week 26 Waiver Wire: Starting Pitchers

Well, here we are. Congratulations to you who are still reading, as you've made it this far. We’ve officially reached the final week of the fantasy baseball season, and there is no more critical time of the year outside of the draft. Championships are won and lost here, with those battling for a spot on the podium also dealing with their own battle plans. We’re going to check in on some lower-owned options now, and then bid adieu to this action until next season. I just want to tell you all good luck, we're all counting on you. Editor's Note: Purchase a full season NFL Premium Pass (including DFS Premium), and also get MLB Premium + DFS for free through the playoffs. Premium DFS research, lineup picks, expert lineups, tools and more. You can see screenshots of our NFL Premium and MLB Premium and DFS tools. What are you waiting for?  

Starting Pitcher Waiver Wire Targets

Joe Musgrove (HOU, SP) – 34% Owned – Musgrove’s last three starts have been pretty solid, with two of them being quality and the third only not qualifying as such due to his going 5 1/3 innings. He’ll take on the Angels at home on Sept. 25, the day this is published, but this means he also sets up for a rematch with said Angels on the road as the season wraps up. With 16 Ks and a WHIP around one in his last 17 2/3 innings, he’s a worthwhile watch for later in the week. James Paxton (SEA, SP) – 34% Owned – Paxton has rifled off three quality starts in a row now, to the tune off a 2.25 ERA, 1.68 FIP and 3.02 xFIP alongside a healthy 19-to-3 K:BB ratio. Those starts came against Oakland, Houston and Minnesota, and while that might be uninspiring, his last start will be a rematch against Houston on Sept. 28 on the road. Not a bad spot for Paxton to finish strong. Blake Snell (TB, SP) – 23% Owned – Snell bounced back with five scoreless frames against the Yankees after two pretty poor starts, but has only made it through six innings once in his last 10 starts. So why should you care? Well, the rookie is still a great bet to exceed a strikeout per inning (9.80 K/9 on the season), and there are plenty of folks out there who will target specific categories. It isn’t as though he can’t turn in another scoreless effort when he faces the White Sox in Chicago on Sept. 28, but do be aware he has a 4.50 road ERA against a 3.04 mark at home. Kendall Graveman (OAK, SP) – 19% Owned – Graveman had been a fantasy darling for a while there, as he rattled off quality starts as though it were as simple as pushing a button. Then he flubbed a bit in two starts on Sept. 10 and 16, but rebounded with a quality start in which he allowed only four baserunners over seven innings against Texas at home on Sept. 23. He’ll do battle with the Angels on the road on Sept. 28 next. Alex Cobb (TB, SP) – 18% Owned – Cobb got absolutely bombed by the Yankees in his last start, and has now had two blah starts against them and two strong starts against Toronto. He’ll finally make a start against another team in his next trip to the rubber, when he takes on the White Sox in Chicago on Sept. 27. We’ve seen the ceiling and the floor here, so approach him with caution as he continues to shake off the rust. Sean Manaea (OAK, SP) – 18% Owned – Manaea will probably be a buzzy add since his final start will be on Monday, when takes on the Angels on the road on Sept. 26. In his two starts since coming back, all he’s done is log 11 scoreless innings across two starts with 12 strikeouts and a sub-one WHIP in each outing. That’ll do Jharel Cotton (OAK, SP) – 17% Owned – Cotton most recently conquered the Astros with six innings of one-run ball, and will face the Rangers at home on Sunday when this runs. While that start will obviously affect things, as of now he has some serious momentum going and lines up to face the Mariners in Seattle on Oct. 1. Matt Andriese (TB, SP/RP) – 15% Owned – Andriese was robbed of his third straight victory on Saturday when his bullpen blew the lead against Boston, but let it be known that he deserved it after going toe-to-toe with AL Cy Young frontrunner Rick Porcello and leaving with the lead. His 4.34 ERA shrouds a 3.65 FIP and 3.96 xFIP, and it’s also pretty neat that he’s only allowed one homer and issued one walk over those last three starts to boot. He goes up against the White Sox in Chicago on Sept. 29 in his final start of the season, which isn’t a great spot but also isn’t the worst. If he can limit Boston, he can surely handle the South Siders. Chad Kuhl (PIT, SP) – 12% Owned – Kuhl doesn’t have the easiest two-start week coming up, but it’s a two-start week nonetheless. He’ll face the Cubs at home on Sept. 26 before tangling with the Cardinals in St. Louis on Oct. 1. He’s won his last two starts @PHI and @MIL, and will look to lean on his stellar control and command of the zone (2.44 BB/9) to finish his rookie campaign strong. Alec Asher (PHI, SP) – 10% Owned – Asher’s final start of the season will be a rematch with the Mets, a team that he just beat with five shutout innings on Sept. 24. While his eight strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings isn’t going to win any leagues, his plus ratios and decent shot at a W does make him a deep-league streaming candidate. Archie Bradley (ARI, SP) – 9% Owned – Bradley is another guy lined up for a two-start week, as he’ll travel to Washington to face the Nationals on Sept. 26 before an Oct. 1 home matchup against the Padres. He’s either notched a victory or quality start in four of his last five starts, but the other start was a horrible one against the Giants (3 IP, 5 ER). Recognize the low floor here, but those looking to stack starts could do worse. Matt Wisler (ATL, SP) – 7% Owned – Wisler’s first start off of the DL on Sept. 13 was an ugly one, but his two starts since have been more than serviceable. He got the victory against the Nats on Sept. 18 and then got the no-decision against Miami on Sept. 23 after allowing only two runs over six innings with five strikeouts. He’ll face the Phillies at home on Sept. 29 in his final start of 2016, which is a decent draw as far as matchups go. Ricky Nolasco (LAA, SP) – 7% Owned – Nolasco’s last five starts have yielded a 3-2 record with a 1.80 ERA (2.64 FIP, 3.61 xFIP) alongside a solid 27-to-6 K:BB ratio. It’s difficult to trust a .223 BABIP to hold (career .312 BABIP, .297 on the season), but there’s no understating how much confidence can matter to a pitcher. He also gets to face Oakland at home on Sept. 27, so those in very deep formats should consider firing him up. Miguel Gonzalez (CWS, SP) – 6% Owned – Gonzalez really hurt me, and anyone who listened last week, with his first non-quality start since June 25 (not including his injury-shortened start on Aug. 11). He has certainly had a few bad ones mixed in there, but it’s really difficult to string together a streak of starts like that without earning it. He’ll face the Rays at home on Sept. 28 for his final start of the season. Jake Thompson (PHI, SP) – 4% Owned – Thompson’s last start resulted in a win over the White Sox, though it wasn’t the prettiest effort (5 IP, 3 ER, 1 K). That said, he still has a healthy 2.94 ERA over his last five starts that may be tempting many of you. Do be aware that he also has a 5.04 FIP and 5.15 xFIP at the same time, with only 18 strikeouts in his last 30 1/3 innings. Pitching for Philadelphia can also make wins difficult to come by, but he’ll do his best in his final two starts of the season (one of which is today – Sunday, Sept. 25) that both come against the Mets. The championship week matchup is at home on Oct. 1, so stream if you dare. Luis Perdomo (SD, SP) – 2% Owned – Perdomo may not have gotten the win in last week’s start against the D-backs, but he still only allowed five hits alongside zero walks in seven strong innings on Sept. 21. He has only issued two walks across his last four starts now, but the five homers have been his undoing. This is a pitcher who regularly posted low HR/9 rates across the Minor Leagues, so hopefully he can bring that up with him as he looks to finish strong against the Dodgers at home on Sept. 28. Adam Morgan (PHI, SP) – 2% Owned – Morgan, like his teammate Thompson, will suffer from pitching for the Phillies in terms of his record, but unlike Thompson, his fielding-independent metrics support his recent success. The lefty has a 2.89 ERA over his last five starts, but also has a 2.99 FIP and 3.62 xFIP over that span, with 24 strikeouts to only six walks to boot. His final start of the season comes against the Braves in Atlanta on Sept. 28. While Atlanta has been hitting the ball well lately, this is still worth a look in deep leagues. Josh Collmenter (ATL, SP/RP) – 1% Owned – If you feel like playing the other side of the coin in that Sept. 28 PHI/ATL tilt, then here’s Collmenter! He’s won both of his two starts since being inserted into the rotation on Sept. 17, with a 3.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 12 strikeouts across those 12 innings. Of course, one could play both if you really wanted to hedge your bets, but either way Collmenter’s unorthodox delivery will be looking to help deep-league streamers in their pursuit of fantasy gold come Wednesday.  

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