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AL-Only and NL-Only: Deeper Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 16 (2024)

A.J. Puk - fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers closers saves waiver wire pickups

Welcome, RotoBallers, to our AL-only and NL-only deeper fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups for Week 16 -- July 8 through July 14. The waiver wire can be difficult to navigate. Knowing who to add and when is a game within the game of fantasy baseball. Doing this in a mono league where the player pool is half the size of a full league makes it even more challenging. Every drop and add is significant.

One of the keys to success with roster management is opportunity. A player given the chance to get on the field and produce is one of the first signs of potential. After all, they can't accumulate statistics if they're sitting on their team's bench. These opportunities can arise because of either a promotion from the minor leagues, an injury to another player, or simply because the team has moved on from another player. Whatever the case may be, these players are now given a chance to shine.

It's important to note that these players are on a short leash to see if they can produce. If they don't, then they can be dropped for the next man up. All that being said, here are some of the best players with opportunities.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Rowdy Tellez - 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates

4% owned

It feels weird to begin this column with a player who should be rostered a lot more than he currently is. Since leaving Toronto years ago, Rowdy Tellez has been trying to show everyone that he deserves a full-time chance to succeed as a first baseman. Following a breakout year in 2022 where he hit 35 home runs, Tellez has struggled to stay on the field because of injuries. However, this season, he's found some success as of late and could be on the verge of breaking out yet again.

During that hot stretch, he has raised his batting average by 70 points to .244, which is coincidentally the highest qualified season-long number it has been since the middle of August 2021 when he was traded to the Brewers. This season, he's been utilizing the entire field to his disposal, going the opposite way 29.0% of the time while still pulling the ball a great deal. He's also hitting fastballs at the highest rate he's accomplished in years and he's lowered his strikeout rate.

Overall, he's made some adjustments from his early-season struggles and is now poised to continue this hot streak with a chance to grow even more. The Pirates have seven games this week, playing one at home against the Mets before traveling on the road to the Brewers and the White Sox. Add him, start him, and see if he can continue this as a powerful corner infield option.

 

Cal Quantrill - SP, Colorado Rockies

20% owned

It's a rarity when a Rockies pitcher is recommended, but this one is purely schedule-based. Next week, the Rockies play all seven of their games on the road, and that's when Colorado pitchers actually have their best chance to succeed. Cal Quantrill's overall numbers aren't bad, given that he pitches half of his games at Coors Field. Additionally, on the road, he's shown the ability to get the job done and be effective, accumulating a 3.58 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. This week, he lines up to be a two-start pitcher at the Reds and at the Mets. While there is some risk involved here, he's shown to be effective on the road and could provide some help in the deepest of leagues.

 

A.J. Puk - SP/RP, Miami Marlins

10% owned

This recommendation is for those who want to get ahead of the game. Tanner Scott is the current closer in Miami; however, the team should be in full rebuild mode. With a woeful record and an underwhelming farm system, the Marlins seem ripe for trading any assets they have for prospects. With that in mind, 2025 free agent Tanner Scott seems like a candidate to get dealt by the trade deadline, which could leave an opening for A.J. Puk, who has been incredible as of late.

Since returning from a shoulder injury in May and being relegated to the bullpen, Puk has gone back to being an effective strike-thrower. He owns a 2.63 ERA and 0.83 WHIP as a reliever this season and hasn't surrendered an earned run since June 17, which spans eight appearances.

His velocity has increased because his daily usage rate has dissipated and it seems that he has found his home back at the end of the bullpen; therefore, he's a must-add in saves-plus-holds leagues. If Scott gets traded, Puk should be the newest closer on the Marlins. That being said, if Puk gets dealt, there's a good chance that he could be called on to close with his new team, too. He is locked in right now.

 

Pete Crow-Armstrong - OF, Chicago Cubs

2% owned

The final recommendation of the week could be labeled as the ultimate opportunist. He enters this upcoming week with a batting average hovering around the Mendoza Line, a strikeout rate bordering 30%, and as a soft-hitting batter who doesn't make solid contact with the baseball. So, why is he being suggested as an addition for this week? Speed.

Armed with a 100th-percentile Sprint Speed, Crow-Armstrong is making the most of his opportunities. For context, the speedy outfielder has been on base a total of 34 times this year and has stolen 16 bases. That is an incredible number with all things considered. Both he and the Cubs have been consciously trying to be more aggressive and effective on the basepaths, and Crow-Armstrong is one of the benefactors of this new approach.

Not only that, but his glove is keeping him in the lineup, as he has eight defensive runs saved and six outs above average. This should give him the time and experience needed to work things out at the plate and get closer to the batter he was in Triple-A Iowa where he was close to a .300 hitter. If you need stolen bases, Crow-Armstrong has a chance to help at the end of your bench.



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