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As we enter week three of the MLB season, most of the hot prospects and sleepers have likely been picked over in fantasy leagues. Now is the time to take advantage of the overlooked players and apparent busts that owners may have given up on. Several players have seen their ownership rates drop dramatically after slow starts, especially on teams that have disappointed. For that reason, you will see players from teams like Arizona readily available. It would seem being the favorite to win the competitive NL West hasn't sat well with the snakes as they are only 6-8 to start the season. Surprisingly, the problem has been the pitching, as Greinke and Miller have not delivered what was expected. Offensively, Arizona currently ranks in the top 10 in AVG, OPS, HR and total runs scored. In a lineup that possesses only one true star player, you can potentially find waiver wire value across the diamond in Arizona. The following players are owned in 25% or less of Fleaflicker leagues.

Editor’s Note: to read about even more waiver wire options, be sure to check out our famous waiver wire pickups list which is a running list that is updated daily. Prefer using your phone? Our free waiver wire app is available for download in the Apple & Android Stores.

 

National League Waiver Wire Pickups

Hitters

Yasmany Tomas (ARI, 3B/OF) - 20% owned - Once A.J. Pollock went down, the D-backs knew that lost run production would have to come from multiple sources. This Cuban signee is being counted on to produce some of that missing power. He got off to a slow start, but knocked his first two round-trippers of the year on Sunday. Arizona fans and fantasy owners are hoping that will get him kick-started into a power surge. Tomas has also collected eight hits in his past 19 at-bats. Being eligible at third base, as well as outfield, boosts his value further. While he doesn't have a minor league track record that we can point to when predicting his future, take a chance on his raw power.

Nick Ahmed (ARI, SS) - 16% owned -  The recent demotion of Socrates Brito seems to indicate that the Diamondbacks are comfortable playing Chris Owings in center field regularly. With Owings spending more time in the outfield, he is no longer a threat to Ahmed's playing time at short. Ahmed is known as a defensive player primarily, but so far he is flexing some muscle with the bat as well. Despite never hitting more than six homers in a minor league season, Ahmed had nine in Arizona last season. He seems to be trading power for speed, however, as he only stole four bases in 2015, after having a 40-steal season in Single-A and 26 in Double-A. Ahmed is getting consistent playing time and has contributed nicely so far. Keep him plugged in at shortstop and you may get surprisingly good returns.

Jake Lamb (ARI, 3B) - 13% owned - Another D-back? Don't say I didn't warn you... Lamb was the hero on Monday night, hitting a game-tying home run in the ninth inning and doubling in the winning run in the 11th. An everyday third baseman now, Lamb has found his groove early this season. He is slashing .292/.364/.521 thus far with a pair of homers and nine runs batted in. He should be a solid, if not spectacular option for owners.

Miguel Montero (CHC, C) - 24% owned - Now, onto an ex-Diamondback. You would think being the starting catcher on a team favored to win the World Series would result in higher ownership. Currently owned in only 24% of Fleaflicker rosters, fantasy owners are probably hesitant to put too much stock in Montero after his numbers dropped dramatically in 2013. The past three seasons he has hit .230, .243, and .248 respectively. The power is still there though, as he has managed double-digit homers each of the past five seasons. With only defensive-minded David Ross spelling him every fifth day, Montero should be a decent play even in mixed leagues throughout the season.

Wilson Ramos (WAS, C) - 24% owned - As of Tuesday, Ramos was in the top 10 in average among National League hitters. Granted, that's only after 10 games played. If you're stuck deciding between catchers on the waiver wire, use Ramos while he and the Nats are hot. With a solo shot on Tuesday night, his streak is showing no signs of slowing down. Ramos, a lifetime .260 hitter, has always had a good bat. It's just a matter of health for the talented backstop. He logged a career high 475 at-bats last year, so maybe he is finally over his injury woes. In the four seasons in which he had at least 280 AB, he has hit 15+ HR in three of those four seasons. Ramos is in his prime and in a good situation - if he is still available in an NL-only league, grab him now.

Brandon Moss (STL, 1B/OF) - 20% owned - Upon being traded to St. Louis in the middle of last season, the power-hitting Moss produced only four HR in 132 AB. This season he already has four HR in his first 34 AB. The only issue is playing time, as the Cards are shuffling between Moss, Matt Adams, and Matt Holliday at first base. Surprisingly, Moss has actually hit better against lefties than righties several times in his career, so if he is hitting well, he could sustain the job full time. Adams fell off big time last year and isn't faring much better so far in 2016. While Moss almost certainly peaked in 2013 with his 30 HR season, there is still 20 HR upside to be had.

Enrique Hernandez (LAD, 2B/SS/OF) - 14% owned - Kike, as he is called, is a great utility player which doesn't usually translate into a great fantasy player. The litany of injuries to Dodger outfielders has necessitated a greater role from Hernandez as he has basically become the starting left fielder. Hitting a cool .400 with a 1.138 OPS won't keep him out of the lineup any time soon either. Hernandez obviously won't sustain his current pace, but keep in mind he did finish the year with a .307 AVG and .836 OPS last season as a part-time player in 202 AB. In fantasy terms, Hernandez is much more valuable than he is getting credit for. In shallow leagues, he is a must-start right now.

Melvin Upton Jr. (SD, OF) - 10% owned - Mr. Melvin, as nobody has ever called him, is one of the lone bright spots for the struggling Padres. He has moved his way up the lineup card steadily and is hitting .289/.333/.489 with two homers and three steals. Don't count on a complete renaissance for the former 20/30 man, but 15/20 could be attainable if he sustains his current line drive rate.

Pitchers

Juan Nicasio (PIT, SP) - 23% owned - Nicasio spent four years as a relatively unknown reliever in Colorado, posting typical Rockies pitching numbers before suddenly catching the fantasy world's attention this spring. Nicasio threw 15 scoreless innings, striking out 24, and soon became a trendy sleeper pick. In his first regular season start, owners were rewarded with a stellar outing - six innings of two-hit ball, one earned run allowed. Then reality set in as the Tigers touched him for four runs in three IP. Nicasio calmed the nerves of faithful owners in his last start, however, by allowing three runs in six innings, striking out six and walking only two. Roll with Nicasio as long as he keeps up the production. If he strings together a couple of bad starts in a row, don't be hesitant to pull the plug before his ERA (and yours) get ugly but for now give him the benefit of the doubt.

Jeremy Jeffress (MIL, RP) - 23% owned - The fact that Jeffress is not universally owned is astounding at this point. Not only is he earning all the save opportunities in Milwaukee, he is making the most of them. Currently, Jeffress is one of four closers in the league with at least five saves who has not allowed a run to score. Jeffress may have inherited the job because of injuries, but even if Will Smith were to return soon, he wouldn't be getting jiggy with it in the closer's role. If Jeffress is on the waiver wire in your league, pick him up ASAP. If another owner is willing to sell low on him, thinking his hot start may be a fluke, don't hesitate to buy either.

Jonathon Niese (PIT, SP) - 15% owned - The Pirates gave starting second baseman, and Cutch's best buddy, Neil Walker to the Mets in order to obtain Niese. This means they are expecting him to be a solid contributor in the middle of the rotation. To this point, Niese is delivering with a 3.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP. Niese is not a strikeout machine, but his career 7.0 K/9 rate is playable. In mixed leagues, he can serve as a streaming option, but in single leagues he certainly fits as a back end SP.

Drew Pomeranz (SD, SP) - 10% owned - Pomeranz only has one season as a full-time starter under his belt, so it remains to be seen how many innings he can throw effectively. He may not win too many in San Diego this year, but he should provide good ratios. His K rate is up significantly this year, as he has struck out 15 in 11 innings, while only giving up seven hits. At 27 years old, Pom is in his prime and could be a breakout candidate.

Jhoulys Chacin (ATL, SP) - 7% owned - Another Rockies reclamation project, Chacin earned a rotation spot with a solid spring. He has followed up with two strong outings, including a 2.38 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. He is barely owned, likely due to the fact he started the year in Triple-A. NL owners would be wise to add him now before his stock rises.

Chad Bettis (COL, SP) - 10% owned - Yes, I am actually advocating for a Rockies pitcher this time. It's tempting to avoid the Colorado staff altogether, but when you look at the numbers, it might be time to take a chance on Bettis. In three starts, Bettis has surrendered only six earned runs. In 20 starts last season, he maintained a winning record on a mediocre Rockies team, with a respectable 4.23 ERA. It may still be wise to utilize him for road starts only, but if you're looking for a starting option, don't hesitate to roll the dice on Bettis.

Daniel Hudson (ARI, RP) - 5% owned - Once upon a time (2011), Hudson was a promising young starter. He won 16 games with a 3.49 ERA, 1.20 WHIP. Two Tommy John surgeries later, Hudson is strictly in a short relief role to keep him on the mound. He has the stuff to shut down opponents late in the game, although the closer job is Brad Ziegler's unless he suddenly falls apart. Hudson has value in leagues counting holds, but also can help in deep leagues with multiple RP spots that need to be filled.

Charlie Morton (PHI, SP) - 4% owned - No one will ever confuse Morton for Stephen Strasburg, but he has been quietly effective over the years. Morton has kept an ERA under 4.00 in three of the past four seasons in which he's started 20 or more games. Don't count on too many strikeouts or a ton of wins, but he can help maintain your ratio stats and provide consistency. There's something to be said for starting a player you don't have to worry about getting rocked every other start or being optioned to the minors.

 

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