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Every Monday we’ll be checking in on some names to keep an eye on and add to your watch list. Some may require quick action while others are simply options to keep in mind down the road.

We're still in the very early stages of the season but every bit of additional data helps.

Here's who you should be watching this week on the fantasy baseball waiver wire, for week two of the 2018 season:

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Players to watch in 10-team leagues

Preston Tucker (OF, ATL): 36% owned
A castoff from Houston, Tucker has blasted out of the gates thus far, hitting .385/.414./.692 through his first 29 plate appearances. As long as he continues to play in a Braves lineup that sits atop the majors in run production, he’s worth watching.

Maikel Franco (3B, PHI): 50% owned
Franco received the opposite of a vote of confidence when the Phillies decided to bring rookie infielder Scott Kingery north to start the season. That said, he’s still received 22 PAs in six games and has made the most of it with 2 HR, 11 RBI and a cool .316/.409/.789 triple slash. He’s also walked as many times as he’s struck out (3:3), and his .286 BABIP is fully sustainable, especially considering he’s smashing the ball (37.5% hard contact, just 6.3% soft contact). Watch, but be ready to pounce if he’s available in your league.

Joe Panik (2B, SF): 36% owned
We know Panik is not a power guy, but over his career he’s proven to be a solid hitter when healthy. His hot start is likely not sustainable (he’s homered on 37.5% of his fly balls so far) but he’s a career .284 hitter who gets on base and doesn’t strike out very often. It’s possible the 27-year-old could be tapping into some power, so keep an eye on his batted ball profile. If he continues to hit the ball hard (38.5% compared to just 26.7% for his career), move him up your list.

Tyler Skaggs (SP, LAA): 31% owned
The former first round pick has looked solid in two starts with a 10:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 11 innings pitched and a tidy 1.64 ERA. His xFIP stands at 3.38 which, while still good, is quite a bit higher than his ERA. Skaggs is on tap to start twice this week at Texas and at Kansas City, a mixed bag of opponents, so see how he fares before you make a move.

Shin-Soo Choo (OF, TEX): 46% owned
Available in more than 50% of leagues, Choo is a solid option to have on your watch list if you’re in need of a boost or an injury replacement. Choo is off to a great start in 2018 with a .314/.385/.629 slash line and a 50.0% hard contact rate. He’s recently been moved atop the Rangers order after an injury to Delino DeShields, so he’ll see even more at-bats and scoring opportunities for the foreseeable future.


Players to watch in 12-team leagues

Mike Foltynewicz (SP, ATL): 26% owned
Folty has always had the stuff but never seemed to be able to put it all together for very long stretches. If his start to this season is any indication, he may be turning a corner. Foltynewicz managed to neutralize the powerful Nationals lineup last week, throwing 5.1 innings of four-hit, one-run ball with 8 K and just 2 BB. Through 10.1 IP, he’s posted a 2.61 ERA (2.73 xFIP) and 13.06 K/9. Another couple of solid starts and his ownership could go through the roof.

Nick Pivetta (SP, PHI): 9% owned
A poor showing in 2017 has Pivetta off the radar for most, but there’s reason for optimism. Pivetta struck out a batter per inning last season, one of only 34 starting pitchers to do so, and through his first two starts he’s managed to whiff 12 in 9.2 IP while walking just two. His swinging strike rate outside the strike zone is 32.2%, which places him in the top-30 just behind names like Verlander and Price. This could be a breakout.

Christian Villanueva (3B, SD): 16% owned
Villanueva flew under the radar with his 2017 cameo in which he hit 4 HR in 12 games and slugged .750, but nobody missed his three-homer performance last week. Not everyone has the ability to hit three bombs in one game, and his batted ball profile shows a lot of hard contact (38.5%) and a ton of fly balls (a whopping 61.5%). The skepticism is understandable but don’t ignore just yet.

Yoshihisa Hirano (RP, ARI): 2% owned
The Japanese import is not a strikeout artist (just 3 in 4.1 nnings) but his experience is clearly valued by manager Torey Lovullo. Hirano will essentially be competing for saves with Brad Boxberger and is someone to watch as a cheap source of saves should Boxberger struggle or go down with an injury - certainly possible given his checkered past.

Colin Moran (1B/3B, PIT): 5% owned
You could make a case that Moran is more of a deep league target given his current ownership, but this is a very underrated hitter who could be an impact bat at a corner infield slot in 12-teamers. Moran always had a solid approach at the plate coming up through the minor leagues but recently tinkered in an attempt to shorten up and get to the ball quicker. So far that’s worked: a 43.5% hard contact rate and an identical 43.5% fly ball rate have unlocked some power (.520 SLG, .200 ISO). He’s struck out just twice in 27 PAs to boot, showing some comfort in the batter’s box. Watch for now, and keep that finger on the trigger.


Players to watch in deep leagues (14-team or AL/NL only)

Andrew Triggs (SP, OAK): 9% owned
Triggs is not a sexy play, but he could have some value in deep leagues if he keeps up his early pace. He’s struck out 13 batters in 10.2 innings and has pitched to a 2.98 xFIP in the process. Triggs isn’t a hard thrower but he does get swings on pitches outside the strike zone; at 31.1% he ranks 35th among qualified pitchers this season.

Mike Minor (SP/RP, TEX): 7% owned
Some scoffed at the idea of the Rangers signing Minor to pitch out of the rotation after a fantastic season in the bullpen in 2017, but so far he’s shown he can hang with his rotation mates. Minor was effective against the Blue Jays on Saturday, limiting their high-scoring offense to one run on two hits while striking out seven. His dual-position eligibility is a plus for those looking to stock their lineup with starters. It would be nice to see another quality start or two before commiting, and it’s always possible he gets moved to the bullpen eventually, so watching is advised for now.

Jarlin Garcia (RP, FLA): 2% owned
The Marlins seem to love the low-K types who can eat innings (see Urena, Jose), so Garcia is a risky pick coming from the bullpen where he struck out just 7.09 batters per nine last season. Nevertheless, innings are more scarce in deep leagues, and Urena himself did have some deep league value last season despite his lack of punchouts. Watch, but from a distance.

Anthony Santander (OF, BAL): 0% owned
The Rule-5 pick hit his first homer Sunday and as someone who has shown some pop in the minors, Santander is worth a watch. He’s forced to stay up with the Orioles for at least the first six weeks of the season, so he’ll likely get his opportunities.

Yolmer Sanchez (2B/3B, CWS): 8% owned
The White Sox offense has been booming to start the season and Sanchez has been a big part of that. Manning the hot corner, Sanchez has notched a homer, a steal, three R and seven RBI to go along with a .333 AVG and .429 OBP in 28 PA. He’s played in 7-of-8 games thus far and that shouldn’t change if he keeps up the hot hitting. Sanchez popped 12 HR and stole eight bags last season, and at 25 years old it’s not a stretch to see improvement in both of those categories. He could be a viable MI option in deep leagues very soon.


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