Are you ready for some football? I know I’m not, but some of you are. I used to play fantasy football, bu after eight year’s of playing I came to the inevitable conclusion that I suck. I’m sure if I put a little more effort in to it I could have been competitive (maybe), but I’m a baseball guy through and through. I spend the summer months digging through waivers, proposing trades, and trying to position myself for that coveted championship. And once the season is done I begin preparing for next season.
Now for those of you who play fantasy football and can multitask between two sports, more power to you. I have no issue with fantasy football players, as long as they remember the commitment made back in April. If you sign up for a fantasy baseball league, it is a six month long journey. You don’t stop paying attention just because your team isn’t doing well. The people who do this are the lowest form of fantasy player to me. Your team doesn’t have a chance to win so you move on to something else. You’re basically giving a big middle finger to the rest of your league. On top of that, you’re giving free rein of the waiver wire to the teams that are still competing – you know the saying about how the rich get richer; it was made because of people like you.
Instead of abandoning ship, and I repeat this every year, try playing the role of the spoiler. If you play in a H2H league, embrace those games against the top teams and do everything you can to send a message that the road to the playoffs doesn’t run through your house. If you play in a points or roto league, attempt to gain ground in the categories you can, and see if you can crush someone’s dream of finishing on top. Don’t make things easy for those top teams; make them work for it. Have some respect for your league mates.
Sadly the audience I would like to reach is no longer paying attention so pass this message along.
Yasmany Tomas (Diamondbacks)
Available in 30% of CBS, 47% of Y! and 49% of ESPN leagues
Shame on somebody if Tomas is available in your league right now. Over the past two weeks he was ranked the second best outfielder on the ESPN player rater and the third best player overall. During that stretch he batted .367 with eight home runs and 14 RBIs. That bumps his average up to a respectable .271 and gives him 21 home runs for the season. With the exception of the month of May his month to month totals make him more than worthy of being a fourth outfielder or bench/backup player in case of an injury. Why is he available in close to 50% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues? I’m not really sure; let me go check my running back rankings and see if I can find an answer.
Pedro Alvarez (Orioles)
Available in 70% of CBS, 80% of Y! and 86% of ESPN leagues
Two weeks ago Alvarez was hitting .240 with just 11 home runs, but that was a long two weeks ago. Since then he has raised his average 21 points by hitting .366 with seven home runs and nine RBIs. Those numbers are good enough to rank in the top-10 on the ESPN player rater. The power surge put him on the map, but he has actually been hitting for some time now. After a slow start he hit .293 in June and finished July batting .281. He is widely available due to playing time issues and inability to hit lefties. He does hit righties well though (.276) and is extremely useful outside of Camden Yards (.306). I could think of worse players to have on the bench as a plug and play option.
Brad Miller (Rays)
Available in 51% of CBS, 63% of Y! and 64% of ESPN leagues
Miller was batting .185 at the end of April so nobody noticed the .291 average in May with three home runs and double-digit run and RBI numbers. He hit .253 in June, and because the average was still low at this point the five home runs and double-digit totals in runs and RBIs passed us by. Miller hit .267 in July, but that only raised his average to .253, and since average is everything to people they missed the seven home runs and double-digit totals for runs and RBIs. Well, it is now August and Miller already has three home runs this month and 20 for the season. He is the third best shortstop on the ESPN player rater over the past 30 days, and the sixth best second baseman should he qualify in your league. This seems like a no brainer pickup to me.
Tyler Anderson (Rockies)
Available in 64% of CBS, 87% of Y! and ESPN leagues
I know fantasy owners fear Rockies pitchers, but Anderson deserves a look right now. He has gone at least six inning in his last seven starts, and has held opponents to two or fewer runs in seven of his ten starts. He does allow a few more hits at home so the WHIP is higher in Colorado, but in seven home starts he has a 3.32 ERA, a .290 FIP, and a 3.22 xFIP. A 55% ground ball rate, 1.77 BB/9 and 25% fly ball rate limit the damage, and the fly ball rate is even better when you factor in the IFFB%. You may only get another five or six starts out of Anderson as he could get shutdown in mid September (he missed the 2015 season), but those five or six starts could provide some crucial points between now and the end of the season. Put aside your fear.
Chad Bettis (Rockies)
Available in 74% of CBS, 91% of Y! and 88% of ESPN leagues
As long as we’re looking at Rockies pitchers I think Bettis deserves some recognition. He has thrown seven straight quality starts (four home and three away) and appears to be turning the corner. Both his FIP and xFIP during that stretch put his ERA in the high threes, and while fantasy owners would like better, there really isn’t anything much better on waivers these days. Like Anderson he has a high ground ball rate (51.4%), doesn’t walk many batters (2.54 BB/9), and has a low fly ball rate (25.8%). The Rockies are hot right now which means plenty of runs, and in turn wins (he has won five of his past seven). Bettis isn’t a great pitcher, but he is morphing into a consistent option.
Jake Thompson (Phillies)
Available in 85% of CBS, 84% of Y! and 93% of ESPN leagues
His debut the other day didn’t go as planned, but don’t let that stop you from giving Thompson a whirl. Prior to his promotion he had a 2.50 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 129.2 inning at Triple-A. He held opponents to two or fewer runs in 15 of 21 starts, and allowed more than three runs just four times. His walk rate was solid (2.57 BB/9), the ground ball rate was close to 50 percent (which should play well in Philly), and he has done a good job throughout his career keeping the ball in the yard. He comes to the majors with a four pitch arsenal, although the changeup and curveball still need some work. He could be just an average pitcher, or he could surprise teams his first time through the league. This is a speculative add, but one you might want to make before he shows success on the mound.
Alex Dickerson (Padres)
Available in 73% of CBS, 82% of Y! and 87% of ESPN leagues
One of the main beneficiaries of the Kemp/Upton trades. Dickerson hit .303 with five home runs, 13 RBIs and 12 runs scored in July over 66 at bats – he is currently hitting .300 in August. Prior to his promotion he was hitting an obscene .382 over 217 at bats in Triple-A. He hit .295 or higher from Class-A on up so the current average is sustainable, and the ISO has been at or above .200 during that time. His strikeout rate the past three seasons was below 20%. The one flaw he has is a below average walk rate. Dickerson doesn’t have a lot of power despite the high ISO; 20 home runs would be his ceiling on a good year. He does have enough pop, though, that when combined with the average you get a solid third or fourth outfielder that can hit lefties and righties. He does struggle in San Diego, but on the road he’s a great option.
Aaron Altherr (Phillies)
Available in 68% of CBS, 88% of Y! and 83% of ESPN leagues
Last season Altherr hit 14 home runs and stole 16 bases across two minor league levels, and then hit another five and stole another six upon being promoted to the majors. Altherr suffered an injury during spring stringing so it has taken some time for him to work his way back. In his first 31 at bats he is hitting .258 with two home runs and three stolen bases. Double-digit power and speed plays on any team, even one as bad as the Phillies. They have him slotted second in the lineup so he should see a good number of run scoring and stolen base opportunities. He put up good enough numbers last year in August and September to be a fourth outfielder and borderline third outfielder in larger leagues.
Scott Schebler (Reds)
Available in 95% of CBS, 99% of Y! and 98% of ESPN leagues
With Jay Bruce on the Mets the Reds have an opening, and Schebler is making a case since being recalled, batting .333 with a home run this past week. Prior to his promotion he was hitting .311 (.298 vs lefties, .319 vs righties) with 18 doubles and 13 home runs over 289 at bats. He struggled with home runs last season, but did hit 55 home runs between 2013 and 2014. Nothing about his minor league profile says “pick me”, but like I’ve said before: It is those little known prospects who make the biggest noise sometimes. Schebler isn’t an immediate add, but if he has another week like this past one you should start considering it.
Previous Waiver Wire Recommendations
I like to hold myself accountable for past recommendations, so I will monitor my hits
and misses from the previous weeks and monitor their progress until they either graduate (over 50% ownership on all three sites) or are listed as drops (sometimes you’ve just got to cut a man loose).
This is the last week Hernan Perez, Yasmany Tomas, Max Kepler and Tyler Naquin will appear here. Their ownership level has reached a point to where they should be owned in all competitive leagues.
Continue to add
- David Dahl, Eddie Rosario, Melky Cabrera, Travis Jankowski, Sandy Leon, Devon Travis, Yangervis Solarte, Lonnie Chisenhall, Cheslor Cuthbert and Wilmer Flores continue to hit well and are worthy adds.
- Jayson Werth continues to swing a hot bat – take advantage before it’s gone.
- Andrew Benintendi should find his way in to the lineup more often so don’t worry about playing time right now.
- Javier Baez went 2-22 this past week. I want to say don’t panic, but with a bunch of internal options Baez could be on a short leash.
- Hunter Renfroe is batting .321 with 27 home runs. They can’t keep him in the minors much longer.
- John Jaso is batting .170 over the past 30 days – it is almost Josh Bell time.
- Yulieski Gurriel has obtained a work visa and is headed to the minors (oh, and he’s now available on Yahoo).
Hold – Do not add them, but do not drop them yet if possible
- Maybe we jumped the gun with Alex Bregman? Hold him for the upside if you can, but don’t hold him if there is a hitting option on waivers you can use.
- Jose Reyes should be returning from the DL soon.
- Justin Bour is still out with an ankle injury. His YTD totals are similar to those of Tyler Naquin, so if you like what Naquin is doing then Bour is a worthy stash.
- The wheels are starting to come off the Didi Gregorius bus; time to find a new ride.
- I still believe in Ryon Healy, but if you have a better option on waivers feel free to drop him.
- David Freese is slowly morphing back into the player he was in year’s past, and I’m not too confident he will turn things around.
- Jedd Gyorko is still hitting home runs, but the rest of his game is falling apart.
- Bartolo Colon is a borderline drop depending on your waiver wire depth.
- Brett Lawrie now has fluid on his knee in addition to the hamstring issue. There is no need to stash him if you need the room.
- Ryan Rua can’t seem to find his way in to the lineup; maybe next year.
- Tim Anderson is getting in to the lineup, but he is not doing much with the opportunity.
- Seth Smith is back to being irrelivant, but he could have one more hot streak left in him so don’t forget about him.
- Randal Grichuk: Fool me once, shame on you – buh bye.
- Howie Kendrick has a big July, but is back to being a replacement level player.
Need more waiver wire recommendations and free agent pick-ups, check out Fantasy Rundown daily for that and more.