Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 1

In Commentary And Analysis by GW

I’m going to try to focus on players who are less than 30% owned, with maybe an exception here or there. If you are in a shallow league, there may be better bets out there, so be warned.


Melky Cabrera

One of my big targets this year. Or more accurately, I didn’t realize how many folks wrote him off until I started getting him late all over the place. Cabrera had a benign tumor removed from his spine this offseason. He also dealt with an ankle injury last season. He’s hitting near the top of a decent lineup, and he already has three homers.

Drew Stubbs, Corey Dickerson, Charlie Blackmon

Every year, Rockies management finds new ways to frustrate fantasy owners. It’s still the most desirable venue for hitters, but playing time decisions can be maddening. The team kicked off the headaches this year by signing Justin Morneau rather than just moving Michael Cuddyer to first base where he belongs. And they’ve topped that by deciding to keep six outfielders on the roster. I liked both Stubbs and Dickerson coming into the season, but at this point even after one of Cargo/Cuddyer/Morneau hits the DL, at-bats will be unpredictable. It’s difficult to own any of the three in mixed leagues at this point.

Abraham Almonte

Hitting leadoff everyday in a good lineup despite a miserable spring. Has some speed, and ten homers isn’t too much of a stretch.

Josh Willingham

Cheap power. He was hit on the wrist today, but X-rays were clean.

Middle Infielders

Brad Miller

As of this writing, Miller was only 53% owned in ESPN leagues. If that includes your league, take heart! Your league is miserable. Now go pick him up.

DJ LeMahieu

The upside of the 6-OF decision in Colorado is that DJ has second base to himself. Not much power upside here, but regular playing time means there’s suddenly some batting average/speed potential. .290 with 25 steals isn’t out of the question, and if he does manage a decent average, it’s possible that he moves up in the batting order.

Marcus Semien

Has the second base job to himself until Beckham comes back. If he performs well, he could take over at third from then on. Showed some power last year in a massive Birmingham park in AA before being promoted; ended up with 21 homers and 26 steals across three levels. His walk rates have always been good. There’s a lot to like here if he can show something in the next few weeks.


Dioner Navarro

If you waited on catcher, Navarro might be a decent option. Catchers that stay in the lineup when they are not behind the plate can provide a nice boost in counting stats, and it looks like the switch-hitting Navarro is going to see time at DH.


This week’s shifting closer situations in the order that I like them:

Francisco Rodriguez

K-Rod had something of a resurgence last year, and is a must-own right now. The Brewers say that Henderson is going to get the job back. Sometimes that ends up happening (see: Brandon League in 2011), but it’s far from guaranteed (see: Brandon League in 2012). K-Rod is good enough to keep the gig and Henderson has always had control problems.

Matt Lindstrom

Lindstrom is similar to K-rod, in that he could keep the job. I do like Nate Jones more than Henderson, though, and would be inclined to stash him on the DL, if possible. Lindstrom’s upside is not hurting your rate stats while adding very little in the way of strikeouts.

Sergio Santos

Closing for now with Casey Janssen on the DL. Janssen has a back strain, but his problems go much deeper than that. He has dealt with shoulder problems for a while now, and it’s likely to end his career sooner rather than later. Sergio Santos has control issues, but great stuff. I would keep an eye on Steve Delabar, as well.

Jose ValverdeCarlos Torres

Meanwhile, Bobby Parnell has a tear in his elbow, handing the gig to Jose Valverde, which… ugh. I understand those that are desperate for saves picking up Jose, but know that it could get ugly quickly. And if it does, the Mets’ situation enters that rare Astros territory for fantasy where the closer might be more trouble than he’s worth. If I was desperate for saves and inclined to gamble, I might place a minimum bid on the swingman Torres.

Starting Pitchers

Drew Hutchison

Coming off of Tommy John surgery, his velocity was up in a fantastic run this spring. Had a rough outing today, and is going to have to deal with a lot of bad matchups in the AL East, but I would still buy.

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