We’ve reached crunch time for season-long fantasy baseball with just a few more weeks before the playoffs. Coming down the stretch, Major League teams continue to adjust their lineups and playing time depending on what they have left to play for. New players are still emerging all the time who can help your fantasy team finish strong, so it’s important to stay on top of the options on the waiver wire.
This week, the Yankees lead the way with a rare eight-game week thanks to a double-header on Monday against the Orioles. The Rockies are another team to target since they play a full week of games in Colorado with six games at Coors Field. On the other end of the spectrum, the Royals and Brewers are only scheduled for five games this week with a pair of off days.
As you continue to refine and adjust your team for the final few weeks, check out these four options who are widely available. If these four have already been added or they’re not quite the right fit, check out the bottom of the page where I’ve included some other options. If you have specific questions about your roster or league format, I’d be happy to answer them on Twitter @ZT_Sports.
OF ARISTIDES AQUINO, CIN (at WAS, vs. STL)A week ago, Aquino had just been called up and was still a fairly anonymous OF playing off the fantasy radar in Cincinnati. The 25-year-old known as “The Punisher” has made a huge splash since then and has become the hottest slugger to add to your roster. He has hit safely in each of his past seven games coming into Sunday, going 13-for-22 (.591) during that stretch with a double, seven home runs and 13 RBI.
Aquino went off for three home runs on Saturday against the Cubs, which was his fourth straight game with a home run. He has shown a willingness to walk if teams choose to pitch around him but has flashed plenty of power when he gets a pitch to drive. A four-game home set against the Cardinals at homer-friendly Great American Ballpark sets up well for Aquino later in the week, but right now he’s locked in and crushing no matter the situation.
1B/3B/OF J.D. DAVIS, NYM (at ATL, at KC)The Mets acquired Davis in a minor league trade this offseason from the Astros, and he has emerged as a key part of their recent surge into playoff contention. Coming into Sunday’s contest, Davis has played 100 games with the Mets this season but has really found his groove over his past 29 games since June 30. He has gone 34-for-87 (.391) in that span with eight doubles, six home runs and 16 RBI with a 1.140 OPS.
Davis is typically in the heart of the Mets lineup and extended his hitting streak to seven games with his single in the second inning Sunday. The 27-year-old has feasted on lefties, hitting .316 this season against southpaws with five of his 14 home runs and a .921 OPS. He went 6-for-15 with a home run earlier this season against the Braves and will look to continue that success early in the week before facing an even more favorable matchup against the Royals in Kansas City.
SP BRENDAN MCKAY, TB (at SD, vs. DET)The Rays enter the week holding onto the second wild card spot and will have a very favorable schedule for their pitchers as they play at Petco Park and then come home to face the struggling Tigers. McKay is lined up for two starts, and the Rays rookie has looked pretty solid since being called up July 31. He gave up three runs in each outing, but also totaled 15 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings.
McKay dominated in the minors, going 6-0 with a 1.15 ERA 94 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings, but has a 4.55 ERA in his six Major League starts. With more favorable matchups this week, McKay has a very high ceiling and should be able to give you good strikeout totals with a shot at two wins as well.
SP JOHNNY CUETO, SF (vs. OAK, at ARI)If you are more secure in your playoff spot and can afford to give up a roster spot in the short-term for someone who can help you in the playoffs, check out Cueto, who is nearing a return from Tommy John surgery last August. Cueto hit 92 on the radar gun in his second rehab start and has dominated in the lower levels of the minors where he has been working.
Last season, Cueto had a 3.23 ERA in nine starts, going 3-2 before requiring the surgery. He went 26-13 in his two previous seasons with the Giants and can be a front-line starter when fully healthy. He’s hoping to bolster the San Francisco rotation in September and could also be back just in time to strengthen your rotation for the fantasy playoffs.
Other options worth watchingBATTERS
- C Francisco Mejía, San Diego Padres
- 1B Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks
- 1B/2B/3B Ryan McMahon, Colorado Rockies
- 2B/3B/OF Jon Berti, Miami Marlins
- 2B/SS/OF Dee Gordon, Seattle Mariners
- 2B/SS/OF Eric Sogard, Tampa Bay Rays
- 3B/OF Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins
- 3B/SS Gio Urshela, New York Yankees
- SS Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays
- OF Teoscar Hernández, Toronto Blue Jays
- OF Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees
- OF Corey Dickerson, Philadelphia Phillies
- OF Manuel Margot, San Diego Padres
- SP Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates
- SP Zach Plesac, Cleveland Indians
- SP Anthony DeSclafani, Cincinnati Reds
- SP Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks
- RP Derek Law, Toronto Blue Jays
- RP Mark Melancon, Atlanta Braves
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.