Fantasy Baseball Category Analysis: Week 18

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Jul 31, 2019

Miguel Sano remains available in a majority of leagues for managers who need home runs.

Lost in the rush of the trade deadline are the players who stood out recently without help from a deal.

These players can be major contributors down the playoff stretch in the 10 traditional roto categories. Whether it be due to a promotion, demotion, or a hot streak, all of these guys can help you in at least one category.

Like each and every week, let’s look at the 10 players who are rostered in 50 percent of Yahoo leagues or fewer.

Import your team to My Playbook for instant Waiver Wire advice >>

Average

Will Smith (C – LAD): 49%
Stop what you’re doing, cause I’m about to ruin the image and the style that you’re used to. OK, that’s Digital Underground and not Will Smith, but Smith is changing the perception you have of fantasy catchers during the “Summertime.” 

OK, the dad jokes are done. I promise.

With Austin Barnes‘ demotion to Triple-A, Smith got the promotion and instantly made an impact with a home run in his first game back. That was the first home run by a Dodgers catcher since the last time Smith was up in late June.

Playing nearly every day in a loaded Dodgers lineup, he’s a top-10 option the rest of the season who could push for top six. Wilson Ramos vs. Smith is a current dilemma I’m having.

Runs

Robel Garcia (1B/2B/3B – CHC): 4%
Garcia’s story is really, really cool. If you haven’t read about it yet, take 10 minutes out of your day to read his story, and then come back here to finish this column.

Pretty cool, huh?

Garcia has helped fantasy managers of late by leading off for the Cubs and playing second base. Leading off is the key aspect for Garcia, as he’s hitting atop a pretty good lineup. This has only resulted in four runs so far, but with Addison Russell demoted, Garcia should see his counting stats go up over the next month. Although Ben Zobrist is returning eventually, ride the playing time while you can with Garcia in deep leagues. 

RBIs

Josh VanMeter (2B/3B/OF – CIN): 34%
The Reds are making every effort to get VanMeter’s bat in the lineup. He’s played all over the diamond and has recently started in left field. Jesse Winker has been a disappointment, and Yasiel Puig is heading to Cleveland as part of Tuesday night’s three-team blockbuster. That opens up the outfield as a likely landing spot.

If you look at VanMeter’s minor league numbers this year, what he’s doing in the big leagues should be no surprise. He’s a deep-league add, too, but someone I prefer from a fantasy standpoint as an all-around contributor more than Garcia.

Home Runs

Miguel Sano (1B/3B – MIN): 40%
Sano is nursing a hand injury, but he returned to Minnesota’s lineup Tuesday. If it’s minor, like it seems to be, Sano can give your fantasy team a huge boost in home runs. He either strikes out or homers each at-bat, it seems, so know what you’re signing up for. 

He’s the rich man’s version of Renato Nunez, but Sano gets an extra boost thanks to the Twins’ scary lineup.

Stolen Bases

Bo Bichette (SS – TOR): 36%
With Eric Sogard on the move, the Blue Jays called up their top remaining prospect in Bichette. The family trifecta of having a Bichette, Biggio, and Guerrero on the same big-league team is now complete.

The power hasn’t translated yet, but Bichette is going to be a points-league monster with his gap-to-gap approach racking up doubles. A part of his game that isn’t discussed as much is his speed. He stole 32 bases last year and had 16 in Triple-A this year before his promotion.

He’s a must-own player, even at a deep position.

Wins

Reynaldo Lopez (SP – CHW): 39%
Wait, I’m recommending a White Sox player to get you wins? A player who has, for the most part, been atrocious this season and owns a 5.43 ERA, 5.11 FIP, and 4.85 SIERA? Yeah, that’s exactly who I’m recommending.

Since the All-Star break, Lopez has been straight fire to the tune of a 2.05 ERA in 26.1 innings. He’s only won one of those games because, well, White Sox, but he went six, seven, and eight innings, respectively, before Tuesday’s messier turn (5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 2 ER) against the Mets. When a pitcher goes that deep into games regularly, racks up the strikeouts, and limits runs, it only increases his win potential in the hard-to-predict category.

ERA

Alex Wood (SP/RP – CIN): 45%
If you want the definition of a safe pitcher, it’s Wood. In this current offensive environment, safe isn’t a bad thing. 

Wood is in the worst home stadium of his career, but he’s never had an ERA higher than 3.86 at any level. He made his first start back for the Reds last weekend, and he’s still available in more than half of Yahoo leagues.

WHIP

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA): 14%

Let’s take a second to pour out some liquor for Trevor Richards. I was super high on the trio of Richards, Lopez, and Caleb Smith at the beginning of the season and throughout the year.

Smith has picked up where he left off since returning from a hip injury. Richards got moved to the bullpen, but he could be a sneaky source of saves in the second half of the season. Lopez is working his way back from a shoulder injury with rehab starts at Double-A Jacksonville. He should rejoin the Marlins rotation soon, which isn’t good news for Elieser Hernandez.

Strikeouts

Freddy Peralta (SP/RP – MIL): 11%
I wish there was a “FantasyPros: The Lost Tapes” podcast out there. Bobby Sylvester and I recorded a pod during the second week of the season, but the file was corrupted and couldn’t be used. On it, we ranked our favorite Milwaukee pitchers out of Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, and Corbin Burnes. I had it Woodruff, Burnes, and Peralta, while Bobby had it Peralta, Woodruff, Burnes. 

My concern with Peralta was that he is a one-pitch pitcher who only throws his fastball. That caught up to him as a starter, and it would limit anyone’s potential to succeed in that role.

But Peralta has been outstanding since getting moved to the bullpen. As a reliever, he has a 2.52 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 35.2 innings. He’s going to keep racking up strikeouts, and he could allow the Brewers some flexibility with how they use Josh Hader going forward.

Saves

Yoan Lopez (RP – ARI): 7%
Arizona removed Greg Holland from the closer’s role, and Lopez who got the first last Wednesday. This is a desperation play only, as Arizona could easily go back to Holland or go with a true committee approach. To that end, Archie Bradley picked up a four-out save Tuesday night. Lopez doesn’t strike enough guys out to dominate in this role, but if you need to catch up on saves and have an open roster spot, he’s worth grabbing in deeper leagues.

Get free start/sit and waiver wire advice for your fantasy team >>


SubscribeApple Podcasts | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | TuneIn

Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

What's your take? Leave a comment

1Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
2Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
3Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
4Chris Carson (SEA)RB
5Derrick Henry (TEN)RB
6David Johnson (ARI)RB
7Le'Veon Bell (NYJ)RB
8Julio Jones (ATL)WR
9Aaron Jones (GB)RB
10DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
 View all Flex Rankings 
11Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
12Cooper Kupp (LAR)WR
13Mark Ingram (BAL)RB
14Phillip Lindsay (DEN)RB
15Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
16Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
17Michael Thomas (NO)WR
18Sony Michel (NE)RB
19Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
20Tyler Lockett (SEA)WR
21Kerryon Johnson (DET)RB
22Devonta Freeman (ATL)RB
23Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
24Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
25T.Y. Hilton (IND)WR
26Julian Edelman (NE)WR
27Travis Kelce (KC)TE
28Tevin Coleman (SF)RB
29Robert Woods (LAR)WR
30Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
1Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL)LF,CF
2Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
3Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
4J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
5Trevor Story (COL)SS
6Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
7Cody Bellinger (LAD)1B,CF
8Trea Turner (WSH)SS
9Alex Bregman (HOU)3B,SS
10Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
 View All Rankings 
11Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
12Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
13Gerrit Cole (HOU)SP
14Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B
15Javier Baez (CHC)2B,3B
16Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
17Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
18Juan Soto (WSH)LF
19Anthony Rendon (WSH)3B
20Bryce Harper (PHI)CF,RF
21Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
22Xander Bogaerts (BOS)SS
23Starling Marte (PIT)CF
24Walker Buehler (LAD)SP
25Manny Machado (SD)3B,SS
26Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B
27Kris Bryant (CHC)3B,RF
28Whit Merrifield (KC)1B,2B
29George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
30Paul Goldschmidt (STL)1B
1Anthony Davis (LAL)PF,C
2James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
3Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
4Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
5Kevin Durant (BKN)SF,PF
6LeBron James (LAL)SF,PF
7Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
8Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
9Damian Lillard (POR)PG
10Victor Oladipo (IND)PG,SG
 View All Rankings 
11Russell Westbrook (HOU)PG
12Paul George (LAC)SF,PF
13Joel Embiid (PHI)PF,C
14Kawhi Leonard (LAC)SG,SF
15Chris Paul (OKC)PG
16Kyrie Irving (BKN)PG,SG
17Kemba Walker (BOS)PG
18Jimmy Butler (MIA)SG,SF
19Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
20Jrue Holiday (NOR)PG,SG
21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
22Donovan Mitchell (UTH)PG,SG
23John Wall (WAS)PG
24Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
25Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
26Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
27Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
28Kevin Love (CLE)PF,C
29Draymond Green (GSW)PF,C
30LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C
Follow the Pros!

Follow us on Twitter @FantasyPros for exclusive advice and contests