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9 Under-the-Radar Waiver-Wire Pickups (Week 17)

Jul 23, 2021

We’re approaching crunch time for the fantasy baseball regular season so it’s time to get serious and make some bold moves if your playoff hopes hang in the balance over the next month. Whether you desire specialists for categories where your team needs a boost, want to speculate on lesser-known players who may benefit from the upcoming MLB Trade Deadline, or just need to know who has solid talent and potential that your leaguemates may be overlooking, our featured pundits have you covered! Read on to see who they are currently eyeing.

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Q1. What one hitter should fantasy managers look into picking up that is rostered in or below 20% of leagues?

Harrison Bader (OF – STL): 8% Rostered
“More people should be talking about how Harrison Bader has performed since returning from the IL. All he’s done is slash .352/.407/.537 and play his usual outstanding defense. He doesn’t have a ton of power and his quality of contact is far from elite. But he rarely strikes out (15.5% strikeout rate) and ranks in the 97th percentile in sprint speed, so he’ll swipe some bags along the way. In other words, he’ll chip in everywhere, so he’s an ideal fifth outfielder in mixed leagues, at worst.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Jeimer Candelario (1B/3B – DET): 20% Rostered
“Candelario’s numbers certainly don’t jump off of the page (.269-6-28), but he’s been swinging a pretty good stick this month. Candelario is batting .309 in July and more than half of his 17 hits have been for extra bases. As a switch-hitter, there’s no extreme split, so he should continue to get plenty of at-bats in the middle of the lineup and I don’t think he’ll be traded either. Also, no team is hotter than Detroit since the All-Star break (you read that right!), so why not take a chance on this Tiger?”
– Mark Ross (Athlon Sports)

Daulton Varsho (C/OF – ARI): 8% Rostered
“Rostered in just eight percent of leagues, Dalton Varsho of the Diamondbacks has shown signs of life recently. Forget his overall season stats; over the last two weeks, his .270/.424/.530 slash could be a big boost to fantasy teams, especially since he’s catcher eligible in most leagues. Arizona should have plenty of at-bats available for him after the trade deadline.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Hunter Dozier (1B/3B/OF – KC): 18% Rostered
“Dozier is batting .346 in July. Yes, he was bad through the first three months of the season. Yes, he had a down year in 2020. And yes, he has dealt with some injuries. But he has shown his potential as a fantasy contributor in the past and he’s hot right now. That’s all that matters as we head into the home stretch.”
– Mike Maher (FantasyPros)

Nico Hoerner (2B/3B/SS – CHC): 18% Rostered
“What are we looking for in a late-season add? Help in a specific category, of course! Hoerner sits right on the fringe at 18% rostered, and if he did nothing more than carry his current line, he could help raise your team batting average more than anyone else on this list. Mix in his pedigree, age, and almost assured everyday at-bats due to his defense and the potential Kris Bryant trade, and you have the makings for obtaining a league winner at the end of July. Not to mention, he can help you at multiple positions. He is a must-add if available.”
– Andy Singleton (Expand The Boxscore)

Q2. What one starting pitcher should fantasy managers look into picking up that is rostered in or below 20% of leagues?

Brad Keller (KC): 8% Rostered
“Overall, it’s been a rough season for Keller (7-9, 5.84), who was a pleasant surprise in 2020 (5-3, 2.47 ERA in nine starts). But the Royals’ righty may be turning a corner. He has posted three straight quality starts (2.61 ERA in those) for the first time this season. He won’t strike out a bunch of guys, but he’s tightened up his control (eight BBs in 20 2/3 IPs this month), which should help him stay effective. Keller probably isn’t someone you want to run out every time he takes the mound, but depending on the matchup, he could be a viable spot starter the rest of the way.”
– Mark Ross (Athlon Sports)

Brad Keller is one of the few Royals starters still standing after this week. Over his last two starts, Keller has 14.2 IPs, 15 Ks, 6 BBs, a 2.51 ERA, and a 1.12 WHIP. Don’t expect many wins here, but his peripheral stats could certainly help rotations riddled with injuries. His strong July after a rough June is encouraging.”
– Joe Pisapia (FantasyPros)

Tylor Megill (NYM): 17% Rostered
“Megill should be way more rostered than he is with a 2.63 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP, and a 27.7% strikeout rate. His walk rate could come down (8.9%), but he gives up such poor contact that it probably doesn’t matter. He’s allowed just a .159 xBA, a .233 xSLG, and a .222 xwOBA. Megill wasn’t an elite starter in the minors but he took a step forward, the Mets are desperate for arms, and he’s performed well. Fantasy managers should ride him for as long as they can.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Josiah Gray (LAD): 12% Rostered
“Pure upside, straight gas. That is what Josiah Gray is bringing to ‘The Show,’ and the Dodgers are excited to have him back healthy. He hasn’t shown a propensity for giving up the long ball so that current blip is more of an outlier as he continues to rebuild arm strength. But the strikeouts and control have always been there, and his recent 7 K/1 BB outing in four innings was proof of that. Whether he gets some starts or comes on in relief, the Dodgers have a need and plan to use him. He is the most electric arm I see remaining under the 20% rostered threshold.”
– Andy Singleton (Expand The Boxscore)

Tanner Houck (BOS): 14% Rostered
“Houck threw three scoreless innings in relief against the Yankees last week. On Thursday against that same Yankees team, he allowed just one unearned run over 4 2/3 innings while striking out eight. His slider looks unhittable. He missed time during the first half of the season with an elbow injury, but that could be a good thing for fantasy managers dealing with other young pitchers approaching innings limits in August and September.”
– Mike Maher (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for naming their under-the-radar waiver wire pickups. Make sure to give them a follow on Twitter for more great advice all season and check out our Leading Off Podcast every single day for quick-hitting takeaways and advice.

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