In standard roto-style Fantasy leagues, a key free-agent pickup or deadline deal could impact the standings. One player can alter a category enough to determine who finishes atop the final standings. The key is recognizing easy-to-acquire players that will help in the scoring categories that you can gain the most points. Here are some offensive options:
Adam Eaton, Chicago White Sox – Eaton hasn’t done much in the stolen base or home run department, but his .291 average is very respectable. Especially considering he gets so many ABs while leading off for the White Sox. He’s hitting .424 over his last 14 games and is a nice addition for any team needing a bump in the batting average category.
Lucas Duda, New York Mets – For some reason, Duda is still available in quite a few leagues. Maybe its because he’s on the Mets. Maybe its because he plays in Citi Field. Maybe its because he’s Lucas Duda. Either way, Fantasy owners in need of homers should scoop him up. Duda has 18 homers on the season, including four in his last seven games. Citi Field isn’t bothering him, as he’s hit nine of his 18 homers at home this season. Owners in daily formats should bench him against lefties, but Duda is an asset for anyone in need of some pop.
Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres – After a dreadful start to his sophomore campaign, Gyorko has been on a mini tear since returning from plantar fasciitis with a homer and five RBI in three games. He slugged 23 homers as a rookie in 2013 and could realistically be among the home run leaders at the 2B position going forward in 2014. Gyorko should be owned in significantly more leagues than he currently is.
J.P. Arencibia, Texas Rangers – It took a position change and a new club, but Arencibia is finally doing something other than a terrific Tim Kurkjian imitation. Since moving to 1B on a regular basis on July 18, Arencibia has 16 RBI in 12 games. The rebuilding Rangers don’t have many alternatives and it appears he’ll play everyday until he cools off. The power is legit, and don’t forget Arencibia once had a 23 homer, 78 RBI season in Toronto. He’s especially valuable when eligible at catcher for owners in desperate need to RBI.
Yangervis Solarte, San Diego Padres – Solarte started out the season as an RBI machine in the Bronx. He cooled off after posting 26 RBI through May, but has been hot once again since being dealt to San Diego. Solarte has eight RBI in eight games as a Padre and should receive enough playing time going forward to remain an asset.
Billy Burns, Oakland Athletics – OK, so he was sent back to the minors on Thursday. But he’ll be back at some point in the near future. People refer to Burns as a “poor man’s Billy Hamilton,” and Fantasy owners in need to steals should stash him for the stretch run. Burns had 51 stolen bases for Double-A Midland prior to being called up. He could steal 20 bases going upon his return, even if its just pinch running in September. The all-in, contending A’s will want him on the playoff roster for late-game strategy and he’ll need to get some major-league ABs before that happens. The switch-hitting Burns had 74 steals last season across two minor-league levels. Perhaps the most impressive thing is that he was only caught 12 times in the last two years despite stealing 125 bases. His speed is an “80” on the 20-80 scouting scale and its clear he knows what he’s doing on the base paths.
B.J. Upton, Atlanta Braves – Upton continues to disappoint owners in all but one of the scoring categories… runs. Upton has scored 54 times this season despite hitting only .215. He’s scored 18 times since July 1 and could provide Fantasy owners will cheap runs scored if he manages to heat up down the stretch. He hit .256 in July, which isn’t great but it is easily his best month of the season thus far. You could do worse if you can afford to take on his low average while trying to climb up the runs category.
Questions? Hit me on Twitter @briansflood