A host of players ranked in the Top 100 on Draft/Auction Day have caught the injury bug during the first few weeks of the season, putting owners in a sticky situation as these now-injured stars were supposed to carry their squads.
From first rounders like Josh Donaldson and Trea Turner to other early-round selections like Gary Sanchez, Jean Segura, and Adrian Beltre, the list of players that have already landed on the DL is an All-Star array of talent.
So what’s an owner to do? Find a stopgap, tread water, and do what you can to stay in contention without one (or a few) of your top selections. Think about what the player you lost provides the most of — typically power or speed — and grab someone off waivers that can supplement that.
These part-time injury fixes are owned in at most around 50 percent of polled mixed standard leagues, making them perfect pickups in the early going.
Shaw Makes Solid CI Stopgap
Travis Shaw has 25-home run potential and looks to be locked into the cleanup spot in a Brewers lineup that seems to produce solid Fantasy outputs year in and year out. Playing home games in a hitter-friendly establishment like Miller Park will do that, especially one that favors left-handed hitters like Shaw.
Thus far, that looks to be the case with Shaw, who is batting .280 with a homer, six RBI and five doubles in seven games at home since joining the Brew Crew. He also qualifies at both first and third base in most leagues, making him a great target for owners who lost Donaldson and/or continue to wait for Beltre to return.
Whether Shaw is more like the 2015 version (.274 batting average with 13 homers and 36 RBI in 65 games) or last season’s (.242-16-71 in 145 games), he makes for a solid addition for corner infield-needy Fantasy teams. Look for Shaw to smack 20-plus longballs and rack up at least 75 RBIs in his new home.
With his sleeper value coming into the season, and his up and down keeping him available in more than half of leagues, Shaw should be on your radar and in your starting lineup if power is your need right now.
Grab Grandy for Probable Power Surge
I absolutely love when a proven player gets off to a bad start, because veterans typically are what they are. And all that Curtis Granderson is a player that has smacked at least 20 homeruns in each of his past nine full seasons, along with a pair of 30-HR campaigns and two other seasons with at least 40 bombs. Granderson has averaged 25 homers in his three seasons with the Mets so this isn’t a thing of the past. Depending on where he’s slotted in the Mets lineup, he will give you a bump in runs and/or RBIs, along with at least 20 jacks.
We’ve seen throughout his career and it’s just a matter of time before he breaks out. It’s not a matter of if, but when, that will happen. With Granderson hitting below .200 with zero homers entering this week, you can imagine one of those patented hot streaks is on the way.
He’s batted leadoff, cleanup as well as in the five and six holes, so depending on where he bats will equate to the scale tipping towards runs or RBIs, but the homers should be there no matter what. Grab Grandy now and once he finally goes deep, expect them to come in bunches.
Dyson Is Dynamite Option to Supplement Steals
Another outfield option, if you’re needing speed rather than power, is newly-named Mariners leadoff hitter Jarrod Dyson. The speedster may not stick atop Seattle’s lineup, with Jean Segura likely returning from a stint on the 10-day DL later this week, but Dyson has still averaged more than 30 steals per season over the past five years as a part-time starter. The outfielder scored five runs and stole three bases last week, exactly what an owner wants and should expect from him.
Dyson’s Fantasy value can only go up if he’s somehow able to hang onto the leadoff job, something the Mariners considered during Spring Training. His high-end steal potential is enough to warrant a spot on any Fantasy team, especially with the amount of top-end talent that has landed and/or remains on the DL. He’s a steal (pun intended) off the waiver wire and will help you compete in both the runs and stolen bases categories.
Phils’ Leadoff Man is Good Plug-In Player
If speed is your need, yet that need is in the infield, then Cesar Hernandez is a player you should target. The Phillies leadoff hitter continues to be clutch (he had another game-winning hit on Saturday) but for some reason owners still aren’t taking notice. Hernandez is owned in around 40 percent of polled mixed standard leagues (that number doubled in the past day) despite being a Top 25 player coming into this week.
Hernandez has been on my radar, and my Fantasy teams for parts of two seasons, and should be on yours as well. He’s a leadoff hitter with a career batting average of .283 that has stolen 36 bases over the previous two seasons, yet he’s still widely available. After hitting his third homer of the season on Sunday, it’s time to realize the Fantasy asset Hernandez can be. He’s becoming more of a reliable option and should be pursued if available.
Sub in Cervelli at Catcher
Two of the top four catchers in preseason rankings have ended up on the DL already this season. If you’re an owner of Buster Posey (who is set to return this week) or Gary Sanchez (who will be out until mid-May), then Pirates backstop Francisco Cervelli makes for a solid stopgap option.
Cervelli is the type of player that won’t hurt you. He does a little of everything and his career .280 batting average is something you don’t see in many catchers. Batting sixth in the Pirates’ batting order should present him with a host of RBI opportunities, while he has also shown he can even steal a base here and there.
Depending on your team’s needs, adding Cervelli, or any of these other part-time injury fixes, could be just what the doctor ordered.