Down with Daza

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By this time of the fantasy season, those in 5x5 Roto leagues should have a good idea which categories they’re set in and also the ones where they could use some help. We’re here to lend a hand with the latter. All of the players listed below are widely available in your standard 12-teamer and are capable of providing a boost.

AVG

Yonathan Daza, OF, Rockies

Daza wasn’t really on anyone’s fantasy radar coming into the season, but he’s won the trust of manager Bud Black, having become the Rockies’ regular center fielder over the past month. The 27-year-old has put together a .322/.367/.405 batting line over 225 plate appearances in 2021, which includes a ridiculous .371/.388/.500 line at home. That’s where Daza will be playing seven games this week, and he’ll get to tee off against the scuffling pitching staffs of the Pirates and Cardinals. Daza isn’t a power guy, but he’s always hit for average throughout the minors thanks in large part to a high contact rate. He’s available in more than 90 percent of Yahoo leagues.

HR

Paul DeJong, SS, Cardinals

Between a month-long stay on the injured list with a fractured rib and a lowly .603 OPS, it’s been a forgettable 2021 campaign for DeJong. After beginning the season as the Cardinals’ cleanup hitter, he’s been stuck in the No. 8 spot since coming off the IL. DeJong has shown some little signs of perhaps coming out of his funk over his last three games, having reached base four times, hitting a home run and striking out just once. Also, the shortstop does have nine long balls this season in fewer than 200 plate appearances, so there’s been some home run pop there even though his overall numbers are ugly. If DeJong were to go on a power binge, this is the week to do it, as the Cards get the Diamondbacks for three at home before a four-game set at Coors Field. DeJong is currently rostered in just 26 percent of Yahoo leagues.

RBI

Joshua Fuentes, 1B/3B, Rockies

You can take what I said about Daza’s upcoming schedule and splits and apply it to Fuentes, as well. Fuentes’ splits have been even more drastic, as he sports a .314/.339/.545 line with six homers and 27 RBI at home versus a .134/.176/.196 line with one homer and three RBI on the road. Unlike Daza, Fuentes is not a contact hitter, having posted an unsightly 27.1 percent strikeout rate and 3.4 percent walk rate in his career. However, when you’re averaging about one RBI per start at home and you have seven home games against subpar pitching staffs, you can overcome some plate discipline issues. Fuentes is only rostered in six percent of Yahoo leagues.

SB

Myles Straw, OF, Astros

I’ve had my doubts about whether Straw would be competent enough with the bat in order to justify his plus glove in center field. I still have those doubts, frankly, at least over the long haul. Straw has been awfully good this month, though, putting up a .342/.413/.456 batting line with two home runs while going 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts across 23 games. He even batted leadoff in one game and second in another this past weekend in Detroit. Straw is one of the fastest players in the game with a sprint speed that ranks in the 96th percentile. He’s going to swipe some bags when he gets on base, and lately he’s been on base a lot. Straw is still available in 55 percent of Yahoo leagues (he also has shortstop eligibility on Yahoo, by the way).

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R

LaMonte Wade Jr., 1B/OF, Giants

The acquisition of Wade Jr. back in February is one of many of the moves made by president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi that’s worked out very well so far. Wade Jr. was the victim of a roster crunch a week ago, getting sent down to the minors even though he’d been performing well. He’s back now, though, after Brandon Belt’s knee injury opened the door to regular at-bats against right-handed pitching. The 27-year-old is batting .316/.395/.579 with five home runs and two stolen bases across 87 plate appearances this season against righties. Manager Gabe Kapler has used Wade Jr. in the leadoff spot regularly versus right-handers, creating ample run-scoring opportunities. Wade Jr. is rostered in just three percent of Yahoo leagues.

W

Cal Quantrill, SP/RP, Indians

The Indians’ rotation has been decimated by injury this season, which has led to guys like Quantrill being moved there from the bullpen. The former Padre was knocked around in his last outing against the Twins, but prior to that he had posted a 2.74 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 34/14 K/BB ratio over 42 2/3 innings this season. In his next start Quantrill is slated to face a Tigers team which has the highest strikeout rate (26.4 percent) in the American League against right-handed pitching. Detroit is also countering with Wily Peralta, who hasn’t had a quality start in the majors since 2017. It sets up well for Quantrill – who is available in 94 percent of Yahoo leagues – to pick up a W.

ERA

Kwang Hyun Kim, SP, Cardinals

Overall, Kim has taken a step back this season after putting up a 1.62 ERA in his rookie year in 2020. The left-hander has battled some back problems off and on and has struggled to pitch deep into games consistently. Still, Kim’s ERA was sitting at a solid 3.60 last week before he stumbled in an outing over the weekend versus the Pirates. The southpaw’s next matchup will come at home against a Diamondbacks team which just over the weekend snapped a major league-record 24-game road losing streak. He’s available in 80 percent of Yahoo leagues and make for a viable streaming option.

WHIP

Bailey Ober, SP, Twins

The 6-foot-9, 260-pound Ober always intrigued the Twins because of his size and elite control. He’s become more interesting in 2021 by adding some velocity, and he’s flashed promise in his first five starts with the big club, posting a 4.64 ERA but also a 23/4 K/BB ratio over 21 1/3 innings. Ober figures to be more hittable in the majors than he was in the minors, but he still has the potential to help out in the WHIP department because his control (career 1.2 BB/9 rate in the minors) is so good. The big right-hander is set up for two starts this week against the White Sox and Royals. He’s rostered in just two percent of Yahoo leagues.

K

Kyle Muller, SP, Braves

Muller has been awfully impressive in his first two major league starts, yielding exactly one hit in each outing and a total of just one run. In his start on Sunday in Cincinnati, the young southpaw fanned nine batters over five shutout innings, picking up an impressive 16 swinging strikes on the day. Between the majors and minors, Muller has struck out 54 batters over 41 1/3 frames this season. Next on the docket for Muller will be the Marlins, a club whose 27.6 percent strikeout rate versus left-handers is the fourth-highest mark in baseball. Muller is currently rostered in eight percent of Yahoo leagues.

SV

Amir Garrett, RP, Reds

Betting on Garrett this season has been a losing proposition to this point. His ERA sits at 7.71, thanks in large part to a whopping eight home runs served up across 23 1/3 innings of work. However, in taking a look at the lefty’s last 10 appearances, Garrett has been unscored upon in nine of them, striking out 10 over 6 1/3 frames along the way. With Lucas Sims (elbow) and Tejay Antone (forearm) on the shelf and not poised to return anytime soon, Garrett again looks like he could be at the top of the pecking order for saves in Cincy’s bullpen. There’s obvious blowup potential here, but Garrett still misses plenty of bats and is capable of going on a nice run. He remains on the waiver wire in more than 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.