In addition to Monday's nine featured Pickups of the Week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brandon Funston offered a Wednesday update on five hitters on the rise that weren't profiled in Monday's POW. And on Friday, Brad Evans goes through the same drill for pitchers. The same criteria applies - players must be available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues.
For the SP desperate, quickly becoming No. 1 in the hood Gee
Dillon Gee (SP) New York Mets
The Mets' "Vampire Hunter" (Check out the Honest Abe scruff) has driven a wooden stake into the hearts of recent opponents. After a rough start, he's quietly delivered fantastic numbers since May 20. During that stretch, he's compiled seven straight quality starts along with three wins, a 3.05 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 8.77 K/9, an output good enough for a top-12 ranking among qualifying SPs. Leaning more on his slider and curve, Gee has coaxed numerous ground-ball outs this season (52.5 GB%). That coupled with his pinpoint control (3.32 K/BB) arrow to more useful turns to come. His 3.33 xFIP is additional evidence of further ERA trimming. Add. Reap. Feast.
Former top prospect an intriguing deep-league option
Chris Archer (SP) Tampa Bay Rays
Shhhhhh!!! Archer is sleeping. A season ago, the youngster was the 27th-best farmhand in the game according to Baseball America. However, mediocre totals at Double-A Montgomery last year extinguished the hype. Questionable numbers at Triple-A this year only dimmed his prospects further (4.81 ERA, 5.28 BB/9). Still, his marvelous K/9 (10.57) with Durham and terrific debut versus Stephen Strasburg and the Nats (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 K, 1 BB, 1.40 GB/FB) has deep-thinkers intrigued. Ks, after all, are quite alluring. With Jeremy Hellickson on the shelf, he's in line for at least two more starts. Give him an audition in 12-team and deeper mixers.
L14 rank 216
Righty staying classy in San Diego
Clayton Richard (SP) San Diego Padres
Dominating meek competition (Oak and Sea) over his past two starts (14.2 IP, 1 ER, 9:3 K:BB), Richard has again become fantasy viable in the eyes of the unchallenged. Really, he's performed admirably since May 16, notching five quality starts in seven attempts. As with any Padres pitcher, run support is an ongoing issue, but the southpaw should continue to be an ERA/WHIP Band-Aid over the near-term. Despite bland strikeout totals, he's a superb ground-ball pitcher (54.1 GB%) with plus control (2.36 BB/9). Most attractively, his next two starts are very favorable (vs. Sea and at Hou). Field and stream.
For the Shallow Hals in attendance, Tiger needs to be reacquired
Doug Fister (SP) Detroit Tigers
Fister is back and just as solid as ever. After missing significant chunks of April and June with upper body ailments, Fister is healthy and dealing. In his return to the rotation, he humiliated the Rockies over six scoreless innings, striking out six while walking just one, earning his first win of the season. On the heels of a breakout second-half with the Tigers last year, many still question Fister's fantasy vitality. However, his sensational GB/FB splits and climbing K/9 are strong indicators he's no flash-in-the-pan. Brandon Beachy owners in shallow leagues, this righty is your magic elixir.
L14 rank 123
Benoit could be short-term remedy for saves needy
Joaquin Benoit (RP) Detroit Tigers
With Jose Valverde sidelined by a sprained wrist, Phil Coke earned the save Wednesday for Detroit. Expect Benoit to net the next opportunity or three. As of now, Papa Grande is slated to miss at least a week of action. Though team trainers believe he will avoid the DL, a retroactive stint isn't completely out of the question. Similar to his past two seasons, Benoit has been a model of efficiency. He's one of the game's finest low-volume, high-K relievers. Through 32.2 IP, he's whiffed 44 (12.29 K/9) while allowing just seven earned runs (1.93 ERA). The veteran has some, but not much, end-game experience (12 career saves). But considering his electric stuff and poise in high leverage situations, he could thrive in the role. Grab him immediately.
"L14 rank" denotes the ranking of the player in the Yahoo! fantasy baseball game for the past 14 days.