While the weekly series officially commences on Thursday, the calming sense of this time of year is a blessing for you, the reader. The bulk of this week’s Fantasy Watch is dedicated to getting an early jump on those sad, displaced orphans of your respective leagues.
Enough talk. Let’s do this.
Early Season Waiver Wire
Matt Davidson, 3B, White Sox: Jumping the fence three times on Opening Day will draw attention. Owned in just 15 percent of CBSSports.com leagues on Thursday, Davidson now sits at 51 percent and will rise, as owners light on pop aim in his direction. Be warned, though: while Davidson has legit 25-30 homer upside, he rarely walks (4.3 percent BB rate in 2017) while sporting a strikeout rate (37 percent last season) that’s conducive to long stretches of little production.
These guys came out blazing.
— MLB (@MLB) March 30, 2018
Brad Boxberger, P, Diamondbacks: In a mild surprise, Boxberger was named the D’Backs’ closer, relegating Archie Bradley to the setup role. On the surface, it sounds like a dicey move, yet Boxberger did record 41 saves for the Rays in 2015, and while he doesn’t bring premium octane to the table with a 92 MPH heater, he did average 12.27 K/9 last season. Boxberger is owned in 65 percent of CBSSports.com leagues but does come with a lengthy injury history. I still think Bradley will emerge as the stopper in Arizona but Boxberger’s appeal in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed leagues makes him attractive at this point.
Randal Grichuk, OF, Blue Jays: There’s a lot of sleeper potential sitting in Grichuk. Traded by the Cardinals this winter, Grichuk’s power is going to translate well in uber hitter-friendly Rogers Centre and it wouldn’t shock me if he smacked 30-plus homers this season. He’s owned in just 52 percent of CBSSports.com leagues; if you’re looking for another reason to consider him, Grichuk is an above-average runner who is capable of 10-15 steals if the Jays give him the freedom to run.
Vince (The Pitcher Formerly Known as Vincent) Velasquez, P, Phillies: The phrase “a healthy Vince Velasquez” is a unicorn but there’s no questioning his potential when he’s capable of stringing a run of uninterrupted starts. Velasquez has averaged 9.67 K/9 as a professional and sports a heater that’s complemented by a nifty curve. Currently owned in 47 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, V-Squared screams high risk/high reward yet I will continue to say he’s possibly their best option at closer. He’s eventually going to the bullpen, but deeper league owners should roll the dice and take in the strikeouts while Velasquez shows up every fifth day.
Lewis Brinson, OF, Marlins: A keeper/dynasty league darling, Brinson is one of a handful of players who could legitimately produce a 30-30 season. The hundreds (and hundreds) of Marlins fans will get a first-hand look to see if he will be one of the few reasons to show up at the park this season, as Brinson will get more than his share of plate appearances. The power and speed will show up, albeit with a low batting average and OBP. Still, I’d take grab Brinson, who is owned in 61 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, and ride the roller coaster.
Replacing Joe-OW!! Embiid
Fracturing his left orbital bone and gaining a concussion is not the double-double Joel Embiid owners were counting out this late in the season, especially with next week marking championship time in most leagues. Embiid’s done for the season, so he’s worth dropping in one-year leagues while also sinking the hearts of those of us who made him a fixture in our DFS lineups.
The best waiver wire option to replace Embiid may be teammate Richaun Holmes, who is owned in just over ten percent of CBSSports.com leagues. Holmes had 15 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes against the Knicks on Wednesday and will see a rise in the 12.3 minutes he has averaged this season. He’s a DFS steal, sitting at a mere $3,800 at FanDuel.
I’d also look at Suns F/C Marquese Chriss (35 percent ownership at CBSSports.com), who has a pair of double-doubles in his last five games and appears to finally show signs of his (still) immense potential.
Kings F/C Skal Labissiere (34 percent at CBSSports.com) is another youngster displaying early signs of 2018-19 sleeper upside who comes with a steady stream of blocked shots that offset his weak field goal percentage. A deep sleeper is Bulls F Noah Vonleh, who entered Friday’s game against the Magic with consecutive double-doubles yet is owned in just five percent of CBSSports.com leagues and a modest $4,700 at DraftKings.
Let’s Make Some Money
Terry Rozier, G, Celtics (vs. Raptors, $29/Yahoo): At least 30 Fantasy points in his last eight games, including a pair of 50-point outings. Rozier knows where to find the open man as he’s racked up at least five assists in nine straight games.
Torey Krug, D, Bruins (vs. Panthers, $6,300/FanDuel): The third-highest scoring team in the league has been helped mightily by Krug, who has scored at least 22.40 Fantasy points in his last four games. He’s been money on Boston’s power play, accounting for five of his points via the one-man advantage.
Dario Saric, F, 76ers (at Hornets, $6,800/DraftKings): That monster 56 FP night Saric had in Thursday’s win over the Knicks might be a precursor to what Saric can offer DFSers down the stretch, especially with Embiid out.
David Pastrnak, F, Bruins (at Flyers, $26/Yahoo): Pastrnak entered the weekend with eight goals in his last nine games and still has an outside shot at a 70-point season.
Oh, So One-derful
Panthers receiver Patrick Jeffers had a classic breakout season in 1999. Coming into the season with just 21 career receptions, the then-fourth year wideout exploded with 63 catches for 1,082 yards and 12 touchdowns, ending the season as the seventh-most productive receiver in Fantasy Football. He appeared destined for stardom but suffered a torn right ACL in the 2000 preseason opener against the Steelers. Jeffers missed the entire 2000 campaign and returned the following season yet was never the same player, catching just 14 passes for 127 yards. Unfortunately, the 2001 season would be Jeffers’ swan song.
If you want to nominate a player who had one great Fantasy season before falling off the face of Fantasy sports earth, hit me on Twitter @BCWilliams71.
Matt Davidson Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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