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Your draft is over. Your roster is just what you’d hoped for. The season has begun. But one thing you have to remember is that your team can always improve. And, truth is, the best/easiest way to do that is by snagging undervalued players off the waiver wire.
Just because a player wasn’t highly rated in preseason rankings doesn’t mean he isn’t worthy of a spot on your Fantasy roster. In reality, it gives that player far more value to an owner as it costs them nothing more than an add/drop or a roster spot.
The following players are owned in less than 20 percent of leagues, meaning they are there for the taking. They all likely could have and should have been drafted, but recent injury history, or a question mark on playing time pushed them down draft boards — making them solid waiver pickups in the early weeks of the 2017 Fantasy season.
Health Equals Homeruns for Mets 1B
Let’s start with Lucas Duda. The Mets first baseman has hit 27 or more home runs in each season of his career when he’s played at least 135 games — 30 in 2014 and 27 in 2015.
Following those seasons, Duda was a hot commodity just one year ago with hope for 25 homers and 75 RBIs for his Fantasy owners. Then, the 31-year-old was limited to less than 50 games and hit just seven homers due to a nagging back injury. I say we throw out last year’s numbers and, instead, look at the .834 OPS he posted between 2014 and 2015. Duda is essentially the same player, but owners seem to only be thinking “what have you done for me lately” in this situation.
The big lefty looks healthy again and that’s really where it starts and ends for him. The first baseman is essentially your free ticket to 25-plus homeruns. Some of the top 100 draft picks aren’t going to hit you that many jacks, but this guy will (when healthy). Expect Duda to continue to deliver just like he did during Opening Week, and make a speculative add before other owners take notice.
Hop on the Soo Choo Train
Another player coming off an injury-riddled season is Shin-Soo Choo. The veteran outfielder is batting second in a potent Rangers lineup and is set to serve as the team’s primary DH, which should help keep him off the shelf. And if he stays off the DL, the vet is a shoe-in for 20 homers and 90 runs scored.
In Choo’s last healthy season, which was just one year ago, he hit 22 homers, scored 94 runs, and had 82 RBIs. His career batting average of .280 means he won’t hurt you in any category other than stolen bases. And it wasn’t so long ago that Choo was a 20-20 guy in both Cleveland and Cincinnati.
Feel free to hop on the Soo Choo train, as he should serve as a quality third outfielder or utility player throughout the 2017 season.
Add This D-Backs Dual-Position Player
Chris Owings started games at both shortstop and in the outfield during Opening Week. In those games, he batted second between A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt. This looks to be more of a trend than an outlier, putting Owings in an enviable position.
He should see lots of good pitches and get on base out of the two-hole, meaning the former first rounder will get lots of stolen base chances and score lots of runs. Once Owings got into the lineup full-time last season, all he did was bat .277 with 21 steals in less than 120 games.
Outside of his dual-position eligibility, Owings is well worth adding in deeper leagues with double-digit home run and 20-plus stolen base potential batting atop a potent Diamondbacks lineup. Make the move now, before another owner snags the multi-position eligible speedster.
Reynolds Already Raking for Rockies
This is a temporary addition but one that should help you for the next few weeks of the season. Mark Reynolds has come out of the gate on fire, going 9-for-26 with three homers and eight RBIs through Week 1.
His early hot hitting plus home games this week versus the Padres make him a must-add of sorts. At Coors Field last season, Reynolds batted .310 with eight homers and 33 RBIs in 59 games. This makes Reynolds Fantasy-relevant as long as Ian Desmond remains sidelined (likely through April), and possibly beyond that.
All of those numbers are coming from a guy who has hit 20-plus homers seven times in his career, with his home games in hitter-friendly Colorado. In just 118 games last season, he hit 14 for the Rockies, and if his bat stays hot they may need to find a spot for him in the lineup moving forward.
Reynolds can hit, especially at Coors, so get him into your lineup ASAP.
Bank on Benoit Becoming Closer
I swear I pitched and started writing this way before Monday’s announcement that Joaquin Benoit would take over as the Phillies closer. He’s still owned in just 20 percent of leagues (that number should go up very quickly) and, even before the official change, Benoit looked like the right pitcher to own in the Philadelphia bullpen.
Yes, Hector Neris might be the closer of the future, but Benoit is my prediction for who will end up with the most saves on the Phillies by season’s end. Now that Jeanmar Gomez has officially been dethroned, be proactive and add one or both of the Philly relievers. They’ll help your squad in four of the five standard pitching categories, and having the handcuff is never a bad thing.
With all the waiver wire movement during Week 1, be sure to get these lightly owned players on your roster sooner rather than later as they won’t be out there for very much longer.