Waiver Wire Targets: Week 1

Some FAAB results are in from last weekend and it seems like everyone has their wallets open. Fantasy managers should not be surprised to see some bids using up 50% of the budget, especially for an everyday difference-maker. There still might be one or two in each league, so expect to pay up for the obvious ones. The following players are in demand based on adds or players I’m targetting.

In the following article, I’m going to at least cover the players in demand using CBS’s (40% or less initial ownership) and Yahoo’s ADD/DROP rates. Both hosting sites have the option for daily and weekly waiver wire adds. CBS uses a weekly change while Yahoo looks at the last 24 hours. Yahoo is a great snapshot of right now while CBS ensures hot targets from early in the week aren’t missed. The players are ordered by my preference grouped by starters, relievers and hitters.

Changes in CBS Ownership Over the Past Week
Name Last Week This Week Difference
Enrique Hernandez 2B | LAD 5% 20% 15%
Kwang Hyun Kim 김광현 SP | STL 8% 47% 39%
Isiah Kiner-Falefa C | TEX 10% 33% 23%
Vince Velasquez SP | PHI 10% 29% 19%
Matt Magill RP | SEA 11% 22% 11%
Corbin Burnes RP | MIL 12% 49% 37%
Chris Bassitt SP | OAK 13% 25% 12%
Ryan Helsley RP | STL 14% 32% 18%
Ryan Pressly RP | HOU 15% 32% 17%
Martin Perez SP | BOS 15% 28% 13%
Aaron Hicks CF | NYY 19% 42% 23%
Brandon Kintzler RP | MIA 19% 33% 14%
Austin Voth SP | WAS 20% 34% 14%
Adam Wainwright SP | STL 23% 36% 13%
Zack Britton RP | NYY 24% 47% 23%
Yoenis Cespedes LF | NYM 25% 57% 32%
Howie Kendrick 1B | WAS 27% 49% 22%
Griffin Canning SP | LAA 29% 49% 20%
Austin Riley LF | ATL 29% 46% 17%
Ross Stripling RP | LAD 30% 67% 37%
Matt Shoemaker SP | TOR 30% 43% 13%
Garrett Richards SP | SD 31% 43% 12%
Yonny Chirinos SP | TB 32% 57% 25%
Johnny Cueto SP | SF 32% 49% 17%
Joe Jimenez RP | DET 32% 44% 12%
Nathan Eovaldi SP | BOS 36% 56% 20%
Rich Hill SP | MIN 37% 63% 26%
Nate Pearson SP | TOR 37% 55% 18%
Zach Plesac SP | CLE 39% 51% 12%

Hitters (CBS Ownership)

  • Kyle Lewis (37%): Two hits, two home runs. Lewis showed off some potential last season with six homers in September. If he’s available, the bidding will be intense for owners looking to add power.
  • Austin Hays (28%) and Anthony Santander (35%): The Orioles aren’t getting much respect but with their high school home pack and relatively weak pitching in the East, there is no reason for their ownership to be so low.
  • Aaron Hicks (42%): When possible, Hicks should have been added last week. In some leagues, it took half of a team’s budget to roster him. He’s a good bat, hitting fifth in a great lineup.
  • Mitch Moreland (19%): For now, Moreland could be a league leader in RBI batting fourth behind Benintendi, Martinez, and Devers. A chance exists he’ll be in a platoon, but for now, roster this gem.
  • Travis Shaw (10%): Shaw is just one year removed from two 30+ home run seasons. After a disaster swing retool last season, the Blue Jays seem to believe he’s back and have him batting 5th to knock in their young stars.
  • Jurickson Profar (23%), Wilmer Flores (3%), and Adam Frazier (7%): Every season there are breakout hitters and I’d not be surprised one bit if one or more was in this trio. They are each hitting in one of the coveted top four lineup spots. Their team believes in them and each has shown flashes of brilliance in the past.
  • David Fletcher (23%) and Enrique Hernández (20%): These two are tough to evaluate since they’re in a lineup spot that a talented player will soon roster. Each provides position flexibility, but limited talent. If rostered, owners need to make sure to check each week to see if they are still playing every day.
  • Victor Caratini (11%): He’s started both games for the Cubs so far and is an above-average hitting catcher. A must own by some manager in all two and probably one-catcher leagues.
  • Austin Riley (46%): I’m just not sold on Riley’s talent but he hit well for a month, so fantasy managers will keep going back to well.
  • Isiah Kiner-Falefa (33%): His lure centered around his ability to play nearly every day. It’ll be interesting to see how much he plays this upcoming week.
  • Yoenis Cespedes (57%) and Howie Kendrick (49%): These two are tough to value and it changes quite a bit in a daily or weekly league. I just don’t think they’ll play enough to be valuable in a weekly format. In a daily format, they can be moved around to maximize their value and are must-owns.
  • Leury Garcia (6%): I thought Garcia’s ownership was low with Nick Madrigal waiting to be called up. But then Garcia goes off and cements his lineup spot for a week or longer by hitting two home runs yesterday.

Starters

  • Ross Stripling (67%), Rich Hill (63%), and Corbin Burnes (49%): Just hand over the wallet if available. The bidding is going to be intense if one is available. All are difference-makers and deserve a healthy bid (30% to 50%+). Few other impact players will appear on the market.
  • Nate Pearson (55%): The top pitching prospect (IMO) is getting called up to start Wednesday against Max Scherzer and the Nationals. While he might not need to be started immediately, he’s a must-own.
  • Matt Shoemaker (43%): Shoemaker has always been a productive pitcher … when healthy. Roster and start him until he gets hurt … again.
  • Austin Voth (34%): I’ve been a Voth supporter since he upped his fastball velocity last season to go with his two above-average breaking balls (curve and cutter). He starts the season with a two-start week versus Toronto and at Miami.
  • Chris Bassitt (25%): Bassitt is an average major-league starter with two starts against the Angels and at the Mariners.
  • Griffin Canning (49%): I’ve soured a bit on Canning with the elbow issues and disappointing results. I just don’t think he’s right but he has a two-start week against Oakland and Houston, so some desperate owners will take a chance.
  • Yonny Chirinos (57%): He reported to camp late after testing positive for COVID. I’d have him higher on this list based on his two-start week, but I just don’t know how much he’ll throw.
  • Vince Velasquez (29%): I’m guessing by the time FAAB runs tonight for most people, Velasquez will be higher or lower on this list based on his results.
  • Garrett Richards (43%): Like with Velasquez, Richards is throwing after this article is submitted for review, so expect some movement. I watched what I could Richards since he’s returned and it’s been subpar.
  • Drew Smyly (5%): The third pitcher in a row with a Sunday start to help set expectations. His velocity is up 2.2 mph (Friday appearance) so there might be a bit of hype around him.
  • Alex Cobb (5%): In 2019, Cobb came out and displayed some decent skils in a few starts before going on the IL. In his start against Boston yesterday, he upped his velocity and had a 13% SwStr% and 53% GB%. The only things keeping him for being higher is his high school home park and surrounding cast.
  • Adam Wainwright (36%): Wainwright did what he was supposed to do, throw well enough to beat a subpar Pirates team. Wainwright is a streamable option depending on the matchups.
  • Nathan Eovaldi (56%): Like Wainwright, Eovaldi will move to and from rosters depending on the matchups. This upcoming week he faces deGrom. Drop.
  • Zack Plesac (51%) and Johnny Cueto (49%): I think both of these large jumps must be from points leagues. Two below-average pitchers with suspect matchups. It’s not for me.
  • Martín Pérez (28%): Owners grabbed Perez for his easy start against the Orioles at got rewarded with 5 IP of 7.20 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, and 2 K’s. Congrats.

Potential Closer Rankings

  • Joe Jimenez (44%): A respectable pitcher with the closer’s role.
  • Kwang Hyun Kim (47%): A respectable pitcher with a suspect hold on the closer’s role.
  • Brandon Kintzler (33%): A suspect pitcher with a suspect hold on the closer’s role.
  • Matt Magill (22%): A suspect pitcher with a suspect hold on the closer’s role.
  • Zack Britton (47%): A good pitcher with a temporary hold on the closer’s role.
  • Ryan Pressly (32%): A good pitcher with a temporary hold on the closer’s role.
  • Ryan Helsley (32%): A respectable pitcher waiting on the closer’s role.
  • Greg Holland (5%):

We hoped you liked reading Waiver Wire Targets: Week 1 by Jeff Zimmerman!

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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Kiner-Falefa was scratched with hamstring tightness Saturday and also out today, unclear how soon he might be back.