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Welcome back to me after a 2-week hiatus, and to all of you to Week Sixteen of (Waiver) Wired and Baked – your weekly review of who shouldn’t be available in your league, but probably is (all players are owned in fewer than 50% of Yahoo leagues).  Thanks to Evan Marx for filling in for me while I way away, and as always, I’ll review the top 5 players you should look to pickup this week, with an AL-only and NL-only special at the end.

Hopefully you’ve heeded some of my advice throughout the season, and here are a few more that are looking good.  

Travis Snider (OF, Blue Jays) – 31% owned.  Talk about a post-hype sleeper.  It seems like Snider’s been given 3,000 chances to make it work with the Jays, and either got hurt or failed each time.  2011 looked to be no different, as Snider hit .184 with 1 homerun and a .540 OPS in April, earning himself a trip back to Las Vegas (boo hoo, I know).  While in Vegas, he grew a moustache, worked on his batting stance and timing, and promptly ripped the cover off the ball.  Since being recalled on July 4, he’s been tearing at a .381 clip with 11 RBI and a 1.029 OPS.  He hasn’t flashed much power (only one homerun since the callup) and his K:BB ratio is still a paltry 12:1, but 16 hits in 10 games is worth noticing, and a pick up.

Derek Holland (SP, Rangers) – 28%.  Bracketing the All Star Break with two shutouts, Holland has finally begun to show why he was such a highly touted prospect in 2009.  His overall season numbers are still mediocre, and he is prone to swings of mediocrity, but Holland averages nearly a strikeout per inning, and has shown improvement every month.  His ERA has fallen every month, as have his BAA and earned runs, and only Cliff Lee has more shutouts than Holland’s 3.  Maybe people are looking at his overall numbers instead of his success, but his numbers away from Arlington – 3.20 ERA, .244 BAA and 2.5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio show very clearly that Holland is the perfect spot-start matchups candidate.

Andres Torres (OF, Giants) – 21%.  I had recommended Torres a few weeks back before he came off the DL and wasn’t very good in May or June (.783 and .567 OPS, respectively), but July has been much kinder.  He’s hit .317 with 7 runs, 4 RBI and 4 steals, plus 5 doubles…and if some of those doubles turn into home runs, he’ll definitely be worth a starting spot on your team.

Josh Willingham (OF, Athletics) – 17%.  He’s had his injury for the year, and I expect smooth sailing the rest of the season.  He’s also in his contract year, and is prime trade bait in the next couple weeks – all signs that point to a solid contribution from this professional hitter.  Since coming off the DL, he’s hitting .345 with 2 homers and slugging a ridiculous .692.  If you need cheap power, Willy’s your man.

Nate Schierholtz (OF,  Giants) – 12%.  Yes, I’m recommending two Giants outfielders!  Known mostly for his defense and being a late inning replacement, Schierholtz has been given an everyday job, and is shining in the opportunity.  With all the injuries to the Giants’ outfield, Nate Dogg has hit .340 with 5 runs, 3 homers, 9 RBI and 2 steals while playing almost every day over the past two weeks, and given outfield’s lack of depth and injuries this season, weeks like this are important to jump on.

AL Only Special – Josh Reddick (OF, Red Sox) – 3%.  Despite his low ownership figure, Reddick has been on fire since he was called up in mid-June.  He’s batted .377, slugged 3 homers, knocked in 13 and scored 12, and maintained an obscene 1.100 OPS.  If he’s still available in your league, please grab him before someone else does.

NL Only Special – Mark Kotsay (1B/OF, Brewers) – 1%.  Kotsay is certainly making it hard to keep him off the field.  Though he doesn’t play every single day, he’s put his best foot forward over the past few weeks, hitting .360 with 11 RBI in just 33 at bats in July.  And as good as the Brewers’ lineup is, anyone who can put the bat on the ball is worth owning, especially in NL-only.

Written by Jesse Mendelson exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com.  Find and friend Jesse on Facebook.

Tags: The Fantasy Fix, Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire, Waiver Wire, 2011 Fantasy Baseball, Fantasy Baseball Advice, Fantasy Baseball Rankings, NL Only, AL Only, Jesse Mendelson


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