Wired: Week 4

It might just be time to believe that Michael Brantley is for real, or to at least grab him off the waiver wire on the off chance that he is for real. Really, it would be no skin off your back to do so before the next guy snatches him up and you let the chance pass. Because I think he is for real this time. In fact, I grabbed him off the waiver wire in two of my leagues, dropping guys like Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn in the process.

You see, it’s early enough in the fantasy season for you to take those kinds of chances with little to no ill effects on your team. There’s only upside, and remember that upside is your best friend in fantasy. Well, upside and tradition. That’s also why you shouldn’t overly worry about Miguel Cabrera. He’ll be just fine. Don’t trade him away for Hunter Pence just yet. But I digress. On to the waiver wire for Week 4…

CATCHERS

Miguel Montero (ARI) – He has 46 standard fantasy points through three weeks, good for third among all catchers. His swing has come around again, and yet too many people are still overlooking him. I think he’s a solid pickup, a steal even with those numbers.

Russell Martin (PIT) – Most people seem to have left him for dead, but Martin is scoring at a regular clip even this season so far. If you’re hurting at catcher, he can help you with the power angle, and his consistency is nothing to sniff at. He has scored more fantasy points so far than Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, and Brian McCann. Easily.

Kurt Suzuki (MIN) – Don’t look now, but it seems that Suzuki is just heating up. He has 12 RBIs so far, and it doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon.

FIRST BASEMEN

Brandon Belt (SF) – 22 hits, half of them going for RBIs. In a loaded SF lineup, Belt gets plenty of chances to score and knock in runs, and so far he has made the most of them. Pick him up and get him active.

Justin Morneau (COL) – Just like with Montero, people just aren’t warming up to Morneau even now (he’s at just about 65% ownership in standard leagues on sportsline.com), but he’s producing the numbers with three home runs and a .369 OBP. You could do a lot worse at first.

Adam Dunn (CHW) – The eternal feast-or-famine option is still that this season, but if you need power to boost your team, especially in a roto league where you’re hurting for the long ball, he’s your man. He’s been getting walks this year too. Go figure.

SECOND BASEMEN

Neil Walker (PIT) – So, he’s not available in as many leagues this week as he was last week. Some have started taking notice. In fact, this may be the last week you might be able to get him for the rest of the season. He’s a solid second basemen for the long haul too.

Jed Lowrie (OAK) – He’s only 10 standard fantasy points behind Brian Dozier (the leader at the position), and yet he’s still available on many waiver wires. With 15 hits and 15 walks on the season, he’s an on-base machine.

Howie Kendrick (LAA) – Just like Lowrie, Kendrick gets on base at a good clip. Batting in that loaded Angels lineup makes for good opportunities as well. He also might not be available much longer.

THIRD BASEMEN

Trevor Plouffe (MIN) – I talked about him last week, and yet his ownership hasn’t climbed significantly for some reason. He had an amazing week this week so maybe people will finally catch on. Until they do, you can gain by picking him up today and starting him with confidence this week. I hope I don’t have to keep telling you about him next week.

Todd Frazier (CIN) – Time was when this guy was considered a must-start, but those times have passed, and while he may not deliver the numbers he once did, he’s been plenty helpful so far this season. I see no reason he won’t keep it up, barring injury.

Kevin Kouzmanoff (TEX) – Mark my words: he will cool off sometime in the not too far off future, but that time is not this week, so pick him up as a stopgap measure if you third baseman hasn’t been performing for you and he’s not a must-start. If you have a must-start like Miguel Cabrera, don’t dare pull him just because of the slow start. When he does catch fire you don’t want him doing it from on your bench, but Kouzmanoff is on fire right now and can help even in the utility slot.

SHORTSTOPS

Jed Lowrie (OAK) – Remember what I said about him as a second baseman? The same applies here. Versatility is important in fantasy baseball. Keep that in mind.

Jimmy Rollins (PHI) – Don’t look now, but Jimmy Rollins is the eight-highest scoring shortstop so far in standard scoring leagues. You could do a whole lot worse than him as your regular fantasy shortstop, but people tend to believe in the decline, or they get hung up on the lack of home runs last year. But he already has two so far (one was a grand slam) in only 61 at-bats. He’s a steal. Don’t let him pass you by.

Jonathan Villar (HOU) – He steals bases, with four already on the season and only caught once. He is not on par with the best at the position, but he gets on base, and moves over when he gets on, which can help you in fantasy.

OUTFIELDERS

Michael Brantley (CLE) – Brantley is the real deal, and he just keeps getting better. Luckily for you there are tons of outfielders out there to mask that fact, because he’s still available in a lot of leagues. Like I said before, pick him up before everyone else catches on.

Marcell Ozuna (MIA) – I don’t generally tout many Miami players, but I’ll make an exception here for Ozuna. He’s had 23 hits and scored 12 runs on the young season. This may just be a hot streak and will probably return to form shortly, but I think it continues for one more week. Pick him up and get him active for Week 4.

Rajai Davis (DET) – Just being in that lineup appears to have helped out Davis so far. Because he’s speedy he causes havoc on the basepaths, and he’s even become a threat at the plate. He’s a great addition to your outfield for the hits he runs out and for the stolen bases.

PITCHERS

Huston Street (SD) – If you look at the stat line you can see that Street stacks up strong against all the other top closers in the league, but he’s owned by less people in fantasy, perhaps because he’s on the Padres. He’s tied for fourth in points for an eligible receiver, though, and well worth a grab off the waiver wire.

Jason Vargas (KC) – Why not Jason Vargas? This guy has been on my radar for a while as not having fulfilled his potential. Well, I think he’s well on his way. Watching him pitch already this season is like night and day, and he’s still unowned in many leagues. His 1.24 ERA and 16 strikeouts don’t lie.

Mike Leake (CIN) – If you need a two-start pitcher this week, but a guy who you could count on going forward too, Leake’s your guy. His walk rate is down, and he’s inducing more fly balls than last year. It adds up to a better ERA so far, more innings pitched, and a lower WHIP.

The Fantasy Ace

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