Those in formats that differentiate starter and reliever spots in the lineup (which is primarily points leagues) can rejoice this week, as there is a trio of skilled starters who can combine great ratios with plenty of innings and strikeouts from a reliever lineup slot.
On the hitting side, few obvious power options are available, but several men could combine solid batting average with a stolen base or two.
Although I don’t feel good about Assad as a permanent solution, I must recommend him for a favorable two-start week that includes matchups against the Tigers (29th in OPS) and Pirates (30th in OPS). The right-hander rarely dominates opposing lineups, but he allowed just three earned runs over 13 innings in his past two starts. Assad could be especially valuable as a SP/RP in points leagues, where he could get managers a dozen innings from their RP slot.
Littell is an even better option than Assad, having posted a 2.78 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP and a 15:1 K:BB ratio since becoming a permanent member of the Rays rotation on July 30. On a Tampa squad that is famous for maximizing the effectiveness of their pitchers, Littell has the potential to be a fantasy asset for the rest of the year.
Of course, managers don’t have to make a permanent decision right now; they merely need to add Littell for a two-start week that includes favorable home matchups against a Rockies offense that ranks last in road OPS and a Yankees lineup that places 24th in the same statistic.
The third SP/RP option in this week’s article, Ragans is a terrific target for those who seek strikeouts. The left-hander has accumulated 33 punchouts across his past four starts, heading into a favorable matchup this Wednesday against an A’s lineup that ranks last in baseball in OPS. And Ragans can be retained into next week, as his subsequent outing comes against an offense that is only marginally better than Oakland (Pirates, 24th in OPS).
Available in nearly every league, Holton (1.65 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) ranks 36th among pitchers in roto production so far this season. Tigers management has clearly noticed the left-hander’s superior results, as they have used him in close games often enough for Holton to accumulate two wins and a save in August. Those in deeper formats who are struggling to fill their final pitching slots can consider adding this high-floor reliever.
I can’t believe that I’m writing this paragraph in 2023, but Andrus has been a top-70 roto player over the past 14 days and deserves to be added in most leagues for the current scoring period. Chicago is set to play seven games this week, with the final four contests coming against an A’s pitching staff that ranks last in baseball with a 5.81 ERA. At the very least, Andrus gets seven more days to prove that his August surge is sustainable.
I need to recommend Taylor as a one-game addition for his matchup against Noah Syndergaard tomorrow night. Beyond being a poor pitcher (6.57 ERA), Thor has allowed a ridiculous 31 steals in 76.2 innings. Taylor has collected five swipes since August 5, making him the leading Dodgers candidate to steal a bag before Syndergaard leaves Tuesday’s contest.
After showing a versatile skill set (.288 BA, 18 HR, 17 SB) in Triple-A this year, Winn made his Major League debut last Friday. The 21-year-old should play regularly down the stretch on a retooling Cardinals team that still has a quality lineup (fifth in MLB in OPS). At the very least, managers in 12-team leagues can use Winn from now until Wednesday against a Pirates staff that ranks 26th in second-half ERA before assessing his going-forward value during Thursday’s team’s off day.
Bader is a terrific player to add from now until Thursday, as he has a chance to shine in a three-game series against a Washington staff that ranks last in ERA during the second half. The right-handed hitter has always fared best vs. lefties, which puts him in a prime position against a pair of southpaw starters on Wednesday and Thursday. And Bader has the wheels to swipe a base against catcher Keibert Ruiz, who has allowed more steals than any other catcher this year.
I have been waiting a couple of years to see Garrett get this type of opportunity. The power-speed threat hit .276 with 53 homers and 32 steals in the minors across 2021-22 but couldn’t convince the D-backs or Nats to give him regular playing time. Washington has finally acquiesced, and the results have been outstanding (1.026 OPS in August). Some regression is surely coming, but Garrett is a talented player who can contribute in multiple ways.
Tommy Pham (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks, 24%)
Those who followed my advice and added Pham for a series at Coors Field last week could have a roster mainstay on their hands. The veteran is playing every day and hitting third for an Arizona team that is desperately trying to stay in the Wildcard race. With 13 homers and 14 steals this season, Pham has the diverse skill set to contribute in various ways.