This week is all about securing a closer for the end of the season. There are a host of names that could fulfill this role depending on availability in your league. Some of the guys I’m looking at this week are Mychal Givens (FAAB: 3%), Nate Jones (FAAB: 3%), Tommy Hunter (FAAB: 2%), and Ty Buttrey (FAAB: 2%). All of these pitches are providing saves in their current bullpen situations. I’ve listed the players based on talent and opportunity.

Givens and Jones are easily the most skilled of the bunch. Both were vying for the closer role even before other names were traded away from their respective teams. Givens was an add when he secured 8 wins in two-straight seasons as a dominant long reliever for the Orioles, and Jones is always a name people will grab as a high-level 8th inning arm.

Hunter and Buttrey are new to the equation.  I’ve speculated on Hunter multiple times throughout the year when the Phillies bullpen was in flux. He is providing a ton of value the past two seasons without being relevant in the fantasy community whatsoever. Now that Seranthony Dominguez seems to be out, Hunter should be the guy for the rest of 2018. Buttrey is in the same situation with Angels closer Blake Parker being relegated to the 8th inning role. He is a very unknown name that is now saving games and could go overlooked in FAAB this weekend.

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This week is getting barren for waiver wire additions. The season is coming to a close, and we’re just looking for anything to ride out for these last few weeks. For this FAAB period, I’m looking closely at two hitters who never received the respect they deserved. These AL East batters are Luke Voit (FAAB: 1-3%) and Rowdy Tellez (FAAB: 1-3%). Depending on how much power you need, these two should both garner up to 3% of your total FAAB remaining, maybe more.

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Ramon Laureano (FAAB: 3-5%) is making a name for himself with a couple of viral throws on his record in centerfield. The man possesses an absolute cannon and defensive prowess that will keep him in the lineup every day. However, the young Athletic is also a viable play for fantasy leagues. Rocking a 207 wRC+ over the past 14 days, Laureano is in a good lineup that is fighting for the division. Even though there is some strikeout potential, he can stuff the sheet with homers, steals, and counting stats. Gamble on this exciting outfielder who is riding a season-long hot streak into the fantasy playoffs.

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As the fantasy baseball year dwindles down, the article this week is going to help to pinpoint the hot streaks you should ride out for the rest of the season. Starting with Greg Allen (FAAB: 2-3%) of the Cleveland Indians who provides speed to desperate squads. Since his recall, Allen has 7 stolen bases, and a homer, with a plus batting average. One of the most significant differences for Allen is an improved contact rate on his small sample from last season’s debut. He is currently at 90% Z-Contact and 82.4% Overall Contact compared to 84.8% Z-Contact and 75.7% Overall Contact in 2017. Riding this hot streak will provide a bit of everything necessary to stay ahead in speed, average, and power categories. Plus, Allen has capabilities to supply multiple SB and HR during the week for head-to-head leagues and playoff situations.

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The first two recommendations this week may seem slightly dull, but bear with me. Cory Spangenberg (1% FAAB) and Kolten Wong (1% FAAB) are producing two of the most exciting plate discipline numbers over the past 14 days. Spangenberg is known for chasing at pitches, striking out, and never fulfilling his power/speed upside. Wong is relatively the same player except for his plate discipline, which was always slightly above average. That small edge Wong had in patience is now becoming extreme with the 1.27 BB:K ratio he’s posting over the past fortnight.

Spangenberg is still striking out a quarter of the time, but it now comes with a chase% that is decreasing significantly. He is showing patience that may not be permanent. However, at this time in the fantasy season, we are trying to predict hot streaks before they happen. Spangenberg is walking about 20% of the time which shows a clear distinction from his past samples. He must be changing his approach to stay alive within the MLB, and this could be one of the last chances he has for everyday playing time. Saving FAAB on players before they take off is a key when the budget begins to dwindle in the latter months of the season. These two players are on hot streaks that will only enhance fantasy rosters with a few more counting stats.

(Post Article EDIT: Monitor the Kolten Wong injury situation that cropped up Sunday, 8/19)

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Tampa Bay Rays super-utility man Joey WendleFAAB 2-4%, is posting one of the quietest stand-out stat lines of the past 30 days. He currently sits 14th on the wOBA leaderboards during that time with only 3 HR and 1 SB. However, those counting statistics couple with a 6% BB%, 8.4% K%, .233 ISO, and an overall profile that entices anyone hoping for a hot streak. Wendle provides a safe floor to hold on to with injuries popping up at the end of the season. He also possesses an intriguing ceiling that could include a lot of power with decent speed to close out the fantasy year.

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Tyler O’Neill (10-15% FAAB) is currently the most exciting outfield option for the St. Louis Cardinals. His combination of speed, power, and pedigree place him high on my list of fantasy prospects. There is an existing narrative that he strikes out too much for the big leagues. However, O’Neill dropped his K% down to 23.8% in AAA this season before his promotion this past week. This vast improvement is a sign from God for the fantasy baseball world. Still only 23-years-old, this bodybuilding outfielder looks to make the most of his debut. I am a firm believer in the talent this bat possesses, and he’s even stolen double-digit bases in the past. O’Neill is extremely athletic with the potential to blast off during these last few months. If your team needs some serious upside for a final push in the standings, here’s your guy.

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Year after year, Kole Calhoun (3-5% FAAB) continues to be an excellent replacement in fantasy leagues. This week we witnessed a significant loss in Aaron Judge, and necessary moves must occur to recreate some of that stat-line. With 9 HR in July alone, Calhoun could be one of the better power producers available for the rest of the season. All of the Statcast data suggests that his year has been extremely unlucky. His overall Barrel% is higher than ever, the BABIP is ready to jump back up, and the Hard Hit% is on par with his career rate. If your team is losing outfielders, pay a little bit extra to get the consistency that Calhoun brings to the table. July was a massive month for him, look for that to continue as his numbers should continue to bounce back more towards the norm.

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As we begin the second half of the season, it is important to remember the vitality of FAAB bidding during the stretch run. Free agency becomes crucial with only a couple months left in the fantasy season, trade deadlines approaching, and budgets dwindling. If you keep up with the FAAB Five every week, I should be saving you cash on names like Nick Pivetta, Max MuncyRoss Stripling, and others providing consistent value above other waiver names.

Another tricky part with late-season FAAB is navigating a lackluster list of players. At this point in your league, teams are most likely stashing the best prospects (or they’re hurt: R.I.P. Tatis Jr’s Thumb), and most players that will contribute significant value, like Jesus Aguilar, are already in the loving gaze of another owner’s eyes. I will continue to scour the depths of the waivers each week to provide the names I find most value possible, giving people ample amount of money to use throughout the Dog Days of Summer.

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It is a glorious day. Kyle Tucker (FAAB Bid: 30-40%) is here. The Houston Astros finally promoted their 21-year-old stud who is making AAA look like slight work. Tucker slashed .306/.371/.520 at a level for which he was still young. The best part about the profile is the gaudy fantasy numbers. This outfielder boasted 14 HR to go along with 14 SB, and this combination shines throughout his minor league statistics. Fantasy upside is through the roof with this free agent rookie. If available in your league, Tucker becomes a player requiring a significant percentage of your remaining FAAB. His ranking falls within the Top 10 on every notable prospect list, and there is no doubting the talent. Tucker can produce power and speed for the rest of the season at a higher rate than anyone on the wire, and also a lot of players currently on rosters.

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