Fantasy Baseball

2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 NFBC FAAB Run

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We are heading into Week 3 of the 2021 Fantasy Baseball season, which is one of the most important NFBC FAAB runs of the year.  Not only do we have to focus on our standard 15-team NFBC teams, whether stand-alone or as part of the Main Event, but we also have a FAAB run in the NFBC Cutline Championship.

The Cutline Championship is a 12-team per league best ball contest that only runs FAAB twice per year. The first is this Tuesday, April 13th. The next is not until June. Depending on how early you drafted, you may be sitting on a player who is out for the year. Or maybe took a flier on a player like Yasiel Puig, who today is not even on an MLB team. This NFBC FAAB run gives you $1000 to fix your blemishes. It is important to get it right and bid appropriately, as you only get two chances. The first run will obviously give you stats for nearly the entire season, so I suggest using more than 50% of your budget on this run.

If you drafted very early in the Cutline Championship, the ownership in your league may be drastically different than the overall landscape may look. It is important to dig deep into the available player pool for potential diamonds in the rough. Included in this is the Pro/Am tournament Razzlam, which was drafted in early March.

NFBC Main Event, stand-alone, and satellites are 15-team, 30 round contests.  The 450 player pool runs quite deep, so the available player pool tends to be pretty thin and requires a lot of projection and faith.

2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 NFBC FAAB Run

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Some Middle Infielders to cover the injuries

FAAB runs tend to be driven by three factors. First, is covering for important players who were injured. This week, we lost Tim Anderson and Fernando Tatis, Jr to the IL, so we should see a significant amount of bidding on middle infielders this week.

J.P. Crawford, SS, Seattle Mariners

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JP Crawford is owned in 78% on NFBC leagues and offers some stolen base upside, which has been hard to find this year. He has been off to a slow start so should be able to be had for just a few FAAB dollars.

Jose Iglesias, SS, Los Angeles Angels

Jose Iglesias is only owned in 37% of NFBC leagues after being one of the better surprises in FantasyBaseball in 2020. He, likewise, has not done much early this season so should be available relatively cheaply. Iglesias has always brought a good baseline of steals and batting average, with last year’s .373 being by far his best. He tends to bat late in the lineup which limits the run-producing opportunities but opens up the basepaths to steal.

Jed Lowrie, 2B, Oakland Athletics

When we last saw Jed Lowrie in 2018, he was basically the top waiver wire pickup of the year. He finished with 23 home runs and 99 RBI. Lowrie seems to have a stronghold on the second base job in Oakland, although he likely will only play a maximum of five games per week in an effort to keep him healthy.

Lowrie is completely unowned in both the NFBC Main and Cutline Championships, literally at 0%. His profile works best for the Cutline, as he has a penchant for hitting home runs and driving in runs in bunches which plays well in best-ball formats. Especially while he continues to bat third, there is enough batting average here to warrant a roster spot in all formats. This is the first place I would look if trying to replace Anderson or Tatis, Jr. The upside is limited but there will be consistent production.

Kevin Newman, MI, Pittsburgh Pirates

Kevin Newman is as boring as it gets and is owned in 78% of NFBC contests and 37% of Cutline. The one time he received 450 plate appearances in 2019 we were blessed with 12 home runs, 16 stolen bases, and a .308 AVG. He is playing every day and generally bats at the top of the lineup. Young players on bad teams get every opportunity to work through it, so Newman is easily worth a few dollars and a stash.

Red Hot Hitters

The next driver in NFBC FAAB runs is red hot players. Especially early in the season, there is a “what have you done for me lately?” vibe in many leagues. Unfortunately, when bidding on a player on a hot streak, you do not get the stats that just happened, only the ones that are ahead. Sometimes you can catch lightning in a bottle, but oftentimes in Fantasy Baseball, this is the area most FAAB dollars in NFBC runs go to waste.

Yermin Mercedes, UT, Chicago White Sox

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Likely the biggest landmine of them all is Yermin Mercedes. A relative unknown only ten days ago, he has skyrocketed into everyone’s hearts and lineups. Batting .556 with two home runs is a nice little hot streak, but to think he is a savior to a fantasy team is probably fool’s gold.

Mercedes is basically 100% owned in standard leagues but is 0% owned in the Cutline Championship. He will, of course, command a significant amount of FAAB in Tuesday night’s run. I, personally, will not be placing a bid at all. However, I can see in this situation a team going close to all-in on such an enigma. You will likely need to put up more than 50% of your budget if you want him. I was burned by Tuffy Rhodes once before, never again for me.

Tyler Naquin, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Tyler Naquin is on fire like no one’s business. He took great advantage while Jesse Winker was out with a calf cramp. Naquin has hit five homers in five games and earned the leadoff spot in Cincy. Remember, when bidding on free agents, you don’t get the stats they have already completed. You get the stats yet to come, and I am comfortable saying we have seen the peak.

When bidding on Naquin, do it as if he were a fourth outfielder with the upside for ten more home runs. He has never hit more than 14 home runs in a season professionally. Pump the breaks.


Akil Baddoo, OF, Detroit Tigers

Akil Baddoo is another player who has stolen the early spotlight. Originally figuring to be a fourth outfielder, Baddoo is only owned 14% in Cutline Leagues. In standard leagues, he is over 80% owned and likely not available to you. Check your waiver wire, because there is some upside.

Baddoo is hitting .385 with two home runs and one stolen base through the first week of the season. He doesn’t bring high pedigree to the lineup, but speed/power type players are hard to find. The Tigers are a pretty bad team, and there is a definite upside to them playing Baddoo on a regular basis while he is hot. He is pretty safe to bid aggressively on.

Michael A. Taylor, OF, Kansas City Royals

Michael Taylor is off to a good start and is only owned in 38% of NFBC contests. Like Baddoo, he figures to be in the lineup every day for a pretty bad team. He is off to a good start, hitting .391 with two early home runs. Taylor was once a top prospect but is a bit long in the tooth at the age of 30 today. He has four double-digit steal seasons in the majors and can provide in that very scarce category.

Travis Shaw, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers

Travis Shaw appears to have a strong grip on the third base job in Milwaukee. When at his best, we have seen Shaw club back-to-back thirty home run seasons. Early returns look like he is back on that pace again. I’d easily put up 10% of my NFBC Fantasy Baseball FAAB budget if I needed to land some power this run.

Dom Nunez, C, Colorado Rockies

If you need a catcher, take a peek at Dom Nunez from the Colorado Rockies. He is showing power with three early home runs and commands the strong side of the platoon with Elias Diaz. He is only 17% owned in NFBC leagues.

Saves and Starters

The last driver in an NFBC Fantasy Baseball FAAB run is the never-ending search for saves and starters.

Steven Matz, P, Toronto Blue Jays

Matz has been simply outstanding through two starts, posting a 1.46 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 13 strikeouts through his first 12 innings. Maybe a change of scenery is just what he needed, and the Blue jays lineup will certainly support him as they did on Saturday night. Through two games, they have given Matz 20 runs of support en route to two wins. Most Mets fans will scoff at dropping big FAAB dollars here, but it feels pretty safe so far.

Nick Pivetta, P, Boston Red Sox

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Pivetta has some of the best put-out stuff in the league. His slider and curveball are among the best pitches in the game. The problem is his 4-seam fastball. Most nights, he has no idea where it is going.

I was very happy to see him throw the fastball only 41% of pitches in his first start. If he maintains this pitch mix, that will be the lowest blend of his career and screams breakout. You can’t expect a lot of innings from a pitcher with control issues, so games with five innings and six or seven strikeouts will be the norm.

This is a pitcher who smart people were predicting as a Cy Young candidate just two years ago. Conservatively, I think a 140 inning, 155 strikeout season with double-digit wins is a strong possibility. Pivetta is under 50% owned in NFBC leagues.

Alex Cobb, P, Los Angeles Angels

Cobb was outstanding in his first start, going six innings and striking out seven. He is struggling with a blister, so his second start was pushed back until later today. Cobb is your typical innings eater and has the support of a dynamic offense. If he can keep the K/9 over 9.0, he figures to finish the season in the top conversation as a top-50 starting pitcher. At only 29% ownership in NFBC leagues, you can win him with a fairly conservative bid.

Matt Moore, p, Philadelphia Phillies

Moore did not pitch deep in his first start stateside with the Phillies, but he looked excellent. Moore can be had for a song, as he is only 12% owned in NFBC leagues. He profiles similarly to Marco Gonzales, and I feel comfortable we can get similar results to what he did the past three years.

The “Closers”

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I’m not going to pretend to be a Fantasy Baseball clairvoyant that can predict the fortunes of the handful of “closers” available in this NFBC Fantasy Baseball FAAB run. I will tell you this is a good place to dump some of your speculative cash, though. Most of them are over 80% owned in NFBC standard leagues but have high availability in the Cutline.

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Cesar Valdez 8%, Julian Merryweather 0%, Emmanuel Clase 24%, and Ian Kennedy 8% all figure to garner big bids, and you should be in on all of them. The Cutline Championship is the best ball, so you don’t have to deal with the rollercoaster ride most closers take you on. I would call Kennedy the safest of the bunch, but Merryweather has looked simply electric this season. Make sure to get one of these four


Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.

About Jeff Trela

Jeff is a 30 year veteran of fantasy sports as both a commissioner and player. He specializes in redraft, dynasty, and DFS. He plays in several NFBC Leagues and will be providing the DFS Pitching Primer this season. In 2021, Jeff will be taking his analytical and "game theory" approach to League 9 of the TGFBI. he is always available on Twitter @Jtrela20

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  1. Pingback: 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 Waiver Wire

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