Welcome to the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 6 NFBC FAAB Run article.
We are about 15 percent of the way through the baseball season, and quickly approaching Memorial Day, which is basically the point in rotisserie leagues where the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders.
In competitive leagues such as the NFBC, we tend to see very limited options for the weekly FAAB run. There is usually one player each week that stands out, either due to injury or a call-up, or other role change. This week, we have that with young fireballer Shane McClanahan.
Let's also take note of two holdovers from last week's Fantasy Baseball NFBC FAAB run article. Budding superstar Bobby Witt Jr. is still available in 56 percent of NFBC leagues. The buying window is closing fast. The minor league season begins this week and as soon as some results are put in the books, Witt's name will be top of mind to fantasy players. He won't be playing at AA North Arkansas for very long.
I also gave you Sean Doolittle, suggesting that the Reds may get sick of dealing with Lucas Sims and Amir Garrett. Well, it was Doolittle who got the very next save attempt and converted it in clean fashion against the Dodgers. Tejay Antone is a superior picture and remains in the picture, but he may be too useful to the Reds in a flexible role than locked into the ninth inning. Doolittle remains available in 83 percent of NFBC leagues.
With last week's successful pickups behind us, let's go into this week with a conservative approach. There isn't really much high-end talent jumping off the page, but let's get into it.
2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 6 NFBC FAAB Run
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Shane McClanahan, TB, P (0 percent owned)
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McClanahan's talent is undeniable. He grabbed the attention of the fantasy industry on Thursday night with his plus 100 mph fastball. Probably more impressive is his mid 90's Wiffleball slider which defies the laws of physics.
McClanahan is a popular prospect of high pedigree and an exciting dynasty starter. He went basically unowned in NFBC formats due to the uncertainty of a call-up date or 2021 role.
Owners are going to flock to the wire to pick up McClanahan in this week's NFBC FAAB run, and it may well pay off. More likely, it will be a source of frustration for fantasy owners. The Rays are notorious for using pitchers in unconventional ways. They use openers and tandem starters often, especially with young prospects. Recently called up prospect Luis Patino appears to be mired in a similar role. Manager Kevin Cash has said that McClanahan would be used as a conventional starter while in the Major Leagues, but didn't specify how long that might be.
McClanahan with 100+ innings in the majors the rest of this season could end up a league winner. He has a ridiculous 11.8 k/9 throughout his professional career with a respectable 1.17 WHIP. The talent and pedigree are there and beg for your bid dollars. I just don't expect McClanahan to have an opportunity in 2021 to pitch enough innings in a given week to have quite that fantasy impact in 5x5 formats. I'll bid about 15% of my remaining budget, but that probably won't be enough to land him.
Tyler O'Neill, StL, OF (81 percent owned)
O'Neill has been scorching hot over the last week, with four home runs and two stolen bases. The depth chart of the Cardinals doesn't really challenge his playing time moving forward. Thus far this season he is in the top 10 percent of the league in Barrell rate and Average Exit Velocity.
With regular at-bats, O'Neill can approach 25 home runs and double-digit steals. In this age of sub .250 averages being league average that is quite useful. If he continues with this quality of contact, especially if stealing bases, the terrible strikeout rate is forgivable. If you are in one of the 19% of leagues where he is available, he is a worthwhile pickup with upside.
Andrelton Simmons, MIN, SS (56 percent owned)
Simmons was dropped in many leagues while on the Covid-19 IL. Simmons will always find his way into the lineup due to his defensive prowess. He was off to a solid start before landing on the IL, with a .355 batting average. Simmons is a great contact hitter, with only an 8.8 percent strikeout rate across his career. He offers almost no power but will help your batting average and offer double-digit steals the rest of the way.
Jonathan Loaisiga, NYY, P (24 percent owned)
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Using effective middle relievers in fifteen team leagues has been a pretty viable strategy in 2021. The "Win" is moving more and more away from the starter as teams conserve the arms of their starters, the Yankees notwithstanding. Corey Kluber, Jordan Montgomery, and Jamison Taillon have combined for only three trips into the sixth inning.
With teammate Darren O'Day going to the Injured List yesterday, Loaisiga's already important role will only increase. He is the type of pitcher that will help to control your ratios much more than a sketchy stream starter will (my apologies to those who got Gomber'ed this week). There will be vulture wins and an occasional save on a day where Aroldis Chapman may be unavailable. In the event of a Chapman injury, Loaisiga would be a boon to your search for saves that you got for only a buck or two.
Kyle Higashioka, NYY, C (29 percent owned)
It comes as no surprise that Gary Sanchez is batting below the Mendoza Line. It is a surprise that Higashioka has also outperformed Sanchez is in power and run production as well.
Earlier this week, manager Aaron Boone went so far as to say Higashioka would receive more playing time moving forward. he rewarded him that evening with a home run. Meanwhile, Sanchez is 1 for 9 since that comment.
I probably spent more time focusing on spelling these two Yankees' names correctly than I will placing FAAB bids on them, but if you don't have much going on at catcher, you can do a lot worse with your second catcher than Higashioka, especially for Travis d'Arnaud owners.
Cole Irvin, OAK, P (20 percent owned)
The two start stream of the week. Irvin has been sneaky good across his last three starts, going 2-1 with twenty strikeouts across 17+ innings while only allowing three earned runs. His next two starts will be at home, one of the best pitcher's parks in the league. He will first take on Toronto, who has been hot of late.
For the encore, he will take on the Rays, one of my favorite teams to pick on due to their high strikeout rate. Tampa Bay was last in 2020, and are third-worst so far in 2021 at striking out.
There has been an element of luck, as his hard contact metrics show an expected regression. His xERA of 5.37 and Average Exit Velocity scream that a blow-up is coming. However if Irvin can maintain the elite 3.4 percent walk rate(25:4 k:bb ratio), he just might keep the bases empty enough to succeed.
This is the dice we roll when we stream starters. It's not for the risk-averse. But it can't be as bad as Austin Gomber was last week, can it?
Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our great team of writers.