The closer roulette wheel is out of control, and the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 2 NFBC FAAB Run is here to help you make sense of it.
Generally, Waiver Wire/FAAB columns turn into the chase for steals and saves after about a month. 2022 is not the case, as we are seeing full-blown committees right off of the blocks.
Navigating this minefield seems like an impossible task. Frankly, if your home leagues haven't shifted to some variation of saves + holds, what are you waiting for? While we seemingly will always be dealing with two catchers and saves in the glorious platform of the NFBC, most commissioner-based software can handle such a category.
Outside of the bullpen situations, be careful when placing your early season bids on reacting to results. Keep in mind, that you are bidding on the stats yet to come, not on those which happened yesterday. It is more important to be observant of lineup positions or platoon trends than it is to chase a walk-off home run by a crappy utility infielder. You should always focus on your process over results, especially in the early weeks. Zach Davies successfully getting out of his first start with an ERA below four is not a buying opportunity!
This week we saw significant injuries, as always, which may require NFBC owners to make moves to add replacements. Lucas Giolito, Jon Gray and Yoan Moncada all jumped on the shelf. Ke'Bryan Hayes gave us a scare but was in the lineup the next day. I would tread lightly with him for the rest of the season, there could be multiple trips to the IL.
2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 2 NFBC FAAB Run
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Josh Lowe, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (68% rostered)
Josh Lowe was a surprise addition to the Rays Opening Day roster and found himself in the lineup right away. Importantly, the left-hander was given an opportunity against southpaw John Means. For a team that notoriously platoons throughout the lineup, to see a rookie get an opportunity outside of the platoon advantage leads me to believe that he could go north of 500 at-bats this year.
Lowe has been a consistent 20 stolen base guy throughout the minors, and his power has developed. He should be an easy 15-20 in each category in 2022, making him a priority buy worth three figures tonight.
David Robertson, RP, Chicago Cubs (85%)
I list David Robertson separate from the rest of the closer riff-raff as it appears on the surface as if he will be given an opportunity to run with the ninth inning. Robertson has three 30 save seasons on his resume, and likely will bring stability to the back end of a pretty bad bullpen. He put our minds at ease right from the start with a clean save on Thursday.
While I wanted to see Rowan Wick take this job, as he could develop into a top-tier closer, I will be bidding with a good level of confidence on Robertson.
Brad Miller, 1B/OF, Texas Rangers (60%)
Brad Miller has hit leadoff in each of the Rangers' early-season games. Combining his power potential with the run-scoring potential hitting in front of superstars Marcus Semien and Corey Seager means a clear buying opportunity. He is a career .260 hitter who shows consistency more than peaks and valleys. He is currently eligible at first base and outfield, but could potentially add third base later in the season, making him that much more attractive.
Jake Burger, 3B, Chicago White Sox (unrostered)
The injury to Yoan Moncada has opened up opportunities for Jake Burger. The 26-year-old has tremendous power and could get you five or so home runs over the next month while he has fairly regular playing time.
Merrill Kelly, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks (88%)
The definition of a journeyman, Merrill Kelly is a strong, but not a spectacular option in Fantasy Baseball rotations. He began the season with a strong seven-strikeout performance against the Padres. Kelly showed a tick-up in velocity over last year and offers about as much stability as you will see in the Arizona rotation. He lines up against the Astros next week, so only put in a modest claim if you have space to bench him this week.
Daniel Lynch, SP, Kansas City Royals (13%)
With the way the schedule fell to open this year, most aces will be in a two-start setup in week two, so it is not likely that many people are chasing mediocre starters in good spots at this point. Daniel Lynch is exactly that.
A high-regarded prospect who has not shown it quite yet in the show, Lynch draws two starts against St. Louis and Detroit this week. He has the talent to stick in your rotation if this goes well.
Harold Ramirez, OF, Tampa Bay Rays (3%)
Unlike Lowe, Harold Ramirez appears to be in a fairly strict platoon, although we see him in the lineup against an RHP today. What is enticing for fantasy owners is that the right-hander was batting third in the opening game against a left-handed starter.
Ramirez holsters a pretty good hit tool for a right-handed batter. With split-week lineup rules in the NFBC, he will be worth using when you see the Rays lineup twice in a series against a left-handed starter, which happens quite often in the American League East.
Jorge Alcala, RP, Minnesota Twins (60%)
I will also mention Emilio Pagan, Tyler Duffey, and speculate on Jhoan Duran for turns in the ninth inning. The trade of Taylor Rogers to San Diego in the eleventh hour of the spring blew up what was one of the most stable closing situations in the game and turned it into a murky mess.
It was Duffey who got the first opportunity on Saturday and went on to blow it and take a loss to Seattle instead.
Duran and Alcala both appeared in the previous game and were successful but in the early innings. Alcala was given two innings, leading me to believe he may be left in more of a flexible role. Alcala is still the arm I would speculate on, but I'm not going to be overly aggressive.
Tony Santillan, RP, Cincinnati Reds (unrostered)
The Art Warren tilt was quick and hard in one of the first games of the young season. Tony Santillan was brought in for a ninth-inning save opportunity and mowed the Braves down in order on Thursday night.
The Reds play an early afternoon game today. While they are -180 underdogs, we hope to see a save opportunity before lacing our bids. If it is Santillan again, he may be getting a crack at the job.
Brooks Raley, RP, Tampa Bay Rays (unrostered)
Last year we saw 16 different pitchers record a save for the Rays. This year, they are on pace for 162. It was Brooks Raley who closed out the opener, following assumed closer Andrew Kittredge who pitched the eighth.
Fortunately (or not) we saw Kittredge come back and close the door on Saturday. My guess is Kittredge is used in the highest leverage situation daily, which may or may not result in a save opportunity. Raley figures to be in the mix for eight or ten opportunities over the course of the season.
Nick Senzel, OF, Cincinnati Reds (75% rostered)
Nick Senzel looks to be the regular centerfielder in Cincinnati. He has a little bit of pop and speed, but the .321 career minor league batting average is what draws me in. At only 26 years old, there is still plenty of room for the breakout we have been waiting for. He just needs to stay healthy.
Steven Kwan, OF, Cleveland Guardians (29%)
Steven Kwan is the buzz of the fantasy community, probably because the majority never heard of him before Thursday. A member of the Oregon State Beavers National Championship squad, Kwan offers elite defensive, good speed, and the ability to bat for a .300 average. I speculated in this space that he would have to perform to stave off the soon return of Josh Naylor, and he has done just that.
Ha-Seong Kim, 2B/3B/SS, San Diego Padres (74%)
Ha-Seong Kim brings a ton of positional flexibility to your lineup. The former KBO star seems poised to step forward after a rough adjustment year in 2021. Look for double-digit home runs and steals, and enough of a hit tool to stay in the lineup semi-regularly, even after Fernando Tatis, Jr. returns.
Bryson Stott, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (72%)
Bryson Stott was one of the more expensive pick-ups in 15-team leagues last week but remains available in almost a quarter of 12 team setups. He will be on the good part of a platoon with Alec Bohm to start the season, but after a month or so will emerge as a true Rookie of the Year candidate with dual position eligibility in the NFBC. Last call.
C.J. Abrams, SS, San Diego Padres (74%)
Personally, I do not believe CJ Abrams to be in a platoon with Kim. My best guess is we will see him three to four times per week and hope to get one stolen base from that sample each week.
The upside is that the 21-year-old does play closer to every day, and has league-winning steal potential. he may have to try on an outfielder's glove to accomplish this.
Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Washington Nationals (46%)
Cesar Hernandez is impossible to figure out. He may be the fastest runner in all of Major League Baseball, yet last year we saw him steal zero bags en route to a career-best 21 homerun campaign. Regardless, batting leadoff in front of Juan Soto should get him plenty of fastballs. He is poised to have quite a productive fantasy season.
Drew Steckenrider, RP, Seattle Mariners (73%)
Drew Steckenrider appears poised to be toward the front of a committee in Seattle. It is easy to speculate that Ken Giles will eventually take the role when he returns. For now, Steckenrider took the first opportunity and converted it cleanly.
Zach Plesac, SP, Cleveland Guardians (73%)
I am the leader of the Plesac Parade, as I am highly invested in Zach this year. I probably account for half of that 73% ownership. His 19.1% career strikeout rate is well below league average. Even more concerning is that number is held up by an outlying 27% in 2020. What draws me in is the 6.2% walk rate and ability to pitch into the sixth inning regularly. He showed some of this on Saturday, going 5.2 innings with zero walks and three strikeouts in a pitcher's duel against Kansas City. At the very least, he represents a good streaming option against weaker opponents.
For more options or deeper conversations on the 20222 Fantasy Baseball Week 2 NFBC FAAB Run, I am always available on Twitter @JTrela20. Or, you can check me out streaming LIVE tonight at 8:30 pm EST on YouTube on the Stack Attack Fantasy Podcast.