2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 NFBC FAAB Run

by Jeff Trela
2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 NFBC FAAB

This will probably be one of the last weeks of the season where the waiver wire does not focus on the Big Three for FAAB: The search for saves, steals, and hot prospects. While we have some of those options available this week, the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 NFBC FAAB Run has a good mix of veterans and young players. All of who are gaining value through increased role or lineup opportunities, as well.

Because of how the schedule has been laid out(starting on a Thursday), there are a lot of two-start pitchers this week as well. While two-start pitchers may not always be the best option for your ratios, the opportunity for double-digit strikeouts and doubled opportunity for a win is always enticing.

Injuries to Byron Buxton and Blake Snell have also come earlier than expected, opening up some doors that we knew eventually would be. Yesterday we saw John Means go down for the season, while Sonny Gray and Javier Baez landed on the IL. Most teams will have reason to bid, so let's get right into it.

2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 NFBC FAAB Run: 15-team options

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MacKenzie Gore, SP, San Diego Padres (83% owned)

MacKenzie Gore looks as if he has put the yips behind him and positioned himself for a regular turn in the rotation for the Padres. After being the clear consensus top pitching prospect in the game in 2020, Gore completely lost the strike zone in 2021.

His 2022 season is off to a stellar beginning. Debuting in AAA, his first tilt he threw five innings of shutout ball, striking out seven while giving up only two hits. This, coupled with the trade of Chris Paddack and injury to Blake Snell, gave him an opportunity in the show this weekend. He fared well, navigating around two walks and three hits, including a home run, en route to allowing only two runs.

Considering Nick Martinez struggled mightily on Saturday, Gore is safe for a few more turns in the rotation. He has the pedigree to parlay the opportunity into a Rookie of the Year campaign. While he is only available in a handful of 15-team leagues where he will cost a huge chunk in the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 NFBC FAAB Run, he is relatively available in 12-team setups and worth a speculative bid of about 15% of your remaining budget.

Dane Dunning, SP, Texas Rangers (80%)

Dane Dunning is widely owned throughout the NFBC. If you are fortunate to have him at your disposal, he lines up nicely with two attractive matchups next week.  With two road matchups against the Athletics and Mariners, he is my favorite streamer of the week.

While Oakland has been scoring runs, somewhat surprisingly, they are second-worst in MLB at striking out with over ten per nine innings. Dunning has not been particularly effective this year so far but does have 11 punchouts in only nine innings. Meanwhile, Seattle is not striking out a lot, but their four runs scored per game are well below league average thus far. This figures to be a get-right week for the 27-year-old former first-round selection.

Joan Adon, SP, Washington Nationals (18%)

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Joan Adon is struggling with his control to start his career, having walked seven batters across his first two starts.  Hopefully, the coaching staff recognizes that his slider has given up zero hard contact and increases the usage from only 19%.

He will get the opportunity next week against Arizona, which has been the undisputed worst offense in the league thus far in 2022. The opportunity for a win will likely be decreased unfortunately as he appears to line up opposite red hot starter Merrill Kelly. Likewise, in his second start, he will pitch against Logan Webb, although the Giants' hitters are not scaring anyone.

I would go into this expecting about ten strikeouts on the week with a 4.50 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. If that is palatable for your 15-team league, you can grab him for a $1 bid.

Justin Steele, SP, Chicago Cubs (28%)

Justin Steele has a great two-step this week, with the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates as opponents. Both teams are middle of the pack as far as runs scored and striking out is concerned.

The 26-year-old southpaw has recorded nine strikeouts across nine innings thus far this season. The extreme ground ball pitcher has also done well to limit hard contact, not having allowed a barreled ball hit against him yet. The Cubs rotation has performed well overall, with Steele right at the forefront.

Paul Blackburn, SP, Oakland Athletics (unowned)

Paul Blackburn has flashed in two starts and has Baltimore on his schedule next week followed by a trip to pitcher's paradise San Francisco the following week.

Fueled by an improved curveball, increased changeup usage, and 2 mph improvement on his four seemed fastball, Blackburn has shown early signs of a potential breakout. In the early going, he has a 10:1 k/bb rate in ten innings. Has Moneyball struck again? I'm willing to bid to find out.

Jake Diekman, RP, Boston Red Sox (10%)

NFBC FAAB runs at 10 pm EST weekly, about 30 minutes before Jake Diekman nailed down an impressive save against the Yankees last week. Had the game finished an hour earlier, we would see him at 100% ownership crossed the board. Since that outing, Diekman has pitched only once, in an effective eighth inning outing in which he set up for a Victor Robles save.

While this is difficult to interpret, the absence of Matt Barnes in high leverage situations speaks to a matchup-based committee, with Diekman right at the front. He likely will get about half of the Red Sox' save chances moving forward, and his 29.1% strikeout rate will certainly help you along the way.

Hector Neris, RP, Houston Astros (55%)

With Ryan Pressly out for at least a week, possibly longer, the coach speak is that the Astros will employ a committee as a stop-gap.

When Hector Neris' split-finger fastball works, he is nearly unhittable. When it doesn't his penchant for giving up hard contact makes him hard to watch. I am willing to bet on the short-term success that the 32-year-old with the 30% strikeout rate and 84 career saves will get the job done.

Seth Beer, UT, Arizona Diamondbacks (63%)

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The downside on Seth Beer is that he is only Utility eligible. He does not appear poised to play much defense at all with the universal DH this year. The good in this is that the owners of Franmil Reyes, Nelson Cruz, and of course Shohei Ohtani will not be in on the bidding, potentially suppressing the price a touch.

The upside of Beer is 25 homerun potential and enough of a hit tool to get you around the .270 mark, which is a boon from a power hitter. He is just about the only bright spot in the desert this year and should remain in the middle of the lineup for the foreseeable future, especially if there are more three-hit efforts like last night.

Nick Gordon, OF, Minnesota Twins (unowned)

As the fantasy baseball world held its collective breath waiting for the prognosis on Byron Buxton's knee, we at least have some clarity that Nick Gordon should man centerfield in his absence. Trevor Larnach should also benefit in the meantime as Alex Kiriloff is on the shelf for an extended period of time.

It appears as if Buxton may avoid the Injured List and miss only about a week. Whoever performs this week should get the majority of playing time moving forward. It was Larnach who took the upper hand last night collecting three hits in a losing effort.

Gordon is a talented base stealer. He should be able to sneak one or two this week while he has the guaranteed at-bats, with the potential for 15-20 on the season with a near everyday role. Regardless, he should warrant only a single-digit bid and give you a quick speed boost.

Owen Miller, 2B, Cleveland Guardians (unowned)

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Owen Miller has done quite well for himself in the shadow of the Kwan. The 25-year-old is batting a whopping .560 with a 1.67 OPS.  He has five multi-hit games in six appearances.

While he has shown a solid hit tool through his minor league career, there isn't much pop or speed to get excited about here.

Of note also is that he has already appeared at first base four times, and will likely add a second position of eligibility within the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see how playing time is split up in Cleveland with the return of Josh Naylor, who can play both the outfield and first base. Miller will likely have a spot in the lineup most days due to his flexibility. If he stays this hot, the playing time will be there.

Oscar Mercado, OF, Cleveland Guardians (15%)

Meanwhile, Oscar Mercado may be the odd man out in this scenario, as he will likely be on the weak side of a platoon. He has been barreling the ball at a massive 15% rate, which has led to three home runs in a week.

Mercado seemed a rising star after a 15/15 season in 2019 but wasn't even able to sniff the Mendoza Line in 2020. He carries a massive strikeout rate, so the batting average will never be even league average. But if he can combine this raw power with his 90th percentile sprint speed, he may be able to sneak into some regular playing time and fantasy relevance.

Maikel Franco, 3B, Washington Nationals (5%)

Maikel Franco is a streaky hitter with a ton of raw power. Early in his career in Philadelphia, he had moments he appeared on the verge of stardom. He registered three consecutive 20 home run seasons spanning 2015-17.

The pressure of being a top prospect eventually seemed to get the best of him, and he was jettisoned from the organization in 2019. After two middling seasons with the Royals and Orioles, Franco seems to have found his niche as a stopgap on rebuilding teams. He has taken the third base position opened up by the Carter Kieboom injury and branded his name on its chest.

Like Mercado, he has barrelled the ball at a 15% rate, leading to a massive 75% hard-hit rate. Still only 29 years old and with 122 home runs on his Major League resume, there is enough to at least stash and hope for a fourth 20 home run season.

Best options at other positions:

Francisco Mejia, C, Tampa Bay Rays (68%), Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers (23%), Kyle Farmer, SS, Cincinnati Reds (53%)

12-team options

Jhoan Duran, RP, Minnesota Twins (20%)

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While Diekman is the safest of the available relievers this week, and Neris the one to roll the dice on short term, Jhoan Duran is certainly the one with the long-term sexy upside. I mentioned in this article last week that I expected Jorge Alcala to eventually take over the closer's role from this committee. We immediately saw him have a massive drop in velocity and subsequent trip to the IL with an inflamed elbow.

Meanwhile, We are seeing Duran pepper 100 mph with relative ease en route to eight strikeouts in five innings. The 48.4% CSW rate makes me weak in the knees. Duran is likely to eclipse 100 strikeouts this season, and if he can add 10-15 saves on top of that will be an elite-level reliever. The possibility of a season similar to Emmanuel Clase's 2021 is in the cards and would make him worth 20% of your remaining FAAB budget today.

Kyle Wright, SP, Atlanta Braves (64%)

While Kyle Wright does not do much to help your ratios, he should easily attain a K/9 around 9.0. In 404 minor league innings, Wright stuck out 404 batters.

The Braves appear in the early onset as if they will go with a six-man rotation, so Wright will have to perform to stick. While Ian Anderson and Huascar Ynoa haven't pitched particularly well, Wright has, registering 15 strikeouts and only one walkthrough in 11 innings. If you win his services in the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 NFBC FAAB Run, be prepared to bench him in the upcoming week. His next start lines up at the high-powered Los Angeles Dodgers.

Merrill Kelly, SP, Arizona Diamond Backs (68%)

Merrill Kelly's velocity is up nearly two mph thus far in 2022. In 10 career games where his fastball averaged over 92 mph, he has a 2.25 ERA and 12 K/9 rate (his career rate is below nine). If the velocity increase holds true for the 33-year-old former KBO standout, he will be representing the lowly Diamondbacks in the All-Star Game.

Jonah Heim, C, Texas Rangers (1%)

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Jonah Heim is one of my highest-owned players across my ten NFBC contests. Unfortunately, a lot of the wind was let out of those sails when the Rangers acquired Mitch Garver. I was excited about the ten home runs and three stolen bases in a half-season of play last year.

What more can you ask for from a second catcher drafted in the late bench rounds, if at all, than a projection of 15 home runs and six stolen bases? How about an 18% barrel rate, 72 % hard-hit rate, .400 AVG, and two home runs through this first week?

Obviously, this is his peak, but if he continues to show even close to this power, he will force himself into the lineup four times per week and approach those exciting projections.

Tyler Naquin, OF, Cincinatti Reds (60%)

Tyler Naquin is off to a solid start with a .320 average and one home run and one stolen base through the first week and a half of games. He has shown flashes of the hit tool before, with three seasons over .270 for the 30-year-old former first-rounder. he can be found regularly in the two-hole for the Reds.

Jake Fraley, OF, Cincinnati Reds (21%)

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Meanwhile, Jake Fraley has been seen recently in the leadoff spot. Fraley offers both speed and power, with a little less average than Naquin. He should approach a 20/20 season with the increased role and favorable lineup position. The shift from Seattle to American Smallpark seems to fit him well.

Seth Brown, OF, Oakland Athletics (23%)

Seth Brown remains widely unowned in 12-team formats despite his 30-home run potential. If you can spare a bit of an average drain, he can be your poor man's Joey Gallo.

Best options at other positions:

Eric Hosmer, 1B, San Diego Padres (26%),  Cesar Hernandez, 2B, Washington Nationals (46%), Joey Wendle, SS/3B, Miami Marlins (42%)


For more options or deeper conversations on the 2022 Fantasy Baseball Week 3 NFBC FAAB Run, I am always available on Twitter @JTrela20. Or, you can check me out streaming LIVE this Tuesday at 9 pm EST on YouTube on the Stack Attack Fantasy Podcast.

Check out more Fantasy Baseball content from the F6P team!

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