Three weeks. That’s all that separates the contenders from the pretenders, as we reach the do-or-die portion of the 2023 fantasy baseball season. From this point forward, the recommended players for roster addition will be made up almost entirely of those who can help in the next seven days.
But this week, I also found a few hurlers who could stay in lineups the rest of the way.
Pepiot has been terrific across four starts since joining the Dodgers rotation, posting a 0.86 ERA and a 0.52 WHIP. Included in those numbers is a dominant start last time out in which he took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Pepiot should be active in all leagues for his next start, which will come at home on Wednesday against a Padres team that is watching their postseason hopes fade away.
Making Pepiot even more appealing is that in his final three starts, he will face the Tigers (29th in OPS) and then the Giants (30th in second-half OPS) twice.
Williams (Monday) and Quantrill (Tuesday) will each open the week by facing a Giants lineup that ranks last by a wide margin in second-half OPS. Williams is coming down the stretch of a solid rookie year (3.34 ERA, 9.3 K/9 rate), while Quantrill has allowed two runs in 12 innings since returning from the IL on September 1.
The Yankees may have unearthed a quality starter late in their lost season, as King has posted a 1.08 ERA and a 21:3 K:BB ratio in four outings since joining the rotation on August 24. And his past two starts have come against teams (Astros, Brewers) currently sitting in a postseason spot. King doesn’t have any easy opponents coming up (Red Sox, Blue Jays), but might have the talent to silence those squads.
With a career 3.81 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, a healthy Means is too talented to sit on waivers now that he is ready to return from Tommy John surgery. The left-hander is scheduled to make his 2023 debut at home against the Cardinals on Wednesday, and he joins Pepiot and King as the players in this article who should have staying power for the remainder of the season.
Williamson (4.20 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) falls just short of the talent level for a roster mainstay, but he fits fine as a streamer. Such is the case this week when he works on the road against a Tigers team that ranks 29th in baseball in OPS. Those in weekly transaction leagues should be even more interested, as the lefty will make a pair of positive starts (MIN, PIT) next week.
Those needing saves in shallow leagues should immediately add May. The right-hander has sole possession of the closer’s role on an A’s team that is playing better baseball of late, which has resulted in May accumulating seven saves since August 24. And in their final six series of the season, Oakland will face four opponents who are either out of the playoffs or have already locked up a spot.
Managers will want any piece of the Cubs lineup during the next three days, while they play a series at Coors Field against a Rockies staff that ranks last in home ERA by more than a full run. The right-handed-hitting Gomes is a great catching streamer during the series, as Rockies are starting lefties in two of the games, which is his preferred matchup.
Nolan Jones (1B/OF, Colorado Rockies, 55%)
Jones could be a game-changer in shallow leagues this week when he brings his exciting blend of power and speed to seven games at his offense-inducing home park. Jones has hit .295 with seven homers and nine swipes in 38 home contests this year and should be active in every league — go check if he’s still available.
At this point in his career, Blackmon is mostly unplayable on the road. But the story is very different for games at Coors Field, where the veteran has hit .308 with five homers in 43 games. Managers in 12-team leagues should be happy to start Blackmon for his seven home games this week.
Managers in weekly leagues and those who are thinking ahead in daily formats should be ready to load up on Giants for their upcoming four-game series at Coors Field. Wilmer Flores (1B/2B/3B, 55%) is the obvious option, but Yastrzemski is a good play in deeper leagues. The lefty swinger fares best against righties, which will be his matchup against the starter in three of four contests.
With 18 homers and five steals in 296 career at-bats, Velazquez is quickly becoming the definition of a stat-stuffer. The guess here is that the youngster will go deep at some point in the next three days when the Royals face a White Sox staff that has posted a 5.48 ERA in the second half.