In addition to Monday's nine featured Pickups of the Week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brandon Funston offered a Wednesday update on five hitters on the rise that weren't profiled in Monday's POW. And on Friday, Brad Evans goes through the same drill for pitchers. The same criteria applies – players must be available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues.
Rookie officially in the circle of trust
Jose Quintana (SP) Chicago White Sox
Outside of a six-earned misstep in New York, the southpaw has been nothing short of sensational. Brilliant in his last turn against baseball's stoutest offense, Texas, he has gone at least eight innings while allowing only one earned run in three of his past four starts. The southpaw, similar in style and substance as Scott Diamond, isn’t a strikeout machine, but his remarkable accuracy (3.70 K/BB) and plus groundball yield (44.5%) are strong attributes. With K.C. and Minnesota on the docket in two of his next three scheduled appearances, he's worth rostering immediately. Hop aboard the bandwagon.
- Y! %23%
- L14 rank55
Leery-ano shockingly a quality start machine
Francisco Liriano (SP) Minnesota Twins
Understandably the fantasy community has forged a love/hate relationship with Liriano. Though his last start was adventurous and earlier this season he was an absolute disaster, baneful feelings harbored by owners aren’t completely justified. Since May 30, he’s logged five quality starts in seven attempts, striking out at least five in each turn. No longer infected by gopheritis, he’s yielded only one long-ball in his past 50 innings. Most importantly, his fastball has routinely registered between 94-96 mph on the gun. Occasional bouts of wildness remain a problem, but the southpaw is again fairly reliable. Scouted by the Yankees, Jays and Braves in his last outing, he could thrive in a new change of scenery, particularly in the NL, if dealt by the deadline. Swallow your pride shallow leaguers. Fransucko may be no more.
- Y! %38%
- L14 rank 267
Righty has Bernie Brewer twisting his 'stache inquisitively
Michael Fiers (SP) Milwaukee Brewers
A staple on pick-up lists industry-wide, Fiers, despite outstanding production, has only attracted the attention of streamers and deep thinkers. He deserves more respect. Opponents barely touched home in his past 20.1 innings (2 ER). Impressively, he also punched out 28 during that stretch. Fiers sports a fly-ball heavy profile (0.78 GBFB), but his sparkling 5.56 K/BB and 3.10 xFIP point to continued success. Keep in mind he was Milwaukee's minor league pitcher of the year a season ago notching a 1.86 ERA between Double and Triple-A. On K potential alone, he’s worth rostering in all mixers. Wake up and smell the Old Milwaukee.
- Y! %32%
- L14 rank16
Vagabond may have finally planted firm roots in Oakland
Travis Blackley (SP) Oakland A’s
Fantasy mates have yet to warm up to the Aussie. With his seventh big league organization since signed as an undrafted free agent by the Seattle Mariners in 2000, Blackley has logged plenty of frequent-flyer miles. Though he’s achieved little to nothing with his previous employers, it appears the 29-year-old has found a groove with the A’s. Over his past four turns, including a brilliant performance in Texas, he’s tallied a 1.93 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over 28 innings. The lefty is the antithesis of a strikeout machine (5.23 K/9), but his pinpoint control (1.86 BB/9) and excellent groundball yield indicate he should keep churning out the quality starts. Toss him a line in challenging formats.
- Y! %4%
- L14 rank 158
Converted reliever the Andrew Cashner of the AL
David Phelps (SP) New York Yankees
Phelps, featured prominently in middle relief for the Yanks over the season’s first two months, spent much of June on the farm stretching out for a possible rotation insertion with the senior club. Called to duty to fill in for recovering ace CC Sabathia July 4, the transformed hurler proved effective, surrendering one earned with eight strikeouts over 4.1 innings versus Tampa. His terrific showing could eventually force Joe Girardi to banish Freddy Garcia back to the 'pen, but for now he’ll toil at Triple-A until another opportunity arises. When that happens, Phelps will be immediately viable even in deep-benched 12-team mixers. Gopher balls have harmed him, but his fantastic K/9 (9.15), favorable groundball rate (1.23 GB/FB) and NYY's potent offense project solid SP5 numbers. Monitor his progress closely.
- Y! %1%
- L14 rank310