Jeff Trela @jtrela20
Fantasy Baseball Week 17 NFBC FAAB Run
The 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 17 NFBC FAAB Run once again features a rookie hitter recently called up that could be the difference-maker that your stolen base category needs. Additionally, I am convinced a $1 option in the Marlins bullpen could be a tremendous boon to your search for saves in the very near future, while another option in Seattle appears to have the role already.
As I told you last week, there is not much reason to hold back FAAB dollars after the All-Star Break. The number of impact players available will dwindle with each passing week. This might be the best week to make heavy investments in your fantasy team in quite a while. We do not need to save FAAB dollars to spend on Brett Gardner in late August. Let's attack it this week and take a run at that title.
Jarren Duran, OF, Boston Red Sox (unowned)
Last week I pounded the table for Vidal Brujan, and now I hope I left myself enough FAAB dollars to score speedster Jarren Duran. In 1100 minor league at-bats across only 245 minor league games, Duran has amassed 82 stolen bases behind a .312 batting average and .842 OPS.
While he made his Major League debut in Yankee Stadium this weekend, his callup has flown somewhat under the radar. He should push Enrique Hernandez into a super-utility role, although with Xander Bogaerts' health in question, playing time for Duran may be a given.
Stolen bases have been hard to come by this year in Fantasy Baseball. Duran can easily be a league winner for you if this category is holding you back. If you are in this predicament as I am, I would personally recommend pushing your chips in, going as far as 80% of your remaining FAAB budget.
Evan Longoria, 3B, San Francisco Giants (71% owned)
Evan Longoria is days away from his return from a shoulder injury. He had been enjoying a resurgent season in which his insane 61.3% hard-hit rate and career-best 15.1% barrel rate had yielded a .280 batting average with nine early home runs.
The Giants are easily the oldest team in the league but are pacing the National League with a 58-33 record. If they continue with this success, they will need a continuation of career years from veterans Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and Longoria.
Third base has been one of the thinnest positions in Fantasy Baseball this year. Longoria might be a last-ditch effort at the position for owners lamenting the Anthony Rendon injury.
Oscar Mercado, OF, Cleveland Indians (44% owned)
Oscar Mercado is a post-hype sleeper if there has ever been one. Unfortunately, after a 15/15 campaign in 2019, Mercado was over-drafted going into 2020 and fell flat on his face.
Fast forward to 2021, and the Indians can barely field a complete outfield. Eddie Rosario is on the Injured List with an abdominal strain, while Harlod Ramirez and Bradley Zimmer have proven to be four-A type players.
There is plenty of opportunity for extended playing time for Mercado, and the early results are encouraging for the former second-round pick. Through two weeks in the show, Mercado has logged two stolen bases and one home run. A 10/10 second half is certainly within reach.
Adam Eaton, Los Angeles Angels (44% owned)
Eaton is nothing more than a serviceable injury replacement in fantasy and real-life at this point in his career. He was recently designated for assignment by the White Sox and subsequently picked up by the Angels.
Before a stint on the Injured List with a hamstring strain, Eaton had underwhelmed to the tune of a .207 batting average and only five home runs and two stolen bases. He was an early draft season favorite of mine but ended up showing his ADP of 393 correct.
With Justin Upton and Mike Trout about a month away and the Angels in a lost season, Eaton figures to play every day. There is no sense in burning service time on prospects such as Brandon Marsh or Jo Adell.
Paul Sewald, RP, Seattle Mariners (37% owned)
Paul Sewald is enjoying a massive breakout season in the Mariners' bullpen. He's punching out hitters to the tune of a 35 CSW% and a sick 43.1% strike-out rate.
He is prone to hard contact, and when allowed to get a one-out save against the Angels on Friday, he did give up a base hit and rocket out. It was, however, his second consecutive opportunity to close out a game.
At 31 years old, Sewald could be a showcased trade chip if the Mariners happen to fall out of the Wild Card race. In the meantime, the chase for saves is real, and we need to grab them when they are available.
Anthony Bender, RP, Miami Marlins (68% owned)
Well, there might be just one more Air Bender left because Anthony Bender defies the laws of physics with every pitch. The 26-year old rookie has been ridiculous, with a 35.5% strikeout rate and a 6.4% walk rate.
While Marlins Manager Don Mattingly has given a recent vote of confidence to incumbent closer Yimi Garcia, Bender last recorded a save for the Marlins, albeit back on July 5.
Bender is a premium reliever who will not require the closer's role to hold fantasy value in 15- team NFBC formats. But if you ask me, he is about to take it and not look back.
Tanner Houck, P, Boston Red Sox (29% owned)
Who knows what to make of the Red Sox rotation right now. Eduardo Rodriguez has been horrible all year but was brilliant in Yankee Stadium on Friday night. Nathan Eovaldi and Nick Pivetta have been solid, but will it last? Will Chris Sale bring anything to the table? He is looking great against live hitters so far and is not far away. Garret Richards might be done, as he is an admitted sticky substance abuser.
Enter Tanner Houck. He is of the sick slider and 30.3% career strikeout rate at the MLB level. On Friday night, Houck pitched three clean innings while striking out three en route to a nine-out save.
While he may not be guaranteed a rotation spot at any time this year, he certainly could expect to slide into the starting five if any of those mentioned above should falter. Notice we did not even mention Martin Perez? You can get Houck for a buck or two now, knowing that if the role develops in the near future that he could cost a hefty premium.
For any questions related to the 2021 Fantasy Baseball Week 17 NFBC FAAB Run, or for additional options, you can reach me on Twitter @jtrela20. Otherwise, check me out streaming LIVE this Monday at 9:00 PM EST on the Stack Attack Fantasy Podcast, now part of the Fantasy Six Pack YouTube network of podcasts.