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Fantasy Baseball expert Fred Zinkie looks at the Monday MLB slate and offers some pickups, some DFS plays and everything in between.
Waiver wire pickup of the day
Taylor Ward (OF, LAA)
Rostered in just 5 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Ward is definitely flying under the radar. The 28-year-old recently returned from a brief IL stint due to a groin strain, and the injury caused Ward to be a fantasy afterthought despite the fact that manager Joe Maddon said that Ward is his regular right fielder. Ward tallied a homer and a steal out of the cleanup spot in his 2022 debut on Saturday and then worked out of the three-hole for Sunday’s contest. Hitting among Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon should lead to plenty of counting stats, and there is an exciting power-speed blend from someone who hit .317 with 31 homers and 14 steals across his past 122 Minor League games.
DFS plays of the day
Nelson Cruz (1B, WSH, $11) has a reasonable DFS salary for someone who is in an advantageous situation on Monday. The veteran has always raked against southpaws, and he continues to do so late in his career, having logged a .913 OPS in those matchups last season. He could rip a round-tripper when he faces lefty Madison Bumgarner, who last year allowed right-handed hitters such as Cruz to post a .763 OPS (.663 OPS allowed to RHH). And Cruz could thrive late in the game as well, against a D-backs bullpen that ranks 24th in ERA and lacks high-end options.
Alex Cobb (SP, SF, $38) is a mid-level Monday pitcher in terms of salary but could produce eye-popping results. The right-hander showed improved fastball velocity throughout Spring Training and continued those gains in his first regular-season start when he averaged 94.6 mph, which was nearly 2 mph higher than his average from any previous season. The added heat has clearly helped the veteran, who struck out 10 batters across five innings. Set to work at pitcher-friendly Citi Field on Monday, Cobb has the high ceiling that DFS participants are looking for.
Editor's note: These game have been postponed due to inclement weather
-Ronald Acuna Jr. will start a rehab assignment on Tuesday and should return to the Braves by early May.
-Ryan Pressly was placed on the IL on Saturday (retroactive to April 14) with right knee inflammation. The injury may not be a long-term issue but Hector Neris (25 percent rostered) pitched the ninth inning with a four-run lead on Saturday and is the favorite to receive upcoming save chances.
-In his second career start, Hunter Greene set an MLB record by throwing 39 pitches of at least 100 mph. Greene has thus far been burned by the long ball (three homers) but has logged a 13:2 K:BB ratio in 10.1 innings and should be rostered in most leagues.
-Nestor Cortes was slightly too rostered to be listed as the “pickup of the day” but remains available in over 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues. The left-hander struck out 12 Orioles across five scoreless innings on Sunday and should be universally rostered.
-The Dodgers may have fixed another pitcher, as Andrew Heaney struck out 11 Reds while allowing one hit across six shutout innings on Sunday. The left-hander remains available in more than half of leagues and will be one of the most added players this week.
-Hyun Jin Ryu was placed on the IL on Sunday with left forearm inflammation. The southpaw struggled in the second half of last season and at the outset of 2022, making him an option to drop in leagues of 12 teams or less.