Rotoworld’s brand new Pickups of the Day column is designed to help fantasy managers find a handful of widely available targets during the offseason. He could be a breakout candidate, a stash prospect, an injury replacement, a pitcher with a favorable matchup or week, a player with better luck, or any other situation. If there’s value to be found on the waiver wire, we’ll find it and take it.
In today’s column, we’ll look at a potential five-category returning superstar and another great streaming option for Wednesday’s slate of action.
pick of the day
Tyler O’Neill, OF, Tigers
Available in 56 percent of the Yahoo series
Throughout his career, Tyler O’Neill has been the epitome of a fantasy enigma. Constantly dripping with talent, he struggled to find his footing in the big leagues and make enough consistent contact to be a fantasy asset.
Then, in 2021, everything finally clicked. He slashed an outstanding .286/.352/.560 with 34 homers, 80 RBI, 89 runs scored and 15 stolen bases – making himself a five-category fantasy superstar.
However, his production dipped during the 2022 campaign, as he struggled with injuries and making consistent contact at the plate. We saw more of the same during his first 29 games of the 2023 campaign before hitting the injured list in early May with a back issue. Over the past two seasons, O’Neill has hit just .228/.303/.380 with 16 homers, 64 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 125 games. That’s nothing to write home about, but the power and speed to produce is still playing, even with the average batting risk.
What if the injuries were the cause of his struggles. What if, now that he’s fully healthy, he returns to being the player that brought many fantasy managers to glory during the 2021 season? O’Neill is set to return from the injured list on Thursday and Cardinals skipper Oli Marmol has already said he will be the team’s full-time left fielder. The Cardinals are also sellers as the trade deadline approaches, and O’Neill could be listening to interested teams for two weeks. Either way – expect the Cardinals to move a player off the field at the deadline and O’Neill’s playing time to become much more secure.
You don’t usually find category five studs – or those that could be – weakening the waiver wire. Once again, even if he’s just the player we’ve seen the last two years, there’s still some mixed league viability with his blend of power and speed. Scoop him off the waiver wire now and see what happens over the next two weeks. You might have an extra influencer who could set the world on fire in the last two months of the season.
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Ryan Yarbrough, SP, Royals
Available in 94 percent of Yahoo series
The fantasy community doesn’t seem to have much faith in the Royals’ 31-year-old southpaw, but we’re not necessarily looking for a long-term addition here.
Yarbrough returned from the injured list on Sunday and allowed just one run over six innings in a win over the Guardians – striking out five in the process. He didn’t throw a single pitch over 88 mph during that outing, and is the definition of a crafty pitcher at this point in his career, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable fantasy asset of.
He gets the benefit of pitching in a great home field, and on Wednesday he draws a beautiful matchup against a struggling Tigers offense. There’s little risk of a blowout, so he should be able to deliver five of six innings, a handful of strikeouts and a coin strike to get the win. What more can you ask for from a streaming option – especially in deeper layers.
Flush Yarbrough with confidence on Wednesday, you’ll be glad you did.