Fantasy Baseball 2021: Top Replacements for Injured MLB Players for Week 4
The last week has been brutal on the injury front for any fantasy baseball player with top outfielders on their roster.
Juan Soto hit the 10-day injured list, as did Anthony Santander, and Ronald Acuna Jr. missed a few days with an abdomen injury.
The wave of injuries forced a scramble to the waiver wire for fill-in players on a short-term basis while fantasy players evaluated the long-term future of their respective teams.
Acuna should play over the weekend, but there are still plenty of holes to fill across outfield depth charts while we wait for Soto, Cody Bellinger and others to come off the injured list.
As always, the starting pitcher waiver wire is spinning at full steam with the latest wave of hurlers hitting the 10-day injured list. Lance Lynn, Stephen Strasburg and Dinelson Lamet all went down with injuries in the last few days.
Justin Upton, Of, Los Angeles Angels
Justin Upton hammered opposing pitching during the Los Angeles Angels' last homestand.
In four games against the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers, Upton hit three home runs and drove in six runs. He entered Thursday's game with the Houston Astros on a five-game hitting streak.
Upton could become a more intriguing fantasy option if he continues to hit well behind Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. His position in the order may open him up to better pitches to hit if hurlers throw around the two sluggers above him.
As of Thursday, Upton was rostered in just 13 percent of Yahoo leagues, per Fantasy Pros, which seems like a low total given his recent form and lineup position.
Even if he is a short-term outfield replacement, Upton could provide immense value because of his RBI potential and power bat.
If you have Soto, Bellinger or Joc Pederson on your roster, you can add Upton for at least another week with those players on the injured list.
Avisail Garcia, Of, Milwaukee
Avisail Garcia's role has been directly affected by injuries, with Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich currently out.
With the Brewers down two starting outfielders, they need more power out of Garcia in the middle of the order to keep up their offensive totals.
Garcia's output dropped off significantly during a three-game series against the San Diego Padres, but the hitless run should not concern you much.
Milwaukee will spend the next three days at Wrigley Field, which could be a hitter's paradise if the wind is blowing out of the park. Garcia had a trio of two-hit performances against the Cubs in 2020, and he added to that total with two base knocks in his last meeting with the Cubs.
After that, the Brewers return home for series with the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers. Garcia reached bases through a hit in five of the last six home games. He had a pair of two-hit performances in that stretch.
If he continues to hit well at home, Garcia should be a valuable outfield piece to fill in for injured players while they get healthy.
Danny Duffy, SP, Kansas City
Danny Duffy increased his strikeout total over each of his first three starts in 2021.
The Kansas City Royals southpaw fanned eight Tampa Bay Rays hitters on Monday. Six days prior, he whiffed six Los Angeles Angels on the way to his second win of the campaign.
For fantasy players in need of filling starts to finish the week, Duffy is scheduled to appear on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers.
Duffy struck out eight Tigers in his lone start against them in 2020, and he struck out seven in one of his two 2019 starts versus his American League Central rival.
Detroit heads into Friday with the fifth-most strikeouts of any team in the majors behind Texas, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay and Arizona.
At minimum, Duffy is worth a one-start pickup because of Sunday's favorable matchup, and if he continues to strike out opponents at a high rate, he could accompany one of the injured pitchers on your roster when they return to action.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from MLB.com.