Daniel Norris (SP-DET): Daniel Norris won after allowing one earned run on five hits and one walk with six strikeouts over five innings vs. the Indians. Jon Gray better watch out, because there is a new man crush alert in Daniel Norris. The left-hander who lives in a van down by the river is finally healthy and tapping into his enormous potential. He hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start the entire season thanks to a more aggressive approach as represented by a 11-percentage point spike in his first-pitch-strike percentage. Lefties who throw 92-94 MPH and flash a potential four-pitch arsenal should find their names on a Post-it note next to your off-season prep materials.
Ariel Miranda (SP-SEA): Ariel Miranda won after allowing two runs on three hits (two homers) and one walk with eight strikeouts over seven innings vs. the Astros. The former Orioles prospect has posted a 3.88 ERA with a 38:17 K:BB ratio through his first 48 2/3 innings spanning eight starts. While he can help fantasy teams (especially those in deeper points leagues down the stretch) be careful if you are protecting ratios. The left-hander has allowed a .235 BABIP despite an above-average 36 percent hard hit rate and is only inducing chases 27 percent of the time. He has the arsenal to one day serve as a solid number five starter in standard leagues, but he isn't there yet.
Alex Meyer (SP-LAA): Alex Meyer won after allowing three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over five scoreless innings Sunday vs. the Blue Jays. While Meyer has posted a 5.63 ERA through 16 innings spanning four starts, he has put up a 20:13 K:BB ratio and has been unlucky with an inflated BABIP and HR/FB rate. The former first-round pick of the Twins has regained his velocity and with that, my interest heading into 2017. If he continues to improve upon the control and secondary offerings, he could make for one of my favorite late-round sleepers. As for the rest of 2016, he poses ratio risks to players protecting in those categories, but he makes for a high-reward play if you are playing catch-up and need K's.
Kennys Vargas (1B/DH-MIN): Kennys Vargas went 1-for-3 with a homer, a walk and two runs scored in a losing effort to the Mets. Life presents many mysteries, such as "what is the meaning of said life," and "why do shaving razors cost so much money." But perhaps one bigger than those two existential mysterious is the Twins unwillingness to give Vargas full-time ABs. The big guy has shown some impressive improvements across the board in 2016, posting a .277/.393/.580 line with a 22:39 BB:K ratio and 8 homers in 35 games. His 43 percent hard hit rate would rank him third in baseball if he qualified, just in between Freddie Freeman and Mike Trout. If the Twins see the light and give Vargas regular time in 2017, he could produce a 30-homer season. If.
Taijuan Walker (SP-SEA): DFS tournament players on FanDuel can look to Taijuan Walker ($7500) for a high-risk, high-reward play. After battling a foot injury and inconsistencies all season, Walker has turned a corner thanks to what he calls a mechanical adjustment. The Blue Jays are 10th in offensive output vs. righties and 15th on the road, and the name alone may scare off enough players to keep Walker's ownership below 10 percent. I like the upside.