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Whiffs … by Giancarlo.

It’s a good idea for a cologne, maybe, but for Fantasy owners, it stinks.

Unfortunately, it’s about all we’ve seen from Giancarlo Stanton since he returned from the DL Tuesday, but it’s no reason to dismiss his expected return to the lineup Friday as late-season noise.

We all know what else Stanton brings to the table — home runs, often by the dozen — but it’s a reminder that for most of the season, he has let his Fantasy owners down, battling his mechanics to the tune of a .244 batting average and a point-per-game average on par with Jayson Werth. Throw a little rust in there, and yeah, it’s possible he does more harm than good.

But again, not just noise.

For you weekly-league owners, he’ll at least have the weekend to alleviate your concerns, and if he doesn’t, well, next week isn’t quite the last week. One thing’s for sure: He’ll make for a more promising bench option than anyone else you can find on the waiver wire this time of year.

It’s a chance to catch lightning in a bottle — or at least to prevent one of your competitors from doing the same. So if he’s available in your league, you pretty much have to put in a claim for him, knowing the upside.

I realize I may be talking to only a small percentage of CBSSports.com users seeing as he’s 83 percent owned, but I have a feeling that number is inflated by the Stanton owners (a mostly uncompetitive bunch, given where he was drafted) who dropped out in July and never even knew to cut him when his season appeared to be over.

Did a quick survey of my only leagues — competitive all — and discovered he’s available in about one-fifth. Rest assured, I’ll be taking my own advice.

Taijuan Walker SP / Seattle Mariners (Tuesday at Angels)

IP: 9H: 3ER: 0BB: 0K: 11

No, the hype from Tuesday’s start hasn’t died down yet, especially since Taijuan Walker is in line to make two starts in Fantasy Week 25 (Sept. 19-25). Some mechanical changes prior to it gave him a couple more miles per hour on his fastball and likely improved his command as well, so now would be a reasonable time to gamble on his sky-high potential.

Junior Guerra SP/RP / Milwaukee Brewers (Wednesday at Reds)

IP: 6H: 3ER: 0BB: 2K: 5

Junior Guerra returned to form himself Wednesday, showing what he could do with only 86 pitches. He should be fully stretched out now after missing a month with elbow inflammation and should continue to overachieve with his top-notch split-finger fastball.

Sean Manaea SP / Oakland Athletics (Wednesday at Royals)

IP: 5H: 3ER: 0BB: 1K: 5

Sean Manaea may not be fully stretched out yet, seeing as this was his first start back from a strained forearm, but in the 67 pitches he did throw, he seemed to have picked up where he left off in the 10 appearances (including nine starts) prior, compiling a 2.97 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Thanks in part to the injury, the rookie isn’t at risk of being shut down either.

Alex Cobb SP / Tampa Bay Rays (Wednesday at Blue Jays)

IP: 6 2/3H: 2ER: 1BB: 3K: 4

Yet another pitcher showing us a glimmer of his past self Wednesday, Alex Cobb isn’t quite getting the swings and misses he used to and is still refining his command after Tommy John surgery. But 80 percent of him is still better than 90 percent of the pitchers you’ll find on waivers, most likely, and there’s a chance he leaps to 100 over his final three starts.

Nick Markakis OF / Atlanta Braves (last 78 games)

BA: .297HR: 11AB: 300BB: 31K: 52

Nick Markakis began slumping in late August, right about the time he started to attract attention in standard mixed leagues, but with three home runs in his last five games, he’s a hot-hand pickup now. And remember, nearly all of his power has come in the last three months. He’s the 16th-best outfielder in Head-to-Head points leagues and the 29th-best in Rotisserie over his last 78 games.

Brandon Drury 2B/3B/OF / Arizona Diamondbacks (last 13 games)

BA: .442HR: 4OPS: 1.232AB: 52K: 12

Brandon Drury isn’t for everyone since he doesn’t quite play every day and hardly walks at all, but at 19 percent ownership, he’s much more available than he should be. He’s triple-eligible and lately has shown some of the same power that made him a Fantasy darling in April.


Source: CBS Sports / Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Giancarlo Stanton ready to go; Brandon Drury doing damage