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Pickups of the Day: Assad Is The Answer

Bellinger primed for payday after bounceback year
What could Cody Bellinger's free-agent contract look like this offseason after his bounceback season with the Chicago Cubs? D.J. Short, Eric Samulski and Paul Sporer theorize.

Rotoworld’s Pickups of the Day column is designed to help fantasy managers uncover a handful of widely-available targets over the course of the season. It could be a breakout candidate, a prospect stash, an injury replacement, a pitcher with a favorable matchup or week, a player who is due some better luck, or any other number of scenarios. If there’s value to be found on the waiver wire, we will find it and bring it your way. Today’s edition features a converted reliever continuing to excel for Chicago and a former first-round pick mashing in the Big Apple.

Javier Assad, SP/RP, Cubs
Available in 58 percent of Yahoo leagues

It’s flown a bit under the radar, but Assad has quietly blossomed into a reliable mixed-league contributor for fantasy managers since becoming a full-fledged member of Chicago’s starting rotation last month. The unheralded 26-year-old right-hander has allowed two earned runs or fewer in six consecutive starts dating back to August 6, compiling a microscopic 1.95 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 27/10 K/BB ratio across 37 innings during that span. He twirled an eight-inning gem on Saturday, shutting out an upstart Reds’ lineup for eight frames, while also racking up seven strikeouts in the process. He’s worthy of a roster spot in all fantasy formats at this point and should be a viable starting option when he faces off against the Diamondbacks on Thursday in his next outing.

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DJ Stewart, OF, Mets
Available in 86 percent of Yahoo leagues

It’s not hyperbolic to suggest that Stewart is one of the hottest hitters in baseball at the moment. The 29-year-old former first-round pick never quite panned out in Baltimore, but he tore the cover off the ball for Triple-A Syracuse earlier this year to earn a shot in the majors with New York. He’s taken full advantage of that opportunity and appears to be carving out a role in the club’s plans for the 2024 campaign. He’s on an unbelievable hot streak at the dish of late, homering nine times in his last 16 contests, dating back to August 15. He won’t sustain this level of production long-term, especially since he’s struck out 21 times and only drawn three walks during his recent power surge. However, with just a few weeks left in the regular season, fantasy managers should consider riding the hot hand, especially in deeper five-outfielder formats.