The biggest key to a successful fantasy baseball season is knowing when to hold and when to fold. Make sure you are the guy in your league that ISN’T overreacting to the first weekend of games. Look at a guy’s track record and upside before cutting him loose, but don’t hold on a guy who is going to sit on your bench all season, either.

I know that was horrible non-advice, so I will get back to my duty of informing you on some strong waiver wire plays for the week.

(The number in parenthesis is the percentage a guy is owned in a standard Yahoo Sports! league. Only guys owned in less than 50% of leagues will appear in the column.)

Alejandro De Aza, OF, Chicago White Sox (43%)

He had a rough first weekend but a strong Monday and he is going to get plenty of time to prove himself as a leadoff hitter. The Sox don’t have the best lineup around, but De Aza has a touch of power, good speed and should score some runs.

Chone Figgins, 3B, Seattle Mariners (30%)

He’s an oldie for sure, but another guy getting regular at bats at the top of the order. Figgins probably doesn’t have the speed potential he did a few years ago, but Seattle manager Eric Wedge has said he plans to ride him out. He’s off to a good start and maybe he can shake a couple injury-ridden bad seasons.

Adam LaRoche, 1B, Washington Nationals (14%)

Look at LaRoche’s numbers and I bet you’ll be surprised. He has completely flown under the national radar despite six 20-homer seasons and four of at least 85 RBIs. He also is a notorious slow starter (look at his career splits before and after June) but he has started off on fire this year. He might be on a path to top-10 1B status in 2012.

Alex Presley, OF, Pittsburg Pirates (13%)

One of the Pirates’ building blocks has already forced his way into action and could be a nice source of all-around production. He had nine steals and some solid production in 52 games last year and has to tools to stick around a fantasy lineup. A guy to watch in deeper leagues.

Hector Santiago, RP, Chicago White Sox (47%)

Run to the waiver wire! Santiago has emerged as the closer in Chicago and has shown great stuff in his limited experience. It may not last all season, but if you are scrapping together saves, you don’t have much time to get Santiago.

Erik Bedard, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates (47%)

The Cy Young candidacy claims I’ve seen from a couple sources are a little wild, but I would be shocked if Bedard’s ERA goes above 3.50 and WHIP over 1.20. He’s always been good when healthy and he’s healthy so far.

Jonathon Niese, SP, New York Mets (29%)

I was tempted to jump on the Niese bandwagon earlier, but was scared off by his inability to string together a whole bunch of quality starts. But it looks like the Mets might not be dismal so his value makes a jump on that front alone. He does have solid K potential and was real close to breaking out for a three-month stretch from May to July last year. Worth a peek.

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Douglas Elish

Doug Elish is new to after spending four years as the Sports Editor of the LaPorte (IN) Herald-Argus and two years as a writer for the NWI Times. He has been a all-around fantasy sports addict for 12 years.

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