Let’s face it, the NFL season has begun and focus for the vast majority of fantasy baseball players has shifted. The biggest thing a fantasy baseball player can do at this time of year if they find themselves out of the money is to at least stay engaged for the integrity of your leagues.

If you play in a keeper league there’s something else you should do at this time of year; try to piece together a core of players for the 2022 season. Here is a list of five players who are currently on the IL and owned in less than half of leagues.

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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Keeper League Edition

SP Yonny Chirinos, Tampa Bay Rays (12%)

Back in 2019 Chirinos made 18 starts and pitched 133.1 innings. He sported a 9-5 record with a 3.85 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. This is a quality pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery after only making 3 starts last season. He missed this entire 2021 season but should be ready for the start of the 2022 season barring any setbacks.

OF Miguel Andújar, New York Yankees (28%)

Andujar is out with a wrist injury and may not be back this year. Before going down, he was having a so-so year, with only 6 HRs in 154 ABs, and a very pedestrian .667 OPS. Now in his fifth season, Andujar is a bit of an enigma, with what is looking like an injury-plagued career. He had a breakout season in 2018 with 27 HRs, 83 runs, 92 RBIs, .297 AVG, and .855 OPS. It was that season that translated into a 7yr/70M contract for Andujar, so he’ll have every opportunity to live up to that deal.

RP Kirby Yates, FA (32%)

The Blue Jays signed Yates to a one-year deal to be their closer this season. He never made it out of Spring Training, before needing Tommy John surgery in March. He missed the entire 2021 season and will miss the start of the 2022 season but he was one of the premier closers in the game before the injury and should be back by mid-year to help you in the second half. You cannot dismiss his 2019 season which was historic. In 60 appearances Yates had 101 Ks in 60.1 innings, (15.1/9IP), with 41 saves, 1.19 ERA, and 0.89 WHIP.

SP Justin Verlander, FA (39%)

Verlander is the consummate professional, and future Hall of Famer. He’ll be back at full strength in 2022, with the only question being where he’ll be pitching. He won the Cy Young in 2019 and was the runner-up in 2018. He will anchor any pitching staff he joins, most likely on a contending team.

SP Mike Clevinger, San Diego Padres (44%)

Another victim of Tommy John surgery, Clevinger will be ready for the start of the 2022 season. From 2017-19 Clevinger was one of the best pitchers in the AL, for the Cleveland Indians. Over those three seasons, he was 20 games over 500, with a 38-18 combined record. He added a 10.38/9ip ratio. He’ll be back healthy in 2022, pitching for a stacked San Diego team that already has Blake Snell, Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove in the rotation. A healthy Clevinger is a perennial Cy Young contender, who is a lock for 15-plus wins and 200 Ks on the Padres next year.

Sometimes the key to winning a championship is the decisions and moves you make the season before. Adding some of these pieces will immediately put you ahead of your league rivals.

For comprehensive fantasy football rankings – including the consensus for standard, half-PPR and PPR formats, as well as rankings for dynasty and other formats, visit DrRoto.com’s Rankings.