After a hectic first week of the fantasy baseball, let’s take a look back at the surprises and injuries and find out what players you should add.
The first official week of the fantasy baseball season is in the books and there is a lot to talk about. The New York Mets are 7-1. Bryce Harper is crushing the ball out of the park almost every game. Shohei Ohtani is dominating teams on both sides of the ball.
Whether you play in head-to-head or roto leagues, the first week is a good indicator of what your team’s strengths and weaknesses are. While I wouldn’t go a blow the whole thing up, you can see what categories you need to improve on. I wouldn’t make major changes until May.
If you’re itching to make a move or two, you can cut your last few picks if they aren’t performing. They didn’t cost a lot and you should be able to find better value on the waiver wire, even if it’s for a week or two. I’ll list a few players with low ownership percentages worth adding for this week and beyond.
There have also been some bad performances, like Giancarlo Stanton posting two five-strikeout games within days of each other or Evan Longoria hitting .138 after seven games. Those struggling stars will pull it around and start hitting like the stars they are.
The third thing worth mentioning is the number of injuries we’ve seen early in the season. And that’s not even counting the players that started the season on the DL. Some of the players will be back in the minimum amount of time while others have no timetable for their return, which is tough to gage. I’ll update you on those players holding up a spot on your roster as you wait.
Injuries are worse than under-performing players. At least with the under-performers, they are playing and can accumulate for some stats while working on their game to get back to their normal self. Injured players are stuck on your roster, taking up a spot until they’re healthy, whenever that is.
There have been a lot of top names land on the DL. Here are the updates on those players and when you can expect them back in your lineup.
Eugenio Suarez: The Reds third baseman broke his thumb during an at-bat on Sunday. He recorded a five-RBI game the day before. There hasn’t been a timetable for his return yet, but you should expect Suarez to miss at least a couple of weeks.
There are few third basemen that can match his level of production. As an 18th round pick and 17th third baseman off the board, there will be little options on the waiver.
Scott Schebler: While talking about the Reds, Schebler was placed on the DL with aright elbow/ulnae nerve contusion. His stint was retroactive to April 6. Schebler hasn’t played a game in a week but the three days is the max for a retroactivation for the DL.
He will be eligible to return next Monday but there hasn’t been an update on if he’ll miss more time. Schebler went undrafted so you should be able to add a healthy outfielder in his place.
Christian Yelich: The Brewers added Yelich and Lorenzo Cain to compete with the Cubs this season. He was placed on the DL on Sunday with an oblique injury. These injuries tend to linger as they are aggravated with every swing of the bat or catch attempt in the outfield. MLB Trade Rumors said he’ll miss at least the 10 days but don’t say if he’ll miss more.
Regardless, you are holding onto Yelich regardless of his injury time. He has a great combination of power and contact. Plus, the move to Miller Park helps his value greatly.
Xander Bogaerts: The Red Sox shortstop landed on the DL with a small crack in the talus bone in his left ankle. MLB Trade Rumors reports the Red Sox expect him to be back within 10 to 14 days. He was an eighth-round pick and is hitting .368 with nine RBI. As long as he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, I wouldn’t worry about his performance when he returns.
Rougned Odor: Odor is the newest member of this list. He suffered a hamstring injury in the first inning and is expected to land on the DL. The Rangers offense is a middle-of-the-road offense and will struggle without Odor. He is another one worth holding onto as there are few names worth adding as a replacement.
Anthony Rizzo: While nothing official, the Cubs first baseman is expected to hit the DL, backdated to Friday. I shouldn’t have to say it but you keep this man on your roster unless you can upgrade another position.
Speaking of replacements, dropping your deadweight for the hot hand is a good way to move up in the standing or win that week’s matchup. Just keep in mind that there’s a reason those players weren’t drafted or dropped.
However, there were a few players last season that broke out as waiver wire adds. Hopefully, you can find this year’s diamond in the rough on the waiver wire.
Brian Anderson: The Marlins as a team may not win a lot of games but the offense has some pieces to score some runs and Anderson is one of them. He is hitting .286 with eight RBI. He had another hit and RBI in Monday’s game. If you need a corner infielder or replacement hitter for an injured player, Anderson isn’t a bad option. He’s available in 29.6 percent of ESPN leagues.
Jakob Junis: The Royals pitcher had a good first outing and is in the middle of another one as of this writing. My colleague Gavin Tramps wrote about Junis as a viable two-start pitcher. His next outing will be Saturday against the Angels. He’s owned in just 31.8 percent of leagues.
Nick Ahmed: The Diamondbacks shortstop can’t stop hitting. He has a .406 average with four runs and eight RBI. While the humidor may stifle power in Arizona, Ahmed can still hit to the gaps and get on base. If you need help with your average, he is someone to add. He’s owned in 24.2 percent of leagues.
Reynaldo Lopez: The White Sox are another team with low expectations. Lopez is just one of two pitchers in the White Sox rotation I want to own. He pitched six innings of one-run ball against the Blue Jays and pitched seven shutout innings against the Tigers on Sunday. His next start will be on Friday against the Twins. If you believe in the early success, pick him up. He’s out there in 74.5 percent of leagues.
After all of the injuries and waiver adds, the first week has been just fun to watch. There have been a few players shoot out of the gate right away. Some expected, others not so much. On the flip side, there have been some that are having a down start to the season but their fantasy owners are hoping it ends soon.
Shohei Ohtani: For anyone who thought he wouldn’t be able to pitch and hit, care to change your mind? In the first 10 games of the season, the Angels two-way player is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA, 0.462 WHIP, two walks and 18 strikeouts. He is also hitting .389 with three home runs, seven RBI and four runs.
He has just 18 at-bats so the part-time hitting aspect hurts his value but when he does hit, it usually results in success. Many thought he would perform well but would take a while to adjust, especially after the spring but maybe all he needed was for the games to count.
Bryce Harper: In just nine games, Harper already has six home runs and a .357 average. The power is nothing new from Harper but the rate he’s hitting them out of the park is. At this rate, he’ll hit 90 home runs. Yes, that is an unrealistic number, but if Harper stays healthy he could be a 50-home run hitter this season. He has more homers than five teams!
Giancarlo Stanton: He was one of two 50-home run hitters last year. He may reach 50 strikeouts by the end of the month. Stanton has just three home runs and is hitting .167 so far. At this point last year, he was hitting .280 with two RBI, zero home runs and seven strikeouts. The power wasn’t there but he was at least making contact. The Yankees and his fantasy owners hope he can pick up the pace.
Standings: While the standings mean nothing this early in the season, it’s impressive to see the Mets and Pirates, two teams not expected to compete much, are leading their respective divisions at 7-1 and 7-2. It does help fantasy as a winning team means the hitters are scoring at the pitchers are getting wins, quality starts and saves.
Week 1 was fun, exciting and heartbreaking at the same time. We have 150 more games to play. We should see a few more close perfect games and multi-home run games. The fantasy baseball season is young. You have plenty of time to make up ground in the standings.