Each of the major fantasy platforms allows you to view transaction trends across all leagues – which players other owners are flocking to or running from en masse. Should you follow the wisdom of the crowds, or go against the grain? Let’s find out.
Hitter: Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Washington Nationals
Zimmerman has come flying out of the gate in 2017, hitting .341/.386/.659 with three homers in his first 11 games. After posting easily the worst season of his career last year, fantasy owners are clearly buying a resurgence. A closer look, however, suggests they should be a bit more skeptical. Zimmerman is enjoying some fortune on batted balls (.407 BABIP) and currently boasts a HR/FB% that is twice his career average. There’s been no real change in his approach or swing to support those numbers. Toss in the fact that he hasn’t played a full season since 2013 and is striking out more often than ever before, and the verdict is clear. Avoid.
Pitcher: Kendall Graveman, SP, Oakland Athletics
Graveman established himself as your typical innings eater last season, using a groundball-heavy approach and limiting walks enough to post serviceable numbers. He’s opened the season with a 2-0 record, 2.00 ERA, and 1.00 WHIP in three starts. Those are some nice, round numbers…but so is his strand rate, which currently checks in at 100%. Obviously, that’s unsustainable. Graveman is also benefiting from a .204 BABIP (career .290) despite allowing a higher rate of quality contact than ever before, and still having trouble keeping the ball in the yard. Avoid.
Hitter: Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
So far this season, Buxton has come to the plate 42 times. He has struck out in exactly half of those opportunities, while walking once. He has only four hits – two singles and two doubles – and one stolen base. In short, this is exactly the kind of start nobody wanted to see from Buxton. The former top prospect is still just 23, but the contact issues that have plagued him at the big-league level don’t appear to have gone away. Owners in dynasty leagues should continue to be patient, but those in redraft formats can feel free to explore other options. Cut.
Pitcher: Matt Shoemaker, SP, Los Angeles Angels
Shoemaker has a reputation for inconsistency, and he’s come by it honestly. He’s made 74 starts since the beginning of the 2014 season. 16 times, he’s allowed four or more runs. 15 times, he’s allowed zero. What makes Shoemaker such a volatile asset? Simple – he’s entirely reliant on his splitter. When it’s working, he is often dominant. When it’s not, he’s a batting practice pitcher, prone to giving up home runs in bunches. He’s allowed four homers in 15 innings so far this season. Cut.