We do as much research as possible before the season, we keep up on injury news and call-ups, study who is hot or who is underperforming, and we scour daily matchup info and weather reports to see if maybe that, after everything else, will give us an edge. But the moment when fantasy sports is the most FUN, the moment when we realize we are sports fans before anything else, is when something unexpected happens. A big upset in the playoffs, a monster individual performance, a walk-off hit or no-hitter, a 5-run rally – these are the moments that keep us coming back to the games we love. And that time you drafted a guy for $3,000 and he went 4-4 to win you a tourney, or the time you loved that one rookie when he was still in the minors, so you picked him up on day 1 and he went on to win rookie of the month, or the time you actually started that guy who threw the no-hitter… but those days are not your bread-and-butter – you just need to know where to find solid value to succeed day in and day out, not try to continuously catch lightning in a bottle. But those days do make for the best stories.
We have talked about Domonic Brown ($5,400), but not about Evan Gattis ($3,600). Or Yasiel Puig ($3,800). And we probably should, because guys like these are the fun part about playing fantasy baseball. Young guys, we had no real idea when or if they would emerge on the fantasy scene or what impact they would have and yet, here we are. They are on the scene, officially.
Gattis was the NL Rookie of the Month in April AND May – pretty good start, that. He is 26, he has played several different positions for the Braves (C and OF eligibility on DraftKings – and Catcher can be a tough one to fill), and he is hitting .270 with 13 HR and 33 RBI (SLG .608). But for the last four games, you say, he is 1-11! And he didn’t start for two of the last three! So keep your eye on him, I say, and see if he turns it around, but in the meantime, start looking for a guy to catch on the front end of a streak like that, rather than the back.
Yasiel Puig has the smallest of small sample sizes – only 4 games – but he has made the most of them. So far he is 7-16 with three HRs and 9 RBI. Last night he powered a 5-0 Dodgers win over the Braves with a 1-out eighth-inning grand slam. He is the definition of a surprise story: a 22-year old Cuban defector, it was virtually impossible to know too much about this guy. What we know is what we’ve seen so far, and what’s not to like? He has no walks, but only three K’s, so he is up there making contact. He is slugging a ridiculous 1.063 – again, small sample size – but he also was hitting .313 and slugging .599 in 40 AA games this season, so this production does not seem to be a fluke. The Dodgers certainly didn’t wait to get him in their lineup – is it going to take you too long to do the same?