Daily Dr. Roto — February 28
Fantasy Preview in a Nutshell: Houston Astros
C Brian McCann — McCann is not the catching stud that he was a just a few years ago, but he still can be counted on for about 20 HR and 60 RBIs.
1B Yuli Gurriel — So many Fantasy owners will pass on Gurriel because he is not a big power hitter. That would be a mistake. He is a terrific hitter who can give you solid production at your corner infield spot. He hits in the lower half of possibly the best lineup in baseball. Gurriel is currently suffering from a hand injury; watch that closely to make sure he doesn’t miss any time at the beginning of the season.
2B Jose Altuve — Altuve is without a doubt one of the top five players in Fantasy Baseball. He hits for power, average, scores runs and has plenty of speed. What’s amazing is that he is only 27 years old, so it is possible that he might get even better!
SS Carlos Correa — I think Correa is on the precipice of a breakout season. He only had 422 at bats last year, and he hit .315 with 24 HR and 84 RBIs. Assuming he has a 600 at bat season, he could be a 30-100 hitter, and there is the outside possibility that he can steal 10-15 bases. He’s going at the end of the first round, and I love his upside.
3B Alex Bregman — The Astros were patient with Bregman since they initially brought him up in 2016 and it has paid off. Bregman’s confidence has grown, and he is turning into one of the top young hitters in the league. Right now, Bregman is going in the mid-third round of most drafts, and I have no problem with that. In fact, he might end up this year with second-round value.
OF George Springer — At one time Fantasy owners were expecting Springer to join the 40-40 club of elite talents. As Springer has developed in the league, it might be a distinct possibility that he hits 40 HR, although I don’t think he will still 40 bases. That said, he is a terrific late second round pick and a run-scoring machine.
OF Josh Reddick — Drafting Reddick is like going into a Baskin and Robbins Ice Cream Store and ordering vanilla. There is nothing wrong with him, but there are way more interesting options out there. I can see another season of 15-60 but not much more.
OF Marwin Gonzalez — I am not sure that Marwin is going to ever do what he did last year again, but I love the fact that he qualifies at four different positions. Fantasy owners often forget that there are a ton of injuries that can happen over the course of a season. Gonzalez’s flexibility can come in handy over 162 games both in real life and on your Fantasy team.
DH Evan Gattis — Gattis struggled with injuries last season (head and neck) and only had 300 at bats. The good news is that he is supposedly healthy again and he should slot in as the team’s primary DH and part-time catcher. Draft Gattis for his bat; keep him because he is a huge advantage at a weak position.
SP Dallas Keuchel — After an awful 2016, Keuchel bounced back in 2017 and was dominant once again. He should get a ton of wins and have a solid WHIP, but I do worry that he won’t pitch deep into games. He is a terrific SP3 for any Fantasy roster.
SP Justin Verlander — Verlander is now 35 years old, but he probably has the arm of a man ten years older. I have the sneaky feeling that he is going to slow down soon, but that said, I still think he is a boon to the Astros staff, especially if they are going to make another playoff run. I am likely to pass on him, but I can’t blame you if you are willing to give him another ride as your team’s Ace.
SP Gerrit Cole — A couple of years ago, Cole looked like he was going to be the next dominant young pitcher in the game. However, in 2017, Cole threw too many fastballs over the plate and let up 31 home runs. Most NL hurlers struggle when they come over to the AL mainly because of the tougher lineups. That might be the case with Cole, but I think Cole will improve his numbers this season playing on a much better team. A little confidence with Cole could go a long way.
SP Lance McCullers — I like McCullers, but I am not sure that he is ever going to start 30 games. That said, I think you can count on McCullers for about 150 innings which would be just fine since that could mean he will have close to 200 Ks.
SP Charlie Morton — If you drafted Charlie Morton last year I am proud of you. You made a great pick, and you benefitted from his outstanding season. Do I trust that Morton can do it again in 2018? No chance. I would do anything I could to move Morton in keeper leagues hoping I could find an owner who likes him more than I do.
RP Chris Devenski — Do yourself a favor -- when your draft gets to the point that you are looking at mediocre starting pitchers stop what you are doing and take a closer look at middle relievers. Pitchers like Devenksi are invaluable in multiple categories such as ERA, WHIP, and K/IP. And, if Giles continues to suffer, Devenski might just get a few saves as well.
RP Ken Giles — Will the real Ken Giles please stand up? Giles was lights out in the regular season and got his lights punched out in the playoffs last year. Do I trust him to close all season for the Astros? Not as far as I can throw him.
Stash and Cash: OF Kyle Tucker — Tucker is an outstanding five-tool prospect, and his name has come up in trade rumors with the Marlins for J.T. Realmuto. If the Astros are in “win now” mode, I can see Tucker getting moved by the All-Star Break. He is a must-own in all dynasty league formats.