You've no doubt heard that the Diamondbacks will use a Humidor for the 2018 season, a development that could dramatically limit the number of home runs hit at Chase Field. Of everyone in the Arizona lineup, 1B Paul Goldschmidt is likely the guy who will be least affected from a fantasy standpoint, given that he does everything well. He's still a top-five pick.
3B Jake Lamb was a hot commodity in 2017 drafts, and he rewarded owners by extrapolating what he had done a season earlier over 40 more plate appearances a year later. In other words, what you see is what you get - and while the 30 homers and 100 RBIs are nice, know that you're going to take a minor hit in BA - and his steals don't move the needle.
OF David Peralta has yet to duplicate his out-of-nowhere 2015 campaign - and fantasy owners are losing patience, as indicated by a 252 ADP that ranks 63rd among outfield-eligible players. Combine his lack of upside with the evolution of Chase Field into more of a pitcher's park, and there's little reason to look Peralta's way on draft day.
OF Steven Souza Jr. was available off the waiver wire in most standard leagues in 2017. He finally realized his power potential with 30 home runs, but you know what you're getting in the BA department, which will likely not be much higher than the .239 he managed a year ago. With a change of scenery to hitter's haven Chase Field, he's an ideal flier just before the back-end of standard drafts with an ADP of 185.
Fantasy owners aren't shy about paying for what they think OF A.J. Pollock could be - but an 18th-ranked ADP among outfielders seems a bit too ambitious. Pollock has exactly one full season under his belt, and he turned 30 in December - so don't expect those 39 steals from 2015 to come back. He's a high-risk OF2 that looks better as an OF3.
If any player on the Diamondbacks deserves a higher ADP thanks to El Humidor, it's SP Zack Greinke. He had a solid bounce-back season in 2017 but has allowed 48 homers in two seasons in Arizona. Cut that figure by 20-to-30 percent, and he's back to being one of the top three pitchers in the National League. Don't be afraid to reach for him.
Going from 8-15 in 2016 to 15-5 last season certainly makes SP Robbie Ray look a whole lot better in the draft room. But don't overrate him; the two seasons were actually a lot more similar than you'd think, and last year's hit rate (28 percent) and strand rate (82 percent) are likely to regress significantly. Draft him as your SP2, and strap in.
SP Taijuan Walker put together a mixed bag in his first season with the D-Backs, seeing his walk rate climb from 2.5 to 3.5 but his home-run rate drop from 1.8 to 1.0 (going from Seattle to Arizona, no less.) Look for him to lower that BB rate - and if he can continue to keep the ball in the park, he could make for a sneaky-good pick in the later rounds of your draft.
2B DJ LeMahieu is down to being a two-category contributor - and those who drafted him for a follow-up to that terrific .348 BA he posted in 2016 had to be mildly disappointed that his average dipped nearly 40 points. With the steals gone, the homers and RBIs below average, and the BA super-volatile, you can do better relative to LeMahieu's ADP.
Want to own the infield version of Chris Davis? Here's your chance! SS Trevor Story was a popular pick in last year's drafts, but saw his stock plummet after he failed to improve upon his 27-homer rookie season despite earning 140 more plate appearances. He also struck out an NL-high 191 times. Power is plentiful - so let someone else go for Story.
3B Nolan Arenado is a scary fantasy player, consistently putting up video-game numbers - and is just now reaching his prime. He saw a slight dip in runs scored last season, but made up for it with a career-high BA in addition to his third consecutive 130-RBI campaign. He's the best third baseman in fantasy, and a top-five pick in the majority of formats.
Drafting OF Charlie Blackmon is like buying one of those mystery bubble capsules from a 25-cent vending machine - you have no idea what you're getting, but you're probably going to like it. Blackmon was a terror last season, batting .331 while scoring 137 runs and belting 37 homers. And while the 40-steal days are gone, everything else makes him a top-eight play.
OF Ian Desmond is the prototypical post-hype sleeper after injuries and struggles resulted in him returning just $13 of roto value in his first season in Colorado - well below the $30 he earned in his one season in Texas. Desmond missed just 24 games in four seasons prior to 2017, so expect a major bounce-back; $30 is back in play if he stays healthy.
You might expect SP Jon Gray to have had a noticeable home-road split during his 10-4, 3.67-ERA effort in 2017. And you'd be right - but also wrong. Gray's home ERA was nearly a run lower than his road mark, providing hope that you don't necessarily need to bench him at Coors Field. He's a great option as an SP5, but don't reach.
SP Chad Bettis is a wonderful story, returning to baseball late last season after a fight with testicular cancer. But his fantasy value remains low after he struggled in his nine-game showing in 2017, after winning 14 games a season earlier. He isn't enough of a strikeout pitcher to be worth a shot in anything but the deepest of NL-only formats.
SP Tyler Anderson took a step backward in 2017 following a terrific rookie showing; his home-run rate nearly doubled, while his walk rate climbed and his FIP ballooned by more than a point. As with most Rockies starters, you're only using him in favorable matchups - but with a 3.39 career ERA at Coors Field, there's potential here.
Los Angeles Dodgers
1B Cody Bellinger had an ADP of 436 last season, good for 99th among outfielders. Needless to say, he's going a bit earlier this season. It isn't just that Bellinger has 40-homer potential - he's also eligible at two positions (three, if you count corner infield), making him even more attractive. Draft him confidently as your first 1B or OF.
SS Corey Seager's 2017 was quite similar to his 2016, minus a few home runs, 13 batting average points and 20 runs scored. You should draft him assuming he winds up somewhere in the middle this season - which is a decent performance for a shortstop, but not worth his current ADP. He also doesn't steal any bases, hurting his value further.
3B Justin Turner isn't the sexiest corner infield pick, but you can't balk at his production relative to his draft slot. He has returned $20 of value in back-to-back seasons, with only health issues preventing him from going past the $25 mark in 2017. Expect some BA regression this year, but a 75 R-25 HR-75 RBI line is more than acceptable from a starting CI.
OF Chris Taylor looked an awful lot like 2016 Justin Turner last season, except for the 17 stolen bases and 2B eligibility. Those factors make him an intriguing play - and drafters apparently agree, making him a top-10 pick at his position. Expecting a repeat might be a fool's errand, but racking up 500+ PAs in this lineup will allow for R and RBI chances.
OF Yasiel Puig finally stayed healthy in 2017 - and was rewarded with the best season of his career in terms of overall production. His hit tool suggests a boost in BA is coming, and while he might never hit 30 home runs, he doesn't have to; a higher average, combined with double-digit steals, make him a strong OF3 option in standard leagues.
SP Clayton Kershaw will anchor somebody's fantasy rotation - but should it be yours? He has missed 18 starts over the past two seasons, and actually looked mortal at times in 2017 as his home-run and walk rates doubled from year-to-year. He's still an elite pitcher, no doubt, but he carries a lot more risk than he did two years ago.
SP Rich Hill won't give you a full season's worth of starts, but he has proven during his improbable career renaissance that he's capable of providing consistent SP2 value. His elite K rate makes up for his occasional bouts of wildness, and his 6.6 H/9 from last season is just filthy. Draft him with confidence, but expect no more than 25 starts.
If you insist on drafting a closer early, you might as well go big. And they don't get any bigger - or better - than RP Kenley Jansen, who was on another planet last season, allowing just 10 earned runs with 109 strikeouts over 68 1/3 innings. He's the best closer in the game - and could approach 50-save territory on this team.
San Diego Padres
Opinions vary wildly on what fantasy owners should expect from 1B Eric Hosmer this season, so let's look at what we can expect. Good health, 20 home runs and single-digit steals are a virtual certainty. But his runs scored and RBI totals come with wide ranges depending on the rest of the Padres lineup - and his BA is all over the place. You can do better.
SS Freddy Galvis will only be fantasy relevant if he can somehow lock himself into 550+ plate appearances - and on this team, that's a real possibility. His 20-homer season in 2016 looks like a big ol' fluke, but he should reach double digits while stealing 15-to-20 bases (if he can keep his OBP above .300). He's a decent backup SS or an MI in deeper leagues.
Even if the skills aren't quite there yet, OF Manuel Margot should see enough plate appearances to make an impact in counting stats. His speed is the most appealing thing about him, as hitting high in the lineup and building on last year's .313 OBP could yield 20-to-25 swipes. Add in developing power, and he could be a sneaky good OF4 pick.
OF Hunter Renfroe will generate some buzz based on his 26-homer showing with the Padres a season ago - but there are red flags. His swing-and-miss habit is a bad one, and comes with poor plate discipline that saw him post a dreadful .284 OBP. That combination negates anything he does from a power perspective. Avoid him on draft day.
OF Wil Myers is one of the few players in the league capable of putting up a 25-25 season - and with the Padres' lineup expected to be its best in years, he should see his R and RBI totals climb back to 2016 levels (90 R, 94 RBIs). You're taking a hit in the BA department here, but that doesn't matter if Myers comes through in the other categories.
The fact that SP Clayton Richard is the subject of the first Padres pitching write-up tells you everything you need to know about the state of the San Diego rotation. Richard has allowed more than 10 H/9 in each of his past four seasons, and his K rate has never been above 7.0. For the love of fantasy, please leave him off your roster.
SP Luis Perdomo is in the same boat as Richard, surrendering double-digit hits per nine innings with a K rate that has hovered around 6.5 in each of his first two major-league seasons. At just 24, there's still upside here - but those other NL West lineups will chew him up if he can't make significant strides in 2017. You should look elsewhere.
If you absolutely have to have a Padres pitcher on your roster, it should be RP Brad Hand. While he might not see as many save chances as his closer brethren, he'll convert the overwhelming majority of them thanks to a K rate well north of 11 and a minuscule WHIP. He's a terrific option after the top half of closers are off the board.
San Francisco Giants
Not only is C Buster Posey no longer the top catching option in fantasy - he isn't in the top two (Willson Contreras is going slightly ahead of him in NFBC drafts.) The skill of the Giants' lineup will largely determine whether Posey can bounce back in the R and HR departments, but he remains a great BA source even if he's no longer capable of 20 home runs.
1B Brandon Belt has been a fantasy breakout candidate for years - and he finally tried to meet expectations last season by selling out for power. The result: a career-high-tying 18 homers, accompanied by a .241 BA that fell 34 points from the year before. Look for a major correction there, but it's clear that he'll never be a consistent 20-HR guy.
SS Brandon Crawford has always been about the RBIs; he has driven in 75+ runs in three straight seasons. And with the Giants' lineup expected to be much improved, he might finally crack the 90-RBI barrier even if his average remains south of .260. His glove will keep him in the lineup, and if he remains healthy, he should provide great value at his ADP of 337.
3B Evan Longoria is living more off reputation than production heading into 2018, though a move to San Francisco could invigorate him enough to get back to being a reliably productive third baseman. A stark HR/FB dropoff hurt him, and his BA has been barely above average for five straight seasons. He's a borderline 3B2, with little upside left.
OF Andrew McCutchen is no longer a $40 outfielder - but that doesn't mean you should ignore him on draft day. He is incredibly durable, for starters, and bounced back nicely last season after what was arguably the worst year of his career. Take a shot on him as your OF2; if healthy, there's little chance he doesn't return at least $20.
It's safe to say that 2017 was a throwaway campaign for SP Madison Bumgarner, who made just 17 starts and looked nothing like an ace in half of them. That K rate should get back to 9.0 or higher, and his 1.4 HR/9 rate isn't likely to remain that high. And let's not forget, he's only 28 - so confidently draft him as a back-end SP1 or an elite SP2.
SP Johnny Cueto was one of the most disappointing players in all of fantasy baseball, going from a $30 return in 2016 to a big fat zero last season. As with most players who endure massive performance swings, the 2018 version will fall somewhere in the middle - and given his age and control issues, it's probably on the lower end of that scale.
If you only study his ERA, SP Jeff Samardzija looks like a bust - but there was a lot more to him. His K rate jumped to a respectable 8.9, his WHIP actually shrank to its lowest level since 2014, and his 3.61 FIP suggested he was rather unlucky. He shouldn't be one of your top five starters, but he's a terrific late-draft option if limited to favorable matchups.