Buy or Sell - Underowned and Overowned Players for Week 20

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Football season? What's that? While many of us start to get engrossed in training camp reports and exhibition game snap counts, the true die-hard baseball fans are still working the waiver wire to find late-season gems. Trade deadlines have already passed in many fantasy leagues, so I'll focus more on lesser-owned players to assess their value, rather than potential buy-low or sell-high candidates. If your league doesn't cut off trading in August, remember that it's never too late to take advantage of a desperate owner trying to stay out of the basement.

Scouting players who may be undervalued and re-assessing players who may be overvalued is a weekly exercise that you should pursue. Fortunately, I have you covered. Here are a few players who are good buy or sell candidates based on their current performance compared to ownership levels. This could mean scooping them off waivers if possible or actively seeking a trade to acquire or discard certain players in order to maximize value.

I will include one player at each key position group (Infield, Outfield, Pitcher). Ownership levels are taken from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports.

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Underrated Players - Week 20

Cesar Hernandez (2B, PHI) 33% owned

Hernandez just saw his 13-game hitting streak snapped, but responded the next day with a pair of hits, including a home run. He doesn't stand out with elite tools, but he's producing across all categories just as he did before his oblique injury. Hernandez is currently hitting .293 with 12 steals and 58 runs scored over 81 games played. 10 HR and 20 SB may be his ceiling, but combined with a high average that makes for a nice MI pickup that's readily available.

Brian Goodwin (OF, WAS) 5% owned

Goodwin has been the starting center fielder for the division-leading Nationals most of this season, yet he's managed to stay completely off the fantasy radar. It might shock you to discover that Goodwin would be on pace for a 30-homer season if he logged a full 600 at-bats, which won't happen. He's scored 40 runs in 72 games, which shouldn't be shocking since he's on one of the best offensive teams in the league. His .248 average may be turning people away, but it hasn't stopped Logan Morrison, Ryon Healy and Scott Schebler from being widely owned. The difference is they got off to hot starts and have been starting from day one of the season. Goodwin is a nice value if you still need power in a fourth outfielder or utility player.

Parker Bridwell (SP, LAA) 35% owned

This former Orioles farmhand is making a name for himself in the Angels rotation with a slew of quality starts. He's 6-1 with seven QS in 10 tries so far. Bridwell certainly doesn't dominate batters; he's struck out more than five just once in a game and holds a 15.8% K% this season. He's been effective at keeping runners off the base paths and stranding them when they do reach (86.6% LOB%). Naturally there could be regression to the mean in that respect, but that would be more of a concern if it were earlier in the year. Bridwell's fantasy success may be living on borrowed time according to his peripherals, but he may be able to squeeze out a few more decent starts over the remaining weeks. Other than a three-day visit by Houston, the Angels play a relatively weak schedule the rest of the way.

 

Overrated Players - Week 20

Jonathan Lucroy (C, COL) 83% owned

As if he hadn't disappointed fantasy managers enough this season, Lucroy's move to Coors Field served to prolong the pain. A change of environment and spot in the Rockies lineup immediately gave bitter Lucroy owners a glimmer of hope that he could provide some value throughout August and September, but it just isn't happening. He's batting a mediocre .250 with no homers and a handful of games missed in the last two weeks. Sure, there's plenty of time left, but Lucroy just hasn't looked like the same player since he left Milwaukee.

Gregory Polanco (OF, PIT) 65% owned

It just isn't his year. The WBC will prove to be the highlight of Polanco's 2017 it seems. After yet another DL stint for a hamstring strain, Polanco teased with an impressive three-run homer on August 4, but hasn't driven in a run ever since. The surprising speed he was providing early in the season is gone and won't return as he tries to keep his hamstring from getting injured again. His .256/.313/.409 slash line is almost identical to his career averages, so he isn't really underperforming as much as it seems. The question that should be asked is why he was being drafted as a top-20 outfielder in the first place.

Jose Berrios (SP, MIN) 81% owned

His impressive rookie campaign has been tarnished a bit since the All-Star break. Berrios has been alternating dominating and disastrous starts, culminating in a 2-3 record and 4.81 ERA since the second half got underway. Fatigue could certainly play a part, as he's within 30 innings of matching his previous high in a season. With the Twins still in the thick of the divisional race, Berrios will stick in the rotation, but could take more lumps if he continues on his current path. His ground ball rate and strikeout percentage have both dropped in the second half - not good signs for a young pitcher who could lose his way. Berrios is an undeniable talent and is not overrated in any way as a player, but his fantasy ownership indicates he is being started in most mixed leagues every week. If you are in the race for first place in your fantasy league, depending on a rookie starter down the stretch could be a mistake.

 

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