Buy or Sell - Underowned and Overowned Players for Week 5

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The weather's warming up and so is the trade market in fantasy leagues. You've likely received a few unsavory trade offers by now that leave you wondering what people think before hitting the "Propose Trade" button. While you don't want to be that guy, there are opportunities to be had if you can figure out which players to flip and for whom.

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.

Early in the season, my values will be based more on ADP than performance due to small sample size. 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 5

Jonathan Schoop (2B, BAL) - 76% owned

The fact that Schoop is owned is less leagues than Chris Owings (see below) is hard to fathom. Schoop has been criminally underrated since last season and I'm not sure why people refuse to buy into him. I even saw him outright dropped in two of my leagues this past week, even though he's picked up three home runs and 12 RBI in the last 12 games. He's raised his average to .294, lowered his K% this season to 15.8% and is fifth in RBI among all second basemen. He could stand to improve his 74.5% Contact% and 14% SwStr%, but he seems to be the type of player who makes the most out of his contact. If anything, his .278 BABIP shows that he could be faring even better. Schoop belongs in the conversation as a top-10 2B, not on the waiver wire in any format.

Avisail Garcia (OF, CHW) - 69% owned

What's it going to take, a season's worth of MVP-type numbers for people to believe in Garcia? It's understandable why fantasy owners are skeptical after Garcia hit just .245 with a wOBA of .302 last season. He was widely expected to prove his worth last season, but a slow start in the spring relegated him to part-time DH duties. He responded with a mediocre season that included a 25.4% K% and 68.6% Contact%. Garcia has only improved on those numbers slightly this season, but he's making much better contact within the zone (87% Z-Contact%). He's also pulling the ball much more and not settling for soft contact (12.5%). The concerns about his previously terrible plate discipline and the weak pitching he's faced so far are fair criticisms, but Garcia's ability to hit for power should at least be taken seriously for now as he's always had the hit tool to perform this way when it all clicks (it has).

Julio Urias (SP, LAD) - 75% owned

It won't be long before the ownership level for this star prospect skyrockets. Urias had a brief stint in his rookie season due to innings limitations, but he impressed for a 20-year old. Urias pitched to a 3.39 ERA and whiffed nearly 10 batters per nine innings. It will take some time for the walks to go away, as is par for the course for young pitchers, but Urias has shown the ability to strand runners at a high rate. His first start of this season was highly effective; he allowed one earned run over 5 2/3 innings. Even if you know he won't give you 200 IP this season, the upside is worth owning. If he's taken in your league, consider offering a more erratic young pitcher like Vince Velasquez, Taijuan Walker, or Kevin Gausman in exchange for Urias' talents.

 

Overrated Players - Week 5

Chris Owings (SS/OF, ARI) - 79% owned

It seems like just two weeks ago I was advocating for fantasy managers to add Owings off the waiver wire. Hopefully you did, because it's time to turn a profit. Owings is hitting .325 with four HR, 19 RBI, and six steals. For perspective, after one month he's driven in more runs than Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Votto. That's also more than Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Abreu combined. The steals aren't a surprise, but the power certainly is. Two more jacks and Owings ties his career-high for a Major League season; he would also be halfway to his minor league season-high. Not to take anything away from him, but two of those homers came against human pitching machine Jered Weaver, who is averaging two HR allowed per game and led the league last year with 37 dingers against him. His absurd 25% HR/FB rate will plummet soon. This is a classic example of a hot start from a young player making him appear much more than he is. If you can flip him for legit shortstp who is off to a slow start like Aledmys Diaz or Dansby Swanson, don't hesitate.

Lorenzo Cain (OF, KC) - 89% owned

Let's face it, Cain's 2015 season appears to be an outlier. That season he finished third in AL MVP voting after hitting .307 with 16 HR, 72 RBI, 101 R, and 28 SB. In every other Major League season, Cain has barely surpassed half those totals in terms of homers and runs scored. His next best RBI total is 56 RBI and last season his stolen base total was cut by 50%. Cain will still deliver a strong average and he's picked up the pace on the base paths this season with six steals already, but the power is non-existent. Those expecting him to put up numbers similar to his peak should prepare for a letdown. He's 31 now and his team is no longer a championship contender. Cain is a fringe third outfielder in mixed leagues and that's solely due to his stolen base production.

Mike Leake (SP, STL) - 80% owned

Here is your annual reminder that Leake is not as good as he looks early on in the year. He generally maintains decent ratios in the first half, but by August and September his career ERA is over 4.70 for each month. Even April-June aren't overly impressive - barely under 4.00 - which shouldn't be a surprise since he's only finished one season with an ERA under 3.50. A mediocre 6.59 K/9 that is actually higher than his 6.12 career mark and a low .250 BABIP should be enough to make you leery. There may not be much of a trade market for Leake, but it's worth a try so you don't have to suffer through those inevitable starts where his luck runs out.

 


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