Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

Champ or Chump: Ryan McMahon and Victor Robles

Every draft season, it seems like somebody who had a hot September the previous season ends up overdrafted and ruining their fantasy owner's chances. One of the hallmarks of a successful fantasy season is avoiding these pitfalls, but it can be tough to distinguish legitimate breakouts from flashes in the pan.

It's still early, but the two players listed below figure to have 2020 draft costs in excess of the numbers their peripherals suggest they should be expected to produce. Ryan McMahon seems to have solidified the second base job in Colorado but looks like an Ian Desmond clone without the speed. Victor Robles can run like the wind, but his contact quality is more reminiscent of Joey Gathright than a major league regular.

Keep in mind, our Champ / Chump conclusions are based on whether we think a player will outperform their expectations. For example, a pitcher we view as "Tier 2" can be a Champ if they're seen as a Tier 3 pitcher, or they could be a Chump if they're perceived as a Tier 1 pitcher. All ownership rates are from Yahoo! leagues unless otherwise noted. Let's take a closer look at McMahon and Robles, shall we?

Featured Promo: Get any full-season MLB and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Team Sync platform, Premium articles, daily Matchup Rating projections, 15 lineup tools, DFS cheat sheets, Research Stations, Lineup Optimizers and much more! Sign Up Now!


Ryan McMahon (1B/2B/3B)

58% Owned

McMahon's season line looks fine at first glance: .264/.344/.460 with 18 HR and five steals (one CS). However, a deeper look reveals two key issues. First, he strikes out far too often for a guy with average power numbers. Second, he doesn't hit anywhere near enough airborne balls to fully take advantage of Denver's thin air.

McMahon draws his fair share of walks (11 BB%, 29.5% chase rate), but his 29.1 K% is a bit tough to swallow. There is a ton of swing and miss in his game (15.2 SwStr%), much of which comes on pitches inside the strike zone (only 77 Z-Contact%). Coors Field is a fantastic place to hit, but strikeouts are useless even there.

You could live with an elevated strikeout rate if McMahon was providing game-changing power, but a 28.1 FB% makes significant power production difficult to count on. His career mark at the MLB level stands at an identical 28.1%, and the 24-year-old hasn't posted an above-average FB% since a 42.2% rate at Double-A in 2016. While it's possible McMahon will overhaul his swing and produce more power in 2020, paying as though it is a certainty is a bad idea. It's a shame, as his average airborne exit velocity is actually quite good (95.6 mph, but only 9.2% Brls/BBE).

McMahon also has stark home and road splits that make him completely unrosterable half of the time. His .302/.365/.523 line with 14 HR at home is great, suggesting that he can make good use of Coors. Unfortunately, a .223/.323/.340 line with four homers and 31.3 K% is awful. If you own McMahon in 2019, it's best to only start him at home if you can. If you're considering him in 2020, only pay for half a season's worth of starts.

The Rockies don't seem to trust McMahon just yet, generally hitting him fifth or sixth in the lineup. He's fine as a streamer with multi-positional eligibility (at least 10 games at 1B, 2B, and 3B this year), but isn't some kind of fantasy stalwart. Treat him accordingly.

Verdict: Chump (based on elevated strikeout totals and a low FB%)


Victor Robles (OF, WSH)

78% Owned

Robles has combined power (16 HR) and speed (23 SB, eight CS) in his first full fantasy campaign, and his .251 batting average can be worked around. It's an enticing combination in 5X5 roto leagues, and it's not hard to imagine him commanding a premium price on exam day. The problem here is that the 22-year old's contact quality has been atrocious.

Of the 365 big league batters with at least 100 batted ball events, Robles's 88.6 mph average airborne exit velocity ranks 339th. This is bad, as the speedster hits a relatively high number of fly balls (38.4 FB%) and way too many pop-ups (14.3 IFFB%) for somebody with his legs. His BABIP is only .304 overall, and his .097 mark on fly balls has a lot to do with it. Similarly, one should expect Robles's 13.4% HR/FB to plummet if he repeats such meager contact quality without a nitro-charged ball next year. Ultimately, fantasy owners want Robles to reach base and steal the next. He should leave the homers to somebody else.

That said, Robles .228 BABIP on ground balls is also below what you would expect. The problem is similar but even more extreme: Robles has the lowest average exit velocity on grounders (73 mph) among MLB players with at least 100 batted ball events. It isn't even close, as second-to-last Delino DeShields Jr. beats him by a tick and a half (74.4 mph). Remember, DeShields hasn't been able to stick in the majors because he hasn't hit enough. Robles has been significantly worse as a guy with a comparable profile.

Robles's combination of weak fly balls and even weaker ground balls leave Baseball Savant thoroughly unimpressed with his work. His xBA (which may not give him enough credit for his 29.2 ft./sec Statcast Sprint Speed) stands at .228, a number that could be tough for both the Nationals and fantasy owners to live with. His xSLG is even lower relative to his actual mark (.355 xSLG vs. .428 SLG), suggesting that the homers are likely to dry up as well.

Scouts didn't see such poor contact quality coming, as the FanGraphs team gave him 50/50 raw power, 45/50 game power, and a 60/65 hit tool. Baseball Savant concurred, giving Robles 60-grade hit and 50-grade power tools. Robles could flip a switch and meet these expectations, but it may not happen in 2019 or even 2020. Blindly betting on linear prospect development has proven again and again to be a poor play, no matter what the scouts say.

Robles has meh plate discipline (6 BB%, 23.5 K%), so he'll need to hit in order to reach the lofty SB ceiling his raw wheels. He's also hitting toward the bottom of Washington's lineup, a trend that's likely to continue unless Robles starts hitting the ball harder. Growing pains seem likely moving forward here.

Verdict: Chump (based on how bad his contact quality is)


More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts


Damien Harris2 hours ago

Not Expected To Play Thursday Night
Joel Embiid2 hours ago

Returns Against Hawks
Los Angeles Rams2 hours ago

Aaron Donald Dealing With High-Ankle Sprain
Clint Capela3 hours ago

De'Andre Hunter To Play On Monday
Melvin Gordon III3 hours ago

Expected To Sign With Chiefs
Anthony Davis3 hours ago

Likely To Suit Up Monday
Christian McCaffrey3 hours ago

Dealing With Knee Irritation
Brandon Ingram3 hours ago

Downgraded To Out
Jaylen Brown3 hours ago

To Miss Monday's Game
Elijah Mitchell3 hours ago

Likely Out 6-8 Weeks
Pascal Siakam3 hours ago

Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam To Play Monday
Michael Carter3 hours ago

Has A Low-Ankle Sprain
Terry Rozier3 hours ago

Ruled Out On Monday
Joe Mixon3 hours ago

Trending In The Right Direction For Week 13
Darnell Mooney3 hours ago

Done For The Season
James Reimer3 hours ago

Placed On Injured Reserve
Linus Ullmark3 hours ago

Available For The Next Game
Alex Pietrangelo4 hours ago

Out Monday For Personal Reasons
Nick Perbix4 hours ago

Returns On Monday
Robert Thomas4 hours ago

Misses Monday's Game
Warren Foegele4 hours ago

Ryan McLeod Out Monday
John Gibson4 hours ago

Joins Team For Trip To Nashville
Justin Verlander6 hours ago

Dodgers Meeting With Justin Verlander Monday
J.K. Dobbins6 hours ago

To Practice This Week
José Abreu6 hours ago

Astros "Finalizing A Deal For" Jose Abreu
Mike Clevinger7 hours ago

Signs With White Sox
Jameson Williams7 hours ago

A Long Shot To Face Jaguars
Kadarius Toney7 hours ago

Day-To-Day With Hamstring Injury
Caris LeVert7 hours ago

Probable For Monday
Dallas Mavericks8 hours ago

Kemba Walker Expected To Sign With Mavericks
Jarrett Allen8 hours ago

Remains Sidelined Monday
Kevin Love8 hours ago

To Sit Out On Monday
Jaden McDaniels8 hours ago

To Miss Monday's Game
Joel Embiid8 hours ago

Tagged As Questionable For Monday
Travis Etienne Jr.9 hours ago

Says He's Fine
Ja'Marr Chase9 hours ago

Expected To Return In Week 13
Mo Bamba12 hours ago

Exits With Back Spasms
Evan Mobley12 hours ago

Stands Out Versus Detroit
Jaylen Brown12 hours ago

Scores Season-High 36 Points
Bradley Beal12 hours ago

Scores 30 Points In Sunday's Loss
Tyler Herro12 hours ago

Notches A Triple-Double Versus Atlanta
Draymond Green12 hours ago

Logs First Double-Double Of The Season
Grayson Allen12 hours ago

Nets Season-High 25 Points
Aaron Rodgers12 hours ago

To Undergo More Testing
Aaron Rodgers22 hours ago

Questionable To Return On Sunday
Elijah Mitchell23 hours ago

May Have An MCL Sprain
Jalen Brunson23 hours ago

Scores 30 Points In Losing Effort
Darnell Mooney23 hours ago

May Be Done For The Year
Allen Robinson II1 day ago

Needs Surgery, Won't Return This Season
Elijah Mitchell1 day ago

Won't Return On Sunday
Elijah Mitchell1 day ago

Questionable To Return Against Saints
Kirill Kaprizov1 day ago

Extends Scoring Streak To Career-High Nine Games
Matias Maccelli1 day ago

Returns With Two Assists
Johnny Gaudreau1 day ago

Sits Out Sunday's Practice With An Illness
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1 day ago

X-Rays Negative On Tristan Wirfs
Adam Fox1 day ago

Misses Practice With An Illness
Sam Lafferty1 day ago

Sits Again Sunday
Aleksander Barkov1 day ago

Set To Miss Two More Games
Brock Boeser1 day ago

Matches Career-High Point Streak
J.T. Miller1 day ago

Leads The Way With Three Points
Ryan Pulock1 day ago

Hands Out Four Assists
Auston Matthews1 day ago

Notches Three Points Against Pittsburgh
Jack Hughes1 day ago

Gets His First Career Hat Trick
Jordan Kyrou1 day ago

Extends Point Streak With Two Goals
Brayden Schenn1 day ago

Getting Evaluated For A Lower-Body Injury
Ryan McLeod2 days ago

Delivers Three Assists Saturday
Carlos Santana3 days ago

Pirates Agree With Carlos Santana On Friday
Narciso Crook3 days ago

Red Sox Sign Narciso Crook To Minor-League Deal
Denyi Reyes3 days ago

Mets Sign Denyi Reyes
Milwaukee Brewers3 days ago

Blake Perkins Signs With Brewers
Elliot Soto3 days ago

Twins Re-Sign Elliot Soto
Los Angeles Angels3 days ago

Angels Sign Jacob Webb
Xander Bogaerts3 days ago

Padres Looking At Xander Bogaerts?
Brandon Nimmo3 days ago

Rays Among Teams Interested In Brandon Nimmo
Michael Conforto3 days ago

Cubs Considering Michael Conforto
Hoy Park4 days ago

Red Sox Acquire Hoy Park From Pirates
Chad Wallach5 days ago

Angels Re-Sign Chad Wallach
Cody Bellinger5 days ago

Rockies Interested In Cody Bellinger
Carlos Rodón5 days ago

Rangers Have Serious Interest In Carlos Rodon
Aaron Judge5 days ago

Giants Expected To Make Formal Offer To Aaron Judge
Bryce Harper5 days ago

Undergoes Tommy John Surgery
Hoy Park5 days ago

Pirates Designate Hoy Park For Assignment
Joely Rodríguez5 days ago

Red Sox Sign Joely Rodriguez
Hunter Renfroe5 days ago

Brewers Acquire Janson Junk In Hunter Renfroe Trade