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Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers for Week 5

kyle tucker fantasy baseball rankings MLB news draft sleepers DFS lineup picks

There is nothing quite like the ebbs and flows of fantasy baseball. Every at-bat of every game is the final straw based on that moment whereas in reality, players will have hundreds more across the next dozen weeks to neutralize whatever outcome came about.

Across the past month, plenty of recently unknown players have thrived in fantasy baseball while many perennial All-Stars have disappointed. Below, I discuss which of the known commodities should work their way back to fantasy stardom and which flavor of the month may stick.

For all complaints, contact Kev Mahserejian on X (@RotoSurgeon). Without further ado, here are your Risers and Fallers for Week 5 of the fantasy baseball season!

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Fantasy Baseball Risers

Keaton Winn, San Francisco Giants

11% Rostered on Yahoo

Keaton Winn is proving himself as one of the Giants' top starters despite a tumultuous spring training due to elbow inflammation that delayed the start of his season. Winn's 3.54 ERA through five starts is mirrored by a 3.51 xFIP, which suggests there is no luck to his performance.

Winn is a talented SP. He posted a 3.89 xFIP and 3.72 SIERA last season in 42 1/3 innings but health has been an issue in the past as he missed the entirety of 2021. However, with a buildup to 100 IP in 2023, we could reasonably see him pitch upward of 150 IP in 2024.

Verdict: With his next start coming this Sunday against a struggling Pittsburgh offense, Winn should be rostered moving forward, but is benchable in tougher matchups until further notice.

Wilyer Abreu, Boston Red Sox

6% Rostered on Yahoo

Wilyer Abreu is slashing .280/.390/.440 this season with four SB, nine runs, seven RBI, and one HR. This balanced line may not blow anyone away but remains appealing across all league types. Unfortunately, Abreu is outperforming his expected stats by a wide margin:

  • Abreu's AVG - .280
  • Abreu's xAVG - .196
  • Abreu's SLG - .440
  • Abreu's xSLG - .336

With his speed and the friendly confines of Fenway Park, Abreu could continue outperforming these metrics as players of his archetype do year-over-year but, with a .406 BABIP, there is reason to believe even moderate regression would make him unusable in most fantasy formats along with his lack of playing time versus left-handed pitching.

Verdict: Ride the hot hand for now in deeper leagues but cut at the first sign of struggle.

Yariel Rodriguez, Toronto Blue Jays

20% Rostered on Yahoo

Whatever Yariel Rodriguez is doing has worked thus far through his first two career MLB starts. Fewer than 10 IP is tough to take much away from, especially given that both his starts did not surpass four innings, yet we should be in awe of the numbers Rodriguez posted.

13 strikeouts to just three walks with two earned runs across 7 2/3 innings is stellar. Not every day do we see a 31.3% K-BB, but again, it is early. Reports indicate that his job security within the rotation is shaky due to Alek Manoah's "impending" return and predetermined workload restrictions on Rodriguez.

Manoah performed well in his most recent Triple-A start, but with his injury and performance concerns since 2023, it is fair to question whether he sustains success at MLB level, if at all achieved once again. Assuming Rodriguez is moved to the bullpen as a corresponding move, he is worth holding and starting in fantasy lineups given his per-inning rates and presumed talent.

Verdict: Roster and wait out injury and/or failure to rotation.

 

Fantasy Baseball Fallers

Adbert Alzolay, Chicago Cubs

77% Rostered on Yahoo

Adbert Alzolay's 2023 season was promising as he embarked on his first full season as a reliever. With the Cubs no longer employing a full-time closer, he earned the role after beating out fellow converted starter Mark Leiter Jr. With 22 saves in 25 opportunities converted, a 2.67 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 21.3% K-BB, Alzolay looked like a legitimate closer heading into 2024.

Unfortunately, Alzolay's season thus far has been anything but bright. In seven save opportunities, he has already blown more (four) than all of 2023. His 4.09 ERA and 1.27 WHIP are not egregious but far from what one expects from a full-time closer. Bright spots like his 3.56 SIERA and 3.69 xFIP are hard to focus on as he has not been granted a vote of confidence by new manager Craig Counsell.

Hector Neris earned the most recent Cubs' save opportunity but that came in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday in which both Alzolay and Leiter Jr. pitched in Game 1.

Verdict: Continue rostering Alzolay if you have him given that he has pitched the ninth inning almost exclusively, but if you do not, take a stab at Mark Leiter Jr., whose season to date looks similar to a stellar 2023. Neris is an option as well but he has pitched very poorly this season. Drop Alzolay if the job is passed on elsewhere.

Alex Bregman, Houston Astros

95% Rostered on Yahoo

Alex Bregman is one of the steadiest hitters in all of baseball. His start to the 2024 season is awful by all means, but with a track record like his while recently turning 30 years old, there is no reason to believe he suddenly forgot how to play. Also, a slow start is nothing new as he struggled early in 2023 as well!

From the start of the 2023 season (March 30) through May 14, Bregman slashed .204/.320/.322 with four HRs, 21 runs, and 16 RBI. While this extended stretch was even more reason to panic than his current struggles, he managed a higher walk rate (14%) than strikeout rate (9.6%), leaving savvy fantasy managers holding until he regained form, which occured soon after.

From May 15 onward, Bregman slashed .281/.377/.479 with 21 HRs, 82 runs, and 82 RBI. His strikeout rate and walk rate mirrored one another in this span as they do currently at 11.1%.

Verdict: Hold tight if you have him but buy if you do not!

Nolan Jones, Colorado Rockies

88% Rostered on Yahoo

Nolan Jones is one of the most frustrating top-round picks of 2024. His start to the season could not be scripted worse with a .148 AVG and 37.5% K rate. While he has provided some semblance of counting stats between one HR, two SB, 10 runs, and seven RBI, his inconsistencies at the plate and lack of execution at his hitter-friendly home park make for rightfully disgruntled managers.

Jones left Tuesday's game due to back stiffness and it would behoove management to consider a 10-day IL stint just to reset him regardless of his back's health. The Rockies are not contending in 2024 and could afford to lose him for two weeks while plugging in anyone else for an opportunity in the starting lineup.

Nevertheless, Jones and the other Rockies do not truly benefit from Coors Field's factors until summer when the ball travels further through the thin air on hotter days.

Verdict: Pray for a short IL stint to deactivate him from starting lineups, but if healthy, bench during every away game until further notice and roster until the end of May hoping for change. Jones' upside between HR and SB is still tantalizing despite a poor supporting cast for the sake of runs and RBI.



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