Team Preview Series
New York Yankees
There is a reason why they are called the Bronx Bombers, and this year the nickname especially holds true. This team is filled with superstar power all over the field. As a Red Sox fan, it hurts to know that this season will not amount to anything, but it hurts, even more, knowing that the Yankees are well-positioned to make a deep playoff run. At literally every position the Yankees have a player (or two or three) that will hold value in fantasy leagues this year and as for DFS, they will provide for a ton of offensive production on a nightly basis. There are very few teams that will have fantasy contributors at every single position, but the Yankees are certainly one of them. Just look at their depth chart. They have 11 guys that are being drafted in the first 22 rounds. They have 7 guys that are being drafted within the first 6-7 rounds.
Let’s start off with Luke Voit, 1B, with an ADP of 192. I am not a huge fan of Voit, but with where he is being drafted, that is a pretty solid value, and I would jump on him simply because of where he is playing and the lineup he belongs too. He had 21 bombs last year, walked at a 14% clip, and produced a .360 ISO. His projections are slightly down from last season’s numbers that he produced, but they still call for 20+ HR and a .345 wOBA.
Gary Sanchez, C, had a “down” season last year if you can call a 34 HR/.346 wOBA/.293 ISO a “down” season, but that was in large part to his ridiculously low and unlucky .244 BABIP. I expect that to rise, hence his overall numbers and production to rise. More hits lead to more RBIs lead to more runs. His ADP currently is 75 and even though I am not one to usually select my starting catcher in the 6th or 7th round, Sanchez provides for substantial value at his position and where he is being drafted. The likes of Jose Abreu, Joey Gallo, Victor Robles, and Tommy Pham are being drafted slightly before or just after Sanchez. With his positional value, the Yankees lineup, his upside, and production, this is a no-brainer. Get on the Sanchez bandwagon this season.
Aaron Judge, OF, is a beast of a human being. He is like 9 feet tall, 400 pounds of muscle, and has the power of Zeus himself. Last year he posted 27 long balls in 102 games with a .382 wOBA/.267 ISO and a 14% walk rate. Yes, he strikes out a ton (31.5% career average), but his ADP of 47 holds a lot of value given his 50+ HR upside (yes this COVID-19 shortened/altered? season will skew the numbers somehow someway, but on a per-game basis, he provides a lot of value). Don’t let his injury-shortened season last year scare you away. He is, by all means, the reincarnation of Zeus.
The last Yankees hitter that I want to mention more in-depth is Gio Urshela, 3B. I just have one piece of advice: Stay Away. Sure, Urshela put up really good numbers last year. He posted a .370 wOBA/.219 ISO/132 wRC+ with 21 HRs. He is being over-drafted with an ADP of 222. First off, I expect Miguel Andujar to take away a chunk of his at-bats, but besides that, he posted a .350 BABIP last season after averaging a .260+ BABIP over the course of his career. That will indeed go down. There is no need to take a chance on him unless he is being drafted well after that 21st round. The projections do not like Urshela this year either. Most have him with a wOBA closer to .300 and a wRC+ of under 100. In those mid-rounds, you are really trying to find value. Players with quite a bit more upside are being drafted around then such as Alex Verdugo, Avisail Garcia, and Aristides Aquino.
Gerrit Cole, James Paxton, and Masahiro Tanaka provide the Yankees with a solid core rotation trio. Unfortunately, Domingo German (suspended the first 63 games of the season) and Luis Severino (Tommy John surgery and will miss all of 2020 season) are not fantasy options this season. You could take a late flier on German, given his strikeout ability, and possibly get 15+ starts out of him this season.
Cole is the best pitcher in baseball. He had a 7.4 WAR with a 2.48 xFIP and a 13+ K/9. That is freakish. I don’t love drafting starting pitchers in the first round usually, but when it is someone like Cole (or Jake DeGrom) I will not hesitate to jump on them. They provide for a substantially higher value than that second and third tier of pitchers. (Side note, the Pirates got fleeced when they acquired Colin Moran and Joe Musgrove for two years of Cole. Just had to point that out and will continue to do so).
I prefer James Paxton (ADP 141) to Tanaka (ADP 177) this year (but Tanaka is a solid get in the late middle rounds). Even though Paxton has been injury-plagued in season’s past, he did start 29 games for the Yanks last year and went 15-6 with a 3.86 FIP and an 11.11 K/9. Again, I am not sure how the MLB season will be structured and I shouldn’t speculate, but Paxton should provide for significant value and do not hesitate to take him in the 14-15th rounds. As for Aroldis Chapman, his ADP is 75 and should rack up a bevy of strikeouts and saves this year. I usually like to wait on closers, but Chapman is an elite closer and will provide your team with elite numbers this year.
Breakout (or Resurgence)
Giancarlo Stanton, OF
After an injury-plagued season in 2019 and a subpar year in 2018 with the Yankees (for Stanton’s standards), I expect a return to glory for Stanton this year. With an ADP of 77, he has tremendous value with the type of upside he carries. I expect 40+ HRs and a .380+ wOBA with copious amounts of runs and RBI’s along the way. He isn’t being given the respect that a player of his caliber deserves and I would jump on him 100% of the time if he is available in the 6th or 7th rounds, and I wouldn’t blame you for jumping the gun earlier than that.
DJ LeMahieu, 2B/3B
I am sure for some of you, LeMahieu provided you with unreal value last year. Do I expect LeMahieu to be good this year? Yes. Do I expect LeMahieu to repeat what he did last year? No. The problem with what the vast majority of fantasy players do is that they base their selections simply based on what the player did LAST year. When you have to combine what they did last year with what they are projected or expected to do THIS year. Will LeMahieu replicate his .327 BA/.375 wOBA/,191 ISO with 26HR/109 runs/102 RBI’s? That is very unlikely as his projections call for a .335 wOBA. He is being way over-drafted with an ADP of 58. There are going to be plenty of fantasy teams that will be sorely disappointed in his lack of production compared to last year. Let them overdraft him. Steer clear.
Gleyber Torres, SS
For Dynasty purposes, there are probably only two shortstops that I would take over Torres (Wander Franco and Fernando Tatis Jr.) Outside of those two, only Bo Bichette is in the mix. Torres is only 23 and his ADP of 28 falls in line with what you should expect from him this year. He was a monster last year with 38 HR and a .358 wOBA/.256 ISO. Hitting in the middle of this stacked Yankees lineups with allow him to fill out all of the hitting categories in your fantasy leagues. Given his age (entering his prime shortly?), where he is hitting in the Yanks lineup, positional value, and production upside, he is surely going to be THE guy for the Yanks this year and moving forward.
Justin has been a DFS pro for 5 years now, focusing primarily on NHL and MLB. He has won numerous tournaments on Draft Kings and FanDuel and has made it to multiple live finals for hockey. Prior to becoming a DFS pro, he was an associate scout for the Toronto Blue Jays.