Bob Lung gives you some of the “secret” undervalued players from his 2017 Fantasy Football Consistency Guide! Follow him on Twitter @bob_lung

Every year as Fantasy owners head into their drafts, they are always looking for the “sleepers” or undervalued players. The Clutch Games system identifies undervalued players that most systems can’t. These are the players who are consistent week after week but don’t normally have huge games. These players slip down and can be drafted at great value.

I will identify those picks who are undervalued based on their current ADP’s. This way if you want to pick a player early, you can and still get good value based on what round you draft them. Or you can wait until the middle or late rounds and get great value just as easily. It’s your call!

Let’s take a look at the running backs.

Frank Gore

There is always so much value in veteran players because everyone loves to hype the “young studs” in Fantasy Football. Well, Frank Gore was extremely helpful last year to his Fantasy teams and will be this year as well. Gore ended 2016 ranked 12th in total points and tied for eighth in consistency and yet his current ADP is RB35/pick 100. Yep, you read it correctly, he is being drafted as a late RB3 in the 7th or 8th round. Do you see the value here? I know I do!

Isaiah Crowell

Many of you know that I’m a Northeast Ohio resident and therefore, I was born a Browns fan. However, when it comes to Fantasy football, it’s normally tough to tell you to draft a Browns player. This year, may be different. Crowell had a quiet, yet solid season, last year. He finished the year ranked 14th in total points and 19th in consistency with a Clutch Rate of 56%. He earned those numbers behind a HORRID offensive line! The Browns had a huge upgrade in their line in the off-season and should help Crowell earn another Clutch Game or two. His current ADP is RB16/pick 45. He’s definitely worth a look as an RB2 in 2017.

Mike Gillislee

Fantasy football is much more opportunity than talent, but when it truly comes together, it’s when there is both! In 2017, Mike Gillislee has both! His talent as a backup to LeSean McCoy was evident when McCoy missed some time with minor aches and pains. When called upon, Gillislee earned, or was close to, a Clutch Game every time he had eight or more carries. Now, comes the opportunity! He became the main back in New England in the offseason, replacing LeGarrette Blount. However, his current ADP is RB34/pick 97. Blount last season ended the year ranked ninth in total points and ranked 13th in a PPR league! I believe Gillislee ends the year in the Top 24. Grab him if you can!

Danny Woodhead

Woodhead missed most of last season and now has fully recovered. With the suspension of Kenneth Dixon for four games, Woodhead and Terrance West will be the main backs. Even when Dixon returns, Woodhead will be the third-down back for the Ravens. In a PPR format, Woodhead is gold. The injury is a concern, but with a current ADP of RB37/pick105, it’s hard not to pick him as a RB4 for your team.

There are certainly other undervalued running backs in this year’s draft, but these are some of my favorite picks. Don’t forget to read the profiles for those running backs who are undervalued and overvalued in the 2017 Fantasy Football Consistency Guide. These players can make or break your Fantasy season, so be aware as you head into draft day! Check back at www.BigGuyFantasySports.com for updates!

Van Lee tells you which struggling players to cut or keep in Fantasy Baseball leagues each week exclusively at BGFS. Follow him on Twitter @ManlyVanLee.

Welcome once again to your weekly edition of Hold or Fold, America’s premiere guessing game where affable blabbermouth Van Lee discusses players that are either raking or shoveling (I guess in this case, shoveling is bad), and determines whether or not you should hold ‘em or fold ‘em, much like everyone’s favorite actor/singer/chicken connoisseur. This week’s edition features a former top prospect, another former top prospect, and you guessed it, a former top prospect. As always remember to consider these players in your league. If it’s a player you’re on the fence about keeping and I say it’s a tentative yes, then if you’re in a really shallow league you can go ahead and drop. Let’s get at it kids.

Aaron Hicks

Aaron Hicks was once a vaunted prospect coming out of the Minnesota Twins organization. The Twins, if you aren’t aware, are capable of destroying any prospects promising career without remorse. Drafted at #14 overall in the 2008 amateur draft, the Twins thought they had an athletically gifted high school outfielder who hit for crazy power as a youth and had plenty of speed to boot. After signing Hicks went on to hit 4 homers, steal 12 bases, and put up a phenomenal .318/.409/.491 line in his first taste of professional baseball. His minor league career continued that trend for the most part, right up until he hit the major leagues.

In 2013 Hicks played 22 games at Triple A and then 81 with the parent club. His year was not pretty. He hit .192/.259/.338 in his first go-round with the Major League Club, but it was attributed in the most part to being young and raw. He continued to struggle in the majors until 2015, when he was deployed in a more platoon role getting the starts against left handers, and put up a modest .256/.323/.398 line with 11 homers and 13 steals. I was all on board and then 2016 happened. Traded to the Yankees in the 2016/17 offseason for baseball’s premiere serial killer John Ryan Murphy, I expected Hicks to take another step forward and become the young athletic phenom he could be. At worst, he could destroy left-handed pitching and provide some nice counting stats. He didn’t do much of either of those. His line fell to a paltry .217/.281/.336, and I had pronounced my call as D.O.A..

Through 57 games this year however, Aaron Hicks has finally delivered on the promise he was drafted on. He has hit .300/.411/.537 with 10 homers and 7 steals. He’s walking, he’s homering, he’s base stealing, and he’s doing it against all pitching. In the past struggling mighty against right-handers really limited his value, but this year he’s thrown out a .291 average and has hit for power against both handed pitching at a rate not terribly off one another.

So is he for real, or are we seeing some fluky stuff going on?

I’m inclined to believe that this performance change is rooted in truth. I really don’t know if he’s a top 10 outfielder like he appears to be performing, but he does have the raw athleticism and the pedigree to back it up. We’re looking at his highest career BABIP which is still only .326 and not an absurd number. He’s walking more, coming in at a 15.9% clip, and he’s hitting the ball at a slightly harder rate with his Hard% sitting at over 30%. He’s also pulling the ball a bit, but not quite as much as he used to, and spraying the ball to all fields means less shifts and an easier chance to hit.

The sample size is awfully small, but I’m looking at a talented kid who is finally making good on his vast potential. It’s hard not to compare him to Carlos Gomez, another uber-athletic outfielder who didn’t come into his own until later in life. Or even Lorenzo Cain, who falls under that same umbrella.

You likely didn’t spend much to acquire Hicks (he was a waiver pickup in my main deep dynasty league for me), so to be honest, I’m hanging onto him just in case this Aaron Hicks is the real deal. If he is, you just struck gold. If he isn’t, then well, you didn’t waste too much to get him. Obviously if you’re overwhelmed with an offer, take it. If the Hicks owner out there doesn’t believe in him at all, then try and pounce right now. Even now his price is tempered so you could get a nice deal on him.

Verdict: Hold

 

Mike Zunino

The book on Mariner’s backstop Mike Zunino was and always will be the following: He can take a walk, he strikes out a ton, and he can hit a baseball a long way. The question for him has always been “can he hit enough to balance out the rest of the negatives?” The truth is, last year he did just enough to not be cast aside entirely. He put up 12 homers in under 200 plate appearances, and slashed .207/.318/.470. As a catcher who isn’t that well regarded on defense, he’s going to have to hit enough to be able to carry a job.

This year he’s made some major changes, some for the better and some for the worst. The good news is that the power is as good as ever, since he currently sits on 9 homers through 179 plate appearances. He’s also upped the batting average to a respectable .247 level. The bad is that his walk rate has fallen from a really nice 10.9% in 2016 to a less nice 6.7% this season. That means that despite a .040 jump in batting average this year, he’s actually getting on base at a lower rate.

So is he an ok average hitter with an ok OBP? Or is he a poor average hitter with great OBP?

The truth is that I’m not sure, and I honestly don’t think it matters. We’re seeing Zunino strike out at a nearly 40% rate, which is far too high for any hitter (hell, that’s too high for a hitting pitcher). His average is also inflated by an insanely high BABIP, with it sitting .100 over his career level at .373 this year. He’s going to come crashing down with that BABIP, and if he’s not walking at an elite rate a .210/.260/.399 line is entirely possible.

Ultimately I think that for Zunino to hold a job he’s going to have to hit homers at a 30-35 pace and provide good defense. He’s kind of doing that this year, and so I think his job is safe for the time being. I just don’t think there’s another level to his game and I think the Zunino experiment will end in failure. If you own him and want to sell high, now is the time to do it as since June 11th he has hit .342/.390/.763 with 5 homers. So throw those stats out there and see if an owner will bite before he comes back down to earth.

Verdict: Fold

 

Jimmy Nelson

“Medium Game James” as I have so often (just now) dubbed him has put together one heck of a solid season this year out of the Brewers’ rotation. He’s sitting on a very respectable 3.28 ERA (with FIP and xFIP game for the improvement as well at 3.13 and 3.54 respectively), rocking a flawlessly even 9.00 K/9, and walking a very nice 2.22 batter per 9 innings. He’s always been good about limiting the long-ball, and this year has taken another step forward with a HR/9 of 0.74.

What we’re seeing here is a young player finally coming into his own on the mound at the age of 28. He was never a highly touted prospect, but he was a solid one so it was a bit disappointing to see him struggle so much the last 3 years. But along came the new hitting mentality of “I MUST HIT HOME RUNS OR DISHONOR MY FAMILY,” and Nelson’s numbers trend in the right way. He’s simply striking out more, walking less, and limiting homers. And that’s basically the book on pitching.

In leagues I still wouldn’t pay an absurd price for him, but if you need a good pitcher who gives you solid innings with a chance to be great every now and then, then Jimmy is your man. I think of him a bit like a great #4, solid#3 type of pitcher going forward, and if the price is nice, go for it!

Verdict: Hold

Nathan Dokken provides analysis on one strong and one weak performance from this past week of the 2017 Fantasy Baseball season. Follow him on Twitter @NathanDokken.

Fire

Alex Meyer (SP, LAA)

Alex Meyer has been light’s out in June. Which honestly sounds like a phrase that would be a bad thing...if you’re playing in the dark, you would suck, right? He’s been playing like a guy who’s playing baseball in an unlit room at midnight! I guess everything is a strike if you can’t see it? Anyway, Meyer has been really good this month, posting a cool 1.19 ERA over 22.2 innings with 27 strikeouts and 12 walks. So what has he done (aside from throwing in the dark) to net these superb results, and is it sustainable?

The first thing I like to do when a pitcher goes on a hot streak is look into whether there is a change in pitch deployment. So looking at his deployment by start, has he changed his arsenal?

 

We can see that in June, he has gone from using his sinker more than his fourseam to quite the reverse. He has also been using his curveball more and more, averaging a whopping 45% usage in June compared to around 30% in April and May. A quick glance at the fourseam versus the sinker shows us that while the pitches are thrown at the same velocity, the results are quite different; the sinker yields a 54% ground ball rate as compared to just 28% on the fourseam, but the Slugging against on the fourseam is just .294 compared to .455 with the sinker. The curve nets a whopping 19% whiffs and 63% grounders, so it’s easy to see why using it more has led to better results, particularly when paired with more fourseams. It’s questionable, however, whether that’s an effective long-term solution since it’s generally thought that excessive curveball usage can really damage your elbow. Combine that with consistent 96 MPH fastballs and you have the makings of an elite reliever, or a Tommy John patient waiting to happen. Maybe both.

He is still walking far too many batters to maintain this level of effectiveness, with a 5.87 BB/9 that isn’t acceptable even for a reliever. Even in June he has a 4.76 BB/9. The minor adjustments we’ve seen make for a nice short-term option in deeper mixed leagues, but when you’re issuing so many free passes it’s still the profile of a starter that can have a blow-up start at any moment. We’ve seen a small handful of guys like Chris Archer succeed without a secondary offspeed offering, which Meyer also lacks, but Archer has decent control and can find the zone when he needs to. That’s a feather Meyer doesn’t have in his cap, which leads me to believe that he’s destined for the bullpen sooner than later.

Ice

Gregory Polanco (OF, PIT)

Many drafters - myself included - viewed GP as a potential true breakout candidate for 2017. Last year he went 22HR/17SB over 144 games, and had steadily improved each year he had been in the Majors. This year has been a different story however, as he has just 5 HR and 7 SB in 56 games. He spent nearly two weeks on the DL due to a hamstring injury, and is just 1-1 in stolen base attempts since his return to action about three weeks ago. So is this simply a slow start, or will it be a slow season for the young Pirates outfielder?

Last year, Polanco put up his first full season with an ISO above .200, finishing at .205. He did so by achieving a 35% hard contact rate and a 37% fly ball rate, both numbers being higher than they were in 2015. The biggest change for him was in his pull rate though, which jumped up 10% to 49%. That allowed him to pull  more balls over the fence, and it didn’t come at the expense of any contact, which is just a nice win all around. This year he has regressed in a big way however, with his hard contact rate falling to just 23%, with 6% more ground balls and a pull% that is down to 46%. So now rather than pulling the ball with authority in the air for power, he’s pulling his balls on the ground and killing his chance at extra base hits.

It really wouldn’t surprise me if he is playing through an injury in his upper half that is sapping his power. In a small sample so far in June, he is back to 48% fly balls with a 50% pull rate...which has led to 19% hard contact. That just doesn’t add up. He’s way out of whack, and it’s hard to tell whether this is something he can adjust and be much better over the second half, or whether it’s some sort of hidden injury that he will need a length of time to recover from. I’d be more inclined to sell low on him and get a return that will help me now rather than wait on him. On the other side, I’d only be buying if I needed a hail mary over the second half of the season. He’s a calculated risk at this point, not unlike embarking upon a lengthy road trip after eating spicy curry.

Fantasy Baseball 2017

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Hold or Fold - June 23

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Hold or Fold - June 23

Van Lee tells you which struggling players to cut or keep in Fantasy...

Fire & Ice: Fantasy Baseball Performance Evaluation - Week 12

Fire & Ice: Fantasy Baseball Performance Evaluation - Week 12

Nathan Dokken provides analysis on one strong and one weak performance from this...

Fantasy Baseball On-Deck Circle: MLB Prospects – Carson Kelly, Mike Soroka

Fantasy Baseball On-Deck Circle: MLB Prospects – Carson Kelly, Mike Soroka

In his weekly "On-Deck Circle" exclusively at BGFS, Ron Rigney gives you the...

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Closer Rankings & Bullpen Report - Week 12

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Closer Rankings & Bullpen Report - Week 12

Colby Conway updates his Closer Ranking & Bullpen Reports every week only at...

Fire & Ice: Fantasy Baseball Performance Evaluation - Week 11

Fire & Ice: Fantasy Baseball Performance Evaluation - Week 11

Nathan Dokken provides analysis on one strong and one weak performance from this...

Fishing the Stream: Fantasy Baseball Pitcher Options - Weeks 11 & 12

Fishing the Stream: Fantasy Baseball Pitcher Options - Weeks 11 & 12

Rob Trayah reveals his favorite SP streaming options each week of the Fantasy...

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Hold or Fold - June 15

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Hold or Fold - June 15

Van Lee tells you which struggling players to cut or keep in Fantasy...

Fantasy Baseball On-Deck Circle: MLB Prospects – Derek Fisher, Wilmer Font

Fantasy Baseball On-Deck Circle: MLB Prospects – Derek Fisher, Wilmer Font

In his weekly "On-Deck Circle" exclusively at BGFS, Ron Rigney gives you the...

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Closer Rankings & Bullpen Report - Week 11

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Closer Rankings & Bullpen Report - Week 11

Colby Conway updates his Closer Ranking & Bullpen Reports every week only at...

Fire & Ice: Fantasy Baseball Performance Evaluation - Week 10

Fire & Ice: Fantasy Baseball Performance Evaluation - Week 10

Nathan Dokken provides analysis on one strong and one weak performance from this...

Fishing the Stream: Fantasy Baseball Pitcher Options - Weeks 10 & 11

Fishing the Stream: Fantasy Baseball Pitcher Options - Weeks 10 & 11

Rob Trayah reveals his favorite SP streaming options each week of the Fantasy...

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Hold or Fold - June 8

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Hold or Fold - June 8

Van Lee tells you which struggling players to cut or keep in Fantasy...

Big Guy Fantasy Sports Network

BG Baseball

On this Episode of BG Baseball Jon and Rob breakdown the surprisingly competitive NL West division which includes discussions on the Rockies young starters, Diamondbacks breakout players and the Dodgers surging offense thanks to NL ROY favorite Cody Bellinger. The guys also play Hold or Fold with some veteran outfielders and give injury updates on some big names such as Mike Trout, Felix Hernandez and Cole Hamels. The BGFS Network - Where We Keep Fantasy Real!!!

Consistency Cast

Consistency Cast

With the NBA Finals over and MLB in the "Dog Days", it is definitely time to begin the Fantasy Football prep. Bob Lung & Nate Miller are here to help you do that each week on the Consistency Cast. In this week's episode, the guys will dive head first into the Tight End player pool and highlight Bob's Rankings & Tiers at the position. Then, Jon Impemba (Fantasy Alarm, Big Guy Fantasy Sports) will come aboard to discuss Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and the New England Patriots passing attack on the whole. Thanks for tuning into the BGFS Network - Where We Keep Fantasy Real!!! The BGFS Network - Where We Keep Fantasy Real!!!

The Nasty Cast

On this edition of the Nasty Cast, the boys talk Anthony Rizzo, Matt Chapman, Gleyber Torres, and the Mets infield. They also look into some potential buy-low pitchers using ERA-FIP, dive into a few bullpens, talk prospects, and round out the show with weekend streaming options. You can follow the show and the hosts on Twitter @NastyCastBGFS @NathanDokken @ManlyVanLee @therealmaday and you can follow their work at BigGuyFantasySports.com! The BGFS Network - Where We Keep Fantasy Real!!!

Big Guy Fantasy Sports Network

Hello all and welcome to the Big Guy Fantasy Sports Network! Big Guy Fantasy Sports presents the All New BGFS Network - a collection of weekly Fantasy Football & Baseball podcasts featuring hosts Nate Miller, Bob Lung, Brad Wallace & Jon Impemba.

Fantasy Football 2017

Undervalued Clutch Players – RB – 2017

Undervalued Clutch Players – RB – 2017

Bob Lung gives you some of the “secret” undervalued players from his 2017...

Undervalued Clutch Players – QB - 2017

Undervalued Clutch Players – QB - 2017

Bob Lung gives you some of the “secret” undervalued players from his 2017...

2016 – Year in Review – TE

2016 – Year in Review – TE

Bob Lung shares the most consistent tight ends of 2016 and his projections...

Nease’s Insights: 2017 FanEx Analysis Draft

Nease’s Insights: 2017 FanEx Analysis Draft

Michael Nease brings you his insights each week for the world of Fantasy...

2016 – Year in Review – WR

2016 – Year in Review – WR

Bob Lung shares the most consistent wide receivers of 2016 and his projections...

Consistently Clutch - TE (2014-16)

Consistently Clutch - TE (2014-16)

Bob Lung highlights those Fantasy football players who are not only Clutch, but...

Neases’s Insights: Back in the Saddle Again

Neases’s Insights: Back in the Saddle Again

Michael Nease brings you his insights each week for the world of Fantasy...

2016 – Year in Review – RB

2016 – Year in Review – RB

Bob Lung shares the most consistent running backs of 2016 and his projections...

Consistently Clutch - WR (2014-16)

Consistently Clutch - WR (2014-16)

Bob Lung highlights those Fantasy football players who are not only Clutch, but...

2016 – Year in Review – QB

2016 – Year in Review – QB

Bob Lung shares the most consistent quarterbacks of 2016 and his projections for...

Consistently Clutch - RB (2014-16)

Consistently Clutch - RB (2014-16)

 Bob Lung highlights those Fantasy football players who are not only Clutch, but...

Consistently Clutch - QB

Consistently Clutch - QB

Bob Lung highlights those Fantasy football players who are not only Clutch, but...

Intro to Clutch Players

Who is Bob Lung and why does he care about Clutch Players?

Who is Bob Lung and why does he care about Clutch Players?

If this is the first time that you have heard about Clutch players and how...

The History of Consistency and Clutch Players

The History of Consistency and Clutch Players

The Head-to-Head (H2H) format in Fantasy football leads to the need for consistency. If you...

Key Terms

Key Terms

I felt it was important to define some obvious and not-so-obvious terms that will be...

Improve Your Record with Consistency

Improve Your Record with Consistency

The Clutch Games system was created to show how building your team with more consistent...

Rookies vs. Consistency - 2017 Edition

Rookies vs. Consistency - 2017 Edition

The one question that I get asked every year is “Why don’t you include rookies...

Big Guy Fantasy Experts

Jonathan Impemba

Jonathan Impemba

Jonathan Impemba is a contributing member of the Big Guy Fantasy Sports network where he appears on the BG Baseball...

Colby Conway

Colby Conway

Colby Conway has been playing fantasy sports for almost 10 years. He writes for Fantasy Alarm, as well as being...

Nate Miller

Nate Miller

Nate Miller has been in the Fantasy Sports industry as an Analyst, Writer, Editor and Host since 2013. He is...

Rob Trayah

Rob Trayah

Rob Trayah started writing for RotoWire, continued at Fantasy Alarm, and now contributes to BGFS with his deep interest in...

Ron Rigney

Ron Rigney

Ron Rigney brings close to 20 years of playing fantasy sports, in all different formats to the BGFS team. A...

Nathan Dokken

Nathan Dokken

Nathan is the host and co-creator of the Nasty Cast Fantasy Baseball Podcast. He also writes for Fantistics Insider Baseball...

Van Lee

Van Lee

The man, the myth, and the legend that is Van Lee continues to grow every day. Whether it’s complaining loudly...

Mike Nease

Mike Nease

Mike Nease is a member of the FSWA and has been playing the game since 1985, while also writing about...

BGFS Daily Fantasy Blast

Sign up for a free Daily Fantasy Blast from the experts at Big Guy Fantasy Sports! Don't miss out on the best analysis in the business! Where Fantasy gets REAL!

captcha 

Baseball News

Fantasy Sports Links

Masterball

One of my favorite sites and favorite experts, Lord Todd Zola

Rotojunkie

The best Fantasy sports forum out there! Join the fun and discussions.

Rotoballers

One of the best sites with one of my favorite Fantasy baseball experts, Anthony Aniano.

Fantrax - Where BGFS Plays

Expert Leagues