Hello, deep league friends! The season is just now a week old as I type this, and my draft season is finally over as of about 48 hours ago. It is amazing looking at how differently players are being valued in the drafts I did this week, versus those I did a week ago, versus last month, versus December. Obviously, a lot has changed, and some of the deep leagues sleepers we were able to grab a month or two ago are suddenly already legit mixed league options. This week we’ll look at a handful of players whose ownership numbers have climbed the most this week (but who still come in at less than 25% owned in CBS leagues) as we navigate deep league promotions, demotions, and injuries one week into the season.
Jhoan Duran. Tyler Duffey and Jorge Alcala have also had ownership increases as folks chase saves in Minnesota, but it’s Duran who has gotten the most interest (from 4% to 22% owned in CBS leagues). He doesn’t have a save yet, but he’s already pitched 3 near-perfect innings (including 4 Ks) and shown off his spectacular fastball (hitting 102 on the radar gun)… if he’s unowned in your league, even if it’s not super deep, I might give him a look-see.
Greg Holland. We continue the deep league hunt for saves by moving over to Texas, where Greg Holland has gone from 4 to 15% owned even as Joe Barlow remains in the picture (and may still be the favorite to close), Matt Bush has pitched 2 scoreless innings, and Spencer Patton has been recalled and made two effective appearances. This is a situation I’m avoiding wherever possible, but sometimes we can’t avoid ugly things in deep leagues.
Brad Miller. I talked about him a week or two ago, and a hot start has his ownership going from 5 to 14% this week (and it may or may not have risen higher since I typed this). He’s not going to play every day but he already has 2 homers and 5 RBI in his first four games with the Rangers, and I still like him both in deep leagues, or as a OF/CI fill-in in an RCL-type league.
Francisco Mejia. Mejia got lost in the fantasy catcher shuffle to open the season, but has now gone from 6% to 14% owned and may have some post-hype prospect appeal. His season in Tampa Bay has started in excellent fashion, 3 for 8 with a homer and 4 RBI.
Nick Martinez. I was as excited about Martinez as you can get about a player whose NFBD ADP came in at #511 this year, and he rewarded me early in the leagues I grabbed him with a sharp 5 innings (1 run, 5 hits, 1 walk, 6 Ks) in his first start for the Padres after four years in Japan. We’ll see if he can continue the magic, but if you want to take a chance on him, you may want to strike now — his ownership has doubled over the last week, from 8 to 18%, and that could continue to rise if he can put together a few more solid starts and stick around in the already beat-up Padres rotation.
Jurickson Profar. I thought about drafting him in a few deep leagues but didn’t pull the trigger, though now I wish I had as he’s opened the season in stellar fashion for the Padres outfield, hitting an early .357 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI. Not a pace he’ll keep up, of course, but for the time being, he should continue to be a serviceable member of a deep league fantasy team who qualifies at 1B and OF in most leagues.
Jordan Hicks. It was unclear all winter whether Hicks was going to be in the bullpen or would get stretched out to join the rotation, and evidently, the Cardinals have decided on the latter option. He’s already had two potential starting assignments postponed due to weather, and once he does get a chance he’ll likely start slowly innings-wise. Who knows how he’ll look out of the gate, but thinking about how much promise he showed a couple of years ago before a string of elbow issues, he may be worth a look.
Kyle Farmer. The reality that Farmer is indeed the Reds’ starting shortstop has set in, as his ownership is up to 13% of late. He’s already rewarded deep league owners who took a chance on drafting him with a nice 5-for-14 start to open 2022, as well as a stolen base. One of those guys who rightfully won’t be expected to see any kind of mixed league relevance now or ever, but could end up being a solid part of a deep league lineup or a decent daily play/injury fill-in all season.