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Finding Value in Points Leagues: Outfield Edition

Welcome back RotoBallers to my Finding Value in Points League Series! Points leagues have become more and more popular in recent years, but there is still an emphasis placed on roto leagues. That leads towards analysis and often player values skewed by something I have dubbed roto bias. Due to that, I decided to start a series to end that roto bias.

Since outfield is such a vast position, I will focus solely on it in this article. Next to each player will be their K-BB rate, which will have an impact when going from site to site. Then I have the RotoBaller projected fantasy points for each of the five major sites and in parenthesis is their projected finish at the position. The points are going to jump based on each site, but we are looking for is if there is a significant change in the projected finish at the position. You want to make sure you are drafting the correct players on the correct site.

The goal of this article is to both find over and underrated players for fantasy baseball points leagues. First, in order to do that, you need to know the scoring breakdown that points leagues use.

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Platform Variances

Below you will see the scoring for points leagues on each of the five major fantasy sites. As you can see it differs greatly from site to site, with Yahoo rewarding the most points. For detailed breakdowns on how to tackle each of these platforms, check out our excellent "Break the League" series by Nicklaus Gaut. He has covered points league rankings and projections for CBS, ESPNYahoo and Fantrax.

Both CBS and ESPN deduct for strikeouts, while all but NFBC factor in walks, doubles, and other stats. The NFBC scoring is set up to mimic roto value, while the value on other sites will change based on the site you are playing on.

 

Finding Undervalued Point League Outfielders

Player Batter K-BB% CBS Points ESPN Points Yahoo Points Fantrax Points NFBC Points
Mookie Betts 0.6% 598 (5th) 531 (4th) 1,506 (6th) 647 (7th) 756 (7th)
Mike Trout 1.7% 653 (1st) 571 (1st) 1,622 (1st) 719 (1st) 894 (3rd)
Cody Bellinger 2% 616 (3rd) 536 (3rd) 1,551 (2nd) 680 (4th) 863 (4th)
Michael Brantley 2.4% 467 (22nd) 428 (12th) 1,118 (27th) 501 (32nd) 612 (21st)
Nick Markakis 2.6% 368 (55th) 328 (41st) 683 (93rd) 406 (65th) 420 (63rd)
Juan Soto 3.6% 597 (6th) 520 (5th) 1,523 (4th) 664 (6th) 790 (5th)
Andrew McCutchen 4.6% 450 (29th) 378 (25th) 977 (45th) 515 (27th) 531 (37th)
Josh Reddick 5.5% 169 (121st) 147 (111th) 722 (87th) 186 (129th) 211 (119th)
Jesse Winker 5.7% 187 (114th) 165 (103rd) 835 (72nd) 208 (118th) 222 (113th)

Mike Trout may not be the top pick in roto leagues, but he should be the unquestioned top pick in points. RotoBaller has Trout projected to finish as the top point scoring outfielder in every site except on NFBC, which again, mimics the roto format. He has the second-best Batter K-BB%, which helps him in CBS and ESPN leagues. It is also not just that he is projected to be the top point scorer but look at the gap between him and the other top options. If you play in a points league on any site but NFBC, do not get too cute. Take Trout number one and keep it moving.

Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger are top picks regardless of format and this only cement that. But one player that should be going in the same range, but you can get a couple of picks later is Juan Soto. Soto has some of the best plate discipline in the league and it translates to success in the points format. He is projected no worse than the sixth outfielder across all sites, yet his ADP has been as the sixth outfielder off the board. That means you can literally draft him at his projected floor and have nowhere to go but up. He is a strong pick everywhere, which is why he is going in the first round. But he should be going in the first half of the first round in points leagues.

Michael Brantley has been the 33rd outfielder off the board in recent NFBC drafts. The ADP will fluctuate from site to site, but you do not need to pay full price for Brantley in points. He is projected as an OF1 on ESPN points leagues, due to his strong plate discipline, but you can wait and grab him rounds later than he should be going. That is a potential league-winning pick. He is a strong value across the board, as he is projected to finish as a top-27 outfielder on all sites except Yahoo.

Andrew McCutchen is one of my favorite outfield values regardless of format. I liked him back when there was the thinking, he would be ready to start the season on time. When that came into question his price started to drop, and even though the delayed start to the season ensures he won’t miss much time, if any, his price never bounced back up. You can get him outside the top-50 outfielders in some drafts, meanwhile he is projected to finish inside the top 30 on CBS, ESPN and Fantrax points leagues. He is not projected to finish outside the top-50 outfielders on any of the fantasy sites, so the reason his price is so low does not make sense in this format.

Perhaps it is because Cutch is boring at this point in his career. He is an older player who despite doing most things well, does not stand out in any of the five roto categories. But that doesn’t matter in points, where he remains a very strong value. Exploit the lack of his price increasing and the roto bias and get him on your team.

Jesse Winker and Josh Reddick are both expected to be in part-time roles. That is a value killer in points leagues as you need the volume to… well, score points at a high clip. A player has to be extremely efficient to not have an everyday role and still be a points league option. These are guys that you should not draft but add to your watch list and jump on them if a path to an everyday role opens. These guys will not be league winners, but they can be very useful pieces if they ever get consistent everyday at-bats.

I wanted to highlight one player you did not see on this list: Ronald Acuna. Acuna suffers from poorer plate discipline than the other top options. While his speed makes him the top pick in most roto drafts, he is not projected to finish as the top-scoring outfield in any points leagues. He is projected to finish second on NFBC, third on Fantrax, fourth on CBS, fifth on Yahoo and ninth on ESPN. Despite that, it will still cost a Top five, likely even top three, pick to acquire Acuna in this format. Clearly, he is still in play early in NFBC and Fantrax leagues, but if you are playing on the other sites, the juice (value) won’t be worth the squeeze (cost).

 

Finding Overvalued Point League Outfielders

Player Batter K-BB% CBS Points ESPN Points Yahoo Points Fantrax Points NFBC Points
Austin Riley 27% 303 (78th) 224 (79th) 725 (84th) 380 (72nd) 393 (72nd)
Teoscar Hernandez 23.3% 333 (70th) 244 (76th) 935 (51st) 414 (62nd) 412 (66th)
Scott Kingery 22.6% 385 (44th) 285 (60th) 994 (44th) 469 (42nd) 496 (45th)
Domingo Santana 22.4% N/A N/A 867 (64th) N/A N/A
Steven Duggar 22.1% 184 (115th) 126 (120th) 415 (128th) 238 (110th) 195 (125th)
Clint Frazier 22% 113 (142nd) 87 (138th) 512 (114th) 137 (140th) 146 (138)
Hunter Renfroe 21.9% 384 (45th) 297 (54th) 1,033 (36th) 465 (43rd) 500 (44th)
Joey Gallo 20.9% 476 (16th) 357 (30th) 1,256 (11th) 587 (11th) 644 (19th)
Eloy Jimenez 20.6% 466 (24th) 392 (19th) 1,218 (16th) 539 (22nd) 669 (15th)

Austin Riley and Teoscar Hernandez are both later round power options in roto leagues. But both are big free swingers with very poor plate discipline. Due to that, neither is projected to finish as a Top 60 outfielder on any of the points league sites. Riley isn’t even projected to finish in the Top 70, due to playing time concerns. Riley is an upside shot worth taking in roto, while Hernandez provides very cheap pop. However, in points they simply strike out too much and do now walk enough. Save these two for roto only.

Scott Kingery is a toolsy player that can offer power and speed in roto, but again, that does not translate to success in points leagues. He is projected to finish outside the Top 40 outfielders on all five sites. Yet, he has an ADP as the 40th outfielder off the board in recent NFBC drafts. He also comes with some hype that could lead to someone pulling him up the board. In this format, you should let them and go in another direction.

Joey Gallo, Eloy Jimenez and even Hunter Renfroe provide a ton of power in roto leagues. But they all also are free swingers who are prone to striking out. Due to that, you have to know the scoring of the site you are playing on cause the value can change dramatically.

Gallo is projected to finish as a top-12 outfielder on Yahoo and Fantrax, but as the 30th outfielder on ESPN leagues. Gallo is going around the 24th outfielder off the board, meaning there is no in between with him. You will pay that price and either get an absolute steal or be overpaying. It is so important to know the scoring of your league.

Jimenez comes with hype as a second-year former top prospect, but that hype is really only worth chasing in Yahoo or NFBC leagues. He has been going off the board around the 17th outfielder off the board, which he returns positive value on in Yahoo and NFBC leagues. You would be overpaying on the other sites if you paid that price. Renfroe offers a ton of power, but that is about it. His poor plate discipline will cost him in CBS and ESPN formats. He is best owned in Yahoo, which emphasizes walks, but does not penalize for strikeouts.

Clint Frazier is hurt because he does not have an everyday job. Back before the season was delayed and it looked like Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge would miss the start of the season, Frazier became one of my favorite late-round values. But now with the delayed start, the duo is expected to be ready to go when the season begins. That makes Frazier undraftable in points leagues. But he could be an asset if he was to ever gain an everyday role, whether it be from injuries opening a spot or him being traded. For now, avoid in this format.

More Points Leagues Analysis