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Fantasy Week 5 | MLB Week 5

Boring Veterans to Target

Thu Feb 29 8:54am ET
By MIKE BARNER
Contributing Writer

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Arenado remains steady option


Everyone loves to make a splash in their fantasy draft. Whether it be hunting for breakout players or sleepers in the late rounds, hitting on a couple of those can help bring home a championship. However, it’s also important to have reliable veterans to count on for production throughout the season. Let’s discuss five boring players who are still excellent targets in drafts.

Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals

Arenado saw a slight decline in his production last season. However, he still finished with 26 home runs, 93 RBI and 71 runs scored. It marked his eighth straight full season with at least 25 home runs and 90 RBI. He has also been a pillar of health, appearing in at least 144 games in each of the last eight full seasons.

While he had an uptick in strikeouts last season, Arenado’s 16.5 percent strikeout rate was still excellent. His 38.1 percent hard-hit rate was also right in like with his career mark. He turns 33 years old in the middle of April, so while Arenado might not be able to produce like he did during his peak with the Rockies, he still has plenty left in the tank. His current ADP is 89.6, making him a great target in the seventh or eighth round of most drafts.

Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres

Musgrove was well on his way to another excellent season with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP through his first 17 starts with the Padres last year. However, a shoulder injury would end his season early, keeping him out for all of August and September. The good news is, with a full offseason to recover, he doesn’t enter spring training with any limitations.

Prior to last season, Musgrove had logged at least 170 1/3 innings in each of the last three full seasons. He has never finished with an ERA above 3.18 or a FIP above 3.70 in any of his three seasons with the Padres. His career 23.9 percent strikeout rate is nothing to write home about, but he does have an appealing 1.17 WHIP for his career. His ADP checks in at 101.9, so fantasy managers won’t need to spend an early selection to land the reliable veteran.

Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks

Walker has played at least 152 games in a season three times during his career. In all three of those campaigns, he slugged at least 29 home runs. Last season proved to be his most productive when he batted .258 with 33 home runs, 103 RBI and 86 runs scored. He even stole 11 bases.

For a player with his type of his power, his career 22.4 percent strikeout rate is impressive. He has been even better lately, posting strikeout rates of 19.6 percent and 19.2 percent the last two seasons. He also had a barrel rate of at least 11.2 percent in both of the last two seasons. As one of the cornerstones of the Diamondbacks lineup, his current ADP of 71.6 makes him a great option for those who miss out on drafting the top-tier first baseman early.

Teoscar Hernandez, Los Angeles Dodgers

Hernandez is probably happy to have only played for the Mariners for one season. Yes, he still hit .258 with 26 home runs and 93 RBI last year. However, he had a .163 ISO and a .276 wOBA at home. On the road, he recorded a .191 ISO and a .353 wOBA.

Not only does Hernandez no longer have to play his home games in Seattle, but he landed in a loaded lineup for the Dodgers. Hitting in front of him will likely be Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith. That should leave him with a ton of opportunities to drive in runs. He has driven in at least 100 runs in a season before, which came back in 2021 when he had 116 RBI for the Blue Jays. Drafting him might not generate a lot of buzz in the room, but with his current ADP of 107, he has the potential to provide tremendous value.

Nathan Eovaldi, Texas Rangers

The Rangers have two huge stars in their starting rotation in Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. However, both of them are expected to be out until at least the middle of the season. The back of their rotation has some question marks, but Eovaldi is a reliable option towards the top of it. He logged 144 innings last season, posting a 3.63 ERA, a 3.88 FIP and a 1.14 WHIP.

Eovaldi has not produced a WHIP above 1.23 since the 2019 season. He still doesn’t miss a ton of bats, but he has finished with a strikeout rate of at least 22.2 percent in each of the last six seasons. In five of the last six seasons, he has recorded an ERA of 3.87 or lower. While he’s not someone who can lead a fantasy rotation, his ADP of 202.4 doesn’t come with any risk. He can still be an asset in ERA and WHIP.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

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