Ready or not the MLB playoffs begin this Friday. With it comes a new type of MLB best ball tournament on Underdog Fantasy -- The Pennant.
The other week I outlined a primer on how the contest works in addition to laying out different strategies to employ. I'm biased, but I think anyone who enjoys playing fantasy sports games that have both macro and micro strategies will enjoy The Pennant.
One of the most critical aspects to the tournament is being up to speed on the latest injury news. There are a number of players with high ADPs that maybe wouldn't be chosen as early if drafters knew the latest info. I break down what you need to know below.
Injury news as of Monday, October 3rd. Reach out on Twitter with questions @toomuchtuma.
The veteran free agent signing is dealing with a partial non-displaced fractured right finger, and his absence was felt in the Braves' 3-game sweep over the Mets. In late September Marte received a CT scan that showed "improved healing", but he remains without a timetable to return.
The team will likely update his status at the end of the regular season, but with an overall ADP of 33.8, Marte is a very risky pick right now, which stinks because he was shaping up to be an integral part of Mets team stacks.
For obvious reasons, the Dodgers are a popular choice to stack. They're pricey, though, and tough to complete (since everyone is trying to draft Dodgers players). This makes it so that we're seeking value later on. The problem is that their rotation is very up in the air right now.
Walker Buehler is out for the year with Tommy John surgery, so Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw will lead the staff beginning in the NLDS. From there, Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney are cheap SPs to take in the later rounds. But what about Gonsolin and May? 1-2 of these arms will need to pitch in a relief role.
Gonsolin's 33.9 ADP is expensive for a starter who hasn't pitched since August 23rd due to a forearm strain, though he's lined up to pitch on Monday. Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic notes Anderson is expected to pitch out of the rotation while Heaney is used in relief, so that makes Anderson a value in my eyes at a 55.0 ADP.
May, who is on the IL with lower back tightness, threw a bullpen over the weekend and is expected back for the NLDS. The expectation is he'll pitch out of the bullpen as well.
Ultimately, I'd expect Urias, Kershaw, and Anderson to be locks for the rotation with Gonsolin as the likely No. 4. That could change as the postseason evolves, of course.
Strider, AKA the one true king of #TeamStrider, is on the IL with a strained left oblique. He could begin throwing off the mound this week and it's entirely up in the air whether he'll come back in a bullpen role, or at all.
If the Braves wind up winning the NL East and securing a Round 1 bye, that will help a lot. But similar to Marte, Strider's return is no sure thing. His 34.4 ADP is too rich for me. Charlie Morton (50.6) and Kyle Wright (64.2) are much better options for Braves team stacks.
Albies, who fractured his right pinky finger in mid-September, has even less of a clear timeline. The goal is to try and return at some point in the playoffs, but even with a 72.0 ADP, it doesn't make much sense to a burn a roster spot on a less-than-sure comeback.
Carpenter, one of the best stories of the 2022 season, is aiming to return from a broken foot in time for the ALDS. His ADP (70.9) is reasonable enough if you're only worried about his return to health. However, on top of the re-injury risk, I'd be worried about playing time after a long layoff and on a crowded depth chart (not to mention platoon splits).
Benintendi, who is aiming to return from a broken hamate bone in his wrist, was scheduled to begin swinging a bat this past weekend. His 70.4 ADP is fine, if uninspiring. Only take him if you need an outfielder for a Yankee stack.
Lastly, Montas is without an ADP right now and there's simply no need to roll the dice on someone who might only be a bullpen option in a potential ALCS. Montas is sidelined due to shoulder inflammation.
J-Rod was reinstated from the IL on Monday. He missed some time down the stretch with a strained lower back. Just double check the latest news on him before drafting since he's an integral part of any Seattle team stack.
Gausman exited Sunday's game with a cut on his right middle finger, which isn't ideal as it was his final tuneup start before the playoffs. He should still be fine for the Wild Card Series, but it's a situation to monitor.
Also note that Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (hamstring) still doesn't have a definitive timeline to return.
Cardinals: Tyler O'Neill (hamstring) has been sidelined since mid-September. He's aiming to still be a part of the Wild Card roster.
Update: O'Neill hasn't made enough progress to be a part of the Wild Card roster. Instead, he's aiming for the Divisional Round.
Rays: Brandon Lowe (back) is out for the season.
Astros: Michael Brantley (shoulder) is out for the season.
The Guardians, Phillies, Brewers and Padres are all extremely healthy.