Nick Markakis is a consistent performer. From year to year, you can generally expect him to provide around a .300 BA, 15-20 HRs, 80-100 RBIs, and a handful of steals. A dip in power and run production in 2010 meant that he fell down draft boards as many fantasy owners gave up on the hope that he could one day produce as an elite outfielder.
Now, on April 25, 2011, Markakis is hitting a paltry .208 and has been dropped in 5-10% of leagues (depending on which site you use). His value is not going to be much lower than it is now. Here are three reasons you should consider picking Markakis up off the free agent heap...or perhaps even trading one of your bubble players to that jaded owner who's thinking about cutting the cord.
1) He's 27.
This isn't one of those half-baked "27 is the mythical age where fantasy production peaks" theories. Being 27 doesn't mean anything inherently - just ask Ryan Rowland-Smith. What it does mean is that Markakis isn't an over-the-hill type that's on the decline. There's nothing in his stats that suggests that any actual or perceived decline is a permanent deal. Speaking of which...
2) His peripheral stats suggest a rebound.
Behind Markakis' .208 BA is a .203 BABIP (.303 xBABIP). He's actually striking out at a rate well below his career average (9.7% vs. 16.1%), and his swing percentages suggest he's seeing the ball well. His line drive rate (16.7%) suggests he's contacting it well also, so...his slump can be attributed to plain bad luck.
3) SMALL SAMPLE SIZE
As mentioned before, it's April 25. By now you should know that you can't draw any definitive conclusions at this date. Markakis went through a 1 for 20 slump a week ago that really dragged his average down. Most players will go through a similar spell at some point in the year; the fact that Markakis did in April makes his current totals look worse.
The other owners in your league will look at the decline in Markakis' 2010 counting stats and his poor average this year and assume he's done, but a deeper look indicates that he's on the verge of turning it around, making him a perfect buy-low candidate.