1. David Wright - A staple on the top of this list since 2007, David Wright is the face of the New York Mets franchise and their most valuable fantasy asset. A 1st or 2nd Round pick for just as far back, David Wright is entering 2014 with the same expectations as almost every other season: 25 HRs, 15 SB, and a .300 AVG. Wright has been injury prone over the past three years and some of his fantasy star power is starting to fade. He's 3 years removed from a 25+ HR season, but injuries are partly to blame and Wright appears healthy headed into 2014.
Expected ADP: 15-20. Round 2
Worth It?: Yes, but I'm staying away. If Wright slips to the back end of 2nd Rounds, he becomes a nice value play, but the injury concerns are still too large for me. He's on the wrong side of 30 and doesn't have the type of lineup to help produce a ton of numbers in a short amount of time.
Keeper Value: Diminishing value. A rebound season for Wright could provide a nice sell-high opportunity. His skills have not diminished yet, so it's not like his value is facing a plateau. A steady downward slope is the more likely scenario.
2. Zack Wheeler - Overshadowed in 2013 by the dominance of Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler's debut campaign was still impressive for a 22 year old rookie. It was also indicative of a future fantasy workhorse. The walks were a little higher than you would like, and it will always be an issue for Wheeler, but he is a Top 75 starter and rosterable in almost any format. I expect the strikeouts to get a bump up this season with some regression of the ERA closer to the 4.00 his FIP and xFIP suggest.
Expected ADP: Round 14-15. Format depends a bit on this as a standard 5x5 he holds far more value. A league penalizing walks will hurt his value.
Worth It?: Yes. Using a mid-teens round pick to nab Wheeler leaves you some upside and a very high likelihood to break-even.
Keeper Value: Growing. Wheeler's 2013 was overshadowed by some of the other big-name rookie pitchers (Harvey, Fernandez, Archer, etc) and deservedly so, but Wheeler is no slouch. He will have a long career as a starter in any format.
3. Jon Niese - A favorite sleeper heading into 2013, Jon Niese didn't offer anything special last and I expect him to fall off radars this off-season. Niese's underwhelming numbers are a result of an injury that resulted an inconsistency when he found himself back on the mound - an increased walk rate being the biggest problem. A positive is that he didn't lose any velocity on his fastball so I'm confident he can make a full recovery and regain the 7.0+ K/9 and sub-3.0 BB/9 that he showed in 2012.
Expected ADP: Round 20+. Niese might end up going undrafted in a lot of standard leagues.
Worth It?: Yes. He's one of my favorite arms to grab late.
Keeper Value: None. He's a re-draft value play only. Should be waiver wire fodder in most keeper leagues.
4. Travis d'Arnaud - The d'Arnaud era is now underway for the Mets and it could be a lucrative opportunity for fantasy owners. d'Arnaud has the ability to hit 20+ HRs and sustain a .280 AVG and the counting stats that come with hitting in the middle of a lineup. I don't expect these numbers in 2014, but I wouldn't be shocked to see 15 HRs and a decent AVG. Health is the biggest question mark going forward.
Expected ADP: Round 18-20. Catcher is deep again this year and the last few fantasy starter roles are about a toss up. Expect d'Arnaud to come off at the end of drafts for the managers who waited.
Worth It?: Can't argue it. I'd prefer a safer bet at catcher, but the upside is here given the price.
Keeper Value: Of course. He has to shake the injury tag, but he's an offensive-minded catcher so he will always have his backers in the fantasy world.
5. Daniel Murphy - Can you tell I'm not sold on the 23 SBs? Murphy is one of the trendiest picks in the early off-season and I don't understand the love. A previous high of 10 SBs in the major leagues, and a high of 14 in AA back in 2008 there is no reason to suggest Murphy will repeat the impressive stolen base numbers. The power isn't as surprising, but it is a career high and I would expect a little bit of regression. I'm seeing a 10/10 season from Murphy with the typical .290 AVG and counting stats. Useful, but not the Top 5 2B we saw last year.
Expected ADP: Round 10. Depends a lot on what sort of steam he gains this off-season. I think the momentum will fade and he drops back to the teens, but right now he's going in Rounds 10 & 11 in early mocks.
Worth It?: Absolutely not. You're investing in a mirage with those SB numbers.
Keeper Value: Minimal. Murphy will consistently find himself on the fringe of the Top 12 of the position and his best season might already be behind him. He is in his prime years so he should be consistent the next 2-3 years but there isn't much room for growth here.