NFBC FAAB Report: Week 10

Since premiering this weekly article focusing on the NFBC Main Event FAAB results one central theme stood out with each player featured. Veteran managers in this high-competitive league typically fall into one of four main categories: recent hot streaks, two-start pitchers, reshuffling bullpen roles, or mid-week prospect callups. The chart below shows the top 10 most added, highest, and average winning bids over the weekend. If you're unfamiliar with NFBC Main Events, it's where the sharpest minds in the fantasy baseball community compete in 57 high-stakes leagues for grand prizes upward of $250K. For us, mere mortal fantasy players, analyzing NFBC market trends can be a useful tool to stay ahead of your competition. The following players were added on Sunday, May 26th. 

Estimated read time: 7-10 minutes 

Adam Duvall ATL  OF 52 $58 $26.56
David Hamilton BOS 2B/SS 47 $51 $21.38
Mark Vientos NYM 3B 41 $60 $22.71
Jeremiah Estrada SDP RP 39 $43 $14.05
Luis Garcia LAA RP 39 $35 $15.79
Albert Suarez BAL SP 38 $59 $19.92
Ji Hwan Bae PIT OF 34 $37 $14.56
Matt Waldron SDP SP 32 $60 $22.19
Jacob Hurtubise CIN OF 30 $33 $10.77
Jordan Wicks CHC  SP 30 $26 $12.00

Duvall Ready For Everyday At Bats?

Adam Duvall

When Ronald Acuna Jr. gets hurt, everyone loses. It's borderline cliche, but it doesn't make it any less true. The fans — who pay premium prices to get a glimpse of the best baseball has to offer. The fantasy community — who spent premium draft capital on the consensus top overall pick throughout the draft season. Coming off a historic season, Acuna was a no-brainer click at the top of any draft. Even with a less-than-stellar start for Acuna, the four-time All-Star was still one of the most feared players in the big leagues. Over the weekend, the Braves confirmed everyone's nightmare with a diagnosis of a torn ACL in his knee for the former MVP. With only hours to work with before its 7 p.m. FAAB priority deadline, veteran managers in the NFBC quickly pivoted to veteran outfielder Adam Duvall as the player who could receive regular playing time for the rest of this season for Atlanta. 52 of the possible 57 Main Event leagues picked up the 35-year-old outfielder with a modest average price of $26.56 per transaction. If the NFBC is correct, and Duvall is the main benefactor of the Acuna injury, then it will be quite a story for a player who didn't have a job until a few weeks before Opening Day. Duvall wasn't considered a fantasy option until he signed a one-year deal with the Braves on March 14th. Before the Acuna injury, the Braves strictly used Duvall and Jarred Kelenic in a left-field platoon. Kelenic lost everyday playing time when the Braves signed Duvall and has only seen five plate appearances against left-handed pitching all season. With only six barrels on 79 batted balls and a 30.6 percent strikeout rate, you can see why Atlanta is reluctant to give the 24-year-old the keys to the castle this season. Duvall isn't exactly on fire either, coming into week 10 with a 22.1 strikeout rate while hitting .207 and a .378 slugging percentage. Both key performance indicators are below his career batting average of .231 and .470 slugging percentage. Some positive regression could come with more playing time, as Duvall has an xBA of .238 and an xSLG of .475 this season, according to Baseball Savant. 

Duvall is showing signs of slowing down at 35 years old; max exit velocity of 108.5 this year compared to his career-best age-31 season of 114.2. However, just because the car is rattling doesn't mean it still can't be productive. In limited duties, Duvall has eight barrels on 62 batted balls in play this season, and Atlanta still hits the veteran near the middle of the order at his advanced age. Duvall has settled in the sixth spot in the majority of his starts when Atlanta is facing left-handed pitching this season. With Acuna on the shelve, Duvall could be moved up to supply some pop in a still dangerous Atlanta offense. Duvall's success against Southpaws is no secret around the league, and he has continued his track record so far in 2024. Coming into week 10, 13 of his 17 hits this season have come against lefties — including all four homers, and he carried a .283/.565/.960 successful slash line when seeing left-handed pitching. The biggest question this week is how will Atlanta decide to divvy up the playing time going forward. Will Atlanta give the majority of the at-bats to Duvall? Or will the Braves stay in with a two-man platoon with very little value in either player? 15-teamers, like the competitive NFBC Main Events leagues, don't wait around to add a player with increased playing time. In 12-teamers, you might have the luxury of waiting until the dust settles before making a roster decision. You might want to have Duvall on your bench to stream when the Braves are scheduled against favorable lefty-heavy weeks in daily leagues. 

Hamilton Gaining Trust Once Again

David Hamilton

For the first time since debuting this article this season, we have a player featured for a second time as NFBC managers took another shot at Red Sox middle infielder David Hamilton. Hamilton garnered some speculative adds once former All-Star Trevor Story was lost for the season when he separated his shoulder diving in the 5 hole. Boston called up Hamilton, and he grabbed everyone's attention. Then, he immediately smoked a homer during his season debut in Anaheim. With the reputation of elite sprint speed (29 feet per second at top speed, 91st percentile), seasoned managers were willing to spend some FAAB to find out if the power/speed combo was real. Unfortunately, Hamilton suffered some backlash for his poor defensive decisions that made the Boston defense appear comically bad at times. Warranted or not, Hamilton saw a reduction of playing time, and manager Alex Cora pivoted to outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela to play some shortstop so Hamilton could untangle himself. Hamilton gained the trust of his manager last week with all six starts in the middle infield while shortstop Vaughn Grissom started four games, and infielder Romy Gonzalez only appeared in one game at DH, filling in for an injured Tyler O'Neill. The increased playing time caught the eye of NFBC managers as 47 leagues added him to the fold ahead of week 10 action with an average of $21.38 per transaction. The Red Sox want Hamilton to primarily face right-handed pitching as 75 of his 82 plate appearances have been from RHP. Hamilton is hitting .265/.333/.441 with an OPS of .774 against the righties this year while hitting at the bottom of the order. He might be an answer for now until Grissom finds his groove after starting the season on the injured list. Just be careful with expectations with a young player like Hamilton, who carries a 25.6 strikeout rate this season and is learning on the job.    

Vientos Ready To Take Baty's Job? 

Mark Vientos

Since the Mets called up Mark Vientos on May 15th, the rookie third baseman has been making strides and eating into playing time for unproven and slumping Brett Baty. Although Vientos hasn't qualified yet for minimum Statcast percentile numbers, he is trending to be a solid contributor in a Mets lineup that could use some positive regression. It's hard to point to any conclusions after just 36 at-bats, but Vientos has an xBA of .303 and an xSLG of .634. A great sign for Vientos' playing time was his even split between both types of pitchers. The Mets have used the four-time minor league All-Star in 17 plate appearances against right-handers and 19 against the southpaws. Vientos has found more success against the lefties so far, as he started with a .471/.526/1.059 slash line and a 1.585 OPS while hitting the majority of his games in the sixth slot in the Mets lineup. Try not to read too much into numbers with small sample sizes, but it could be clues as to what to come for Vientos. The Mets might be looking for answers in the short term while Baty figures out his potential at the hot corner. Baty has shown flashes but has yet to find a consistent groove to warrant any manager to be bullish and grant him regular playing time right now. In 126 plate appearances, Baty has just six barrels in 104 batted balls in play. Even his .231 batting average may be inflated as his xBA sits at .203, according to Baseball Savant, accompanied by a .273 xwOBA. A 25.2 strikeout rate with an average exit velocity of 86.2 is not a recipe for success and a sign of growing pains for a young ballplayer. Finding a quality third baseman has been a struggle early on in the fantasy season so keep an eye on Vientos this week -- especially when he faces three projected LHP starters in James PaxtonJordan Montgomery, and Blake Walston.    

Estrada Impressive After May Callup

Jeremiah Estrada

One of the bigger storylines in the NL West this season is how the Padres have solidified the backend of its bullpen in a short amount of time. Coming into the season, the Padres gave the first save opportunities to unheralded reliever Robert Suarez. The 33-year-old flew under the radar for most of the draft season and broke out on the scene at the Seoul Series to kick off the season. Once believed to be a question mark, it has become a real strength for San Diego. Suarez has been rock solid with his 15 saves and 23 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings. The flamethrower has been tough to hit with his 98.5 average fastball velocity (98th percentile) with a .192 xBA against and his dominant 0.76 ERA and 0.72 WHIP. Unfortunately for the rest of the league, the Padres may have also solidified their main setup role as well this year. In 15 1/3 innings since being called up, 25-year-old Jeremiah Estrada has been electrifying to begin his Padres career. Although he hasn't qualified for enough innings in Statcast leaderboards, Estrada carries a 45.5 strikeout rate heading into week 10 action. The right-hander already has two wins and a save to his record and has impressed with his 25 strikeouts in just 11 games. Estrada throws hard with a 96.8 average fastball velocity and has allowed just one barrel in 26 batted balls in play. The NFBC made Estrada the fourth most popular pickup, with 39 managers looking for ratio help with the possibility of an occasional save or win. If anything were to happen to Suarez, you could have a real weapon to win your save categories every week. It is definitely worth the average price of $14.05 per transaction, with a high of $43.       

Garcia Next In Line For Angels Closer?

Luis Garcia

Angels manager Ron Washington has a long road to relevance in Anaheim, and it doesn't help that there is a taxed bullpen on a struggling squad. Last year's All-Star closer Carlos Estevez has locked down seven saves so far this season but also has suffered three losses in 16 innings of work. Estevez carries a woeful 5.06 ERA with three home runs allowed but still has 17 strikeouts in 66 batters faced. With two consecutive tough series with divisional rivals Texas and Houston, where it won four of six road games, Washington gave veteran Luis Garcia an opportunity to save games recently. The 37-year-old took advantage and converted two saves in 10 1/3 innings of work. Garcia has been effective against hitters on both sides of the plate, with 11 strikeouts from both righties and lefties with his 96.6 fastball velocity. He has just four barrels against him in 63 batted balls in play and keeps the free passes to a minimum with a 6.5 walk rate. You will see a 4.84 ERA on Garcia's ledger, but that could be inflated as he has a 3.42 xERA this year on Baseball Savant. 39 managers in the NFBC added the veteran reliever looking for bullpen help without breaking the bank. If Garcia could continue to bring in strong ratios, he could return value on the average of $15.79 spent on him over the weekend. Estevez could be a couple more blown saves from a demotion, and Garcia would be the obvious choice for the next reliever in line in Anaheim.


Follow Michael Chasco on Twitter (X) @ChascoFCF for more fantasy baseball coverage.

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