Fantasy Baseball’s Points League Paradise (Week 4)

The top Buy/Sell Points league options of Week 4.

Well this article may have come out a little later than it typically does, and I apologize, but I promise to make it a good one. Sometimes dad duty gets in the way and delays my outside plans, but the good news is I’m here now. On the plus side, I’ve had more time to deliberate and decide on who belongs on this week’s list.

Last week I broke it down in just a buy/sell format and I think it makes the most sense to keep it at that. We are getting bigger sample sizes of players by the week. The further we get into the season, the less the “hold” section becomes relevant. Right now what is the most important is to make sure you know who you need to be keying in on and avoiding to win these points leagues.

For those that are new here, each week I dive into the wonderful world of points leagues and pinpoint which players you should buy and sell. For the buy category, I tend to focus on guys either on the waiver wire that you need to add immediately. Or I focus on guys who are very rosterable that I feel have the ability to kick their production into another gear. Those are the ones you need to be trading for while you can.

On the sell side of things, I am not listing guys I believe you should drop. That’s an entirely other article. The guys I name in the sell section are ones I believe you should move on from while you can. Either they’re on an unsustainable pace and they’re currently at their peak trade value, or there are worrying underlying metrics that point to a sharp decline sometime soon. It’s all about maximizing value. The old buy low, sell high routine.

With all of that in mind, let’s get our thinking caps on and dive into the players that made this week’s list.


Buy Buy Buy


Christian Encarnacion-Strand


2024 Stats: .216 | 2 HR | 10 R | 16 RBI

Firstly, the correct writing format would be to write out Encarnacion-Strand every time I mention him. The man has the longest last name in MLB history, and I really don’t want to do that. So we’re just going to refer to him as CES which is how most of you know him anyway.

Secondly, CES’s bat is coming back to life and you need to jump back on the hype train before it leaves you behind. Coming into 2024 you drafted CES off the hype from the end of his 2023 season. And in the 2023 season, you picked him up off waivers because of the hype from his storied minor league career. The dude put up numbers.

We’re not here to talk about all of that, though. What I want to talk about is the impressive turnaround we’ve seen from CES and what it means moving forward.

BA XBH HH% GB% O-Swing%
First 10 Games .136 3 38.7% 58.1% 47.1%
Next 11 Games .295 5 48.5% 33.3% 41.1%

As you can see, a few important things happened. The easy one to point out is the simple fact that he’s just flat-out hitting the ball harder. A 10% jump in hard-hit rate makes a massive difference. The more important ones are in the form of him chasing fewer pitches out of the zone and ditching that horrible groundball rate.

His numbers in the last 11 games mirror those numbers he put up in his 63 games in 2023. Which to me says he’s right back on track with that 55 XBH pace. That number goes a long way toward sustained viability in points leagues where points are awarded per total base. Six of those XBH that he already has are doubles which are a sneaky way to rack up the points.

His surface stats are still underwhelming. He’s hitting just .209 with two home runs and a 27:3 K:BB ratio. Trade for him now while you can, because soon he’s going to be back to returning full value on that 131 ADP and the price will skyrocket.


Jesse Winker


2024 Stats: .297 | 2 HR | 13 R | 9 RBI | 2 SB

I’m not sure there’s a player I’ve been asked about more lately than Jesse Winker. And up until this point, I honestly didn’t have a good read on how I felt about him either way. Was he really back to his Cincinnati Reds days? Or was this just a very hot start that’s likely to cool off? The conclusion I’ve come to lately is that this is a little bit of both.

At the end of the day, Winker may very well cool off. But the changes he’s made to his approach and the improvements in his quality of contact point to Winker having a very reliable season for points league players. He does the things we preach around here. He’s got great plate discipline (13.2% BB rate, 19.8% K rate), he has an elevated line drive rate (26.3%), and an 8.8% barrel rate that is ever so slightly above league average. Because of this, he excels in both ideal contact rate (43.9%) and ideal plate appearance rate (27.5%), which are analytics that correlate to elevated points league production.

In a nutshell, Winker has gotten back to controlling the zone and getting the bat on the ball in a productive matter. The Washington Nationals aren’t necessarily lighting the world on fire, but they do a great job of coaching up their guys to make good contact. If Winker can find a way to fall somewhere between his 2021 Cincinnati and 2019 Cincinnati days once again, he’s going to put up good enough numbers to leave you feeling satisfied with his addition to your squad.


Keaton Winn


2024 Stats: 2-3 | 28 IP | 23 Ks | 3.54 ERA | 1.04 WHIP

This IS Pitcher List so it’s only right I make sure to add at least one pitcher to the buy list. And if I have to pick one, right now that pitcher is going to be Keaton Winn. If you listen to my podcast you’d know that Winn has been someone I’ve been preaching to target for a bit now. Because he does one thing exceptionally well… he induces ground balls at a very high rate.

Max Fried 65%
Logan Webb 59.7%
Ranger Suárez 59.5%
Keaton Winn 58.9%
Luis Severino 58.2%
Marcus Stroman 57.3%
Jordan Hicks 56.6%

Above are the top seven starting pitchers by groundball rate this season. Two things stick out to me when I see this list. The first is that it’s a group of pitchers consistently pumping out quality starts. Second is the fact that somehow the Giants have three pitchers in the top seven. Good for you, San Francisco.

When finding pitchers who can consistently give you points league success, the easiest thing to target is quality starts. As we all know by now, innings pitched and strikeouts are good. Giving up hits, earned runs, and walks are all things that generate negative points. So finding someone who can consistently pump out quality starts is going to help you in the innings category while limiting runs. They’re also more likely to be in line for wins on a consistent basis which you can consider bonus points.

Winn does a good job of this thanks to his nasty splitter and improved slider usage, especially to right-handers. The slider itself has gained almost two mph and has yet to surrender an XBH. I’d love to see a slight improvement on his K-BB rate but the small five-start sample size may be what’s holding that down. All in all, Winn makes for a fantastic points league option moving forward and if he’s available he’s worth finding a way to get on to your team.


Sell While You Can


Javier Assad


2024 Stats: 2-0 | 27 IP | 26 Ks | 2.00 ERA | 1.03 WHIP

So Javier Assad is the prime example of a guy who’s on this list because his value arguably will not be any higher than it is right now. He’s had a surprising start to the season and turned himself into another good starter in that Cubs rotation. The issue is when you look under the hood, things aren’t necessarily as exciting as they appear on the surface.

Assad is a flyball pitcher who pitches at one of the most frightening flyball pitcher parks once the weather heats up. Chicago is called the “Windy City” for a reason. This season, Assad is inducing groundballs at just a 34% clip which means all that contact is going in the air, and boy does he give up a lot of contact.

Hitters are making zone contact 91.2% of the time against Assad. They’re making contact 83.1% of the time overall if you count the pitches out of the zone. Neither of those is ideal. Add in the fact that he’s leaving hitters on base at an unsustainable 89.1% and you have a recipe for disaster brewing for the Chicago hurler.

Now remember what I said earlier about Winn and his ability to pitch deeper into games and rack up quality starts? Assad has made 14 career starts at the big league level to this point, and he’s managed to make it through the sixth inning just five times. While I do understand that he’s shown a lot of promise so far, and he may very well continue to be a productive category or roto player, points league isn’t the format best suited for him to shine. If you roster him, try and move on from him while you can still get decent value in return.


Travis d’Arnaud


2024 Stats: .293 | 5 HR | 11 R | 15 RBI

Yet another case of ” No, I’m not here to tell you he’s bad” so please don’t come for me. There may not be a hotter hitter, at least catcher, in the game than d’Arnaud is right now. Five home runs, six runs scored, 11 RBIs, and a trio of multi-hit games in a six-game span will do that for you.

The reason d’Arnaud is on this list is the fact that he’s playing on borrowed time at the moment. The reason he’s playing so consistently for these last few weeks is because fellow catcher Sean Murphy went down with an oblique strain. Now, we did see last season that they’re both able to get at-bats while healthy, the problem is that coming into the season the Braves were set on Murphy getting the majority of the time behind the dish. That timeshare we saw for big chunks of last season wasn’t going to happen again.

So right now, d’Arnaud holds a ton of value. He’s a consistent bat, hitting in one of the highest-scoring lineups in baseball. Not only does he have the ability to drive in runs consistently, but whenever he’s on base he’s a scoring threat as well. And he’s been really good this year overall as well. He’s striking out less than 20%, has a career-best 15.2% barrel rate, and his .418 xwOBA is among the best in baseball.

If you roster d’Arnaud right now, his value has never been higher. Murphy isn’t swinging a bat yet, but he’s already back to catching bullpen sessions. When he comes back, you’re going to see a massive decline in both production and value in d’Arnaud. If you’re okay with playing him while he’s hot and fishing on the waiver wire after Murphy is back, be my guest, but you are likely better off flipping him for another solid bat and starting the transition now.


Blake Meyer

Father of 3 youngsters, writer of words, enjoyer of tequila, horror movie connoisseur, guitar hero savant Current featured fantasy baseball writer for Pitcher List & FantasyPros The Fake Baseball Podcast co-host Overly optimistic Mariners fan

2 responses to “Fantasy Baseball’s Points League Paradise (Week 4)”

  1. larry says:

    Winker has crazy splits so far. .952 ops vs rhp and 1.224 on the road. obviously just start him vs rhp. should produce until he pulls an oblique. you can set your watch to the inevitable Winker injury.

  2. larry says:

    d’Arnaud is another splits guy, 4 of the 5 HR’s have come vs lhp. good hitter, and worthy of DH against lhp when Murphy is back. but can also set your watch to the inevitable injury.

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