Mets, Royals fantasy standouts to consider in '16
All Fall Classics are big, but the one that's starting Tuesday ... wow. It's going to be an extra-sweet triumph for one franchise's fan base. The Royals' last championship came in 1985, with the Mets following suit one season later.
From a pure fantasy standpoint, the upcoming series will be replete with players who also could help you win a title in 2016. With that in mind, let's review five fantasy themes from our final two postseason teams.
Caring -- and preparing -- now could be the difference between first place and first loser next year.
Wade Davis could be the top '16 fantasy closer
Arguably the game's best reliever, Davis assumed full ninth-inning duties for the AL-champion Royals after Greg Holland fell to elbow woes late in the season. After posting a 1.00 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP in '14, Davis was even better this year, logging a 0.94 ERA with a 0.79 WHIP. Davis dealt with a back injury in August, but he did not allow more than one earned run in any other month. With Holland set to miss all of '16, Davis could be set to pace baseball in saves during his first full campaign as closer.
Daniel Murphy is not a mixed-league difference-maker
Hitting .421 with seven homers across 38 postseason at-bats, Murphy has been the biggest postseason storyline through the LCS round. And if those stats are not impressive enough, consider that several of his homers have come against aces: Clayton Kershaw. Zack Greinke. Jake Arrieta. Those three names could win gold, silver and bronze in the NL Cy Young voting, and all three allowed Murphy to go yard this month. But as impressive as he's been, Murph is unlikely to be a major asset in mixed leagues next season. The veteran has never had a 15-homer year, and he has swiped just 15 bases since the outset of '14. Additionally, he has yet to hit the 80-mark in RBIs or runs scored. Murphy belongs on mixed-league rosters, but his name should not be called during the first half of drafts.
Johnny Cueto will be a boom-or-bust pick next season
After posting a 2.25 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP in '14, Cueto opened 2015 with an impressive 2.62 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP across 19 starts. But things went downhill after his trade from Cincinnati to Kansas City, with the righty notching a 4.76 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP across 13 regular-season starts in blue. He's also struggled this postseason, as his 7.88 ERA in three starts suggests. Regardless of how he fares in the World Series, Cueto will be a "buyer-beware" fantasy pick given his second-half slide and elbow concerns.
Lorenzo Cain has arrived
Cain was a trending topic in ALCS Game 6 -- and deservedly so, given how he sprinted from first to home on a single to plate the pennant-winning run. But good luck finding a stunned fantasy owner -- they've been onto Cain's greatness for a while. The No. 3 hitter in the Royals' lineup, Cain is the poster boy for a group that excels at making contact and getting on base. During his breakout 2015 campaign, Cain contributed in all five fantasy categories, doing his best work in the batting-average, runs and steals departments. After being selected in the second half of most '15 mixed-league drafts, the outfielder will go as high as the third round next spring.
The Mets staff will be fantasy gold in '16
The Mets' quartet of young starters -- Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz -- is the envy of every other organization. This October, deGrom (1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP), Harvey (2.84 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) and Syndergaard (2.77 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) have dominated their postseason foes, while Matz (3.72 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) has certainly held his own. In '16, the first three names above may record ace-like statistics, while Matz should be a notable asset in all formats.