2018 Outlook: A three-homer, 10-RBI performance in his 25th game on April 30 sparked what was an eventual career year for Rendon, who set personal bests in batting average (.301), home runs (25), RBIs (100), on-base percentage (.403), slugging percentage (.533), doubles (41) and walks (84), while appearing in more than 145 games for the third time in the past four years. In the process, he continued to show growth in his batted-ball distribution -- significantly more fly balls and fewer ground balls -- as well as his hard-contact rate. Rendon, who begins the season at 27 years old, is in the prime of his career and is a worthy early-round pick who could warrant top-25 consideration in points-based leagues.
2018 Outlook: October debridement and microfracture surgery to repair damage to articular cartilage in his right knee threatens the start to Murphy's season, as the Nationals have thus far offered only "optimism" that he'll be ready by Opening Day. Toss that onto a pile that includes second-half hip, neck and hamstring issues, as well as his 32 years of age, and Murphy is one of the riskier picks come draft day. Though the hitting approach he adopted in 2015 has made him a consistent candidate for at least a .300 batting average and 20 homers annually, he regressed significantly in terms of contact rate and struggled against left-handed pitchers in the second half of 2017, things that could signal the aging process as much as it might've resulted from his injuries. With full health, he'd be a top-50 pick, perhaps better in points-based leagues. Until we get a firmer read on his return date, however, he's a risky pick anywhere near that early and will require a backup plan.
2018 Outlook: Zimmerman added yoga to his repertoire and began examining Statcast data -- launch angles specifically -- at the onset of the 2016-17 offseason, his greater fortune in the health department and improved approach at the plate fueling a torrid, .330/.373/.596 first half. As pitchers adjusted to him, however, he gave back some of those gains thereafter, his .269/.337/.542 second-half numbers more representative of his true talent. Now 33 years old, Zimmerman might be hard-pressed to repeat his 144 games played, so be careful not to overpay chasing last year's numbers. He's a solid midrounder in all formats, but shouldn't be considered a leading man on a fantasy team.
2018 Outlook: There is still a fair amount to like about Adams. He is one of just 13 players to have an isolated power mark above .220 during the previous two seasons (minimum 600 PA), in a group that includes the likes of Lucas Duda, Evan Gattis, Randal Grichuk, Khris Davis and Logan Morrison, among others. He has also hit .286/.333/.495 against righties throughout his career, which is 23 percent above the league average for production against those types of pitchers. Then we get to the stuff not to like about Adams, such as the fact he has only once had more than 375 plate appearances in a season and that he is rather brutal at the plate when facing lefty pitchers. Another unpleasant wrinkle: he is currently riding the bench in Washington as an insurance policy to Ryan Zimmerman. In his current status, he is undraftable in shallow mixed leagues, but he's a handy guy to have on the bench in deeper formats in case Zimmerman has an injury relapse.
2018 Outlook: Don't sleep on this guy. The Nationals resisted trading Difo all winter, primarily because they recognize his reputation for elite contact and well-above-average speed, things that could be awfully handy as you seek to fill the last few spots on your roster in deep-mixed or NL-only leagues. He'll serve as a utility infielder for the Nationals again, and he shouldn't hurt your batting average or on-base percentage while providing cheap stolen bases. Remember: Difo once stole 49 bases (on 58 attempts) in the low minors.
2018 Outlook: Though Coors Field itself had a bit to do with it, Reynolds seemed like a different player for the Rockies than he did in his nine big league seasons that preceded it. He made slightly greater contact, batting higher in his road games in either season than he did in any full season from 2010-15, resulting in a rebound to the 30-homer plateau in 2017. Now a free agent, Reynolds nevertheless is in danger of his numbers dropping if he doesn't return to the Rockies, as it's important to note that he batted .301/.389/.546 during his Coors games, compared to .247/.318/.397 on the road, in his two seasons for them. With the increasing daily odds of that happening, he's wiser left as a mixed-league endgamer.