2018 Outlook: One of the most familiar names in the on-field as well as the fantasy game, Harper best fits the "risk/reward" label of any hitter in baseball. He has an MVP (2015) on his résumé, and he was on track for another in 2017 before severely bruising his knee in mid-August, which cost him 42 games. Harper scored the most fantasy points among hitters in 2015 and was fifth in 2017 before getting hurt. That 2017 missed time, however, as well as other DL stints in his career, cannot simply be glossed over, as Harper has been sidelined for nearly 20 percent of his team's games since his big league debut in 2012. Harper's all-out style of play does put him at risk, but his immense talent is also understandably tantalizing. He's now 25 years old, in the prime of his career, so the urge to draft Harper in the first round is probably more valid than not. How lucky do you feel?
2018 Outlook: Eaton was in the midst of his best year yet when, on April 28, he tore the ACL in his left knee lunging for first base to beat out an infield grounder. At the time, he was third in the majors in runs scored (24), that thanks in large part to his career-best .393 on-base percentage and role as the leadoff man for a potent Nationals lineup. Eaton is expected to be healthy for the start of 2018, taking over once more as the team's leadoff hitter, and if he looks strong during spring training he should pick up right where he left off. If so, he's plenty capable of repeating -- and arguably improving upon -- his No. 103 finish on the 2016 Player Rater and 85th-most fantasy points that season.
2018 Outlook: An April injury to starting center fielder Adam Eaton opened up unexpected playing time for Taylor last season, and he impressed to the tune of a .271/.320/.486 line in 432 plate appearances. His strikeout rate was unsightly (31.7 percent), but Taylor showed impressive pop, hitting 19 homers with a .216 ISO. The power doesn't seem to be a fluke, as Taylor's hard-hit rate increased from 31.7 percent to 34.0 percent while his fly ball rate jumped from 29.6 percent to 36.7 percent. With his swing-and-miss issues, he will be a batting-average risk for the foreseeable future, but Taylor seems like a solid bet to produce home run and steal numbers in the teens again this season. That said, with highly-rated prospect Victor Robles waiting in the wings, he won't have much wiggle room.
2018 Outlook: Robles is one of the top prospects in baseball, his value to the Nationals evident in that they put him on their Division Series roster despite his having only 37 games' experience in Double-A ball and 13 in the majors. That's how polished his defense and speed are -- the traits that would translate most swiftly once the Nationals deem him ready, though his limited experience in the higher levels could result in him starting 2018 in Triple-A ball. Robles should see some time in Washington before year's end, and if he can force a promotion quickly enough, he'd be able to fill five rotisserie categories; and with his solid contact rate, he could provide comparable value in points-based leagues. Dynasty-league managers should target him in the early rounds, but in redraft formats, he's more of an endgame flier for mixed and a late-rounder in NL-only.