FANTASY PLAYS: Are Rockies unreliable?; Suns rising in NBA

Colorado Rockies' Gerardo Parra watches his three-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Monday, May 14

Colorado Rockies' Gerardo Parra watches his three-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Monday, May 14

DeAndre Ayton from Arizona sits on the stage before the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

DeAndre Ayton from Arizona sits on the stage before the NBA basketball draft lottery Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

A fantasy baseball staple offense is in danger. Without warning, what was once reliable is causing unexpected headaches for fantasy owners.

For the first time since their inception in 1993, Rockies hitters aren't doing what's expected out of them: provide copious amounts of offense. Entering Wednesday's play, Colorado was 26th in batting average (.229) and 19th in runs scored (171). Although they ranked sixth in total homers with 56, the Rockies are 19th in slugging percentage with an un-Colorado-like .399.

Outside of Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon (and maybe Trevor Story), the fantasy value of Rockies players are significantly dipping with few signs of improving. While it is easy to assume the likes of Carlos Gonzalez and Ian Desmond can present buy-low value to fantasy owners willing to trade for them, the slow start of the Colorado offense can't be simply excused due to the cold weather that impacted much of the majors for the first month of the season.

The Rockies have started to show recent signs of hitting at Coors Field, as evidenced by their .252 batting average, .326 on base percentage and .424 slugging percentage through their first 18 home games. But the road split — which has always been a dangerous trap for fantasy owners in traditional rotisserie play — is brutally pronounced thus far. Colorado's slash line outside of Coors Field reads a .212/.289/.381 that translates into 3.72 runs per game.

Rookie outfielder David Dahl (.864 OPS in 19 games) has offered hope in both NL-only and deeper leagues, yet using Rockies players has required far more work than normal. Those who play in head-to-head leagues or those whose lineups are adjusted daily may want to consider this nugget of knowledge: righties own Colorado's bats to the tune of a .215/.289/.376 slash line. Arenado and Blackmon are must-starts, but if you own other Rockies players, you should strongly consider sitting them.

Warmer weather and 53 more home games help the Rockies, but it might be time to stop considering their offense the sure thing it once was.

(POTENTIALLY) RISING SUNS

With Phoenix owning the first pick in next month's NBA draft, the focus will turn toward Arizona center Deandre Ayton and international multi-threat Luka Doncic as the initial players off the board.

In a fantasy sense, Ayton is ready on Day One. Already drawing comparisons to former Sonics All-Star Shawn Kemp and Spurs Hall of Famer David Robinson, Ayton projects to be a 17-point, 10-rebound per night player who will also contribute as a shot blocker and decent enough passer to get two to three assists per game. Right now, we can see Ayton as a fourth round pick in fantasy leagues and a strong top 10-15 selection in keeper/dynasty leagues.

FOREMAN AT THE FOREFRONT?

Texans running back D'Onta Foreman is a name fantasy football players should keep in mind as early drafts begin to unfold. The second-year back averaged 4.2 yards per carry and was on the verge of overtaking incumbent Lamar Miller before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury last November. He's expected to make a full recovery in time for training camp, where Foreman's blend of speed and power will lead to more touches.

Expect a running back by committee to start the season in Houston, but Foreman — who should be considered a late round pick — will emerge as a potential monster in both PPR and non-PPR formats. Don't be surprised if Foreman develops into a reliable second running back that will thrive in an offense run by explosive quarterback Deshaun Watson.

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This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com