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Fantasy Baseball Shuffle Up: Contreras Brothers stars of updated catcher values

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Shuffling fantasy catchers is not a fun exercise. It’s depressing. It’s Terms of Endearment or The Carpenters on an infinite loop.

Hey, sometimes we need to embrace the sadness to fully appreciate the good things we have. Hope you’re rostering one or two Contrerases this year.

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The Shuffle Rules: We’re sorting the players in expected 5x5 value to come. What’s happened to this point is merely an audition. The dollar values are unscientific in nature, simply presented as a way to show where I perceive the values to cluster and dip. I reserve the right to change this list during the first day of publication.

Disagree with some ranks? That’s why we have a game. Tell me your thoughts: @scott_pianowski

The Big Tickets

$22 Willson Contreras

$20 Will Smith

$20 Salvador Perez

$19 Daulton Varsho

$18 JT Realmuto

$17 Alejandro Kirk

$16 Tyler Stephenson

Contreras has been the No. 1 catcher and it’s not remotely close, though his production this year is far better than any previous season (161 OPS+, previous best was 127). He’s been especially unfair against left-handed pitching: five homers in 45 at-bats, and a 1.182 OPS . . . Perez has the ugly average, but the pop is still there and you know his workload is never going away . . . Varsho is one of our favorite fantasy hacks, a catcher-eligible who isn’t asked to catch all the time. His average is roughly neutral for today’s environment, and he’s also giving category juice . . .

The Statcast data says Realmuto’s average and slugging should be an eyelash higher, but he hasn’t been tragically unlucky. Maybe the Phillies simply opened the vault to pay superstar money for a merely good player. Fantasy managers can relate. Realmuto won’t cost anyone their league, but he hasn’t validated his ADP for several years, either.

Legitimate Building Blocks

$13 William Contreras

$12 Travis d'Arnaud

$12 Christian Vazquez

$12 MJ Melendez

$11 Yasmani Grandal

$10 Gary Sanchez

$10 Mitch Garver

The other Contreras is being used creatively in the Atlanta lineup, which shapes his value nicely even if he’s not their primary backstop . . . Vazquez is more of a slow-burn player, giving you average but not a ton of power, but Boston’s park and lineup are still cheat codes . . . Grandal’s back class and walk rate keep him in double digits, even if he hasn’t hit one lick this year.

Atlanta left fielder William Contreras (24) has been a fantasy surprise
Willson Contreras' little brother, William, has been holding his own in fantasy. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Talk them up, talk them down

$9 Sean Murphy

$8 Keibert Ruiz

$7 Adley Rutschman

$7 Jonah Heim

$5 Jose Trevino

$4 Max Stassi

$4 Jorge Alfaro

$4 Mike Zunino

There’s a whiff of upside with Alfaro, if the Padres ever accept the reasonable idea that he’s their testy overall catcher . . . Trevino has never been an above-average hitter, but he has a 129 OPS+ this year and gets the buoyancy of the Yankees lineup. He'll share time, but has 14 starts in 25 games, enough for the two-catcher leagues . . . Rutschman’s early days have been tame, but the position is so weak, we’re desperately holding out for any kind of hero we can get.

Bargain Bin

$3 Yadier Molina

$2 Austin Nola

$2 Nicholas Fortes

$2 Elias Diaz

$1 Christian Bethancourt

$1 Curt Casali

$1 Austin Barnes

$1 Cal Raleigh

$1 Jacob Stallings

$1 Francisco Mejia

$1 Brian Serven

$1 Ryan Jeffers

$1 Tucker Barnhart

I hope this isn’t the end for Molina, but you can’t help but be concerned . . . Raleigh sits as C25 at the moment in banked value, simply because he has a few homers. He’s batting .163. It’s a nasty time for backstops . . . Serven at least belongs on your watch list, given that Diaz hasn’t hit much and Colorado is Colorado. I’m also hoping Fortes has earned more playing time in Miami.