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The next installment of my column on players returning from injuries focuses on a player who was commonly regarded as a top five pick just a couple years ago. This proves the point that all it takes is a couple of injuries to quickly change the perception we have about certain players from a fantasy baseball perspective. But part of excelling at fantasy baseball is the willingness to take some calculated risks for players with health concerns who can be obtained later in drafts or for a discount in auction prices.
Matt Kemp (OF-LAD)
If dating celebrities is a scoring category in your roto league, then Matt Kemp should be considered for the first overall selection. Hopefully Kemp isn’t allowing Khloe Kardashian to distract him from his rehab following offseason surgeries on his ankle and shoulder. According to Dodgers’ general manager Ned Colletti, Kemp has been out of a walking boot since mid-December and has started to hit. While it is expected that Kemp will be ready during spring training, there are serious questions about his ability to generate power and steal bases. Los Angeles already has a crowded outfield with Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig, so they can afford to be cautious with Kemp before committing to him full-time.
I would advise you to tread cautiously when targeting him in drafts. Granted, he does provide tremendous upside if he is healthy and playing every day. It was only a couple years ago that he was one of the preeminent fantasy options providing massive production in all five Roto categories. But if there are any lingering effects from his ankle or shoulder injuries, then we must accept the fact that he is no longer the 30/30 player he once was.