Fantasy Central: Week 5

It’s Tuesday again, and your fantasy lineup is due soon. Not to worry! We have all the info you need to play like a pro this week. 

Injury Updates

Bold indicates confirmed season-ending injuries.

  • Ryanna Head – Michigan State – in a boot (1/20)
  • Collea Burgess – Maryland – ineligible to compete in 2020 (1/20)
  • Ariana Orrego – Iowa State – deferred to train for the Olympics (1/20)
  • Ashton Woodbury – Cal – in a boot (1/20)
  • Taylor Sell – West Virginia – torn achilles (1/22)
  • Kelsey Martz – Northern Illinois – thumb surgery (1/24)
  • Alexa Solomon – San Jose State – foot/ankle surgery (1/24)
  • Seina Cho – Yale – arm in a sling (1/25)
  • Molly Parris – Eastern Michigan – in a cast and on crutches (1/25)
  • McKenna Appleton – North Carolina – knee brace and on crutches (1/25)
  • Nicole Webb – NC State – boots on both feet and in a wheelchair (1/25)
  • Sarah Edwards – LSU – injured on floor; in a boot (1/25)
  • Ava Caravela – Penn – in a boot and on crutches (1/26)
  • Ariyana Agarwala – Penn – arm in a sling (1/26)
  • Mia Betancourt – Rutgers – torn Achilles (1/26)
  • Lauren Diggan – New Hampshire – torn Achilles (1/26)

Week 5 Byes and Doubles 

Byes: Centenary

Doubles: Bridgeport (triple(!) meet weekend), George Washington, Iowa State, Southern Connecticut, UW-Stout

Experts Say…Your Hot Tip for Week 5 

Holy cow Bridgeport, three meets in one weekend?! Wow. The Purple Knights will be at Temple on Friday, at Yale on Saturday and home on Sunday. It’s bold. I’d be cautious with putting any Bridgeport gymnasts in lineups, since hitting three times in the weekend is a big risk.

This may be a strategic USAGs rehearsal; that championship weekend is Thursday semis, Friday team finals and Saturday event finals, so some top gymnasts who we expect to see in event finals—like Maya Reimers on floor, Kathryn Doran on bars and Julianna Roland on beam—may very well have quite successful outings all three days. Proceed with caution, though.

We’re back on the Thursday meet grind, too. Michigan will be at Nebraska on ESPN2 on Thursday; this is a big, marquee matchup, and we know Huskers’ judging can trend up at home sometimes, so expect an explosive one. Both teams will absolutely want to replicate the 197s they each put up this week.

LSU will be home versus Alabama, Oklahoma is home versus Iowa State and UCLA is home versus Washington, so look for some big numbers for all three home teams. Michigan State will be away for the first time in three weeks, which will be a gut-check. Keep an eye on those scores to see how legitimate the last three weeks’ numbers have been.

Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em

Are you struggling to decide when the time is right to pull a gymnast who keeps letting you down? Wondering whether that surprise star has what it takes to score well in the weeks to come? Never fear! We’re going to weigh in.


Raena Worley upgraded to a Yurchenko one and a half this week; she hit for a 9.775. Expect her scores to trend up as she gets more comfortable competing the new vault. Lexi Nibbs seems to be the likely sixth vaulter, assuming Sarah Edwards is indeed out.

Lauren Diggan was missing from New Hampshire’s meet; to be safe, we’d sit her on her three pieces. Abbie Pierson again sat out vault; at this point we have to assume there’s a health question or mental block at play.

Start: Raena Worley, Lexi Nibbs

Sit: Lauren Diggan, Abbie Peirson, Sarah Edwards


Emily Gaskins was added to Alabama’s bars lineup at Metroplex and seems likely to stay, although we don’t know why Shea Mahoney was missing from her three events. Mia Takekawa had a weird, nervy bar performance, but she came back strong on beam. Don’t let her actual six scare you away from putting her in this lineup. We learned on Bev Plocki’s Michigan Insider interview that Abby Heiskell is dealing with ankle pain, so she has been out of the other three lineups; she should be a bars staple now, though.

We don’t know why Karrie Thomas was missing from Oklahoma’s bar and beam lineups at Metroplex; perhaps she was just being rested. That said, we’d bench her if you have other options just to be safe. Yale’s lineups were very weird this week with no explanation. Reagan Walker was not in the bar lineup. We’d wait a week to see what’s up.

Start: Emily Gaskins, Mia Takekawa, Abby Heiskell

Sit: Karrie Thomas, Reagan Walker


Shannon Evans came back on beam and floor this week for 9.900s on both; we think she’s there to stay. We saw Jenny Rowland pull Sydney Johnson-Scharpf from floor and instead put her on beam where she went 9.925. She seems likely to be on beam again this week. We don’t know when for sure, but Bev Plocki has hinted that Gabby Wilson will add beam in the near future; if you’re bold and don’t mind risking the zero, she’s a high-risk-high-reward start. 

Sadly, Nicole Webb was seen in a wheelchair and two boots at N.C. State’s meet. Kelley Hebert was injured on her competition vault landing; she was able to walk but withdrew from beam and floor; if you have other beam choices, give her a week to see where she’s at. We think Maddie Mariani is the likely lineup pull if Wilson does debut beam; keep her in for now but watch this space.

Start: Shannon Evans, Sydney Johnson-Scharpf, Gabby Wilson

Sit: Nicole Webb, Kelley Hebert, Leah Clapper


Vanessa Deniz was amazing in her floor debut for Oklahoma. Whether or not Maggie Nichols competes all four this weekend, we think Deniz will remain in the lineup. Given Sydney Johnson-Scharpf’s beam success last week, and that Payton Richard’s debut floor outscored SJS’s previous floor scores, we expect Richards to get the floor start over Johnson-Scharpf this week. With Sarah Edwards’ apparently serious injury, we think Christina Desiderio may make a return to LSU’s floor lineups.

We don’t know why Sydney Kraez didn’t compete floor last week. We’d keep her out of that lineup to be safe until we know more. Mia Betancourt was injured on floor during Rutgers’ meet; we don’t yet know the extent of the injury, but it appeared major. Jade Degouveia had a weird floor outing; she just hasn’t been herself here. We’d pull her if you have enough other options. KJ Kindler isn’t afraid to take gymnasts out of lineups.

Start: Vanessa Deniz, Shannon Evans, Payton Richards, Christina Desiderio

Sit: Sydney Kraez, Mia Betancourt, Jade Degouveia, Sydney Johnson-Scharpf, Sarah Edwards

Week 5 Pickups

Trying to figure out who to pick up to replace an injury? Looking for a ninja to up your weekly beam total? We’ve got you covered, down to the data on who should still be available.


Alexis Rubio is available in two conferences; she has a 9.850 average. Lindenwood’s Aleah Lemon (78 conferences) is the top vaulter in USAG, with a near-9.800 average, and Kiah Johnson (43 conferences) is right behind her.


Rae Balthazor is hanging around in five conferences; she exhibitioned bars and beam for Illinois and looked stellar on both. We expect her to be in lineups imminently. Jacey Baldovino is hitting her stride; she has a 9.875 high on bars and hit beam for a 9.800 this week; she’s available in 50 percent of conferences. Mei Li Costa is still available in five conferences; she’s a bars/beam worker you don’t want to miss out on. Morgan Hart was back on bars for Arizona State; she didn’t have the best day, but her 2019 average was 9.788. 


Southern Connecticut’s new addition Bianca Leon debuted a 9.775 beam set in her first-ever meet. She should be available in every conference since she was added just before trading opened. Grab her if you need a beamer. Alyssa Worthington scored a 9.900 (9.781 average) on beam this week and is available in 59 conferences. Sarah Boyd (65 conferences) peaks at a 9.825 and hasn’t had a miss yet.


Nicoletta Koulos has now been in Michigan’s floor lineups two weeks in a row and hit 9.800 versus Rutgers. We think she has a high enough potential there to be a solid pickup; she’s available in 41 conferences. Malia Hargrove had her floor debut for Arizona for a 9.875; she’s a vaulter and beamer as well, and available in 16 conferences. Abby Johnston competed a strong exhibition floor for Nebraska; she’s available in 76 conferences and may see lineup time sooner rather than later. Gayla Griswold is available in 35 conferences, and is a strong vaulter in addition to her 9.817 floor average. 

Notes from the Fantasy Roundtable

Iowa just keeps getting trapped in airports; the Hawkeyes are finally home this weekend. It’s possible that the travel woes have contributed to some off kilter performances, and they’ll be back on track this weekend. 

Article by Emily Minehart with additional reporting form Mary Emma Burton, Rebecca Scally and Katherine Weaver

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