Fantasy Central: Week 1 (Practice Week)

Fantasy gym—like everything since the COVID pandemic began—is a little different this season. The official game isn’t running because Kristen and the College Fantasy Gymnastics crew welcomed a little one to their family (congrats!). However, we know many of you are playing in private leagues, or are using the brand new site Gymlytics from Twitter user GymChem, so Fantasy Central lives on!

We’re switching up the weekly cadence to match Gymlytics’: The fantasy “week” begins with Friday meets, ends with any Thursday ones and trading happens every Monday via waiver wire. However, you’ll still find us here every Tuesday talking about “next week.”

This is your one-stop-shop for all things fantasy each week. We’ll be tracking injuries, byes and double headers, and giving you tips and tricks to put forward your best possible team.

Annnnnd…we’re off! Happy New Year, happy season, happy fantasy, happy everything! On a serious note, I and all of CGN hope our readers were able to have restful holidays and that you and your loved ones are healthy, physically and mentally. We’ve really been through it, and thankfully gym is back to bring some joy.

Remember, this is a practice fantasy week!

Injury and Covid Updates

I hate that we need to have a little COVID section in the 2022 iteration of Fantasy Central, but here we are. Below are also the late December injury updates you may have missed. Moving forward this section will only refer to injury changes in the preceding week.

California and UCLA have pulled out of California Grand and West Virginia is out of its meet at LSU (replaced by Centenary) due to COVID. Pittsburgh also pulled out of the Keystone Classic with Penn and Penn State at Temple, and N.C. State pulled out of the North Carolina quad with Auburn and Bowling Green. Follow us on Twitter for up-to-date announcements on teams and scheduling.

  • Elena Deets – Arizona – lower back injury (12/16)
  • Jordyn Paradise – Alabama – wrist injury (12/16)
  • Taylor Schulze – Brown – concussion (12/19)
  • Frankie Price – Arkansas – ACL injury (12/20)
  • Anaya Smith – ASU – crutches (12/20)
  • Juliette Boyer – ASU – crutches (12/20)
  • Erin Elkabchi – Boise – boot and crutches (12/20)
  • Savannah Newsome – Lindenwood – ACL tear (12/21)
  • Elise Byun – Cal – torn Achilles (12/21)
  • Kylie Yacamelli – Bowling Green – medical retirement (12/22)
  • Makenna Clarke – Kentucky – knee surgery (12/30)
  • Rebecca Leach – BYU – arm in cast (1/3)
  • Kristina Peterson – Oregon – torn Achilles (1/3)
  • Natalie Horowitz – Iowa State – shoulder surgery (1/4)

Week 1 Byes and Doubles

Byes: Air Force, Alaska, Boise State, Brockport, Cornell, Cortland, George Washington, Ithaca, Kent State, Maryland, Minnesota (intrasquad but no official competition), Rhode Island College, Springfield, Stanford, UCLA, Ursinus, UW-Stout, UW-Whitewater, West Virginia, Western Michigan, William & Mary, Winona State

Doubles: Arizona State

Deep Cuts for Deep Leagues in Week 1

Tips for players in leagues with 10-plus players, where you need to be a little more creative to fill out lineups; especially during big bye weeks. 

Vault: Don’t neglect your Illinois State vaulters: Angelica Labat, Jaye Mack and Alana Laster all have stickable Yurchenko 1.5s. 

Bars: Pitt fifth-year Kailey Gillings is back post-ACL injury; you can likely slot her into beam as well. Lia Kmieciak (yes, of that Kmieciak family) could prove to be a bars star for Central Michigan.

Beam: The long-awaited debut of Emma Otsu at UC Davis is finally upon us, and beam should be a great event for her. Central Michigan freshman Ariana Light could be the next MAC standout on the event.

Floor: We finally get to see Talia Folino’s debut for LIU this year. If you drafted her, floor is her most sure thing. Towson’s Amy Stewart should pick right back up where she left off on floor. Dahlia Solorzano-Caruso transferred to Bowling Green and should still be a strong all arounder with big scoring potential on floor.

Starts and Sits for Week 1

Are you playing in a smaller league and still looking for advice about big names? Are you in a deep league but not sure what to do with that OU beam specialist? These tips are for you!

Vault: We finally saw proof of life for Mackie Sedlacek on Arkansas’ social media in December; she was sticking her Yurchenko 1.5. We’ve said it before, but this time it seems truer than ever: Linda Zivat is ready to wow with her Tsuk full; she should factor into floor, too, but that lineup will be fiercely competitive for the Hawkeyes, so proceed with caution. Don’t forget that Olivia Trautman should be back to her power event ways for the Sooners in 2022, if not the all around. The No. 2 spot in Michigan’s vault lineup seems like a close fight between Abby Brenner and Reyna Guggino, both with Yurchenko 1.5s; don’t be surprised if Bev Plocki tries them both out over the course of January. 

Bars: Speaking of Oklahoma, the bars squad is sure to be stellar, with the addition of freshman Jordan Bowers; we’ve also seen several clips of Danae Fletcher working the event. We know that you know to put Jade Carey on leg events, but her bars training has been flawless during preseason; don’t miss her score here. This is likely to be one of Alysen Fears’ best events for Arizona.

Beam: This lineup will be tough to crack at North Carolina, but Lali Dekanoidze was in the top six at the Tar Heels’ intrasquad. This could very well be the best event for Spartan Baleigh Garcia. The Beavers’ Phoebe Jakubczyk should be strong here.

Floor: Did you catch Illinois’ intrasquad? Katherine Klugman’s huge full-in will be a fantasy asset. Other freshmen all but certain to compete floor include Florida’s Leanne Wong, Michigan State’s Skyla Schulte, Arkansas’ Leah Smith and Utah’s Kara Eaker and Grace McCallum.

Waiver Wire Wrap-up

Finally, we have a waiver wire in gymnastics! Who should you prioritize this week? Since Fantasy Central comes out on Tuesdays, keep in mind that these tips are catered toward next week.

Since it’s just a practice week, below is a list of sleepers with potential for you to monitor this week and keep on your radar for when the waiver wire opens.

Vault: Kai Rivers (LSU), Hannah Loyim (Iowa State), Kendra Combs (West Virginia)

Bars: Sydney Hayashi (Michigan State), Meilin Sullivan (Oklahoma), Deiah-Marie Moody (Washington), Kyra Burns (Missouri)

Beam: Emma Brown (Denver), Emma Milne (San Jose State), Lily Hudson (Alabama) 

Floor: Kalyxta Gamaio (Arkansas), Nhyla Bryant (Georgia), Sophia Groth (Auburn)

Notes From the Fantasy Roundtable

Since we’re just getting rolling, there’s not much to report here yet. Check in for tips from our beat editors as the season progresses.

READ THIS NEXT: Fantasy Central: Tips, Strategies and Other General Advice

Article by Emily Minehart

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