Julianna Roland competes on beam at the 2019 USAG Event Finals.

Fantasy Central: Top 7 Fantasy Gym Sleeper Picks

As draft day approaches, gym fans everywhere are planning their top picks for the 2023 season. The key to any really successful fantasy team is securing some under-the-radar gymnasts, whether they’re lesser-known because of their school or because they’re two- or three-eventers. We rounded up seven sleeper picks to help boost your draft.

Casey Brown, California 

Former four-star recruit Brown isn’t without accolades, but in a freshman class full of big names, she could get lost in players’ drafts. After a massive level 10 season last year, she made our most anticipated lists on bars and in the all-around. Whether you’re making a freshman-only draft or a traditional anything-goes list, don’t leave Brown off.

Luciana Alvarado, Central Michigan

Speaking of freshmen who could—but shouldn’t—get lost in the mix, Costa Rican Olympian Alvarado should be on fantasy draft-makers’ radars. The 2021 Pan Ams all-around silver medalist and beam champion will make an immediate splash in the MAC.

Robyn Kelley, New Hampshire

It’s understandable that gymnasts returning from injury sometimes drop off of fantasy drafts, especially if they didn’t compete at all the prior season. That’s the case for Kelley, who competes vault, beam and floor most often but did try out the all around a few times in 2021. She especially stood out on floor, where she notched a 9.925 at the final regular season meet on March 14 that season. 

Ruthuja Nataraj, Illinois

Nataraj had a strong freshman campaign for Illinois but was a bit overshadowed by stellar freshmen elsewhere in the Big Ten. After competing vault and floor in each outing for the Illini, with a few beam appearances, Nataraj went on to compete in the all-around for India at the Asian and Commonwealth Games—advancing to the all-around final in the latter. She also debuted a new Yurchenko one and a half at Illinois’ Halloween intrasquad.

Julianna Roland, Temple

If you’re looking for a three-eventer with 9.9-potential on each piece, Roland is a good bet. The Bridgeport transfer had a strong 2022 across vault, beam and floor and would be a boon to any fantasy team. 

Rachael Riley, Rutgers

The final freshman on our list is Canadian elite Riley, who is poised to make an impact on all four for the Scarlet Knights and who excels especially on vault, where she boasts a clean Yurchenko one and a half. 

Carly Bauman, Michigan

Certainly no one could forget about bars and beam standout Bauman, and there are definitely fantasy players who draft every member of top teams’ rosters, but Bauman shouldn’t get lost in the mix. After injury last year, she was back looking strong on bars in Michigan’s November intrasquad. 

Honorable Mention: The Post-Injury Sophomores

Every year some incoming freshmen miss their first season only to stun us when they debut as sophomores. They’re sometimes risky picks for fantasy but are often worth a draft spot. Makayla Green (Illinois), Morgan Hurd (Florida), Tori Tatum (LSU), Frankie Price (Arkansas), Emily Lee (UCLA) and Lindsay Bacheler (Maryland) could make their debuts in 2023.


Article by Emily Minehart and Emma Hammerstrom

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