Yahoo Sports’ Scott Pianowski and Dalton Del Don discuss a few players who could have a major impact this season.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Right in the middle of draft prep season– Scott Pianowski, Dalton Del Don– you want sleepers, we got sleepers. Dalton, give me a pitcher who has your attention.
GIFT DALTON: Alex Cobb was given a two-year deal by San Francisco during the offseason after posting a 2.92 FIP in the American League last year, and he’s joining a Giants organization– I may be a homer, but man, they helped a bunch of players have career best seasons last year, both hitting and on the pitching side. Whatever they’re doing, the secret sauce is working. This is a front office that’s clearly just making the players better.
Meanwhile, the Angels had baseball’s worst defense last season, so Cobb is getting a major upgrade. In fact, maybe it’s too obvious to consider him a sleeper in competitive leagues because honestly, there’s a real chance he finishes as a top 25 fantasy starter this year– if health cooperates, which is always an issue with him, admittedly.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Yeah, I love betting on the special sauce teams and the teams that play great defense. Although I didn’t use Steven Matz as one of my sleepers, I think he fits that profile in St. Louis. Let’s give you an outfielder I think is going to be useful. We look at the Washington Nationals and we think, OK, it’s Soto and a bunch of nobodies. They gave Lane Thomas 35 games at leadoff at the end of last season.
You may not have noticed it because he’s hitting just over the Mendoza line when they got into that position. Seven homers, 29 runs, 24 RBIs, a slash of 253, 343, 487 over those 35 games. What that means– he’ll bat leadoff this year. He’ll be in front of Soto. And he’s going outside of the Yahoo top 260. I could n’t even look up his ADP from him, because the outfielder ADP only went up to like the mid 260s and I could n’t find Thomas. So you may get him outside of pick 300 in some leagues.
He’s an unknown player. He doesn’t really have a pedigree. And I can’t even say the leash will be long. If he gets off to a poor start, maybe they’ll make a change. But when opening day rolls around, I think Lane Thomas bats lead off. I think he’s set up to be a tremendous value.
GIFT DALTON: Give me Anthony Bender as my other sleeper. Saves have become a hot topic in fantasy baseball. Closers have never gone earlier in higher stakes leagues than they are right now. And you know, it’s tough predicting rolls. Sometimes you’re often wrong, just assuming the manager or the coach will do the right thing. But Bender enters this season as Miami’s clear best reliever.
Dylan Floro ended last year as Miami’s closer, so maybe he’ll go higher in fantasy drafts. But easily, give me Bender, even at the same ADP. I think he’s going to emerge as one of the league’s best elite shutdown relievers this year.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: I’ll duck in one of my favorite mid-round closer sleepers. It’s Camilo Doval, who was closing at the end of last season for San Francisco. There is competition, though, and there won’t be a long leash if Doval even starts the season with that job. I’ll give you another outfielder I’m really high on– Brandon Nimmo. It’s never been a question of talent, it’s a question of staying on the field. That’s why his ADP is 260.
The Mets have money. They’re throwing it around. Their lineup is loaded, and Nimmo’s probably going to hit leadoff. He may have an OBP around 400. Now, if you’re in a league where the replacement value is high on the waiver wire, I think you roll out Nimmo to start the season, knowing that if he gets hurt, OK, outfield’s not that big of a deal. You’ll find another guy.
If he can even get 120 fantasy games under his belt, I think he’s a fantastic value– again, around 260 in current Yahoo ADP. One of these years, he’s going to get lucky and play 140 games, and if he does that, I think he could be a top 100 player.
So get a couple of those sleepers on your team. Want to see you dominate Yahoo Fantasy Baseball in 2022.