Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2022: Best sleepers, breakouts and busts from model that called Hand’s struggles

With just one game pitched over the last two years, Justin Verlander has almost been a forgotten man amongst the 2022 Fantasy baseball landscape. That is despite Verlander being the AL Cy Young in his last full season as he also set a career-high of 300 strikeouts in 2019. But he’s now 39 years old and coming off Tommy John surgery, so there’s reason to be skeptical that the future Hall-of-Famer can relive past success. He’s also pitching for a different Astros team than the one we last saw him with as players like Carlos Correa and George Springer have since departed.

So, should you make Verlander one of your early 2022 Fantasy baseball picks? And how should you assess other stars coming off injuries like Mike Trout, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Jacob deGrom? Before making any 2022 Fantasy baseball picks, be sure to see the Fantasy baseball rankings 2022 and cheat sheets from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

Last season, SportsLine’s Projection Model identified several top Fantasy baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts, including reliever Brad Hand.

The team at SportsLine was all over Hand as a Fantasy bust from the start, and he went on to lose his job as a closer as he bounced around between three teams. He had a disastrous 7.57 ERA in a stint with the Blue Jays later in the season. Their model of him had him listed much lower than expert consensus rankings, and anyone who listened to their advice of him avoided a major speed bump that could have derailed their season.

Their model is powered by the same people who powered projections for all three major Fantasy sites. And that same group is sharing its 2022 Fantasy baseball rankings and cheat sheets over at SportsLine, helping you find Fantasy baseball sleepers, breakouts and busts long before your competition. Their cheat sheets, available for leagues on many major sites, are updated multiple times every day.

Any time more MLB news comes out about the updated 2022 MLB schedule or Fantasy baseball injuries, the team at SportsLine updates its projections. Go to SportsLine now to see these proven Fantasy baseball cheat sheets.

Top 2022 Fantasy baseball sleepers

One of the 2022 Fantasy baseball sleepers the model is all over: Cleveland Guardians DH Franmil Reyes. The 26-year-old slugged 30 home runs last year despite only playing in 70 percent of Cleveland’s games. His home run rate is on par with the best players in baseball as Reyes hit a homer every 13.9 at-bats. That would have ranked sixth in the AL had he had enough ABs and was a better rate than Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge.

Reyes also had 37 home runs in 2019 so he’s no one-year wonder. His batting average for him is also viable enough to keep him as an everyday player as he hit .275 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and is a lifetime .260 hitter. The universal DH also benefits Reyes as he won’t be dropped from the lineup when Cleveland visits an NL ballpark. Reyes has 40-homer potential if given 500 ABs and the model ranks him as the top DH, despite others like Yordan Alvarez and JD Martinez being drafted earlier on average.

Top 2022 Fantasy baseball breakouts

One of the 2022 Fantasy baseball breakouts the model is all over: Royals SS/3B Bobby Witt Jr. The rookie is MLB’s No. 1 overall prospect entering the 2022 season after he was taken second overall in the 2019 draft. He lit up both Double-A and Triple-A last season with a .290 average across both levels, recording 33 home runs and 29 stolen bases in the process.

Witt has been playing third base during spring training and is penciled in to start there on Opening Day. His power and speed would be useful in any lineup, but his skills will be utilized to the fullest extent with the Royals. Kansas City is as aggressive as any team on the basepaths as it led the AL in stolen bases last year, so it wo n’t be conservative with Witt’s speed from him. The model has Witt in the running for AL Rookie of the Year and ranks him ahead of veterans Eugenio Suarez and Jonathan Villar.

Top 2022 Fantasy baseball busts

As for players to avoid, the model has identified Braves first baseman Matt Olson as one of its 2022 Fantasy baseball busts. Olson is coming off of his first All-Star season as a professional, but is making a big switch from an above average Oakland A’s team to the defending World Series champions Atlanta Braves.

Olson replaced Freddie Freeman, who ended his 11-year run with the Braves to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the offseason. Atlanta has plenty of reason to believe Olson can replace Freeman’s production following his 39-home run, 111-RBI 2021 season in Oakland. While Olson’s power numbers looked good last year, he also hit ground balls at the highest rate since his rookie season (40.2 percent) and his average exit velocity has been on the decline since 2018.

This season, Olson will have to adjust to playing for a new team in a different league while filling the shoes of a beloved player. The starting pitching in the NL East is better overall than what he saw from the AL West last season, which is why the model believes Olson is due for a step back in 2022, despite his high average draft position.

How to find proven 2022 Fantasy baseball rankings

SportsLine is also high on a surprising starting pitcher who lands in the top five of its positional rankings. This player is barely going off the board in the top 100 picks, but is projected to outperform starters such as Julio Urias, Max Scherzer and Lucas Giolito. This pick could be the difference in winning your league or going home with nothing. You can only see who it is here.

So which 2022 Fantasy baseball busts, breakouts, and sleepers should you target or fade in your drafts? Visit SportsLine now to get 2022 Fantasy baseball rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Brad Hand’s disappointing season, and find out.

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