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Finding value plays in fantasy baseball more important than ever

Finding value plays in fantasy baseball more important than ever

Springtime is in the past, Opening Day is right in the middle of the “dog days of summer,” and there isn’t enough time to debate hot and cold starts or sample sizes of data when constructing your fantasy baseball roster.

You need to be careful not to look too far into the future, whether you are drafting right now or getting ready for your first waiver period. In a normal season, those late-round draft picks or early free-agent claims can be spent on high-upside hopefuls, but this year is all about accruing as many at-bats and innings as possible and those can be found late in players often overlooked.

With the NL adopting the DH, there are few better role-players to draft than Washington’s Howie Kendrick. He was slotted to be the team’s primary DH this season, then teammate Ryan Zimmerman opted out of the season due to health concerns, so Kendrick also becomes part of the first-base platoon with lefty-swinging Eric Thames.

Normally a part-timer, Kendrick now brings his .294/.337/.431 slash line into a starting role with everyday at-bats and, as an added bonus in fantasy, also qualifies at first, second and third base, along with the middle- and corner-infield positions.

Other players still being overlooked can be found in those who were expected to miss significant time in the first half due to injury. Though everyone is looking at marquee names like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the earlier rounds, keep a watchful eye late for outfielders Aaron Hicks and Yoenis Cespedes.

Howie Kendrick
Howie KendrickAP

Hicks underwent Tommy John surgery last October and was expected to miss the entire first half of the season. With the delay, he is not only ready to return, but he will hold down a starting job in the outfield while Stanton takes his cuts as the designated hitter. Cespedes has now had more than enough time to recover from his double heel surgery and is expected to be the Mets’ DH on Opening Day. Both players have a current average draft positions in the mid-300s, which translates closer to a final-round pick in most leagues.

If you really want to dig even deeper, the delayed season and DH option has opened the door for Milwaukee’s Logan Morrison. After a solid spring start, the journeyman first baseman has used the extra time to change his diet and build more muscle and upper-body strength. The Brewers have him in their 60-player pool, and he is just the type of streaky player who can get you off to a white-hot start in the power categories.

The names are far from sexy, but this is now the world in which we live. Fantasy baseball is all about accruing numbers, and those with the opportunity from Day 1 will be the ones you need to start your season on the right foot.

Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at Fantasy-Alarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 5-7 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.

About the author

Erin Clark

Erin Clark

Erin is a sports enthusiast who loves indulging in occasional football matches. She is a passionate journalist who flaunts a perfect hold over the English language. She currently caters her skills for the sports and health section of Report Door.

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