Weekly Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Is Brad Miller Undervalued?
The extended opening week of Major League Baseball is finally in the books, with fantasy owners still trying to get their legs under them. If you were lucky, you avoided the injury bug thus far, but even the best teams probably have one or two players struggling. Whether you play daily, annual or keeper leagues, it’s always helpful to know of some under-the-radar players to give your roster the boost it needs. With injuries and under-performances already taking their toll on your team, here’s a look at a five players that are primed for big weeks.
Juan Lagares - OF, New York Mets
Lagares' stellar defense a year ago - a .982 fielding percentage in 108 games played (including 88 starts) - is what got him into the starting lineup this season, much more so than is .242 average.
He’s hitting well this year though, averaging .353 with six hits, one home run and two RBI on 21 plate appearances. Lagares currently sports a 5.77 nERD (the 25th-best in the league), as well as a 3.90 fantasy score (the 49th best). With favorable matchups against righties Aaron Harang, Ervin Santana and David Hale upcoming, Lagares should continue to get on base. And while OBP isn’t usually a scorable stat in most fantasy leagues, anyone getting on base at a .429 clip is going to put points on the board for you. Lagares makes a suitable replacement for the likes of Torii Hunter, Kole Calhoun and even Brett Gardner, who all face tough matchups this week. If you’re looking to add Lagares to your team via the waiver wire, you’re also in luck - he’s currently only owned in under five percent of leagues across multiple sites.
Cody Asche - 3B, Philadelphia Philles
On his 17 plate appearances so far, Asche has faced mostly right-handed pitching, due in large part to his wRC+ of 178 against righties versus an abysmal 37 against left-handers. Yes, the .250 average leaves a bit to be desired, but he has a solid wOBA of .342, and given the third base situation this week, his 107th-ranked fantasy score of 1.35 isn’t that bad at all. He also faces a ton of righties this week, including Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza and Marco Estrada. Asche also faces Jose Fernandez, so it’s obviously a bit of a gamble starting him that day, but he’s golden the rest of the week. Again, if you’re looking to add him through the wire, he’s available in more than 90 percent of leagues, so he should be an easy pickup.
Brad Miller - SS, Seattle Mariners
Shortstop is yet another tough fantasy position this week. Jose Reyes is out with injury and Jimmy Rollins, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera all have difficult matchups. Enter Miller, who’s off to a decent start with six hits, two home runs and four RBI on 24 plate appearances.
Miller gets to play at home this entire week, and faces a number of pitchers he already has seen. Besides Sonny Gray later in the week, there’s really no matchup that isn’t favorable for Miller - especially Hector Santiago, who Miller is already 2 for 3 with a double and RBI against this year. He’s also flying under the mainstream radar, as he’s still available in a bit over 47 percent of standard leagues.
Dexter Fowler - OF, Houston Astros
Fowler's 2014 seasons seems to be off to just as hot of a start as his 2013 season, where he had eight home runs, a .305 average and an impressive 1.032 OPS in the month of April before numerous injuries derailed his season. Now healthy once again, he’s started hot, hitting .500 with six hits, a home run, two RBI and an astounding .665 wOBA. His 6.93 nERD is also the 15th best in the league, too. Somehow, people are still sleeping on Fowler though, as he’s only owned in 71.7 percent of leagues. Keep in mind that he may end up missing a bit of time at the beginning of this week due to a stomach virus, so don't bank on him entirely.
Anthony Rendon - 2B, Washington Nationals
Rendon is the most-owned player on this list at 95 percent, but he’s in line for a huge week. Off to a great start, he's hitting .421 with eight hits, a home run and five RBI so far this year. His impressive 5.15 nERD is the 34th best in the league, and he also has a strong .342 wOBA.
As if it couldn’t get better, Rendon faces a cakewalk of opposing starters this week, including Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner, Tom Koehler and Aaron Harang. With Brandon Phillips, Ian Kinsler and Jedd Gyorko facing tough matchups all week, Rendon is poised for top-notch production.