Fantasy Baseball Draft Domination: The Six Best First Base Sleepers, Values

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Fantasy Baseball Draft Domination: The Six Best First Base Sleepers, Values
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Justin Morneau is coming off a concussion-shortened 2010 season, and many fantasy owners will be leary of him on draft day. Don't be. He is progressing well in his recovery, and should have full bill of health by opening day. And, he has shown he can produce solid numbers across the board.

Squeezing the Charmin squeezes your wallet. Sent on an emergency TP run the other day, I was shocked to see that a four pack of Charmin, with 83.5 square feet of quilted-wiping surface area, cost $2.99 before taxes.

Meanwhile, a four-pack of Valu Time toilet tissue, with 83.11 square-feet of paper, came in at one buck. Not as comfortable? Sure. But not as bad as the pine cones, leaves and corn cobs our ancestors used.

On draft day, it can be easy to overpay for a proven commodity at first base. The position is filled with plenty of Charmins, Cottonelles and Angel Softs. I’ll be looking for a few Valu Times—they may not be as comfortable and may cause a little extra anxiety here and there, but they’ll get the job done.

My value first-base options for 2011 include:

Adam Dunn, CWS. If you’ve seen my 2011 first-base rankings, you know why I like Dunn. No other player has hit as many home runs over the past half-decade-plus. He continues to put up studly stats while fantasy owners look the other way, soured by a batting average that has actually improved over the past two seasons.

Now Dunn finds himself on a much better team in a stadium much more conducive to whacking the long ball. He finds himself in a lineup with plenty of protection.

Who is your favorite value first baseman?

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You’ll find him in the fourth round of most drafts and he’ll provide plenty of value there.

Justin Morneau, MIN. Coming off a concussion and a shortened 2010 season, Morneau has been written off by a number of fantasy owners. His current ADP has him going off the board as the 10th first baseman.

However, he has shown no setbacks in his return from the concussion to date. He easily should hit 30-plus homers and more than 100 RBI if he can stay healthy a full season.

I’m betting he’ll receive a full bill of health by opening day.

Kendry Morales, LAA. Another 30-plus home-run threat coming off an injury-plagued season, Morales has more injury concerns than Morneau—hence the lower ADP.

In his one full season of play, he whacked 34 long balls, drove in 108 runs and batted .306 on the season. There’s no reason to think he couldn’t do that again if healthy for an extended stretch.

Gaby Sanchez, FLA. Likely to not be drafted in your leagues, or at the very least to go late, Sanchez is coming off a 19-home run season for the bumbling Marlins.

He is young enough to continue improving across the board and there are worse late-round stash options, especially in leagues in which you have at least one corner infield slot to man.

Mitch Moreland, TEX. Justin Smoak who? Moreland helped plug the gap left by the Rangers mid-season Cliff Lee deal and he really turned up big in the postseason for Texas.

Now we’re left to wonder if he’ll have fantasy value over the course of the regular season. I’m certain he will.

Few players at the position who are available this late come with his plate discipline. He has power potential and could platoon at times in the outfield, giving him some dual-position bonus.

The telling point for me is that the pitching-starved Rangers, after being jilted by Cliff Lee for the Phillies earlier this offseason, were in tight negotiations for Matt Garza. That was until Moreland’s name came into the conversation. They had no intention of moving Moreland despite their pitching needs.

I’ll be stashing Moreland in many drafts over the coming month.

Freddie Freeman, ATL. We barely have any major-league track record to pull from on Freeman, who is just 21 years old and is penciled-in as the Braves starting first baseman.

However, it is looking more and more likely that Freeman will be given a decent-sized leash with the club. The Braves are good at realizing and developing talent—considering the improving lineup in Atlanta, Freeman could produce sneaky-nice numbers as your last-round draft pick.

Just don’t expect him to be top-10 fantasy first baseman out of the gates.

Check out all my value fantasy players to date: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP

And my 2011 rankings at each position:  C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP | RP

We also break down the ADP rankings: Top 10 | Top 20 | C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | SP

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