2011 Fantasy Baseball True Sleepers: An Undrafted Lineup
The term "fantasy sleeper" is rather stupid at this point.
There is so much written, so many forums and so much media, no one is a sleeper.
You think Gio Gonzalez is a sleeper this season? He's not. Everyone knows who he is. They might not like him as much as you do, meaning you will be able to draft him late, but he is not being slept on.
The new term should be "fantasy value" as in: so-and-so has great fantasy value because of how late he is being drafted. So, hypothetically, what's the best lineup that can be put together of players who no one wants, all undrafted players? This would show us ultimate value, adding a player off waivers who can produce all year.
Here is 2011's Best Fantasy Baseball Team No Money Can Buy.
Average Draft Position—Outside the top 250 (undrafted)
People were questioning if he had any bat left from his Silver Slugger days in Los Angeles. Well, he has started out the year hot, collecting six hits and a home run already.
People were questioning whether he can still move; still has his legs. Well, he has two stolen bases in just four games.
People were questioning whether he'd play everyday with his injury history and the Yankees' prospect depth at the position. Well, he has been in that lineup every game thus far.
Batting in the Yankees lineup will afford Martin more RBI and run scoring opportunities than he was previously used to as well.
ADP—outside the top 250 (undrafted)
Being able to grab a young, powerful rookie first basemen from the waiver wire who has pop and confidence isn't an every-year occurrence.
Brandon has already hit one home run and, more importantly, even with all the competition, he has started at first base every game this first week.
For good measure, Belt already has a steal as well, category production not usually seen from his position.
Freddy Sanchez has always been a good, professional hitter. He is the ultimate hitter for the two hole in a lineup. He is also a fantastic free agent add for a fantasy team.
Sanchez already has seven hits, including at least one in every game. He has also knocked one out of the yard already. Add to that consistent run production and finding a drafted second basemen who will help your team more without hurting it is hard to come by.
Izturis has only played in three games thus far. He already has a home run, a stolen base, three RBI, six hits and is eligible at third as well as second base.
By the end of the season, he will have a ton of steals and play nearly everyday because of his flexibility. Getting off to a hot start is just icing on the cake.
Pennington has not gotten off to a fast start, like many of his shortstop peers around baseball. However, the value is still there.
Although he won't hit much, Pennington can steal bases with the best of them. After stealing 29 bags a year ago while only being caught five times, Cliff will be a one category force much like Juan Pierre or Rajai Davis.
The important factor for Pennington is that he started every game in Oakland's first series.
ADP—all outside the top 250
From an outfielder ranked outside the top 250 players, all you are looking for is consistent production. Brennan Boesch has gained significant playing time already after just a few games because he is hammering the ball. Much like last season, Boesch is off to a torrid start, which included a four hit game on Sunday.
Similarly, Ben Francisco has been given regular at-bats because of the injury to Dominic Brown. And he has taken advantage, collecting six hits, a home run, scoring four runs and knocking in four in just his first 13 at-bats.
As for Alex Gordon, nothing says "value" more than a post-hype sleeper: someone who everyone used to have high hopes for, but has now been all but forgotten. He still has the same talent he used to, but now he plays a different position. Gordon should produce well slotted in the middle of the Royals lineup.
Anyone on the Baltimore Orioles.
Or, perhaps I made the wrong assumption after that first series.
Anyone pitching against the Tampa Bay Rays.
For an actual fantasy value at starting pitcher, look no further than a division rival of those two. Kyle Drabek of the Toronto Blue Jays. His first start was outstanding and he has the pedigree and talent to put together a very nice rookie campaign.
In the National League, someone forgotten for much of last year, as well as in drafts this season is R.A. Dickey. He manages to keep putting together quality outings and getting wins. Even playing on a bad team, look for Dickey to throw well all year, especially for fantasy leagues that reward quality starts.
Any member of a shaky bullpen. Seriously.
Saves are essentially the only category that relief pitchers produce in. Saves are the easiest category to find post-draft. Saves come from star closers or teams that have no star closer.
Sean Burnett has already collected a save for the Washington Nationals. He was owned in less than 1 percent of leagues before that happened.
Fernando Rodney, Brandon Lyon and a few others have already imploded in the ninth this season. Just keep an eye out and relief pitcher value will be easy to snatch up.
As the experts always say, never pay for saves.
And this would be a lineup they'd be proud of: an entire fantasy team of no one you had to pay for.
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