Fantasy Baseball: Brandon Belt, Michael Brantley lead Week 3's top sleeper hitters
A couple red-hot Giants hitters top Scott White's list of sleeper for Fantasy Week 3 (April 9-15), but he thinks some turnarounds may be in store as well.
After easing everyone into the season during the first week-plus, the MLB schedule gets weightier now, with a dozen teams scheduled to play seven games here in Week 3 (April 9-15).
It puts the players on those teams scheduled for only five games at a clearer disadvantage, which this week includes the Dodgers and Athletics. And because the Athletics are actually visiting the Dodgers for a series, they'll be down a lineup spot in two of those games. There isn't an obvious choice to sit, which puts everyone at risk. I'd say Khris Davis and Matt Olson are the only Athletics worth using in standard mixed leagues this week.
Of course, the Athletics aren't even among the teams with the five worst matchups. You'll find those at bottom of this column. For now, though, let's focus on the hitters actually worth starting, at least among those owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants 1B
|After a 2017 marred by a concussion, Brandon Belt is off to a sizzling start this season, batting .353 (6 for 17) with 1.038 OPS in eight games. He'll get four games against the Padres pitching staff this week, and while four lefties are on the schedule, the Giants have already faced four lefties in their six games this season. You see all the harm it did.|
Kevin Kiermaier Tampa Bay Rays CF
|It's not all hot-hand plays here. Kevin Kiermaier is off to a dreadful start but should enjoy facing nothing but righties this week, especially hittable ones like Miguel Gonzalez, Carson Fulmer, James Shields and Ben Lively. Kiermaier batted .289 with an .851 OPS against righties last year.|
Joe Panik San Francisco Giants 2B
|Like Belt, Joe Panik bats left-handed, but like Belt, the Giants' lefty-heavy schedule so far hasn't at all impeded his production. The three home runs are out of character for him, but the excellent plate discipline isn't. And it gives him a high floor from week to week.|
Kole Calhoun Los Angeles Angels RF
|The top sleeper pick from the shortened Fantasy Week 1 (March 29-April 1) came through with a home run then and has similarly favorable matchups against the Rangers and Royals pitching staffs. Batting fifth, two spots behind Mike Trout and Justin Upton, could make for a big RBI week.|
Michael Brantley Cleveland Indians LF
|Fresh off the DL after recovering from offseason ankle surgery, Michael Brantley has some tasty matchups right away against the Tigers and Blue Jays pitching staffs. And while you might expect the Indians to take it easy with him in his first week back, the seven-game slate means he can sit a game or two and still make a worthwhile Fantasy impact.|
Max Kepler Minnesota Twins RF
|The Twins will face six righties in their seven games this week, including four from the unproven White Sox rotation. As you might expect from a left-handed hitter, Kepler did most of his damage against righties last year, batting .272 with 17 homers and an .828 OPS in 386 at-bats, and he's off to a pretty good start this year, having struck out once in 21 at-bats.|
Dexter Fowler St. Louis Cardinals CF
|Dexter Fowler's slow start to the season hasn't cost him his spot at the top of the Cardinals lineup, so he's in a prime position to do some scoring against some of the worst the Brewers and Reds have to offer. He's the sort of player who manages to get on base even when he's slumping, but hey, those matchups might just turn him around.|
Hanley Ramirez Boston Red Sox DH
|Hanley Ramirez is off to a surprisingly productive start batting third for the Red Sox, having put together three straight multi-hit games. The Red Sox's matchups are only middle-of-the-road, but those games against Chris Tillman and Mike Wright could be fun.|
Jesse Winker Cincinnati Reds RF
|The Reds' matchups are actually less than favorable, but they feature seven righties. Jesse Winker hit .344 with seven homers and a 1.042 OPS in 96 at-bats against righties last year and has a slightly easier path to at-bats with Scott Schebler nursing a sore elbow.|
Asdrubal Cabrera New York Mets 2B
|Need an infielder? Asdrubal Cabrera is eligible at second base, third base and shortstop in standard CBS Sports leagues and has enough pop to take advantage of pitchers like Jose Urena, Caleb Smith, Zach Davies and Jhoulys Chacin this week.|
Best hitter matchups for Week 3
1. Padres @COL3, SF4
2. Angels @TEX3, @KC4
3. Cardinals MIL3, @CIN4
4. Nationals ATL3, COL4
5. Mariners @KC3, OAK3
Worst hitter matchups for Week 3
1. Dodgers OAK2, ARI3
2. Braves @WAS3, @CHC3
3. Rangers LAA3, @HOU3
4. Tigers @CLE4, NYY3
5. Diamondbacks @TEX3, @KC4
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