Fantasy Baseball: Eligibility changes can shake up the rankings in the first week
Eligibility matters. It makes your team more nimble, able to overcome more injuries and underperformance. Here's our first check in on who is gaining eligibility early in the season.
Positional scarcity doesn't matter quite as much as it used to now that seemingly everyone in the majors can hit 20 homers, but positional flexibility still matters quite a bit. Having a player or two on your roster who can slide in at two or three different positions makes it easier to survive injuries or slumps.
As the season goes on, players start to gain eligibility at new spots, and it can be hard to keep up with. We'll collect the latest changes every few weeks to keep you up to date on who has a new position, and who will soon.
Note: CBS Fantasy eligibility is based on five appearances at a new position.
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Added eligibility already
- Manny Machado (3B) – Added SS: This is what we were waiting for. Machado immediately becomes a top-three option at the position. You presumably drafted him knowing you would slide him over to short before long.
- Zack Cozart (SS) – Added 2B: A deep position gets deeper. You're more likely to use Cozart at short, but flexibility is never a bad thing.
- Derek Dietrich (3B) – Added OF: A useful player with some pop, this flexibility makes him especially valuable in NL-only leagues.
- Tim Beckham (SS) – Added 3B: A move down the positional spectrum doesn't change much for this fringe-y guy.
- Brandon Drury (2B) – Added 3B: There have been hopes of untapped power in Drury's profile, and he's worth using as a corner or middle infield option.
- Ryan Flaherty (2B) – Added 3B: He plays everyday, but Flaherty isn't going to hit enough to play at either spot.
- J.D. Davis (3B) – Added 1B: Another in a seemingly endless parade of talented young hitters for the Astros, he has 75 homers over the past three seasons in the minors. But he's not going to be in the lineup everyday, and isn't hitting well enough to guarantee an increased role. He's barely an AL-only option.
Needs one more appearance
- Dee Gordon (2B) – Needs one more at OF: You're not necessarily going to use Gordon at OF, but it's nice to have the option.
- Hanley Ramirez (DH) – Needs one more for 1B: This could actually be pretty impactful. For one thing, it signals that Ramirez is healthy enough to play the field regularly, a good sign. If that leads to good results in the batter's box, he can be a useful contributor of counting stats as a CI or U.
- Neil Walker (2B) – Needs one more for 1B: You're probably not sliding Walker over to 1B, but it's nice to have him available at MI or CI in Roto.
- J.P Crawford (3B) – Needs one more for SS: He needs to actually hit before he's Fantasy relevant at either spot. The bar is lower at shortstop, but he hasn't cleared it yet.
- Brad Miller (2B) – Needs one more at 1B: With the exception of 2016, Miller hasn't really hit well enough to justify a starting spot at either. He'd be a borderline option at catcher, frankly.
Other noteworthy eligibility developments
- Matt Carpenter (1B) – Needs two more for 3B and three more for 2B: As with Ramirez, this is important as much for how it signals that Carpenter's body is holding up better than expected. He's healthy, and could soon be triple eligible. Carpenter looks like a steal at his draft price.
- Wil Myers (1B) – Needs two more for OF: Injuries have kept him from getting in the field as much as expected, but he'll be a useful OF option before long.
- Ryan Braun (OF) – Needs three more for 1B: Having another spot to use Braun doesn't hurt, but it's not a huge difference maker for his value. As long as he's healthy, he's worth starting somewhere.
- Scott Kingery (2B) – Needs three more for 3B and four more for OF and SS: He could be quadruple eligible soon, and has started three games in a row after sitting out the opener. Kingery's going to play. The question is if he can hit well enough to earn a true everyday role.
- Colin Moran (1B) – Needs two more for 3B: A move up the positional spectrum will certainly help, but he needs to hit to be mixed-league relevant.
- Albert Pujols (DH) – Needs two more for 1B: This is sort of a less interesting version of everything I said about Ramirez. He's healthy enough to play in the field, and we know he can rack up counting stats in this lineup.
- Anthony Rizzo (1B) – Needs four more for 2B: And we're back to this. It's hard to say when he might get 2B eligibility, if ever, but it's a potential game changer for your team if he does. Just watch those Cubs' bunt shifts.
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