Typically, the recommendations I'll make in this space are matchups-based, applicable mainly for the upcoming week rather than the rest of the season. But it's still so early in the season that player values have yet to crystalize, and some of the players still widely available look like more than just one-week plays.
So if it's true they're more than one-week plays, are they so susceptible to matchups? Frankly, I don't care who Yermin Mercedes is facing in Week 3 (April 12-18). He needs to be in my lineup over some fringy who happens to be facing the Pirates pitching staff.
And yet, Mercedes' rostership rate, which is less than 75 percent in CBS Sports leagues, would suggest he's a fringy in his own right, so I guess I have to put him on this list. It's less an endorsement of him for this particular week than for the rest of the season, but it's also true that I'd rather be starting him than anyone else shy of that rostership threshold.
- Week 3: Sleeper pitchers | Two-start pitcher rankings
Such is the case for several of my sleeper hitters this week. I'd be recommending them with even more gusto if they had the right matchups as well, but sometimes (OK, most times) ability supersedes matchups.
SF San Francisco • #6 • Age: 30
The guy hit a 485-foot home run Thursday and has more extra-base hits than strikeouts. I think we're beyond playing the matchups with him.
Nate Lowe 1B
TEX Texas • #30 • Age: 27
The matchups would be even more promising if there were more than four righties on the schedule, but we know Nate Lowe is playing every day and providing plenty of power so far.
CIN Cincinnati • #6 • Age: 26
As with Mercedes, the matchups are less than favorable, but as well as Jonathan India is swinging the bat, I don't see the need to get cute about it. He deserves to be starting in most leagues.
Tyler Naquin RF
MIL Milwaukee • #25 • Age: 32
There isn't a hotter hitter in baseball than the one who entered Sunday leading the majors in home runs and RBI, and with five righties on the schedule for the Reds, you can trust he'll start most days.
Akil Baddoo LF
DET Detroit • #60 • Age: 24
With the kind of impact he's been making dating back to spring training, I suspect he'll be in the lineup for at least five of the Tigers' seven games, and the combination of power, speed and plate discipline is just too enticing.
Nick Senzel 3B
CIN Cincinnati • #15 • Age: 27
He's looking healthy for once and reaching base at a high clip. Again, I could offer up hitters with better matchups, but among those rostered in less than 75 percent of leagues, I don't see many as good as Nick Senzel.
MIN Minnesota • #2 • Age: 32
I'm still buying his improvements as a hitter thanks to a toned-down swing, and his matchups this week include enough sketchies like Jose Quintana, Tanner Roark and Ross Stripling to give him a try.
BAL Baltimore • #31 • Age: 28
The former switch-hitter has been on fire as an exclusively left-handed hitter this year, and it makes sense to use the Orioles leadoff hitter during a week when they have the most favorable matchups.
MIN Minnesota • #11 • Age: 29
It's been a slow start after a down year, but I'll still bet on the hit tool during a week when he's facing such stalwarts as Martin Perez, Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney and Alex Cobb.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #12 • Age: 28
Batting leadoff has given him surprising value in the early going, and the three left-handers on the schedule this week should help his cause. He batted .373 (22 for 59) against lefties last year.
Best hitter matchups for Week 3
1. Orioles SEA4, @TEX3
2. Mets PHI4, @COL3
3. Phillies @NYM4, STL3
4. Athletics @ARI2, DET4
5. Astros DET3, @SEA3
Worst hitter matchups for Week 3
1. Cubs @MIL3, ATL3
2. Pirates SD4, @MIL3
3. Red Sox @MIN4, CHW3
4. Giants CIN3, @MIA3
5. Rockies @LAD3, NYM3