With the Cardinals in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak, turning up new positive tests daily, you should be careful about using any of their hitters. A whole week of action could get scrubbed for them, which would impact their scheduled opponents, the Tigers and Cubs, as well.
Mike Trout (paternity) and Juan Soto (COVID-19) have yet to rejoin their respective teams, but Tuesday is looking likely for both. It'll be a quick turnaround for Trout, as has been common when a player leaves his team for the birth of his child. Turns out the length of that particular absence isn't so different during a pandemic.
Soto's situation isn't as clear since he was away from the team for so long. He has been playing at the team's minor-league site but recently told reporters he wasn't sure if he'd be ready Tuesday. Still, given how quickly he turned around his positive test — not to mention the fact he never experienced symptoms — I'd be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt in all but the shallowest leagues.
The wait continues, meanwhile, for Yordan Alvarez and Austin Meadows, who continue to work out at their team's minor-league sites after missing all of summer camp. Meadows sounds like he's a little further ahead and could return at some point in Week 3, but he's a risky play.
If you'd prefer not to chance it, there are alternatives. Below are my favorite hitters rostered in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues. (I also have 10 sleeper pitchers, if your needs are more in that arena.)
We discussed the closer carousel, early season trade targets plus Week 3 sleepers hitters and pitchers on Friday's Fantasy Baseball Today podcast. Follow all our podcasts and subscribe here.
SF San Francisco • #5 • Age: 31
One of my preseason sleepers, Yastrzemski has been making headlines all week and should remain hot with a seven-game slate that includes four games at Coors Field.
SEA Seattle • #3 • Age: 26
The former Phillies prospect may finally be putting it together, judging by his strikeout-to-walk ratio and number of extra-base hits, and has the right matchups to keep it going.
SD San Diego • #2 • Age: 24
The matchups for Grisham actually aren't so hot, but he has been so productive in so many facets so far -- power, speed, on-base ability -- that I'd bet on him doing more of the same.
TOR Toronto • #37 • Age: 29
He's off to a sizzling start, already ranking among the league leaders in home runs, and while he's unlikely to perform this way all year, he's in line to face some bottom feeders this week.
Kyle Lewis CF
SEA Seattle • #1 • Age: 26
He still strikes out way to much for comfort, but with the kind of start he's off to, the matchups are just too tempting.
LAA L.A. Angels • #22 • Age: 27
He remains a fixture at the top of the Angels lineup for now, which helps his chances of making a considerable impact in Fantasy even if he continues to hit mostly singles. Simply putting the bat on the ball should carry him far with this week's matchups.
Ryan McMahon 3B
COL Colorado • #24 • Age: 26
His playing time appears to be secure, and he has four games at home in Coors Field this week. Not a bad option if you need a second or third baseman.
Ian Happ LF
CHC Chi. Cubs • #8 • Age: 27
Happ has been making good on his regular playing time with a couple home runs already and doesn't have to face any front-line pitchers in his seven games this week (thought it may end up being four if the Cardinals series is canceled).
Colin Moran 1B
PIT Pittsburgh • #19 • Age: 29
He certainly has a case as a hot-hand play, having delivered five home runs already, and isn't sitting against left-handers like expected. At least in the Tigers series, he's a reasonable bet to do some more damage.
JaCoby Jones CF
DET Detroit • #21 • Age: 29
One of the biggest surprises to start the season, Jones has kept the strikeouts down and elevated the ball better than ever. It's a bargain-bin play, but the matchups make it worth the gamble.