Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Preview: Top 10 sleeper hitters feature Hunter Dozier, Ryan McMahon
Vladimir Guerrero may or may not be of any use in Week 5, but Scott White offers 10 widely available hitters who will be.
There's a chance uber prospect Vladimir Guerrero could be up in Week 5 (April 22-28). Some have suggested Tuesday for the start of the Blue Jays' series against the Giants. Others have disputed that report.
One of the holdups is that the Blue Jays would like to see him play three days in a row coming off an oblique injury, and he hasn't gotten the chance yet, in part because of the weather that his Triple-A Buffalo team has faced in the Northeast.
Obviously, we may hear more about his arrival in the days ahead, but if there's any vagueness to it at all, I'd advise sitting him in Fantasy. The Blue Jays are one of just three teams scheduled to play only five games this week, and it wouldn't hurt to see how he takes to the majors before activating him, especially since, by now, you've probably found a satisfactory fill-in at third base.
Maybe you're looking for a fill-in elsewhere, though. I have you covered with these 10 hitters, all owned in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.
This one feels like cheating since Marcus Semien is right on the edge of that 80 percent threshold, but with the improvements he has shown early this year, particularly in terms of making contact, he may be verging on must-start status, not to mention must-own. It helps that the Athletics are facing the Rangers and Blue Jays pitching staffs in their six games this week.
This one also feels like cheating since a slow start and early IL stint made Ryan McMahon a drop victim at the start of the season, but he's rightfully being scooped up now, having reminded everyone of his potential with a two-homer return from the IL Thursday. The matchups are fine — particularly the three games at Coors Field to open the week — but it may not be long before we view him as must-start regardless.
One of the biggest surprises of the past couple weeks has the kind of walk rate, strikeout rate and fly-ball rate that should grab our attention, and Hunter Dozier's matchups against the back of the Rays and Angels rotations make him a good bet to keep it going this week.
The 36-year-old has put last year's poor finish behind him, piling up extra-base hits while reaching base at his typically high rate batting atop the Rangers lineup. The Athletics and Mariners don't have much to offer in terms of pitching, and Shin-Soo Choo is scheduled for seven games against them.
The Mariners have stuck with Daniel Vogelbach even amid a recent cold snap, and the early standout responded by reaching base five times Thursday. Some of the pitchers on tap for the Mariners this week include Nick Margevicius, Adrian Sampson, Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn.
Nothing exceptional about the Cubs matchups this week — they're decidedly middle-of-the-road — but I'm to the point with Jason Heyward where I'm just riding him until he gives me a reason not to. I'm skeptical of the power resurgence even with the elevated fly-ball rate, but he's getting on base a ton, rarely striking out and even running a bit. The variety of contributions makes him less likely to disappear in a given week.
The most questionable part of Jesse Winker's skill set coming into the year was the power, and yet hitting home runs is all he has done so far. The power surge may be an indication of him finding his timing, and it helps that he's been in the lineup more consistently. A week full of righties should help with that.
Given the Yankees' matchups this week, which include seven games against Angels and Giants pitchers, Clint Frazier would be even higher on this list if not for the threat of him losing starts with the Yankees traveling to the NL for three games while on the verge of bringing Giancarlo Stanton back. I think he'll play either way, as hot as he is, but it's worth pointing out.
It's getting pretty late in April for Jeff McNeil to be batting in the high .300s still, and with as little as he strikes out and as high as his line-drive rate is, the hits should keep coming. They've been mostly singles so far, which is why he hasn't taken the Fantasy Baseball world by storm, but with six righties on tap for the Mets this week, at least you know he'll be in the lineup.
A surprise in that he's not only playing every day but producing, Dwight Smith has an interesting skill set that includes a high contact rate and a willingness to steal some bases. That's not to say he's a zero for power but that the whole may be greater than the sum of the parts. Doesn't seem like a bad gamble in a week he's scheduled to face the White Sox and Twins pitching staffs.
Best hitter matchups for Week 5
1. Rangers @OAK3, @SEA4
2. Yankees @LAA4, @SF3
3. Orioles CHW3, @MIN3
4. White Sox @BAL3, DET3
5. Tigers @BOS4, @CHW3
Worst hitter matchups for Week 5
1. Marlins @CLE2, @PHI4
2. Brewers @STL3, @NYM3
3. Giants @TOR2, NYY3
4. Padres SEA2, @WAS3
5. Astros MIN3, CLE4
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