In the second installment of what will become a weekly fantasy column, we’re going to take a look at which Dodger players might be worth your time as a fantasy manager.
Throughout the season this column is going to focus on the entire league, but for now the focus is only on Chavez Ravine. So, as a determined fantasy manager not wanting to overvalue your favorite players, are there any Dodgers worth drafting in terms of value.
For most of us, the problem is that we play in a fantasy league with other Dodger fans, so while you might be smart enough to realize Matt Kemp isn’t a first-round pick any more, your moron league-mate might not and now you’re left without your favorite player.
The way I see it, there are 10 Dodgers worthy of drafting in a standard fantasy league (which, when you think about 200-250 players being drafted, that’s pretty remarkable). The question is, where should they be taken?
Clayton Kershaw — First Round
At the top of the draft is Kershaw, a no-brainer. No pitcher in baseball has been more reliable and consistent than Kershaw over the past three seasons, and with an improved offense behind him, you could even argue his fantasy value will be at an all-time high.
Now, Kershaw isn’t more valuable in fantasy than Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and a few other sluggers, but if you’re picking third or later, Kershaw is definitely in play.
My only concern with Kershaw is that I have to wonder how much longer his career can go without an injury sidelining him — but at it’s core, that’s just a guess and not based on any fact at all.
Hanley Ramirez — First Round
I love Hanley Ramirez as a player, and the good news is, I love him in fantasy as well.
If you read my first column primer, one of my big strategies is capitalizing on weak positions by drafting elite players there. Ramirez is the poster-child for this strategy.
A shortstop who hits .300 with tons of power? Game-changer.
Most sites have Ramirez ranked anywhere from No. 8 (Yahoo!) to No. 13 (ESPN), but I’d be comfortable taking him anywhere in the second-half of the first round. While most people are concerned about Ramirez’s durability (which is a major concern), the guy hit .345 with 20 HR last season in just 86 games. Even if Ramirez plays 120 games this season, the numbers he’ll put up with match up with any shortstop in the game in a full season.
Yasiel Puig — Third Round
Of all the players on this list, Puig will probably generate the most debate. Most sites have him ranked around No. 25, meaning he should land midway through the third round.
With Puig, the concern is a small sample size last season — especially considering he fell apart at the end of the regular season, hitting .214 in September. Could he really replicate his magical start? Or was it just a flash in the pan?
For me, the question with Puig comes down to your interest in risk. There’s a decent chance Puig will end the season the best player selected in the third round, but there’s also a decent chance he ends up being the worst.
For me, I like a sure-thing in the third round — a guy like Wainwright, Longoria or Stanton — so Puig scares me a bit. The last thing you want is to miss on a pick this early, then again, if he plays up to his potential, he’s a steal anywhere outside the first.
Again, there’s no shame watching Puig play for another roster while cheering him on as a Dodger.
Zack Greinke — Fifth round
Should we be concerned by the injury scare in spring training? For me, the answer is no.
By all accounts, the Dodgers were being overly careful with their No. 2 starter (rightfully so), and he appears to be fine heading into the regular season. Like Kershaw, the thing to like about Greinke is the uptick he should see in the “wins” department this season.
While under the shadow of Kershaw last season, Greinke was impressive — posting a 2.63 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP on his way to 15 wins in just 28 starts. With another off-season in LA under his belt, Greinke should post similar numbers again this season, making him a great No. 2 starter for your fantasy squad in the fifth round.
Kenley Jansen — Sixth round
Now we come to the first player on this list I’d be afraid to take for my own team — and it’s nothing personal with Jansen.
I think Kenley has proven to be one of the top closers in the league, and he should have plenty of opportunities to shut the door this season (especially with an improved bullpen in front of him). What scares me, however, is Don Mattingly’s fickleness with Jansen — which led to closing opportunities for Brandon League at the beginning of the season — and also the presence of Brian Wilson.
If Wilson dominates like he did last season and Jansen struggles even in the slightest, there’s no guarantee that Jansen has an incredibly long leash. Also, I’m just averse to picking closers this early in the draft — there will always be some scraps on the waiver wire if you’re paying attention.
Next Page: What other Dodgers should you draft?