As regular season baseball looms just around the corner, so too does fantasy baseball. If you’re a fan of both, you likely know it’s a delicate balance between representing your favorite MLB team and managing your fantasy squad.
It’s probably not a good idea to reach for players just because they play for your “real life” team. Likewise, you may have to suck it up and draft a player who you dislike if you’re truly trying to build the best fantasy team. Although the thought of Madison Bumgarner on your fantasy team may make you nauseous, it could help boost the chances of winning your league.
Below, we break down the fantasy value of the Dodgers top players, and where you should target them. Especially if you’re looking to have some Dodger representation on your fantasy team this year.
The Early Rounders:
Clayton Kershaw: The best pitcher in real baseball is also the best pitcher in fantasy baseball. Go figure. Kershaw should be the first pitcher taken in any fantasy draft, regardless of format. Even though his back problems over the last couple of years might scare off a few, you can expect Kershaw to be off the board by the mid/late 1st round.
Corey Seager: There’s many great fantasy options at Shortstop, including Seager, Carlos Correa, and Francisco Lindor. Last year, Seager showed his rookie campaign was no fluke and put up solid numbers once again. He should be one of the top players among his position, so expect him to get drafted around the 3rd round.
Cody Bellinger: After his monster rookie season, Bellinger will be an intriguing pick this year. On one hand, some could be concerned about a sophomore slump, or at the very least, a bit of regression. On the other hand, Bellinger put up those great numbers in 2017 without even playing a full season. And at such a young age, some might believe he’s just scratched the surface of his ability. He should also have Outfield eligibility as well, so that would only increase his fantasy stock. First base is another fairly deep position, and there will likely be some great players selected before Bellinger. He should not slip much further than the 3rd or 4th round.
The Mid-Round Selections:
Justin Turner: Tuner continues to be one of the most valuable players on the Dodgers. In fact, you could easily make the case that he’s one of the best 3rd baseman in the game. In your draft however, you could see other players taken ahead of him. Mostly due to fantasy being strictly offensive focused and so many other great hitting 3rd basemen out there. At 33 years old, the Dodgers could also try to get Turner some more rest days throughout the year. That might help Turner’s overall health, but won’t help his fantasy value. Turner might not put up the numbers of someone like Nolan Arenado or Kris Bryant, but he could still be a great option at 3rd base. Target him between the 6th-8th rounds.
Kenley Jansen: Last year, Jansen put up perhaps his best season yet, and many rank him as the top closer in baseball right now. So, why only a mid-round selection? Well, while not exactly the Kickers of fantasy baseball, relief pitchers’ value is a little lower since most of their points come via the Save, which is an unpredictable stat. In Roto leagues, their value may be a little higher, but you’re still not going to want to target any closer too high. Still, with the greatness of Jansen, and the fact that he should get plenty of Save opportunities on a good Dodgers club, don’t let him fall too low. If you want the best closer in the game, snag him in the mid rounds somewhere around the 7th-8th.
Late Round Picks:
Yasiel Puig: After a couple of disappointing years, Puig bounced back nicely in 2017, and put up good numbers. He won’t go as early as other options who have put up better numbers for a longer period of time. But Puig does offer some upside if you take a gamble on him. Of course, there’s some risk with him too. If he reverts to his 2015-2016 production, that won’t be good for your fantasy team. All in all, he should be a solid fantasy outfield option in 2018. He could end up being a steal in the later rounds.
Alex Wood: Wood was one of the biggest surprises for the Dodgers last year. After starting the year as a fantasy discard, he greatly rewarded anyone who picked him up. He was one of the better starting pitchers in baseball during the first half of the year, but tailed off as the season went along. It remains to be seen if Wood will regain that first half form from last year. I’d suspect he’ll be drafted somewhere in the mid to later rounds.
Chris Taylor: Taylor came out of nowhere last year to be one of the key cogs in the Dodgers lineup. His versatility should make him eligible in multiple fantasy positions, so that’s always a plus. Whether he can duplicate what he did offensively last year or not, remains to be seen. Some will surely be skeptical, but if you’re a Dodgers fan, you know what you saw last year with Taylor. He certainly seems poised for another good year. If he’s the Dodgers everyday leadoff hitter, he’ll likely be a positive fantasy contributor as well. Don’t reach for him too early, but also, don’t let him slip past the 16th round or so.
Players to Keep an Eye on:
Yasmani Grandal / Austin Barnes: I’ve seen mock drafts where both these guys are drafted, neither is drafted, and only one of them is drafted. Right now, it’s hard to determine who has more value. Dave Roberts has indicated there will likely be a platoon between the two once the season starts. That’s not a good thing for fantasy value. You’ll probably want to draft someone you know will get more regular at-bats, but if you have room for a back-up catcher on your bench, you can certainly snag either Barnes or Grandal.
Rich Hill: Although the Dodgers #2 starter, Hill slips a little in fantasy leagues due to a few concerns. One, is his injury history. He’s landed on the DL a few times over the last couple of years, and the Dodgers aren’t shy about using that 10 DL. Hill will also be turning 38, and the Dodgers will probably want to limit his usage, especially during the regular season. He’s still a great pitcher, but there are likely better options on the board unless it’s in the later rounds.
Matt Kemp: I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going to happen with the Dodgers left field situation. Will Kemp really be the guy come opening day? He’s hit the ball very well this spring and he’s always been a full time player during his career. However, even if Kemp earns the job, the Dodgers have a bunch of other outfield options that could cut into his playing time.
Kenta Maeda: He’s certainly not a “must own” fantasy player, but Maeda could be valuable if he pitches anything like he did during his relief role in the playoffs last year.
[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/clayton-kershaw-versus-shohei-ohtani-edge-kershaw/2018/03/08/”]Clayton Kershaw Buckles Shohei Otani[/button]