- 2017 Fantasy Baseball: American League Breakout Hitters
- 2017 Fantasy Baseball: National League Breakout Hitters
- 2017 Fantasy Baseball Round-Up: Closer Rankings Report, March 20
- 2017 Fantasy Baseball Bounceback Hitters: Don’t Call It A Comeback
- 2017 Fantasy Baseball: Drafting A Pitching Staff After Round 15
2017 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Sleepers: The Talent Is Abundant
Outfield is a unique position in Fantasy sports because most standard leagues have you drafting five starters at the position. Because of this, there is a vast abundance of depth, which provides many opportunities to add Fantasy outfield sleepers throughout the draft process.
ESPN recently released their top 300 overall and top 100 positional rankings for rotisserie leagues which are linked here. Of the top 300 overall players, outfielders make up 81 of these picks, which adds up to over one-quarter of these players.
This depth enables Fantasy owners to focus on addressing other positions on their rosters, and prevents owners from feeling forced to draft an outfielder that they aren’t comfortable with.
There are still many outfield committee situations we’ll have to follow in spring training to see who is worth drafting. But fortunately there are still many outfielders who are set atop the depth chart but aren’t getting the Fantasy love they deserve.
We are here to help you find the best Fantasy outfield sleepers in 2017 that will win you a championship. Many of these players are more ideal in deeper leagues, but still will hold strong Fantasy value throughout the season.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Outfield Sleepers
Dexter Fowler, St. Louis Cardinals
Now I know I usually like to constitute sleepers as players who will be drafted after pick 200, but I’m too big of a Fowler fan to let him slide. During the off-season, Fowler signed a five year, 82.5 million dollar deal to play center field for the Cardinals. Fowler is coming off two strong seasons with the Cubs, where he averaged 93 runs scored, 15 homers, 47 RBIs, 17 stolen bases, and 526 at-bats per year atop a dynamic Cubs lineup.
After participating in many roto mocks, I’ve seen Fowler fall further than he should. I understand leaving the top of the best lineup in baseball can’t help a player’s value, but Fowler can produce 90 runs, 50 RBIs, and a .270 average over five hundred at-bats this season. ESPN has Fowler going 186th overall, but I have confidence in him playing a strong role as a third or fourth outfielder on your Fantasy roster. Draft Fowler with confidence due to his consistency and the number of at-bats he is in line for.
Nomar Mazara, Texas Rangers
The Rangers’ rookie exploded onto the scene last year and remained in a contested but strong Texas lineup all season. The Rangers boasted one of the league’s best lineups, with Mazara playing a major role as a rookie right fielder. Mazara finished 2016 with a .266 batting average, 20 homers, and 64 RBIs. This stat line is very repeatable this season, with a Fantasy ceiling of 25 homers and 85 RBIs.
What increases Mazara’s value is the departure of Ian Desmond, which opens up a more consistent starting role. With Shin Soo-Choo likely to be in the DH role, Mazara is locked in at right field for the Rangers. The biggest concern with Mazara was his production drop-off later in the season, as his batting average fell from .333 in April to .266 on the season.
Fantasy owners may see this as a cause for concern, but I see this as a sell-high opportunity. If Mazara’s production follows the same pattern over the first three months, he could be a strong trade asset in the middle of the season.
Even if you don’t decide to move Mazara, his production and ceiling are still worth his draft position. ESPN has Mazara going 221st overall, but his ceiling can have him as an OF3 in most leagues. This makes Mazara a great value pick in the 22nd round of drafts, and he has a high floor compared to other outfield options at this round. Be confident in reaching for Mazara as a Fantasy outfield sleeper a round or two before his ADP if other options aren’t there.
Leonys Martin, Seattle Mariners
Martin is one of the many Fantasy outfield sleepers in Seattle with Nelson Cruz staying at DH. Martin will likely bat atop a sneaky good lineup in Seattle, in front of Robinson Cano, Cruz, and Kyle Seager. The Mariners’ center fielder had a very average season in 2016, hitting .247 with 72 runs, 15 homers, and 47 RBIs. Owners should expect his batting average and runs scored to increase this season.
I’m not crazy about Martin, but his situation makes him a solid option in deeper formats. ESPN has Martin going 292nd overall, so he will likely be a bench player for your team. Martin can produce 75 runs and 20 stolen bases atop the Mariners’ lineup. These numbers make Martin a solid Fantasy outfield sleeper in deeper leagues, but be sure and track possible lineups for Seattle throughout Spring Training. Look for Martin to be a consistent but not flashy option as a Fantasy outfield sleeper.
Josh Reddick, Houston Astros
After a season with Oakland and Los Angeles, Reddick is taking his talents to a deep, young Houston roster. Reddick was limited by injuries and platoons last season, but still hit .281 with 53 runs and 37 RBIs. Fortunately for Reddick, he’s competing for time in the outfield rather than the infield, which is where the bulk of Houston’s young talent is. Reddick is slated to start in right on Houston’s depth chart, but there is a lot to be worked out.
The Astros acquired Brian McCann from the Yankees, leaving him and Evan Gattis to battle out starts at catcher. The loser will likely split time with Carlos Beltran at DH, who can still play right field as well. This leaves Reddick to have to wait and see how injuries and spring training decisions play out. The Astros could try moving either Reddick or Beltran into left field, where their current starter is Nori Aoki, and this would give Houston the best power lineup.
Recent reports indicate that Gattis is still not ready to participate in hitting or catching workouts due to a right shoulder injury. This mess of a situation is important to monitor throughout spring training for all players involved.
ESPN currently has Reddick ranked outside of the top 300 players, which makes him a bench outfielder in most formats. However, there are many ways that Reddick can start a majority of games in right field for Houston. Follow this situation throughout spring training, as Reddick can have great upside in Fantasy drafts.
Nick Markakis, Atlanta Braves
The veteran Markakis is coming off a very consistent and productive season on a struggling Braves team. Markakis hit .269, with 13 homers and 89 RBIs, and has a strong hold on right field for Atlanta. The lineup around Markakis will be better as well after adding Dansby Swanson and Brandon Phillips. I don’t think Markakis falls down the batting order, and he should have more RBI and runs opportunities.
ESPN has the veteran going outside of the top 300, which is a steal for someone who hit 89 RBIs. Markakis was a Top 30 outfielder last season, but in this year’s rankings he is 87th. Atlanta’s new stadium will also have a smaller outfield, which should help Markakis with more extra base hits this season. I strongly recommend reaching for Markakis as an OF5 or a bench player.
With the amount of depth and the number of starting openings, it’s perfectly fine to wait on drafting outfielders. There are great Fantasy outfield sleepers at every point in drafts, so be patient with the position. Most of the outfielders I listed above are deep sleepers, but expect outfielders to fall to you throughout the draft, so there’s no reason to draft an outfielder you’re not confident in.
Below I will have other Fantasy outfield sleepers and platoon situations to track throughout the off-season. Follow ESPN’s rankings closely, as players rankings are subject to moving up or down.
- Yasmany Tomas
- Cameron Maybin
- Hunter Renfroe
- Shin-Soo Choo
- Jarrod Dyson
- Tyler Naquin
- Jason Heyward
- Jon Jay
- Melvin Upton Jr.
Key Spring Training Position Battles
- Toronto Blue Jays’ LF (Melvin Upton Jr. and Ezequiel Carrera)
- Los Angeles Angels’ LF (Cameron Maybin and Ben Revere)
- Cleveland Indians’ RF (Lonnie Chisenhall and Brandon Guyer)
- San Francisco Giants’ LF (Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson).
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