We all love to beat our friends in fantasy, but we also like to look a little smarter than everyone else. The best way to do that is by finding that sleeper no one else was even thinking about. Here are two pitchers and three batters that are going unnoticed by pretty much all fantasy owners.
Francisco Liriano, Pitcher, Detroit Tigers, 20.7% (ESPN)
Veteran Pitcher Francisco Liriano was a forgotten man buried in the back of the bullpen for the World Champion Houston Astros last season. That’s right, Liriano was on the Astros last year. The 34-year old lefty went into free agency wondering what his future was in professional baseball. He has found his former groove and it is time to jump on him before the rest of your league realizes it. Liriano currently sits at 3-1, 3.38 ERA. Liriano also competes in the AL Central which means he will have a chance to face lineups that aren’t exactly the 1927 Yankees. The White Sox and the Royals will give him a chance to pile up more strikeouts and wins. As pitching injuries continue to stack up, Liriano is a great veteran option for your team that is can give you strong starts while you wait for your higher draft picks to come off the DL.
Walker Buehler, Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers, 40.4% owned (ESPN)
We go from veteran to youngster with Dodger phenom Walker Buehler. Hyun Jun Ryu and Rich Hill have recently been placed on the disabled list which opens up even more flexibility for the young Dodger hurler to take hold of a spot in the rotation. He showed just a glimpse of his promise by pitching seven no-hit innings against the Padres last Friday. Buehler entered 2018 as the Dodgers #1 pitching prospect (and arguably the top pitching prospect in the game) and has shown why the defending National League Champs had such high hopes for him. The Dodgers did not work to resign Yu Darvish in the offseason because they believed that Buehler could step right into that role. So far so good for Buehler 2-0, 1.13 ERA.
Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds, Outfielder, 5.4% owned (ESPN)
The Reds stink and things aren’t getting any better any time soon. It is time to see what they have in Jesse Winker. Winker currently leads the Reds in OBP (.419), that’s right, it’s higher than even Joey Votto. The Reds are becoming healthier which will lead to a better offense as a whole. Winker has been a consistent hitter in the minors with a career batting average just under .300. Winker also showed more power when given the chance to play in 2017 connecting on seven homers in just 47 games. Winker can supply your team with hits, runs, and eventually will give you homers while playing at the homer-happy Great American Smallpark. Winker will be given his chance to play every day and will continue to produce. Jump on him before you league notices, over the last 15 games Winker is hitting .367.
Franchy Cordero, San Diego Padres, Outfielder, 18.6% owned (ESPN)
Franchy Cordero continues to go unnoticed in fantasy. Cordero combines physical strength with good bat speed and a lofty left-handed swing to produce above-average raw power to all fields. Cordero is an extra-base machine, improving his barrel percentage by 5% as well as his exit velocity by 5%, according to Baseball Savant. Cordero is the type of player that can provide your team with power and speed, which is a rare combo now that stolen bases are declining league-wide. Cordero is the guy that will give your team the jolt they need to win week by week.
Matt Adams, Washington Nationals, Outfield/First Base, 12.1% owned (ESPN)
Matt Adams now has 10 home runs in just 29 games with most of that production coming in the last week. The former Cardinals first baseman has begun to get a chance to play on a regular basis in Washington and it has paid off. The Nationals have moved Bryce Harper to the leadoff spot which has paid off for the rest of the lineup. Adams has been put in a spot to drive in runs and he is doing just that. Adams has a hard hit percentage of 54%! Keep an eye on Adams, though, as Adam Eaton will be coming off of the disabled list for the Nationals which could affect his AB’s. Ryan Zimmerman is struggling right now so look to see Adams get his at-bats at first base. Adams also has a meager .602 OPS against lefties so he could find his way in the strong end of a platoon, so that is something worth monitoring for owners to take a shot on the hefty slugger. The way Adams is hitting though you cannot let him sit on the free agent market. He is forcing the Nationals to find places to play him.