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There are only so many elite closers in fantasy baseball and once the top-tier options are off the board, owners are typically hard pressed to find relievers that rack up enough saves to be fantasy relevant. However, there are a few under-the-radar relievers that have incredible saves potential if everything pans out in 2019. Here are a few potential sleeper relief pitchers that could save your saves category this upcoming season.
4. Kirby Yates, San Diego Padres
Kirby Yates enters 2019 as one of the more underrated closer options in fantasy baseball, despite his ADP floating around pick 100. The 31-year-old was excellent after Brad Hand was traded to the Cleveland Indians at the 2018 trade deadline, locking down 10 saves in 11 opportunities as the Padres' closer. Yates is the undisputed ninth-inning man in San Diego and his saves potential should improve with a much improved lineup now featuring Manny Machado.
3. Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox
Matt Barnes spent last season as the set-up man for Craig Kimbrel and seemingly has the inside track to Boston's closer role in 2019. Barnes is the most established arm in the Red Sox bullpen and has tremendous strikeout potential (96 Ks in 61.2 innings in 2018). The defending champs should be one of the league's best teams again this season and should give Barnes, a player with an ADP outside 250, more than enough save opportunities to end the season in the top 10 in saves.
2. Will Smith, San Francisco Giants
The closer job in San Francisco is still up for grabs, but Will Smith definitely has the inside track thanks to his performance in the ninth inning last season. The 29-year-old lefty secured 14 saves with 71 strikeouts and a 2.55 ERA in 53 innings pitched in 2018. Mark Melancon will definitely poses a threat to Smith, but early returns out of Spring Training indicate that Smith looks like the better option in the ninth. He's being drafted in or around the 16 round so a late-round flier could net you a prime closer.
1. Jose Leclerc, Texas Rangers
Jose Leclerc could be 2019's biggest save sleeper, if his second half last season is any indication. The 25-year-old righty was unhittable after assuming closer duties for the Rangers in early August, going a perfect 12-for-12 in save opportunities while holding batters to a microscopic .053 batting average. Oh, and he didn't allow a single run during that span too. Numbers like that are almost impossible to sustain, but with an ADP of 120, he should pay dividends in 2019. It's clear that Leclerc has all the right stuff to finish as a top five fantasy closer this season.
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Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.