For fantasy owners, first base will be a bit of a lottery in 2020. There are 13-15 excellent first basemen available, but after that, the position completely falls off.
If owners miss out on Cody Bellinger, Freddie Freeman, Pete Alonso, or Anthony Rizzo, there are limited options lower down the list. Since first base is generally the heart of a fantasy team's production, many prefer to just pay up for a big name rather than wait around. Still, for those who want to spend elsewhere, here are three sleepers to look at in the later rounds and the waiver wire.
1. Renato Nunez, Baltimore Orioles
One thing is for sure: Renato Nunez can crush a baseball. While few were paying attention to the woeful Baltimore Orioles, Nunez hit 31 homers and drove in 90 runs last season. His power numbers are fantastic – Nunez sports an above-average 40.6 hard-hit ball percentage and was top 50 in the league with 43 "barrels" last year, meaning he excelled at hitting pitches with the sweet spot on the bat. While Nunez has vulnerabilities, he could be a tremendously valuable fantasy player if he can keep up these counting stats in 2020. Yet right now, he's on the fringe of the top 200.
2. Eric Thames, Washington Nationals
With Anthony Rendon headed to Los Angeles, the Washington Nationals had to make some moves to replenish their World Series-winning lineup. Enter Eric Thames, who signed for a one-year, $4 million deal in the offseason. Thames had a very solid year in Milwaukee last season, supplying the Brewers with a .851 OPS in 149 games. Given his previous numbers and the juiced ball, the 25 homers he hit were actually disappointing, but one would imagine that's the floor fantasy owners will be working with. Thames draws walks, hits for power, and should get lots of playing time for the Nationals. Like Nunez, he's on the fringes of the top 200, and could provide some serious value if you miss out on the big names.
3. C.J. Cron, Detroit Tigers
The 30-year-old veteran signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Tigers. He was a bit disappointing in 2019, missing a quarter of the season with injuries and only hitting 25 homers and 78 RBIs despite the insane juiced-ball conditions. However, "only" putting up those numbers is often perfectly fine for desperate fantasy owners looking for value at the backend of the draft. Cron is just a year removed from a brilliant 123 wRC+ campaign in Tampa Bay. If he can fully recover from his troublesome thumb injury, he has a good shot to return to the 30-homer level he reached in 2018. C.J. Cron is not an "exciting" pick by any stretch of the imagination, but when you're dealing with sleeper first basemen, excitement is secondary to value.
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Tristan Jung is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tristan Jung also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tristan1117. 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.