While the top fantasy baseball assets provide the floor for your team, finding sleepers in the later rounds is key to determining your ceiling.
Hunting for sleeper candidates, by definition, is a volatile task. For every sleeper that does turn into a great pick, there are two or three that go nowhere. However, this process is can be the difference between a first-place finish and stumbling to a losing season. That makes it crucial to hit on your sleeper picks.
Without further ado, here are five sleeper outfielders that can make a big impact for your 2020 fantasy baseball team.
Starting Pitcher Sleepers for Fantasy Baseball
1. Matthew Boyd, Detroit Tigers
It may not look like Matthew Boyd had a breakout season in 2019, as his 4.56 ERA was a step back from the 4.39 he posted in 2018. A deeper look at the numbers shows that he was an entirely different (and significantly better) pitcher last year though. His 30.2 percent strikeout rate destroyed his previous best mark of 22.4 percent, tying him for ninth among qualifying pitchers. He also cut his walk rate to a career low 6.4 percent. His skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) was also a terrific 3.61 — down from a previous career best of 4.31. Some bad luck on home runs (18.2 percent home run-to-fly ball rate, compared to a 13.8 percent career average) helped hide how well he was pitching, and that's left him significantly under-valued in 2020 fantasy drafts.
2. German Marquez, Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies pitchers always come with some risk, since they spend so much time throwing in the hitters paradise that is Coors Field. Like Boyd, though, German Marquez' weak 2019 ERA seems to be hiding just how good he was. Sure, he got blasted for 1.5 home runs per nine innings, but even at Coors Field a HR/FB rate of 20.1 percent isn't sustainable. For context, Marquez was in the mid-15 percent range in that stat for both 2017 and 2018. He finished 2019 with a 3.84 SIERA (17th among qualifying pitchers), giving him back to back seasons below 4.00. His strikeout rate did take a bit of a dip, but 24.3 percent is nothing to sneeze at, especially when accompanied by a career low 4.9 percent walk rate.
3. Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ross Stripling only got 15 starts in 2019, but the Los Angeles Dodgers' rotation is a bit thinner this year (having lost Hyun Jin Ryu), so he could see some more opportunity. His skill is undeniable when he does get his chances, with a career 3.60 SIERA, which is reflected by his 3.51 ERA. He backed those up with a 1.15 WHIP, 25.1 percent strikeout rate and 5.4 percent walk rate last season.
4. Luke Weaver, Arizona Diamondbacks
The 26-year-old Luke Weaver landed in the desert and made 12 starts for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2019. In that (admittedly small) sample, he showed improvement in just about every area. His walk rate dropped to a career low 5.4 percent, his strikeout rate bounced back to 26.5 percent, he cut his home runs to 0.84 per nine, his WHIP fell to 1.07, and while his 2.94 ERA likely isn't going to be repeatable, he did back it up with a strong 3.84 SIERA.
5. Anthony DeSclafani, Cincinnati Reds
Anthony DeSclafani is a deeper sleeper, but he's still got some nice upside. The right-hander made over 30 starts in 2019, matching his career best 31 from 2015. The home run trouble that that has plagued him for most of his career continued to rear its ugly head (1.57 HR/9), but he brought his strikeout rate up to a career best 24.0 percent, forcing swinging strikes on 10.1 percent of his pitches (up from a previous career best of 9.5 percent). He also brought his WHIP down to a career low 1.20, and if you're willing to gamble on the home runs, DeSclafani could be worth taking a shot on.
Be sure to also check out our top 10 starting pitcher rankings for the top players at the position.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. 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.