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 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.
With that in mind, here are our top five sleeper outfielders for the 2021 MLB season. You can check out our top-10 overall sleepers here as well.
Fantasy Baseball OF Sleepers 2021
5. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins
Every offseason, fantasy baseball managers are inundated with tons of Byron Buxton hype stories. After slashing an abysmal .230/.285/.387 over the first four seasons of his career, Buxton has quietly improved that to .259/.299/.534 over the last two years. The more advanced numbers back up that improvement, boasting a career-best 47.9% hard-hit rate in 2020, per Statcast. Prior to last year, his previous best was 38.3% (2019). And once he's on base, he's always a threat to steal. Injuries are always a concern, but if his career continues on the upward trajectory we saw last season, he could be a great post-hype sleeper in 2021.
4. Alex Verdugo, OF, Boston Red Sox
Alex Verdugo was the best piece the Boston Red Sox got in return for Mookie Betts. It was a famously one-sided deal, but that doesn't mean fantasy managers should overlook Verdugo. Appearing in 53 games in 2020, the 24-year-old was on pace for 19 HR, 46 RBI and 13 steals while slashing .308/.367/.478. He's a massively talented prospect who should be a huge contributor in Boston this season. He's a nice under-the-radar value.
3. Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Bryan Reynolds had a disastrous 2020 campaign, slashing .189/.275/.357. That came on the heels of an impressive 2019 season, however, and the underlying numbers suggest the 2020 campaign might've just been a fluke. His 37.5% hard-hit rate was only a bit below what we saw from him in 2019, but he actually cut his soft-hit rate from 16.4% in 2019 to 10.9% in 2020. That suggests he's poised for a bounce-back season in 2021.
2. Tommy Pham, OF, San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres' offense is looking like one you'll want to target this season, and drafting Tommy Pham is a good way to get in without breaking the bank. Pham had a career-worst .284 wOBA in 2020, but it had never been below .330 in the five seasons prior to last year. He's only 32 years old, meaning age is unlikely to be the reason for his sudden decline. And a down year in 2020 can be forgiven given all that players had to deal with. Pham looks like a nice buy-low candidate in 2021.
1. Manuel Margot, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
If you're looking for a good source of steals at a low cost, Manuel Margot is your man. Margot finished with the fourth-most steals in the MLB last season (12), and he was one of only three players to record double-digit steals while playing fewer than 50 games. His 14.9% soft-hit rate was also the lowest of his career, suggesting the 26-year-old's career is trending in the right direction. He might be going a lot higher come this time next year.
SIGN UP AND GET AN INSTANT DEPOSIT BONUS UP TO 500! We'll match 20% of your first deposit on FanDuel Fantasy Sports. Max bonus $500
Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. 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.