Traditionally a position in fantasy leagues laden with power, third base has seen a bit of a transformation over the last few seasons. It is not as flush with top tier, top power talent as it once was and there is a distinct drop-off in production once you move past the top ten.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find quality talent for bargain prices in daily salary cap games. That’s the best part of daily fantasy leagues. You can still get strong point totals at third base for a relatively low cost and use the rest of your cap dollars elsewhere. How you spend your cap money is a lot more important than where you spend it and if you’re looking for a decent strategy, then find your bargains at the thin positions. Here’s a look at the top five sleepers at the hot corner.
Brett Lawrie, TOR (2011 Point Total: 193) – In standard fantasy leagues, there is no sleeper status for Lawrie as he is one of the most high-profile rookies around. However, given his low point total from last year due to a delayed call-up by the Blue Jays, Lawrie’s price in salary cap leagues should start off lower than he’s truly worth. You’re looking at high on-base percentages with the potential for 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. By season;s end, he could be ranked in the top five in total bases and points.
Mike Aviles, BOS (168) – Aviles’ biggest problem over the years has been playing time, but after some off-season dealing, the Red Sox didn’t leave themselves much in the way of options at shortstop this year. Because of his ability to play around the infield, the former third baseman will handle the primary shortstop duties in Boston and could be an interesting pick up in salary cap games if he gets off to a hot start. His career ISO numbers indicate good power potential and he’s also got some nice speed to add in. He’ll hit at the bottom of the lineup but should still see strong RBI opportunities and won’t come at a high cost.
Mike Moustakas, KC (211) – Last season’s call-up didn’t produce the exact results the Royals were hoping for, but Moustakas has shown plenty of potential to be a legitimate option at third this year. His low strikeout rate and moderate walk rate will help keep his OBP at a strong level this season and he’s got 20-home run power to go along with it. The Royals are a young team on the rise and Moustakas is going to be a big part of their run production this year. He’ll be a nice cheap acquisition to start the season and could be someone you hold onto for most of the year.
Chone Figgins, SEA (147) – The Mariners are hoping for a career resurrection this season from Figgins and manager Eric Wedge is doing everything he can to help him along. It starts with opportunity and Wedge has announced that he is moving Ichiro down in the lineup and putting Figgins in the leadoff spot. A repeat performance of last year will immediately wipe out his value, but if he can find a happy medium between his 2009 and 2010 totals, then he’ll be a strong asset for both stolen and total bases.
Casey Blake, COL (171) – It’s hard to picture an aging veteran like Blake as a sleeper, but the move to Colorado just might give him a boost in value. He’s always shown good power while with the Dodgers, so a move to hitter-friendly Coors Field could help that in a big way. The main knock on Blake has been his health, but if he can manage to stay off the disabled list for a good portion of the season, then he’ll be able to give you some nice point totals at a serious bargain price.