Chase: Clayton Kershaw
LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
You can break pitching down into many different groups, then there’s a small group of elite pitchers you can count on most outings. Then, above that group, there’s Kershaw all on his own. He may need to find himself in the playoffs, but in the regular season this guy is a robot. Can’t beat it.
Fade: Max Scherzer
RHP, Washington Nationals
Listen, Scherzer is fantastic. I actually used him in a good chunk of my Opening Day lineups. But typically I avoid him. He’s going to breakout for a few monster games every year, and it’s going to hurt not having him in my lineups on those days … but he also has a tendency to have a lot of average performances. It’s hard not to like Mad Max when the matchup is right (as it appeared to be Opening Day vs. ATL), but his price always reflects the good matchup. I’ll take Kershaw regardless of the opponent.
Chase: Josh Donaldson
3B, Toronto Blue Jays
The reigning AL MVP is always the first player I look for going into a slate. Last season is going to be tough for the entire Blue Jays’ lineup to replicate, especially Donaldson. On occasion I’ll use less of him when he squares off with an elite RHP, but he’s hardly ever a player I’ll fade. He’s an automatic play at 3B against LHP for me and has the highest ceiling of any batter in my mind.
Fade: Miguel Cabrera
1B, Detroit Tigers
Miggy has slowed down significantly since back-to-back 44 home run seasons in 2012 and 2013. He bottomed out at just 18 homers last season — the lowest since he was called up to the bigs in 2003. Cabrera is still a great hitter, but that power he once had is no longer there. There’s a lot of better daily options in his price range.
Chase: Chris Davis
1B/OF, Baltimore Orioles
The O’s aren’t going to be World Series favorites, but their offense has an opportunity to be similar to Toronto’s. Baltimore figures to hit a TON of home runs this season, and Davis is the centerpiece of that lineup. This guy not only jacked 47 dingers last season, but also had a ridiculous 53 back in 2013. With all the bats surrounding him this season, Davis is poised for a career year.
Fade: Paul Goldschmidt
1B, Arizona Diamondbacks
Am I the only person that thinks Goldschmidt is wildly overrated? I’ll take Davis over him any day of the week. Goldy’s salary is usually through the roof. I get it, he’s a good power hitter, but he doesn’t put up the type of numbers that I’d expect from the hype he gets. Although the season-long production is there, Goldschmidt also seems to come up empty in a lot of games, leaving you with a low fantasy total from your most expensive batter. That’s never fun.
Chase: Carlos Correa
SS, Houston Astros
I love this kid, and he’s only getting better. It’s amazing how much power Correa hits for as a 21-year old SS. As I mentioned when I listed him as my No. 1 breakout home run hitter of 2016, I’m expecting Correa to leave the ballpark 35+ times this season. No expectations are too steep. Correa’s becoming a Donaldson-like staple in my lineups.
Fade: Dee Gordon
2B, Miami Marlins
This is one of those situations where I like the player a lot but he’s just too overvalued fantasy-wise. Gordon is awesome at getting on and making his way around the bases, but you can find power hitting these days from middle infielders. Yes, he had 200+ hits and 50+ steals last season, but that’s really all you’re getting from Gordon. His value gets a boost with no penalty on DK for getting caught stealing this season, but it’s tough to take a player who reaches his value based on swiping bags.
Chase: Buster Posey
C/1B, San Fransisco Giants
Think of this as a team award in some ways — I love the Giants’ offense this season, and Posey is the leader in San Fran. Stacking the Giants built around Posey is going to be a great play this season — Belt, Panik, Pence, Span, Pagan, Crawford, Duffy … there’s just so many good hitters in that lineup. Chase the Giants, people!
Fade: Yoenis Cespedes
OF, New York Mets
Cespedes was a straight up legend last season for the Mets. Although he’s a great hitter, Cespedes overachieved big-time in 2015 (and came back to real life at the end of New York’s run). That hot streak put Yoenis in an elite class through the eyes of many, but as impressive as it was, that’s not the type of production to expect from him.
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