No. 10 – Who said Derek Jeter had no fantasy value this season? Clearly he’s proving everyone wrong with a fast start to the season. Through five games, Jeter is hitting .391 with two runs scored, one home run and two runs batted in. He only hit six home runs all of last year so getting one in the books this early is a great sign for a bounce back campaign out of the Captain. You know he’s going to score runs in the Yankees loaded lineup so if he can keep that average up and steal a few bags then Jeter could be a steal as he was drafted on average in the 11th round.
No. 9 – Maybe Carlos Pena just needed to be back in a Tampa Bay uniform to be effective because he has started 2012 on an absolute tear. He torched the New York Yankees in the first three games of the season and has started out 7-for-15 with two home runs and seven runs batted in. We all know the average will quickly drop, but even if he stays around .250 that will make him one of the best first baseman in the game.
No. 8 – Hitters have ruled fantasy early on. There are just two pitchers in the Top 25 fantasy ratings thus far, Kyle Lohse and Chad Billingsley. It seems like wins are going to be hard to come by this year for starting pitchers on many teams.
No. 7 – As expected, it’s not even going to be fair for any pitcher to face the Detroit Tigers lineup. The mashing has already started, and the Boston Red Sox learned the hard way.
No. 6 – David Freese is picking up right where he left off in last year’s World Series. The St. Louis Cardinals third baseman has already hit three home runs in just six games and also boasts a .444 average with five runs and 10 runs batted in. It looks like his MVP performance in the Fall Classic was no fluke as Freese should end up one of the top fantasy third baseman in a scarce position.
No. 5 – Is Chad Billingsley a legit comeback candidate this year? He was one of the biggest adds in the first week of fantasy after his first start, but it’s still too early to tell. Billingsley pitched 8.1 shutout innings and put up an insane 11 strikeouts to start the season. I’m still not convinced this is real as he did it against a terrible San Diego Padres lineup at a pitcher’s park in San Diego. Keep tabs on his progress.
No. 4 – Yoenis Cespedes is what you call fool’s gold. He looks good right now, but in the long run he’s going to drive fantasy owners crazy. Sure the three home runs and seven runs batted in in the first four games of the season have been awesome, but his average is going to kill you. Think of him as a poor man’s Mark Reynolds who doesn’t steal bases.
No. 3 – Here is my endorsement for Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija. There’s a very good chance that he’s still available in your league, and if that’s the case then go pick him up now! The wide receiver-turned-pitcher had a brilliant opening start to the season, nearly throwing a complete game. Samardzija went 8.2 innings, allowing just four hits and one run. He had no walks and eight strikeouts. I know it’s only been one game, but he throws very hard and should have a lot of success.
No. 2 – Speaking of the Detroit Tigers lineup, Austin Jackson is going to blow up this season. He’s already off to an unreal start, hitting .567 with seven runs scored, but look for his power numbers to increase this season as well. You already know that he’s going to score over 100 runs and steal close to 20 bases with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder hitting behind him, so anything else is bonus.
No. 1 – Stephen Strasburg is a boss. I know the Washington Nationals want to keep him well under 200 innings pitched this year, but he will surely finish in the Top 10 for all pitchers. If Washington can start giving him some run support, look out!