Top 5 Fantasy Sleepers (July 30th)

Ortiz still has plenty of pop.

Another week of fantasy baseball means another week of surprises and intriguing matchups. Owners are searching for that diamond in the rough, so allow me to articulate my strategy. I look at three factors: current play, season stats, and matchups. This is the FBS recipe for success.

#1. Scott Rolen, 3B, Cincinnati Reds

Rolen recently returned to the lineup earlier this week and is due for a big comeback. Rolen is a dependable third baseman that hits for average. Every player has their hot and cold streaks but for the most part, Rolen is fairly consistent. For the season, he’s batting .294 with 17 home runs and 60 RBI and owned in 79% of leagues. The Reds have a three game series against the Pirates and another against the Cubs. In seven games against them this season, Rolen has batted .269, 7-26, with two runs, three doubles, home run and five RBI. In eight games against the Cubs, Rolen has gone .276, 8-29, with three runs, two doubles, triple, three walks and four RBI. Bet on Mr. Consistent.

#2. David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox

Ortiz has fallen to the sleeper bracket. Just two years ago, calling Ortiz a sleeper would’ve been insane. However, with the disappointing start to the year he’s shown he’s not the same hitter that he used to be. Nonetheless, he still has great power hitter that’s serviceable for all fantasy teams. He will never be available in free agency because of the potential he possesses. For the season he’s batting .256 with 21 home runs and 64 RBI.

The last seven games have been great for Ortiz. He tallied eight hits, five runs, three walks, three home runs and five RBI. The Sox have a three game series against the Indians and four games against the Yankees. Big Papi has been mashing of late so I’d ride his hot bat all week.

#3. Ryan Ludwick, RF, St. Louis Cardinals

The Cards have an upcoming series against the lowliest of low: Astros. This is great four game stretch to start Ludwick. In six games against the Astros earlier this year, he batted .560, 14-25, two doubles, triple and two RBI Both have poor pitching and are at the bottom of the league when in team ERA. After that, the Cardinals have a three game series against the Florida Marlins. The have only played them twice this year, but if you’re in a pinch for an outfielder, don’t hesitate to start Ludwick this series. He just returned from a calf injury and has been playing well. Over his last four games he’s had five hits, three runs and an RBI. For the season, he’s batting .278 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI.

Don't forget about Ludwick's power potential.

#4. Josh Willingham, LF, Washington Nationals

Willingham has three important factors in his favor for this week: he has a great match up, playing well of late and for the season. The nats have a four game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. I don’t like to pick on the Diamondbacks, but, good players perform really well against them. They have the worst team ERA in the league at a ballooned 5.33. The Nats haven’t played them this year, but Willingham is a solid player should be fine. Essentially you have a sleeper for two weeks. Over the last five contets, Willingham had five hits, two runs, double, two walks, and RBI. I expect these numbers and a little more in just four games against the Diamondbacks. For the season, he’s batting .271 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI. That’s not bad considering they’re ranked 24th in the league in total RBI.

#5. Hideki Matsui, DH. LA Angels

Seven weeks ago, I had Matsui as a fantasy sleeper. He is back on fire and should be plugged in for the week. The last six games, Matsui batted .300, 6-20, with four runs, a double, two home runs, and four RBI. The Angels have a three game series against the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers this week. The Halos haven’t played the Orioles this season and currently the Tigers are the most vulnerable team since the ALL-Star break. They have lost 12 of their last 15 games. In that span, they have given up an average of 4.8 runs per game. In seven games, Matsui has had five hits, three runs, a double, a home run and four RBI. I expect him to have a big week.

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