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January 22, 2014

Fantasy Team Preview

Los Angeles Dodgers

by Craig Goldstein


The Dodgers rarely had their Opening Day lineup on the field throughout the entirety of last season. This was due, of course, to a confluence of major injury problems to several star players (Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez), as well as the emergence of perhaps the starriest player in Yasiel Puig. Add in the regular rest needed by Carl Crawford, and the pure force of will it must take to rest Puig, and it’s easy to see why that Opening Day lineup rarely materialized.

They’ll give it a go once more, in 2014, as they hope to avoid the injury bug that bit them so often last year. Still, given their outfield depth, there are going to be plenty of lineups that don’t resemble the Opening Day one, although they hope to have more stability at second and third base this season. The team is teeming with fantasy goodness, with power, speed, counting stats, and even the unknowns (Kemp, Guerrero) in the lineup, paired with dominance at the top of the rotation and quality innings in the middle of it. And let’s not ignore the top-three fantasy closer at the back end of the bullpen with another valuable piece in Wilson if your league counts holds. If you’re not a Dodgers fan already, there’s a good chance you will be during fantasy season, as you’re likely to roster at least a couple of their players.

Projected Lineup

1. LF Carl Crawford
2. RF Yasiel Puig
3. SS Hanley Ramirez
4. 1B Adrian Gonzalez
5. CF Matt Kemp
6. 3B Juan Uribe
7. 2B Alexander Guerrero
8. C A.J. Ellis
9. Pitcher

There’s not a lot for me to tell you about these guys that you don’t already know. Hanley is a monster with health questions. Kemp could be a monster but also has health questions. Crawford should produce similar to 2013, with the off chance that his rate stats improve if he gets benched versus lefties, though that would take a toll on his counting stats. Same goes for Ethier, who appears to be the most likely of the quartet of outfielders to get moved. Gonzalez is probably getting overlooked because while his skillset is deteriorating, it’s not going that fast, and he’s in the middle of a very good lineup that will feature a lot of men on base in front of him. The biggest non-health question mark is Puig, of course. There was the great start, the rocky second act (which was still good, by the way), and then the adjustment. The league will adjust back, but that he’s shown the ability to adjust (if not to cut off men, then at the plate) is a huge mark in his favor. The odds are against him being a 1.000 OPS guy, but that goes for just about anyone. He’s a dynamic player who has the ability to affect all facets of the game, both real and fantasy, and he’s one of my top 10 outfielders as of now.

The bottom third of the lineup is where things get murky. We don’t really know what Guerrero is but he appears to be in line to get all the second base at-bats. While there’s obviously a chance he’s more than this, he should be treated as a low-end 2B option until we know more. Uribe and Ellis are serviceable in a pinch but shouldn’t be counted on for any sort of legitimate contribution.

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Fantasy Article Fantasy Three-Year Pro... (01/22)
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