Who's the Nationals closer going to be, Shawn Kelley or Koda Glover? Is Delino DeShields worth drafting now that he's starting? Are Aaron Sanchez and Addison Russell moving down fantasy baseball rankings because of their injuries? How long will Sonny Gray be out? Is Carter Capps still a saves sleeper? These are all questions shaking up fantasy baseball cheat sheets as we get closer to opening day.
Every fantasy season is full of question marks, and it starts even before your draft. We'll do our best to answer some of the most pressing questions facing owners who will be drafting in the next couple of days.
Is Delino DeShields a good sleeper pick?
DeShields is suddenly looking like the favorite to open the season as the Rangers' everyday left fielder and leadoff man, which puts him squarely on the sleeper map in fantasy leagues. In fact, he would be our new pick for the Rangers' sleeper instead of Jurickson Profar, the guy he would essentially be replacing in the lineup.
DeShields had a .344 OBP, 83 runs and 25 steals in 121 games in 2015. A rough start saw him demoted in '16, but the 24-year-old speedster got on base a lot at Triple-A and stole 21 bases in just 54 games. Admittedly, his average will be mediocreand his HR and RBI upsides are very limited, but 40-plus steals and a 90-plus runs are in the cards if he can hang onto his starting job. He's currently our No. 82 OF, though that's only because we're worried about him starting all season. He's worth a late-round draft pick.
Who is the Nationals closer -- Koda Glover or Shawn Kelley?
Despite early indications that Glover would get first crack at closing, Nationals manager Dusty Baker has seemingly been wavering lately, and he even said he hopes to have it settled soon so reporters can quit asking him about it.
His reservations stem from Glover's recent spring troubles and Kelley's general steadiness. Kelley was our original pick as Nationals' sleeper (as well as a top-20 RP), but his ceiling is obviously limited if he's not closing. Both Glover and Kelley are worth drafting, and even if Glover gets the gig, Kelley will be worth hanging onto for at least a couple weeks into the season. Right now, it's a total toss-up, though you'd think a team with World Series aspirations would go with a veteran like Kelley.
MORE FANTASY BASEBALL: 2017 Draft Cheat Sheet
Is Aaron Sanchez injured?
Sanchez popped a blister in his Monday start, but neither he nor the Blue Jays have expressed any real concern about it. He might throw a side session instead of pitching in a game in his next outing, but he appears on track to be ready for the regular season.
We don't like Sanchez quite as much as some fantasy sites, but we still rank himNo. 31 among SPs.
Will Addison Russell be ready for opening day?
Russell (back) declared himself "100 percent" on Wednesday, and all signs point to him playing on Sunday night against the Cardinals
The power-hitting young shortstop is No. 11 in our SS rankings, two spots behind teammate Javier Baez, who's slated to play 2B but is also eligible at SS and 3B.
Sonny Gray injury update
Gray only made two appearances this spring before being shut down with a lat injury. He recently began throwing at max effort from 105 feet,and he reportedly "feels great" and wants to ramp up his rehab. Understandably, the A's want him to take it slow, and a realistic timetable has him pitching in the majors around the third week of April. As is always the case with injured pitchers at the start of the season, he could be out longer, but barring a setback, it doesn't look like Gray will miss a huge chunk of the season.
His fantasy value is another story. Gray was miserable in 2016, and obviously starting the season with an injury doesn't help his cause. He's our No. 68 SP heading into the season, but it wouldn't be a shock to see him go undrafted in many leagues. He's a good DL candidate for an early-season waiver pickup/late-round draft-and-stash.
Is Carter Capps still a saves sleeper?
The last time we saw Capps he was striking out 16.8 batters/nine innings with the Marlins in 2015. But Tommy John surgery kept him out in 2016, and now in San Diego, he'll start '17 on the 10-day DL because of continued elbow issues.
Astute fantasy owners are all over Capps because of his strikeout upside and the potential he takes over for Brandon Maurer in the ninth inning at some point this year. We ranked him as the No. 39 RP going into the spring, but the injury worries have us thinking he's best left undrafted outside of very deep or NL-only leagues.