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2019 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: 1B

Sporting News — (Matt Lutovsky)

Fantasy baseball owners usually don't have to think much about first base. It's always fairly deep, and the types of players you find there are generally pretty similar: Low-to-mid average, good power and run production, little speed. The guys who can hit for average or steal some bases, like Paul Goldschmidt and Freddie Freeman, are at the top, but if you don't get one of those players, most of the "sleepers" and mid-tier players have pretty similar profiles. The 1B rankings on your cheat sheet are probably the least viewed most seasons.

One thing that seems different this year is the amount of multi-position-eligible players. It's not unusual for a chunk of 1Bs to also be eligible in the OF or even at 3B, but this year five of our top 15 are eligible at 2B. If you draft these players, it seems more likely you'll wind up playing them at second base, but that extra versatility gives them more overall value. For these rankings, we're acting as if each player is only eligible at 1B, but that doesn't necessarily reflect the overall rankings. For instance J.T. Realmuto, who's our No. 1 catcher is only our No. 26, ranked behind many 1Bs he'll go ahead of in drafts. However, if he was only eligible at 1B, his .277-21-77 line from last season wouldn't be that much better than, say, Ryon Healy's .235-24-73 mark. 

2019 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers:
Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Each team

The biggest change this season at the top of the rankings is Paul Goldschmidt's move from hitter-friendly Arizona to hitter-neutral St. Louis. The good news is he was significantly better on the road last year (.339/.415/.638 compared to .238/.363/.420), and for his career he actually has a better average (.304) and SLG (.535) away from home. The main thing to note with Goldschmidt is that he only attempted 11 steals last year, his lowest total since his 48-game rookie campaign. Don't expect a ton of SBs from the 31-year-old free-agent-to-be.

2019 Fantasy Baseball Rankings Tiers, Draft Strategy
Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | StarterCloser

Still, we like Goldschmidt's all-around game and upside the most, but it's tough to nitpick between the very top options. The middle-tier is even more muddled. Health and playing time are a concern for many -- and will ultimately decide what the final rankings look like. Someone like Ronald Guzman could easily finish ahead of Edwin Encarnacion at the end of the year, but it would be silly to draft them that way, even if you were really high on Guzman. If you really like him, just wait several rounds. If gets snagged in front of you, adjust your target because he's far from the only player who could break out.

2019 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:
Catcher | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300

The bottom line is that there are still plenty of options at 1B, both early and late. Certain players might go earlier than expected because of their versatility, but you shouldn't have a problem acquiring depth at this position as long as you focus on the numbers (including age and games played) and not just the names.

DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2019 cheat sheet

Fantasy Baseball Rankings: 1B and UTIL

These rankings are for standard 5x5, non-keeper leagues. Eligibility based on Yahoo default settings.

* = Player not eligible at that position on draft day but expected to play there during the season
** = UTIL-only eligible

RankingPlayerTeamOther eligibility
1Paul GoldschmidtCardinals
2Freddie FreemanBraves
3Anthony RizzoCubs
4Whit MerrifieldRoyals2B, OF
5Cody BellingerDodgersOF
6Rhys HoskinsPhilliesOF
7Joey VottoReds
8Matt OlsonA's
9Jesus AguilarBrewers
10Jose AbreuWhite Sox
11Daniel MurphyRockies2B
12Joey GalloRangersOF
13Travis ShawBrewers2B, 3B
14Matt CarpenterCardinals2B, 3B
15Max MuncyDodgers2B, 3B
16Ian DesmondRockiesOF
17Edwin EncarnacionMariners
18Miguel CabreraTigers
19Eric HosmerPadres
20Robinson CanoMets2B
21Justin SmoakBlue Jays
22Shohei Ohtani**AngelsUTIL
23Carlos SantanaIndians3B
24Ryan BraunBrewersOF
25C.J. CronTwins
26J.T. RealmutoPhilliesC
27Luke VoitYankees
28Jake Lamb*Diamondbacks3B
29Miguel SanoTwins3B
30Ryan O'HearnRoyals
31Ryan ZimmermanNationals
32Jurickson ProfarA's2B, 3B, SS
33Trey ManciniOriolesOF
34Ryon HealyMariners
35Jake BauersIndiansOF
36Peter AlonsoMets
37Josh BellPirates
38Kendrys MoralesBlue Jays
39Yonder AlonsoWhite Sox
40Tyler WhiteAstros
41Ronald GuzmanRangers
42Buster PoseyGiantsC
43Yuli GurrielAstros2B, 3B
44Wilmer FloresDiamondbacks2B, 3B
45Steve PearceRed SoxOF
46Brandon BeltGiants
47Albert PujolsAngels
48Ryan McMahonRockies2B, 3B
49Niko GoodrumTigers2B, SS, 3B, OF
50Enrique HernandezDodgers2B, SS, OF
51Marwin GonzalezTwins2B, SS, OF
52Ji-Man Choi**RaysUTIL
53Jose MartinezCardinalsOF
54Eric ThamesBrewersOF
55MItch MorelandRed Sox
56Yandy DiazRays
57Jay BruceMarinersOF
58Greg BirdYankees
59Adam DuvallBravesOF
60Matt AdamsNationals
61Chris DavisOrioles
62Todd Frazier*Mets3B
63Justin BourAngels
64Peter O'BrienMarlinsOF*
65Hunter DozierRoyals3B