Injury Impacts and New Targets in DFS
After a few weeks of April baseball, we'll start to see some players begin their year after an extended offseason. A few players come to mind when thinking of their potential influence on the DFS landscape. There's a 5-tool player in Michael Brantley who will return and can bring power, speed, and consistency to a lineup. Not to mention a few weeks has brought us a few injuries that create openings in lineups and opportunities for players to step up and make their own impact. Let's dive into it.
Michael Brantley (LF, Cleveland Indians)
It has been announced that Brantley will be recalled from his rehab assignment once he can play in back to back games. He's expected to achieve that goal by this weekend, so he should be back in Cleveland's three hole by Monday at the latest. Brantley hit an impressive .318 last year in 137 games, including 15 home runs and 15 stolen bases, while not to mention striking out only 51 times compared to 60 walks. Brantley will be a promising addition to any lineup once he returns to the majors, as he brings many options for scoring night in and night out.
Carl Crawford (LF, Los Angeles Dodgers)
Crawford will begin a brief rehab assignment today and is expected to return to the Dodgers this weekend against the Rockies in Coors Field. It's always a nice offensive boost to play in Coors, so keep an eye out for Crawford this weekend as he can use the spacious outfield to accumulate some extra base hits. Crawford's return also impacts the number of at bats the other Dodgers' outfielders get, so keep an eye on matchups as Crawford will likely see some playing time this weekend.
Ruben Tejada (SS, St. Louis Cardinals)
The Cardinals signed Tejada this offseason after Jhonny Peralta had surgery on his thumb for a torn ligament, and Tejada proceeded to strain a quad and miss the first couple weeks of the season. Tejada doesn't project to be a great DFS player, but he will be taking away at bats from rookie Aledmys Diaz, who has been a DFS stud in his first 11 games, hitting .400 with nine extra base hits. So Tejada's impact won't necessarily be a positive one for your lineup, as he'll start splitting at bats with Diaz.
Eduardo Nunez (SS/3B, Minnesota Twins)
A spot opened up for Nunez in the everyday lineup when Trevor Plouffe landed on the DL on Monday. Nunez has had a scorching start to 2016, hitting .545 and tacking on three stolen bases. Nunez doesn't figure to be a power threat, but 12 hits in 22 at bats doesn't lie. Look for Nunez to get on base any way he can, pick up a few stolen bases, and get driven in by the revitalized Twins lineup. The Twins have also called up Jorge Polanco to help fill the hole left by Plouffe, but it appears as if Nunez will receive the majority of the reps for the Twins over the next couple weeks.
Jung Ho Kang (3B, Pittsburgh Pirates)
Kang played in his first rehab game on Monday, playing seven innings at third base and went hitless in three at bats. When Kang returns, he is expected to be the primary third basemen for the Pirates, taking over for David Freese. Kang had an above average rookie year, hitting close to .300 and tacking on 15 home runs in only 126 games. However, Kang will have to prove he deserves to retain his starting spot over Freese, who has hit .306 in Kang's absence. Look for Kang to be worked into the lineup gradually and make an impact immediately.
These are just a few prominent examples of players who can make an impact on a nightly basis for your lineup. There are several players slated to return in early May, as well as Jacob deGrom making his second start of the year this Sunday after missing the last two with a lat strain and tending to an ill child. Make sure to keep an eye out when making your lineups in the next week for these returning starters.