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Fantasy Baseball 2021: Second base rankings, tiers, draft strategies and more to know

Get ready for your 2021 fantasy baseball draft by diving in to the second base position
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Managers playing in 12-team fantasy baseball leagues or larger can be forgiven if they fear not addressing the second base position early enough. No one wants to be left empty-handed at a tough-to-fill position coming out of the draft, particularly when there's no guarantee that many useful players will emerge during the year. That may be why 10 or 11 come off the board in the top 100 of many drafts, even though I'm not sure the position holds more than seven or eight top-100 overall players in the grand scheme of things.

So how should you attack the position heading into your draft? I've done numerous mock and real snake and salary cap drafts heading into the 2021 MLB season, and I'm here to share the things I've learned so far. If you're a regular subscriber to SportsLine, you probably know me from dominating NFL picks for years, but did you know I actually got my start in sports media as a fantasy baseball analyst? I even finished No. 1 among all experts for my draft rankings the first year FantasyPros tracked MLB expert accuracy on their site.

Want more fantasy baseball tips from CBS Sports' panel of experts? Go sign up for our 2021 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit to have our full set of rankings, strategies, tiers and more sent directly to your inbox.

More tiered rankings: C1B2B3BSSOFSPRP

Here's how I'm ranking and approaching the second base position for fantasy baseball in 2021:

Second base ranking tiers

1. DJ LeMahieu, NYY
2. Ozzie Albies, ATL
3. Whit Merrifield, KC
4. Ketel Marte, ARI

Who ranks No. 1 at second base likely depends on your format: in points leagues where stolen bases aren't as big a deal to land on draft day, I'm certainly putting LeMahieu on top of my list at the position and I have no issue nabbing him in Round 3 or 4 if targets at other positions come off the board before I can get them. In leagues where you're chasing stolen bases, LeMahieu may be as low as No. 3 behind Albies and Merrifield. In either format, I'm perfectly happy waiting a few more rounds and snagging Marte, who's in the midst of an impressive spring and showed in 2019 he has legit top-of-the-position upside, hitting .329/.389/.592 with 32 home runs and 10 stolen bases.

5. Keston Hiura, MIL
6. Brandon Lowe, TB
7. Jose Altuve, HOU
8. Cavan Biggio, TOR
9. Max Muncy, LAD
10. Jeff McNeil, NYM
11. Mike Moustakas, CIN

I'm not particularly shopping in this tier if I miss out on Marte, though I've been able to get Biggio at a bit of a discount as other managers seem to expect more regression than I do. He and Muncy are great targets in OBP-focused leagues where you get the benefit of their plate patience. Moustakas sneaks into the back end of this tier as there's a pretty large gap in the position after he comes off the board, though there are a couple names to know if you miss out.

12. Dylan Moore, SEA
13. Ty France, SEA
14. Andres Gimenez, CLE
15. Jean Segura, PHI
16. Nick Solak, TEX
17. Nick Madrigal, CHW
18. Jake Cronenworth, SD

Moore exploded out of nowhere in 2020, though maybe his quality minor-league numbers in 2018 (.299/.363/.522 line in 453 plate appearances at Double-A and Triple-A) should have been more of a tip-off. I ended up making him my selection in a dynasty free agent draft where I needed a starting 2B or 3B (with Max Muncy taking the other spot), though that meant letting France go and watching him get snapped up before my next pick. I'll admit that was a major disappointment, as he's a great sleeper after destroying the ball during the spring. He should be the Mariners' regular DH and deliver numbers that could easily slot him into the tier above at the position. Gimenez is another great target who has emerged as someone expected to get stable time after an excellent spring, and he'll give you a lift in stolen bases if needed.

19. Gavin Lux, LAD
20. Chris Taylor, LAD
21. Kolten Wong, MIL
22. David Fletcher, LAA
23. Ryan McMahon, COL
24. Jon Berti, MIA
25. Nico Hoerner, CHC

Second base strategies

If you play in a Roto or H2H categories league, I have no problem snatching up one of Ozzie Albies or Whit Merrifield in Round 3 or 4. If you're in a points league where SBs are de-emphasized, DJ LeMahieu is a nice option in that range instead. But for my money, the best value is waiting two rounds later and taking Ketel Marte, who has a legit chance to finish alongside those guys right at the top of the position.

If you don't end up with Marte, I'm fine with a Cavan Biggio or Max Muncy a few rounds later in OBP-focused leagues, but I start to get excited after that tier dries up and I can get Dylan Moore, Ty France and/or Andres Gimenez. If one of them is at 2B and one at MI for me while I address other needs earlier in the draft, I'm perfectly happy. Looking deeper in the player pool, I'd target ex-top prospects like Gavin Lux and Brendan Rodgers (who I dropped out of my top 25 with his recent injury likely costing him a month at the beginning of the season) in the end game and hope talent, opportunity and health all align, as they both have upside that could land them way up the board come 2021.

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R.J. WhiteSuper Stat Geek

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