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

Get ready for your 2021 fantasy baseball draft by diving in to the third base position
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Third base in 2021 offers fantasy managers plenty of options for filling the position early, middle or late in the draft. Want the cream of the crop? Take Jose Ramirez in the back half of the first round and enjoy his five-category production. Miss out on Ramirez? That's OK, there are four or five other big name players at the position you can scoop up over the next two or three rounds and feel great about your third baseman. Want to wait a little longer? Youngsters like Ke'Bryan Hayes and Alec Bohm offer plenty of upside in the middle of the draft, while known quantities like Gio Urshela, Justin Turner and Josh Donaldson also make for interesting targets.

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.

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More tiered rankings: C1B2B3BSSOFSPRP

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

Third base ranking tiers

1. Jose Ramirez, CLE
2. Manny Machado, SD

Technically Ramirez is in a tier by himself, and if I can't get one of the top three starting pitchers in the middle of the first round, he's the guy I'm looking to most on the hitter side of the equation. He got back to his MVP-level 2018 performance last year, helping to put to rest any concerns about his down 2019. Machado is a half-step behind Ramirez but a half-step ahead of the next guys on the list, and he makes for a nice value at the Round 2/3 turn if you can nab him there.

3. Anthony Rendon, LAA
4. Rafael Devers, BOS
5. Alex Bregman, HOU
6. DJ LeMahieu, NYY
7. Nolan Arenado, STL
8. Eugenio Suarez, CIN

This is an excellent tier of talent to target in Rounds 3-6 of the draft, and I think you definitely want to come away with one of these guys as your third baseman. I think people are making a little too much of Arenado's relocation and letting him slip a little far in drafts, so if I don't get Rendon at the top of this tier I have no qualms coming back and landing Arenado one or two rounds later. Suarez makes for a nice pick as well considering he's likely to pick up shortstop eligibility quickly, so think about taking one of the top guys at the position and Suarez together, then putting the latter at CI or UT for a week or two before shifting him to shortstop provided you aren't able to land a top name at that position.

9. Yoan Moncada, CHW
10. Cavan Biggio, TOR
11. Matt Chapman, OAK
12. Max Muncy, LAD
13. Ke'Bryan Hayes, PIT
14. Kris Bryant, CHC
15. Gio Urshela, NYY

A collection of solid names here, with Biggio and Muncy being nice plays in OBP-focused formats, while Chapman is a bit of a forgotten man at the position after a down 2020. His numbers from the previous two seasons are enough to make him a fine buy around Pick No. 100. Hayes is an ascendant talent who was thought to be more advanced defensively than with the bat before posting a ridiculous .376/.442/.682 line in 95 plate appearances. He's obviously not going to keep that up, but he has the ceiling to finish a tier above of this one, so he's a nice upside play over some of the other options in this tier. Urshela is the guy who should make you not feel you have to reach at the position; he's now put together back-to-back quality seasons while still somehow being under the radar despite the team he plays for.

16. Alec Bohm, PHI
17. Josh Donaldson, MIN
18. Tommy Edman, STL
19. Justin Turner, LAD
20. Austin Riley, ATL
21. Andres Gimenez, CLE
22. Jean Segura, PHI

I have Bohm a tick below Hayes and I'd rather have the more proven Urshela as well, so he ends up leading off this tier rather than joining those bats above. Donaldson and Turner are older, unexciting options that are going to help fantasy managers who don't overlook them. Edman is already eligible at 3B, SS and OF and should quickly pick up 2B as well, so he's a prime target for managers looking for a chess piece who can give you solid production across the board while moving around your lineup to address whatever needs arise. Riley is a post-hype sleeper who hasn't torn up the league immediately like Hayes and Bohm, but he still has the upside making him worth considering in this tier, and he should benefit from the stability of his role in 2021.

23. Kyle Seager, SEA
24. Brian Anderson, MIA
25. J.D. Davis, NYM

Third base strategies

This is a position where I like shopping at the top of the list, coming away with one of Ramirez, Machado, Rendon or Devers ideally but also being fine if I land Bregman, Arenado or Suarez (with the latter worth scooping up for future use at shortstop). But if the early rounds of the draft break a different way and I'm landing value at other positions, I still can count on being able to take a Chapman, Hayes or Urshela in the middle of the draft and not feeling too behind the 8-ball.

There are some solid CI options here as well, starting with the overlooked Donaldson and Turner and continuing with the versatile Edman and the post-hype Riley. If you're diving deep for end-game options, add Reds prospect Jonathan India to the list, as it appears he'll get regular time at second base, which is why Cincinnati is considering moving Suarez to shortstop in the first place. Also don't forget about Carter Kieboom, who like Austin Riley is a former top prospect who disappointed in his first run but still has plenty of upside. 

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R.J. WhiteSuper Stat Geek

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