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Even more than is true for my sleeper pitchers, you should probably just dance with the hitters you brought in Week 1. Most are too high-end to consider sitting, particularly when the slate has been wiped clean and no one has a clue whether his sleeper and breakout picks will amount to anything yet.

But sometimes you're in a bind. You don't have a replacement ready to go, or you didn't have a great starter in the first place and think it's time to make a change. That's what this list is for.

This first week actually requires two lists. With the season beginning on a Thursday, some leagues will choose to treat opening weekend as its own scoring period (which is the CBS standard), but others will combine it with the first full week for an extra long 11-day scoring period. However your league has opted to handle it, I have recommendations for you.

As will be true throughout the season, I've limited the selection to players rostered in less than 80 percent of CBS Sports leagues.

Sleeper hitters for short Week 1 (March 28-31)
SD San Diego • #3 • Age: 21
Matchups
SF4
Rostered
75%
Jackson Merrill's roster rate is still catching up to his surprise promotion for the start of 2024, and he'll get to enjoy the fifth-best hitter matchups in his stateside debut.
SEA Seattle • #18 • Age: 33
Matchups
BOS4
Rostered
66%
You won't generally see me recommend a catcher here since it's not like you'd ever slot one in a utility spot, but Mitch Garver is actually in line for everyday at-bats as the Mariners DH and gets four games against the Red Sox's depleted rotation to open the year.
CIN Cincinnati • #6 • Age: 27
Matchups
WAS3
Rostered
61%
Considering an also-ran in the Reds' burgeoning lineup at the start of spring training, Jonathan India had reclaimed the leadoff spot by the end, thanks to a series of misfortunes. The Nationals pitching staff should make up for the fact that he has only three games.
PIT Pittsburgh • #32 • Age: 24
Matchups
@MIA4
Rostered
57%
Another catcher? Like Mitch Garver, Henry Davis is too talented of a hitter to remain this available for long, though it's worth noting that you can only play him in the outfield for now.
MIL Milwaukee • #10 • Age: 24
Matchups
@NYM3
Rostered
45%
The Mets rotation is pretty weak without Kodai Senga to slot in at the top. Sal Frelick, meanwhile, may be the favorite to slot in at the top of the Brewers lineup and can contribute in a variety of ways there.
SEA Seattle • #17 • Age: 33
Matchups
BOS4
Rostered
20%
Injuries have made Mitch Haniger a non-factor in Fantasy the past two years, but he was unstoppable in spring training and won't be facing a true ace in Week 1 with the Red Sox coming to town.
ARI Arizona • #28 • Age: 32
Matchups
COL4
Rostered
44%
The Diamondbacks have the most favorable matchups of any team in the short week with the Rockies coming to town, and while most of their lineup is too high-end or low-end to consider here, Eugenio Suarez is right in the sweet spot as a slugger with all-or-nothing tendencies.
MIA Miami • #7 • Age: 30
Matchups
PIT4
Rostered
29%
The going theory for Tim Anderson's pitiful 2023 is that it was derailed by a knee sprain early on. He was heating up at the end of spring training, putting him in a strong position to confirm that theory against a hittable Pirates pitching staff in Week 1.
CIN Cincinnati • #30 • Age: 26
Matchups
WAS3
Rostered
46%
Not only are the Reds at home for Week 1, but they're facing some real mashables in the Nationals rotation. One is a left-hander (Patrick Corbin), but given all the misfortune that befell the Reds lineup this spring, Will Benson might get to start that game anyway.
CIN Cincinnati • #27 • Age: 29
Matchups
WAS3
Rostered
42%
Everything I said for Benson also applies for Jake Fraley, so get used to seeing them back to back in my sleeper hitter recommendations until one does something to distinguish himself from the other. Benson's home run and stolen base upside might be a little higher, but Fraley has less downside risk as a better contact hitter.

Best hitter matchups for short Week 1

1. Diamondbacks COL4
2. Guardians @OAK4
3. Dodgers STL4
4. Marlins PIT4
5. Padres SF4

Worst hitter matchups for short Week 1

1. Phillies ATL3
2. Angels @BAL3
3. Braves @PHI3
4. Royals MIN3
5. White Sox DET3

Sleeper hitters for long Week 1 (March 28-April 7)
SD San Diego • #3 • Age: 21
Matchups
SF4, STL3, @SF3
Rostered
75%
Extend that first week to 10 games, and Jackson Merrill's matchups still look awfully appealing, probably because he gets the Giants pitching staff for seven of those games. The Cardinals rotation is looking pretty mashable as well.
BAL Baltimore • #6 • Age: 27
Matchups
LAA3, KC3, @PIT3
Rostered
47%
Six of the Orioles' first nine games will be at home, which isn't the greatest for Ryan Mountcastle's power production, but five of the nine will be against lefties, who he throttled to the tune of a .338 batting average and 1.052 OPS last year.
MIA Miami • #7 • Age: 30
Matchups
PIT4, LAA3, @STL3
Rostered
29%
However advisable Tim Anderson was for the short week, with the Marlins having the fourth-best hitter matchups, he's doubly so for the long week, with the Marlins having the second-best hitter matchups. About the only tough pitcher they'll be facing is Mitch Keller -- and some would dispute whether he's even tough.
BOS Boston • #17 • Age: 28
Matchups
@SEA4, @OAK3, @LAA3
Rostered
50%
Tyler O'Neill won't get to enjoy Fenway Park in his first week-and-a-half with the Red Sox, but with him healthy for the time being, his power should still play against pitchers like Joe Boyle, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Griffin Canning, Reid Detmers and Chase Silseth.
KC Kansas City • #1 • Age: 25
Matchups
MIN3, @BAL3, CHW4
Rostered
35%
The Royals are scheduled to face only one left-handed in their first 10 games, with some of the righties including Dean Kremer, Mike Soroka, Chris Flexen and Nick Nastrini. That's good news for a left-handed hitter like MJ Melendez, who's coming off an impressive spring training.

Best hitter matchups for long Week 1

1. Rays TOR4, TEX3, @COL3
2. Marlins PIT4, LAA3, @STL3
3. Dodgers STL4, SF3, @CHC3
4. Padres SF4, STL3, @SF3
5. Tigers @CHW3, @NYM3, OAK3

Worst hitter matchups for long Week 1

1. Giants @SD4, @LAD3, SD3
2. Angels @BAL3, @MIA3, BOS3
3. Cardinals @LAD4, @SD3, MIA3
4. Yankees @HOU4, @ARI3, TOR3
5. Mariners BOS4, CLE3, @MIL3