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Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Rangers Fantasy Countdown: No. 2

By Richard Durrett

Our fantasy countdown marches on with ESPN.com's Eric Karabell and Tristan H. Cockcroft sharing their top-5 Texas Rangers players in terms of fantasy value for the 2014 season. The two disagreed on No. 5 (Cockcroft had Elvis Andrus and Karabell picked Shin-Soo Choo), but agreed on Nos. 3-4 (Yu Darvish and Alex Rios) and they are on the same page for No. 2.

No. 2: Prince Fielder

The first baseman is with a new team for the 2014 season and gets a chance to hit in front of Adrian Beltre, which certainly isn't a bad thing. Globe Life Park should be a good place for him and Fielder seems comfortable already with the Rangers and his new teammates.

Does all of it set up for a big year? Karabell and Cockcroft think so.

Karabell's thoughts: "For years Fielder protected Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera in the batting order, but he appears locked in as the No. 3 hitter in Texas. Will it matter? Well, while Fielder hasn't been as awesome the past two seasons, fantasy owners pay for the durability and consistency. And it's always possible he returns to his 40-homer ways in a friendlier hitter's park."

Recommended round: Early second

Cockcroft's thoughts: "Coming off a disappointing year (by his standards) in Detroit, Fielder gets a golden bounce-back opportunity in a more hitter-friendly home ballpark and a lineup that has one of the best on-base men leading off (Shin-Soo Choo, who barely missed this list)."

Recommended round: Second

Too many things seem to be in Fielder's favor for him not to have a better season than he did in 2013. That should also translate into nice fantasy value for those who pick up the first baseman in upcoming drafts.