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Breaking down 3 starting pitchers to consider deeper in your 2021 fantasy baseball drafts

We take a look at some sleepers at the pitcher position to target in your season-long fantasy baseball draft.

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Zach Davies pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning in game two of the 2020 NLDS at Globe Life Field. Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Every fantasy owner should aspire to have at least one legitimate ace to stabilize their pitching staff. From there, you can take your chances with a bevy of talented hurlers; the position is probably the deepest it has ever been in terms of who’s available in those middle and late rounds. Here are three particular SPs to target if you’re looking to gain an edge on your competition in the latter stages of your draft.

Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds

Currently being taken just outside the top-50 starters in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship drafts, Mahle saw his K-per-9 rate jump from 8.95 in 2019 to 11.33 in 2020. His control isn’t always on point, but he limited batters to just a .195 average last year and generated a lot of soft contact (hard-hit rate of just 29.3). There’s a lot to like in his profile and you can probably grab him between pick Nos. 175-200 in your draft.

Zach Davies, Chicago Cubs

The San Diego Padres made one of the biggest splashes of the winter when they traded for Yu Darvish. Davies was part of the package that went back to Cubs. So, instead of seeing the Dodgers often and taking multiple trips to Coors Field, Davies will spend much of 2021 facing off against competition in what is arguably baseball’s weakest division. His command is already fantastic, but Davies’ boosted his strikeout rate from 15.2 to a much more useful 22.8 last year. He, like Mahle, doesn’t allow a ton of hard contact either. He likely won’t repeat his 2.73 ERA from last year, but as long as the K rate sustains in 2021, Davies will be a profitable pick in the final rounds.

Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals

This 2018 first-round pick flashed ace-like potential during his first run through the big leagues last year. He allowed only nine hits and five runs through the final 24 innings of his 2020 season. He had a couple of the starts where he allowed too many walks, but in general, Singer may be the real deal. His K rate is decent enough while his ground-ball rate is fantastic — it has hovered around or above 50% throughout his pro career. As he makes strides in his sophomore MLB season, Singer will help out your ratios and pick up enough strikeouts to be well worth buying beyond pick No. 200.