Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto

Eric Hartline - USA TODAY Sports

With the MLB season inching closer, we are taking a look at each position around the diamond and ranking the best fantasy options at each position.

Catcher might not be the most glamorous position, but there are still plenty of valuable players out there that could be the difference between winning and losing a title. Last year provided a little more flexibility for catchers, as with the universal designated hitter, managers had more options on how to manage the toughest position to play in baseball. Managers won't have the same luxury this year, since Major League Baseball is going back to the designated hitter being used in the AL-only.

The FindBet positional rankings were a compilation of the rankings from myself, Matt Hanson, and Tyler Austin. For catchers, we will dive into our top-20 catchers in the game right now.

1) J.T. Realmuto - Philadelphia Phillies

After becoming a full-time starter with the Miami Marlins in 2015, Realmuto has gotten better in each year since. After earning a spot in the All-Star Game in 2018 Realmuto was traded to Philadelphia in the off-season. In 2019, Realmuto blasted a career-high 25 home runs, and also won a Gold Glove award.

Last year, Realmuto's average dipped below .270 for the first time since 2015, but it's hard to put much stock in 2020 since it was such a strange year for everyone. Realmuto still hit 11 home runs last year in just 47 games, and with fellow Phillies like Bryce Harper and Rhys Hopkins with him in the lineup, it leaves opposing managers and pitchers with a big decision to make on how to pitch to the stacked lineup.

The biggest reason to expect a strong year from Realmuto is re-signed with Philadelphia in the offseason, so now he doesn't have to worry about free agency for a while. With a big payday secured, now we'll likely see Realmuto show that he was worth all the coin that the Phillies put in his pocket.

2) Will Smith - Los Angeles Dodgers

While J.T. Realmuto has established himself as the best catcher in the game, it wouldn't be a shock to see Will Smith pass him for that honor in a few years. The Louisville product entered the majors in 2019, hitting 15 homers for the Dodgers. Even though Smith and Austin Barnes split time for Los Angeles in 2020, it became obvious that Smith is the future behind the plate for the World Series champs.

After hitting .253 for the Dodgers in 2019, Smith raised his average to .289 in 37 games last year. Even though it's not often that we see a catcher hit over .300, it's possible to see Smith hit that mark. With the protection he'll have in the Dodgers lineup, many teams will likely look at Smith as someone they need to pitch to so they can avoid Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, and others. Smith will make them regret that decision. Expect Smith to put up numbers that mirror what Realmuto puts up in Philadelphia, and the average and RBI total might even be better.

3) Yasmani Grandal - Chicago White Sox

Yasmani Grandal has bounced around a little, with Chicago being his fourth team in nine years in the majors. Grandal isn't going to wow you with his average, but his power numbers are great for a catcher. Prior to last year, where he played 46 games, Grandal hit at least 20 home runs in four straight seasons.

Much like the first two catchers on this list, Grandal is a key cog in a lineup that is loaded with talent. Being able to hit along with Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, and Luis Robert will allow Grandal to continue to put up big home run and RBI numbers. Also, getting to go against some of the suspect pitching of the Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers so many times definitely won't hurt Grandal's numbers in 2021.

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador PerezCharlie Riedel - AP Photo

4) Salvador Perez - Kansas City Royals

One of the most respected catchers in the game right now is Kansas City's Salvador Perez. After missing the 2019 season, Perez burst back onto the scene last year, hitting .333 and bashing 11 homers. Perez has earned Silver Slugger honors in three of the last four years, and it's hard to not see him being in the mix to add to his collection this year.

5) Willson Contreras - Chicago Cubs

Yasmani Grandal isn't the only catcher in Chicago with some pop. As the core of the Cubs continues to age, Contreras is even more important to Chicago's playoff hopes. While you'll likely have to deal with plenty of strikeouts from the 28-year old catcher, he'll make up for the whiffs with some big flies at Wrigley Field, and around the rest of the NL Central stadiums that he'll frequent throughout the season.

The rest of the top-10

6) Travis d'Arnaud - Atlanta Braves

7) Gary Sanchez - New York Yankees

8) Austin Nola - San Diego Padres

9) Christian Vazquez - Boston Red Sox

10) James McCann - New York Mets

New York Yankees Catcher Gary Sanz New York Yankees catcher Gary SanchezJim McIssac - Getty Images

New York Yankees Catcher Gary Sanz

After struggling to find a home in his first few years in the majors, Travis d'Arnaud really looked comfortable in Atlanta, hitting .321 for the Braves. Meanwhile in the Bronx, Gary Sanchez hit just .147 for the Yankees in 2020. A reason to be optimistic about Sanchez in 2021 is when he hit under .200 in 2018, he rebounded with 34 home runs in 2019.

Austin Nola has limited time in the majors so far in his career. He's not quite at the level of Will Smith, but you could see him have an impact similar to Smith and some of the others at the top fo the rankings who are part of lineups that are loaded with quality hitters. Even though Christian Vazquez is less than a year younger than Nola, he has seen a lot more playing time in his career, as the Red Sox have been rebuilding over the last few years. The two catchers are on different coasts but should put up similar numbers.

Rounding of the top-10 is James McCann, who signed with the New York Mets in the offseason. After a breakout season in 2019, McCann had a hard time finding a rhythm in 2020. Now that he won't have to share time with Grandal, McCann will now set his sights on passing Realmuto and d'Arnaud in the conversation as the best catcher in the NL East.

Closing out the top-20 catchers

11) Sean Murphy - Oakland Athletics

12) Mitch Garver - Minnesota Twins

13) Buster Posey - San Francisco Giants

14) Carson Kelly - Arizona Diamondbacks

15) Jorge Alfaro - Miami Marlins

16) Yadier Molina - St. Louis Cardinals

17) Wilson Ramos - Detroit Tigers

18) Max Stassi - Los Angeles Angels

19) Yan Gomes - Washington Nationals

20) Danny Jansen - Toronto Blue Jays

Andrew Wiggins and Jayson Tatum

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In Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Warriors defended the home floor to take a 3-2 lead in the finals over the Boston Celtics. Largely, this is because Boston was careless with the basketball. The Warriors tallied nine steals and forced 18 turnovers by the Celtics. In contrast, the Warriors only got the ball stolen twice and turned the ball over just six times Monday night. While Stephen Curry was guarded ferociously and was held to just 16 points on 7-of-22 shooting (and 0-9 from downtown), his teammates stepped up.

Andrew Wiggins had another huge double-double, scoring 26 points (12-23 FG) and hauling in 13 rebounds. Finally, if the Celtics hope to win in Game 6, they will need to stay awake in the fourth quarter. Over the last two games, Boston has fallen asleep at the end of the game while the Warriors managed to sneak away with two consecutive victories.

Let's take a look at some of tonight's best bets for this huge NBA Finals Game 6.

Please Note: All betting odds were correct today as of 2:00 pm EST from Caesars Sportsbook

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Best Bets of the Night

Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics -4 (GSW Leads 3-2)

NBA Finals Best Bet #1: Boston Celtics -4 (-110)

It’s difficult to envision the Boston Celtics collapsing in the fourth quarter in three consecutive games. The Celtics may briefly watch the tape from Game 5 but they are going to have to shake it off and move forward immediately. Boston’s carelessness with the basketball Monday night should produce a much-needed wake-up call that will allow the team to make smarter passes and take fewer risks on offense against a Golden State defense that has surged over the last two games.

While Steph will likely score more than 16 points in Game 6, Jaylen Brown must have a bounce-back performance after going 5-of-18 for 18 points in Game 5. Though the Celtics shot above 40% from the field on Monday night, they turned the ball over at an uncharacteristic rate, finishing the night with 18 turnovers. Some of those were unforced errors while the Warriors earned nine steals as well.

At home in Game 6, the Celtics will play better and bring this 2022 NBA Finals series to a blockbuster Game 7 at the Chase Center. For NBA fans wishing for a seven-game series in the 2022 Finals and bettors looking to cash in on Game 6, Boston will win by at least four points at home in a win-or-go-home scenario. Jayson Tatum has yet to play his best basketball this series with Andrew Wiggins playing lethal defense but tonight will be the night that he finally drops 30+ points. Although Steve Kerr seems to think his squad is ready to close out the series, he may have to think again given how well Boston has bounced back from losses this postseason.

Don’t forget that the Celtics were in a three-game to two-game deficit against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals yet found a way to come out victorious. They may not be able to win two straight against Golden State but it’s tough to imagine the Warriors defeating the Celtics in three consecutive matchups. Boston wins by a few possessions: 110-104.

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NBA Finals Best Bet #2: Over (O/U) 210 Total Points (-110)

Though only 204 points were scored between both teams in Game 5 (BOS 97 - 107 GSW), Game 6 will be a higher-scoring contest for multiple reasons. First, Jaylen Brown will have a bounce-back night. After being held to 18 points on 27.8% shooting from the field on Monday, Brown will almost certainly play more efficiently and score more in Game 6. Additionally, Boston had way fewer scoring opportunities due to their whopping 18 turnovers. Ima Udoke will make sure his starters take care of the ball in a game that can decide Boston’s fate. Marcus Smart and Al Horford have come up huge as role players but Tatum needs to really shift into an entirely new gear. Don’t be surprised if that happens tonight.

The story through Games 4 and 5 has been the same. Golden State has stepped it up on defense, managing to out-rebound the Celtics in both contests. Robert Williams III might have something to say about that tonight. In Game 6, the Celtics should be more cautious with the ball and therefore have more opportunities than they did over the last two contests. Meanwhile, the Warriors are always expected to drop at least 105+ points.

NBA Player Props

Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics -4 (GSW Leads 3-2)

Prop #1: Andrew Wiggins To Record a Double-Double (+225)

Throughout these NBA Finals, Andrew Wiggins has been on an absolute tear. Just over the last two contests where he finished both with double-doubles, he’s recorded 29 rebounds and 43 points. He has adapted his style of play and is spending more time down low in the post to help the Warriors out on the glass. Wiggins is putting significant pressure on Robert Williams III, Al Horford, and Jayson Tatum to rebounds the ball more efficiently. Not only is Wiggins keeping his scoring numbers up, he’s drastically improved on the defensive end to record 49 rebounds (9.8 rebounds per game in the Finals) through the first five games of this series. Wiggins’ shift to focus on rebounding and keeping the pressure down low has worked brilliantly for the Warriors over the last two games, both of which they won. In Game 6, expect him to continue to do what has been working, giving him a great chance to produce a third consecutive double-double in the NBA Finals. Perhaps he can even win the NBA Finals MVP Award if he continues to play at this level. Wiggins has been the true x-factor for the Dubs in this series.

Prop #2: Jaylen Brown Over 24.5 Points (-110)

After a rough shooting night in Game 5 where Brown only converted on five of his 18 shots from the field, he should wake up and score 25+ points in Game 6 at TD Garden. While you may want to stick away from three-point shooting props involving brown right now, he’ll hit the over in points tonight at the TD Garden. Brown has only scored over 24 points in one of five games this series (27 points in Game 3) but the Celtics do much better when Brown and Tatum perform like the perennial All-Stars that they are.

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Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

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In Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals, Stephen Curry and the Warriors executed exactly where they didn’t in Game 3 to tie up the series 2-2. Notably, Golden State dominated down low Friday night after being outrebounded and suffocated by the Celtics in Game 3. As a team, the Warriors recorded 16 offensive boards for a total of 55 rebounds for the night. For instance, Draymond Green struggled Wednesday night to finish the night with only four rebounds and three assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

In Game 4, Draymond dominated down low for eight rebounds, eight assists, and four steals without getting himself into foul trouble (only three PFs for Green in Game 4 after fouling out in Game 3).

Best Bets of the Night

Game: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors - 4 (-110)

Similar to Game 3, both teams shot the ball rather evenly. The Warriors finished the night with 44% shooting from the field, and 34.9% from downtown. The Celtics converted 40% of the field goal attempts and 39.5% of their shots from deep. One factor which helped Golden State keep up with the Celtics throughout the game was terrific rebounding. Andrew Wiggins stepped it up off the glass to produce a 17-point and 16-rebound double-double. What really caused the Celtics to lose in Game 3 was a complete offensive collapse in the fourth quarter.

With seven minutes remaining in the game, the Celtics had a 91-86 lead over Golden State. That means Boston was outscored 21-6 in the second half of the fourth quarter to lose Game 4 107-97. With Golden State back home, expect their offense to shoot better than they did on the road and secure a home victory in Game 5.

Bet: Golden State Warriors -4 (-110)

Throughout the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors shot 49.4% from the field and 40.7% from downtown in 11 games played at home. For their nine road games, the Warriors were less efficient on average averaging 47.2 FG% (2.2% less efficient from the field) and 34.9% (-5.8% less efficient from 3PT range). The numbers reveal clearly that for the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Warriors have been more efficient scoring. With the prospect of taking a 3-2 lead over the Celtics, its likely that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have another big night in front of the home crowd.

Bet: Over (O/U) 212.5 Total Points (-110)

While only 204 points were scored in Game 4, expect Game 5 to be a much higher-scoring game. In addition to the Warriors shooting much better from the field, the team seems to have found some efficiency against the bigger Celtics down low. These two factors could push the Warriors to score 120+ points in Game 5. In turn, Jayson Tatum who scored 23 points (8-23 FG) will bounce back to have a 30+ point game. Both he and Steph are scoring big these NBA Finals.

While the defense was the main story of Games 3 and 4 at the TD Garden, scoring buckets will be the principal feature of Game 5 at the Chase Center. With him and Stephen Curry averaging more than 34 PPG through these finals, you can count on Game 5 in Golden State to be a high-scoring game.

NBA Player Props

Game: Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors - 4 (-110)

Prop: Jayson Tatum, Over 26.5 Points

Jayson Tatum, like the rest of the Celtics, started hot but finished ice cold. If it wasn’t for the fourth quarter where Tatum shot the ball multiple times unsuccessfully. This negatively impacted his shooting numbers from Game 4 where he finished the night with 23 points (8-23 FG) converting only 34.9% of his shots taken. After a disappointing Friday night, Tatum will shoot more efficiently in Game 5. Since he still scored 23 points on an off-night, you can count on Tatum to score 30+ points in Game 5 even if the Warriors defeat the Celtics.

Prop: Andrew Wiggins, Over 6.5 Rebounds

One of the major adjustments made by the Warriors in Game 4 was boosting their presence off the glass. Andrew Wiggins recorded 16 of Golden State’s 55 rebounds Friday night.

Through the first four games of the NBA Finals, Wiggins has recorded a total of 34 rebounds. That means Wiggins is averaging 8.5 rebounds per game in the 2022 NBA Finals. Especially because the Warriors know how effective he was producing much-needed rebounds in Game 4, Wiggins will look to have a similar presence down-low in Game 5.

Boston Celtics, NBA Finals Game 3

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In Game 3, both teams shot almost equally well from the field and from downtown. However, Boston took more shots from the field and dominated off the glass to take Game 3 116-100. Boston’s defensive energy was on full display Wednesday night as they outrebounded and drew countless fouls from the Warriors. Boston’s defense was the story of Game 3. Will Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry overwhelm the Celtics in Game 4?

Let’s take a look at some of tonight’s best bets for Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

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Best Bets of the Night

Game: Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics Game 4 (BOS Leads 2-1)

In Game 3, both teams shot virtually as efficiently from the field. The Celtics converted 48.3% of their shots (43-89 FG) from the field and went 37.1% from downtown. Golden State finished the night with a 46.2 FG% (36-78 FG) as a team, converting 37.5% from beyond the arc. The main reason for the Celtics’ victory was fantastic defense. For instance, Robert Williams III who isn’t 100% healthy, played 26 minutes to produce 10 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks. The Celtics dominated the Warriors off the glass to record 47 rebounds as a team with 15 of them recorded on the offensive end. In contrast, the Warriors totaled 31 rebounds on the game and only had six offensive rebounds. In addition, the Warriors committed 23 personal fouls allowing the Celtics to go to the line 24 times (Celtics were 17-24 FT) and had 16 turnovers as a team. For the Warriors to bounce back in Game 4, they will need to be more aggressive down low and less sloppy on the floor.

Bet #1: Golden State Warriors, +4 (-110)

The Warriors shot the ball well in Game 3, but were simply overwhelmed by the Celtics defense and the energy at the TD Garden Wednesday night. Golden State recorded 39 combined turnovers (16) and personal fouls (23) which demonstrates how sloppy they were with the basketball. This gave Boston a possession advantage throughout the game, ultimately allowing the Celtics to take 11 more field goal attempts and finish the night with seven more made FGs than the Warriors. Offensive efficiency is not the issue for the Warriors. Rather, they will need to ramp it up on defense in Game 4 to make the game interesting. Draymond Green fouled out of the contest after being shut down all night. Green was held to just two points, four rebounds, three assists, and two turnovers in 35 minutes on the floor before getting a sixth personal foul in Game 3.

Bet #2: Over (O/U) 215 Total Points (-110)

Though the Warriors were held to 100 points of offense on Wednesday night, they shot the ball well. Golden State was limited as a team for FGAs as a result of Boston’s defense. In Game 4, Golden State will have an answer to put up more points on the board than they did in Game 3. In turn, the Celtics will keep things interesting. Expect this Game 4 to be a high-scoring contest. Both teams have been scoring big throughout these playoffs, and that doesn't seem to be changing right now during the Finals.

NBA Player Props

Game: Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics Game 4 (BOS Leads 2-1)

Prop #1: Klay Thompson, Over 19.5 Points

Klay Thompson started the night shooting very well but cooled down towards the end. He went five for a whopping 13 attempts from downtown Wednesday night. He finished the night 7-of-17 from the field for 25 points. This comes after a terrible Game 2 performance where Klay went 4-of-19 from the field and only one-of-eight from beyond-the-arc. Tonight, Klay will shoot better tonight after an average Game 3 performance and bad Games 1 and 2.

Prop #2: Jaylen Brown, Over 2.5 Threes

Jaylen Brown has been knocking his shots from downtown as of late. In the last two games, he’s recorded at least three threes. He’s gone 7-of-17 (41.1%) from downtown through Games 2 and 3 combined. In the second of two home games at the TD Garden, it’s likely that Brown knocks down at least three buckets from beyond-the-arc tonight in Game 4.

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