There was a time about midway through 2023 when the outlook at first base seemed pretty bleak. But that's about the point when Bryce Harper and Cody Bellinger shifted over to the position and Triston Casas and Spencer Torkelson began to hit their stride.

Things are looking up now, with first base offering no shortage of early-round targets and mid-round upside plays. Even the "boring" choices that make up the final quarter of this top 20 still bring something to the table, whether it's 30-homer power or the potential to hit .300.

Of course, depth will still be tested in standard Rotisserie leagues that require a third corner infielder, but the bottom line is that if you don't invest in first base early, there's still a chance for a happy outcome. That wasn't necessarily true last year.

Note that the focus here is standard 5x5 scoring (such as Rotisserie leagues), but scroll a little further and you'll see my rankings for points leagues.

Top 20 first basemen for 2024
Freddie Freeman Los Angeles Dodgers 1B
Everything Freeman has always been good at, he's still good at, and in the last couple years, he's become a viable base-stealer as well -- one of the few at the first base position. There remains no safer bet for batting average at any position, and the run and RBI production is enormous given his durability and placement in the Dodgers lineup.
Matt Olson Atlanta Braves 1B
There's a case to be made for Olson over Freeman given that the former basically doubled up the latter in home runs this year, but what sets Freeman apart most of all is consistency, which hasn't been the case for Olson over the years. As with Freeman, the run and RBI production leaves no argument for ranking Olson any lower.
Bryce Harper Philadelphia Phillies DH
Harper is only draftable as a first baseman because his hurried return from Tommy John surgery prevented him from playing the outfield, but he proved he was back to his early-round form with a monstrous second half and won't be drafted at any sort of discount next year.
Pete Alonso New York Mets 1B
The debate over which of Alonso and Olson is the preeminent first base slugger continues, with Alonso being the one to see his batting average slip most recently. A midseason wrist injury may have contributed to it, though, and he still came within shouting distance of 50 homers.
Vladimir Guerrero Toronto Blue Jays 1B
The No. 1 player in Fantasy in 2021 has become the No. 1 enigma in the two years since. Guerrero continues to mash the ball according to exit velocity readings, but the actual production falls well short of the numbers Statcast projects for him. Part of me wants to rank him higher, but fool me twice, shame on me.
Cody Bellinger Chicago Cubs CF
If Guerrero is the epitome of hitting the ball hard with little to show for it, Bellinger is just the opposite, putting up MVP-caliber numbers despite below-average exit velocities. It would be easier to dismiss if it wasn't preceded by a two-year stretch so miserable that it forced the Dodgers to dump him, but we all remember how good he was before then, too.
Paul Goldschmidt St. Louis Cardinals 1B
Goldschmidt's step back in 2023 would seem like an obvious consequence of him being 36 years old except that his Statcast readings were all virtually identical to his MVP-winning 2022. There are no telltale indicators of diminished skill, in other words, so while caution is warranted, I'm not ready to conclude that it's all downhill from here.
Christian Walker Arizona Diamondbacks 1B
We know now that Walker isn't a one-hit wonder, which allows us to draft him with more confidence than in 2023, but on the other hand, he'll be 33 next year. The upside, while good, is certainly lower than the seven players ranked ahead of him here, and while the concerns aren't as obvious as for Bellinger and Goldschmidt, they nonetheless exist.
Triston Casas Boston Red Sox 1B
Just going by the overall numbers, Casas' rookie season was impressive, but this ranking presumes his second-half slash line of .317/.417/.617 is a sign of things to come. The Red Sox eventually began increasing his exposure to left-handed pitchers, which will be necessary for him to break through as a Fantasy stud, and the tools are there for top-five production.
Yandy Diaz Tampa Bay Rays 1B
By 2023 production, Diaz would be the obvious choice at No. 9 (and remains so in points leagues, where his plate discipline helps set him apart), but his batting average and power production were both at the upper limits of what he's capable of. The 32-year-old also sits more than anyone would like, both because of injuries and typical Rays restlessness.
Spencer Torkelson Detroit Tigers 1B
The monster power potential that made Torkelson the first overall pick in the 2020 draft finally began to shine through in his sophomore season, but roughly two-thirds of his home runs came on the road. His power-stifling home park will likely cost him 5-10 home runs each year, thus making him more Christian Walker than Pete Alonso.
Spencer Steer Cincinnati Reds 1B
Steer doesn't have a lot of raw strength but managed to deliver a 20-homer, 15-steal season as a rookie thanks to his pull-heavy approach and favorable home venue. Combined with his defensive versatility, those numbers made him a pretty handy player in Fantasy. Can he wring that much out of his modest skills year after year, though, and if not, could it cost him playing time?
Vinnie Pasquantino Kansas City Royals 1B
Everyone's favorite breakout candidate for 2023 has been out of sight, out of mind since having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder in June. The hope here is that the injury contributed to his disappointing stat line, which is plausible given that he was basically performing exactly as expected as late as May 10, slashing .298/.383/.539 with more walks than strikeouts.
Josh Naylor Cleveland Guardians 1B
Naylor's breakout season was sidetracked by a second-half oblique injury, but the per-game production is still something to get excited about. His strikeout rate has dwindled to a point that a high batting average is to be expected, and the platoon concerns that marred his first couple years with the Guardians are no longer in play.
Encarnacion-Strand took a few weeks to adjust to the big leagues, but his big September brought to light just how productive of a hitter he could be. He has his doubters, most of whom don't like his swing decisions, but his minor-league numbers are so impressive that it's easy to imagine him hitting 30-plus homers at Great American Ballpark.
Rhys Hoskins Philadelphia Phillies 1B
Hoskins enters the free agent market following a season lost to a torn ACL, which compounds the uncertainty for a player who was already less than studly. He's a bad defender and a right-handed hitter, which makes me wonder if he's a lock for everyday duty, but presuming he is, 25-30 homers are the expectation.
Ryan Mountcastle Baltimore Orioles 1B
Mountcastle impacts the ball like an elite slugger, but because he bats right-handed, he's at the mercy of Camden Yards' deep left field fence. It makes 25 homers a more realistic outcome than 30, and while continued growth for the Orioles lineup could yield a high RBI total as well, he doesn't bring much else to the table for Fantasy.
Nate Lowe Texas Rangers 1B
Lowe's stud turn in 2022 met with harsh reality in 2023 as his home run output returned to normal and he suddenly forgot how to hit left-handed pitchers. Being an everyday part of the Rangers lineup, his run and RBI totals kept him afloat, and unless the team brings in a platoon partner, the same should hold true for next year.
Alec Bohm Philadelphia Phillies 3B
While he remains hit over power despite his towering frame, Bohm finally brought his home run total high enough to make him a deserving starter in all formats. It remains his biggest liability at a power-laden position, but there's at least room to improve his batting average thanks to his line-drive swing, all-fields approach and high contact rate.
Isaac Paredes Tampa Bay Rays 3B
I don't quite buy it, even still. I understand that Paredes' propensity for pulling the ball in the air allows for a surprising home run total despite a Statcast page drenched in blue, but it also leaves him with no margin for error in an organization that will have little sentimentality for him if he slips at all.

What changes in points leagues?

1. Freddie Freeman, LAD
2. Matt Olson, ATL
3. Bryce Harper, PHI
4. Pete Alonso, NYM
5. Vladimir Guerrero, TOR
6. Cody Bellinger, FA
7. Paul Goldschmidt, STL
8. Christian Walker, ARI
9. Yandy Diaz, TB
10. Triston Casas, BOS
11. Vinnie Pasquantino, KC
12. Spencer Torkelson, DET
13. Josh Naylor, CLE
14. Spencer Steer, CIN
15. Rhys Hoskins, FA
16. Nate Lowe, TEX
17. Alec Bohm, PHI
18. Christian Encarnacion-Strand, CIN
19. Ryan Mountcastle, BAL
20. Isaac Paredes, TB