Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy: Overvaluing Stars Leads to an Imbalanced Team

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates bats against the Cincinnati Reds on September 29, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IFebruary 21, 2013

Everybody loves stars. They put up big numbers. And there's no question you need them to win a fantasy baseball title.

But when you overvalue stars—when you could instead find a similar player later in the draft—your roster thins out as the draft progresses, leaving you with a top-heavy squad that has some serious holes.

We see it every year. A fantasy owner declares, "I have to have that player." Owners get attached to certain players, whether they are from a favorite team or their numbers simply stare you in the face.

But those who make sound, intelligent evaluations of players—without falling in love with any players—tend to come out on top in the end.

For example, if you like a five-category player like Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, why not draft a player like New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano who can offer you similar statistics in four categories (and is a better value at the position), then draft a base stealer later on in the draft? 

Owners often want the player who is rated better overall in the early rounds, but the reality is, sometimes the player's value isn't better when you take into account what you could get later on in the draft. You need to assess the entire player pool, then enact a strategy based on that.

The strategy will change every year, of course, based on what each year's player pool offers, in the early rounds and in the later rounds. The point is to identify late-round players in the draft who could potentially fill in the gaps. Otherwise, you get a few stars early on, but find yourself running low on high-quality options down the road.

If you have an idea when certain players will be drafted, you can formulate your strategy around that, waiting for those players and snatching them before anyone else does.

You must complement your roster with which categories you focus on. Some owners don't care about steals at all—loading up on other categories—while others like to give themselves a shot to win every category each and every week. Either strategy can work, but the idea is to get the right players for you.

So when you see that multiple-time All-Star right in front of you, ask yourself, "Can I find a similar player later on?" That will give you an idea of who you need to draft early on and who you can wait for later.


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