It’s not easy to draft a player who is old (at least relative to baseball ability), boring, and offers little true upside.  Well, it’s easy, but it’s not fun.  I can’t believe how often in a draft I veer off of my carefully-constructed, perfectly-ordered master list of players, skipping a solid but dull veteran to reach a few spots lower on my list for a youngster who may or may not end up with any fantasy value at all.  I’ve already been guilty of this in 2020, and I need a little re-set for myself to remember how helpful a boring but probably steady player with a decent floor can be, especially in deeper leagues.  Thus, a list of some players whom I can’t possibly call “targets,” but could actually pay off nicely down the road with solid-if-not-spectacular production come summertime.  (All of the following players are on the ugly side of 30, and are being drafted outside the top 250, according to current NFBC ADP).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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It’s always dicey to put too much stock into average draft position when strategizing for a draft, particularly for players you are heavily targeting.  No owner wants to come up empty when four or five of his “must-haves” get snatched up a round or two sooner than expected, leaving said owner with a litter of panic picks and a team nothing like he’d envisioned.  On the other hand, paying no attention to ADP could lead to a series of reaches, which might result in a draft devoid of any true value picks, and a team without some solid built-in value is a team with a long season ahead.  In deeper leagues, these value picks are even more important.  The deeper the league, the shallower the free agent pool, so while your hits have an even bigger positive impact on your team, your misses might leave you with nowhere to turn in an attempt to plug holes on your roster.  Deeper leagues most definitely require near-perfect timing in a draft or auction, which makes assessing ADP — and when to use it versus when to ignore it — that much trickier.

Since I am obsessive enough about fantasy baseball that I now consider it more of a part-time job than a hobby, it should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am currently — even though it’s only early February — finishing up my fourth slow draft of the season. So far, these are all 15-team mixed re-draft leagues, and while the format is different than some of my other leagues, the 15-teamers go deep enough that I am getting a good idea of players values that feel more “real” to me than just ADP numbers.  What I want to look at today is a handful of outfielders whom I had considered as potential targets going into my drafts but have not ended up drafting yet.  The reason?  They all have been going significantly ahead of their current NFBC ADP.  That ADP, of course, is still doing a great deal of fluctuating this early in the pre-season, and I think I’ve been too reliant on it when assessing where I hoped to draft some of my deep-league targets (the following players all currently have an NFBC ADP ranked well outside the top 200).  Going into my next draft(s), I feel like I’ll know that if I really want any of these guys, I may have to reach a little further than I’d originally planned to secure them (and that’s not even taking into consideration value jumps that may happen depending on who looks healthy and productive in spring training).

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

I’m usually not big on worrying too much about positional scarcity, but anyone who has competed in a variety of different fantasy baseball league formats knows that depth at a given position is one thing that can make a big difference in approaching a draft for a shallow league versus a deep one.  The last couple of years, I’ve been making a concerted effort to draft with less concern about a player’s position, and more towards getting the best value possible with every draft pick or auction purchase, regardless of league size.  But when approaching a draft this way, it’s even more important to know what your options are going to be at each position, which positions you can wait to fill later, and which players are actually worth reaching for if you do realize you’re running out of decent options at a given position.  Getting to the point of today’s post, let’s take a look at some third basemen for 2020, with an emphasis on how I’ll be approaching the position in deeper leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve taken an early look at first and second base and how those positions are stacking up for fantasy baseball this year, particularly in terms of how the state of the position might affect those of us in NL-only, AL-only, or other deep leagues.  This week, we’ll move on to catcher.  Why didn’t we just start with the catching position?  Mainly because talking about catchers felt like a phenomenally boring if not mildly depressing way for me to kick off my posts in 2020.  But the more I’ve thought about it, I’ve changed my mind significantly on that front.

Not only do I feel that there are more interesting catching options out there than there have been in a few years, but thinking about some of my teams last year is also reminding me that catcher is one of the positions that is most relevant to discuss when thinking about how to attack it based on differing league parameters.  Any given owner’s approach to drafting or buying a catcher might vary wildly even within the same drafting season depending on how that league’s rosters are structured, but the more we know about the position in general, the better.  All information in terms of catching options, how tiers are looking, and which of last year’s results might help us prepare better for this year, can help as we head into drafting for the current season — whether we’re choosing a team for a standard re-draft mixed-league with a head-to-head format that only uses one catcher, a 12-team NL-only roto keeper league that employs two catchers, or anything in between.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Last week we took a very early look at the first base position for fantasy baseball in 2020, both with some early general thoughts that could apply to both deep and shallower leagues, as well as some more specific thoughts about NL-only, AL-only, or other deep leagues.  We’ll move along to the Keystone this week as we try to do some early navigation into the world of second basemen.  Since Grey has already kindly gifted you with his list of top 20 second basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball, I’ll began by quoting him directly — as he said, “First time I can remember a position, besides catcher, that didn’t have one guy in the top 20 overall.”  Two other important points he made which I largely agree with and will now paraphrase:  1) The guys at the very top of this position are probably not worth drafting at their current price in any format, but 2) There are lots of 2B bargains later on.  One other thing I noticed that I thought was interesting when looking at the second base landscape:  just off the top of my head, it looks to me that about two-thirds of the top 30 second basemen also qualify at another position, even when using a 20-games-played-in-2019 threshold.  I don’t remember any position having stats quite like that in the past, and what it means to me at first glance is that there are A LOT of guys who qualify at 2nd base this year.  Let’s take a look at some names, and how the current state of second base particularly affects those of us deep-leaguers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Happy New(ish) Year, Razzball friends!  It’s time to stop worrying about what we haven’t quite gotten around to accomplishing so far this offseason, and time to start thinking about fantasy baseball in 2020 — or as I like to think of it, a slightly more official reason to go into procrastination mode when it comes to things like real-life commitments, chores, and duties.  Since it’s still January and all, and since we’re all preparing for drafts and auctions of many different shapes and sizes, I’m going to try to cover things somewhat more generally for the time being.  We’ll still lean towards the deep-league perspective to some degree, but what I’m most interested in for now is keeping on top of the overall baseball landscape – trades, free agent signings, rule changes, depth chart shake-ups, draft trends, recent statistics that I might have overlooked, MLB teams facing unprecedented punishments for cheating, etc. – and viewing it from a more generic lens for the moment, then tailoring all of that information to individual leagues, drafts, and auctions as they come.

Please, blog, may I have some more?