By Zach Steinhorn
Every year, I wrestle with the same question when assembling my fantasy squads. Is drafting a particular player on multiple teams a good idea? If my instincts prove to be correct and a number of these players enjoy career-best seasons, I'd feel like a genius, and chances are my teams will all be in contention. On the other hand, if I strike out completely and my pick turns out to be a bust, I could be in for one long summer of frustration. By July, I'd probably be counting down the days until the end of the season, and that's no fun.
So as an owner of five teams, what's my approach? Well, I try to mix things up a bit, just to avoid being boring, but in the end my gut instinct usually prevails. What's the point of draft prep if I feel the need to change my opinion of certain players just to avoid the possibility of a truly disastrous season? That would be silly. Anyway, with my fifth and final draft now officially in the books, here's the breakdown:
# of players on at least two of my teams: 18
# of players on at least three of my teams: 8
I know, I couldn't help it. Let's take a look at three hitters and three pitchers who fall under the "three or more teams" category.
Justin Upton (3 teams)
To be honest, I can't quite figure out why I'm so loyal to the younger Upton after he played a role in ruining my Tout Wars season last year. What a waste of 40 bucks! And it's not like I got him at a huge discount in Tout this time around, as I was forced to shell out 34 dollars for his services. But I'm convinced that Justin is about to reward me for my patience. He's still just 25, still batted .280 with 17 homers, 18 steals and 107 runs scored in what was considered by many to be an awful season. Now in Atlanta, Upton will have the luxury of hitting in the middle of an up and coming Braves' lineup. I'll give him one more chance. But only one more. That's it.
Denard Span (3 teams)
The past couple of seasons have been rough ones for Span, as he's battled various injuries while struggling to perform at a consistently high level. I'm betting that this is the year he gets back on track. Hitting atop a loaded Nationals' lineup, Span should score a boatload of runs, and I'm hoping that all the talk about him trying to steal more bases is more than just talk. Would I be surprised to see Span return to his early-career form? Nope. At a cost of only five dollars, Washington's new center fielder could turn out to be my best Tout Wars investment.
Jhonny Peralta (3 teams)
Owning Peralta in three different leagues was more a product of draft circumstance than anything else, but the Tigers' shortstop was on my Tout Wars radar as a cheap MI option who can contribute in the power department. I'm expecting something in between his 2011 and 2012 production levels. The bottom line, though, is that I think he's been a bit overlooked in drafts this year. Oh yeah, and there are far worse places to hit in a lineup than behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
Ian Kennedy (4 teams)
I better be right about this one! I'm a sucker for the K/BB ratio, and even in a disappointing year, Kennedy posted a 3.40 K/BB and 187 strikeouts. Home runs were Kennedy's main nemesis last season, as the 28 long balls he served up led to an inflated 4.02 ERA. Should he make even modest improvement in this area, expect that ERA to drop significantly. I'm not saying that he will duplicate his 2011 stat line. All I'm saying is that his 2013 line will look a lot prettier than the 2012 version.
Wandy Rodriguez (3 teams)
Last season's dramatic strikeout rate decline was the main reason for Wandy's dramatically reduced price tag this spring, and that's fine with me. Maybe his 175-plus strikeout days are over, but even if Rodriguez can give me 150 punchouts to go along with his still steady ratios, he's well worth drafting as a back end of the rotation mixed league starter. I got him for four bucks in Tout.
Jonathan Papelbon (3 teams)
Here's what the "don't pay for saves" contingent is overlooking. By drafting a top-tier closer, you're not just paying for saves. You're paying for the saves in addition to 70-plus innings of ace-quality ratios. You're also paying for the security of knowing that, barring an injury, you won't need to waste tons of FAAB dollars on speculative saves sources. The high volume of closer turnover makes the elite stoppers all the more appealing. I guess my league mates in Mixed Tout Wars felt the same way, as Papelbon went for $22, even more than I was willing to spend for him. No big deal, though. Instead, I shelled out a reasonable $15 for Joe Nathan.
Mastersball, founded in 1997, is a leader in providing in-depth analysis, research, projections and applications to the advanced fantasy baseball player. A 2010 merger brought the writers of CREATiVESPORTS into the fold, widely known for 15 years of insightful fantasy analysis and commentary.
Don't miss these great reports....