Sunday, March 07, 2010

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume III, Issue IX

Welcome to our 74th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on Our archive of past editions is available right here on The Blog and specific links to past editions are available on the front page of

In this week's edition, completely devoted to fantasy baseball coverage that is a preview of our forthcoming FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFTOLOGY 2010:

^ 2010 fantasy season overview
^ 2009 legitimate breakthroughs/reclamation cases
^ 2010 “Don’t Be That Guy”
^ 2010 AL & NL scarcity

2010 Fantasy Season Overview

^ Two trends that we’ve been monitoring over recent seasons continued to materialize in 2009. The first is the narrowing ratio between home runs and stolen bases. Taters will always be more plentiful than steals, but the gap between the two is narrowing, meaning that power is SLIGHTLY more valuable relative to speed compared to the height of the steroid era. Speed still has value, elite speed much more value, but it’s harder to make tradeoffs than it used to be, especially for players at traditional power positions like Chone Figgins, Jacoby Ellsbury and Ichiro. Shockingly, the fantasy baseball industry has yet to catch up to this truism, such that the most important note about the present landscape that you need to know entering your draft is this: SPEED IS VASTLY OVERVALUED!

^ The second trend that continues is the rising number of strikeouts per game almost each season recently. We predicted starting back in 2006 that with MLB’s implementation of amphetamine testing that elite heat would take on more value because players no longer able to “bean up” to play would not be catching up to it, especially in the dog days of summer. Strikeout numbers are more important than ever for big-time pitchers and your team needs to reflect this trend. Pitchers who are largely dependent on the defense behind them are losing a lot of value in this climate. As FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris said awhile back on THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER (Wednesdays, 7-10 PM EST on “You cannot be an ace if your best pitch is the ‘I hope he hits it right at someone’ pitch.’”

^ The middle infield and catcher positions tend to be lumped together in terms of relative scarcity from year to year, but of course no two seasons are completely alike and the availability of desirable starters at each position will vary from year to year. In 2009, we labeled the pool of starting-caliber shortstops “as deep as any of these positions have seen in recent memory.” Unfortunately, the position suffered many regressions last year, such that it is now the shallowest of the three lineup spots in terms of legitimate starters with five. Try to get one of those — they are collectively listed higher in our Top 72 than the catchers and second basemen to underline the necessity of this — and you will have an edge at a key position.

^ Balance continues to be a key watchword for fantasy success in 2010, especially in roto-based leagues. With few obvious exceptions such as the speed-challenged Albert Pujols, hitters who deliver no value in any of the standard fantasy categories should take a back seat to other, more well-rounded contributors. If it becomes necessary to “sell out” to pick up a player in the middle-to-later rounds with good value but who is lacking in a few categories, try to find pick up their “offset twin” – a player with mirror-image strengths and weaknesses. A few possibilities would include Adam Dunn/Ichiro and James Loney/Mark Reynolds (an actual combination of players owned for $1 apiece in a 20-team, long-term keeper league by FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris).

2009 Legitimate Breakthroughs/Reclamation Cases

NOTE: These players all reached another level last year, whatever level that may be, and should be considered “for real.”
C: Miguel Montero
1B: Billy Butler, Pablo Sandoval, Joey Votto
2B: Aaron Hill, Ben Zobrist
SS: Troy Tulowitzki
3B: Pablo Sandoval
OF: Nelson Cruz, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton, Ben Zobrist
SP: Matt Cain, Zack Greinke, Tommy Hanson, Felix Hernandez
RP: Andrew Bailey

2010 “Don’t Be That Guy”

^ Don’t Be That Guy who forgets that power is the true separator at catcher, not batting average..

^ Don’t Be That Guy who overvalues unlikely 2009 success stories like Garrett Jones. It’s a new year – pay for what you get this year.

^ Don’t Be That Guy who sleeps on (or holds unhealthy grudges against) last year’s falloffs. Bargain shopping in the middle and late rounds can bring you a championship. So don’t hate on David Wright!

^ Don’t Be That Guy who enters the draft or auction with ironclad gimmicks. Rotisserie category “punting”! Only $1 apiece for all pitchers on the roster! All younger or all “proven” talent! The fact is that inflexible doctrines lead to failure, while nimble, think-on-your-feet reactive ability brings great success. Choose the latter approach and thank us when you’re hoisting your trophy at the end of the year.

^ Don’t Be That Guy who doesn’t fully understand the nuances of your league’s scoring system. Be fully prepared!

2010 AL & NL Scarcity

[NOTE: The following players are starting-caliber fantasy performers worth more in single-league formats because of a relative scarcity of talent at that position.]
C: Brian McCann
1B: Miguel Cabrera, Justin Morneau, Kendry Morales, Mark Reynolds (worth more only because of the 1B situation), Pablo Sandoval (see Mark Reynolds), Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis
2B: Chase Utley, Ben Zobrist (worth more only because of the OF situation)
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Garrett Atkins (worth more only because of the 1B situation), Mark DeRosa, Mark Reynolds, Pablo Sandoval, David Wright, Kevin Youkilis (see Garrett Atkins), Ryan Zimmerman
OF: Carl Crawford, Adam Lind, Ben Zobrist
SP: none
RP: none


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