Draft season is once again upon us!
Team BretskyBall is gearing up for another fine fantasy football season with our initial draft rankings. Got issue with the ranking below, let us hear it in the comments.
The starting pitcher position is perhaps the most fluid on draft day and I’ve found that my overall strategy can shift heavily depending on whether I grab a top tier arm. I tend to favor offense over pitching in the early rounds, but if you are picking at the back end in a 14 or 15 team league, I’ll would not shrug off the idea of picking a stud with one of those first two picks given how quickly the top-20 arms fly off the board in deep leagues.
If I do indeed miss out on a true ace, I’ll likely aim to grab three or four starters ranked in tiers two and three, focusing on guys like Lance McCullers, Garret Richards, and Zack Godley who have all flashed top-15 upside in the past.
Jacob DeGrom and his ADP of 37 overall represents the lowest cost in my top tier. He’s got a 2.98 ERA and 1.12 while striking out over a better per inning over his four year career.
Reaching into tier-two, Dallas Keuchel emerges as a bargain option and if you believe David Price can stay healthy, there is a lot to like about his potential return with an eighth or ninth round selection.
Though I didn’t expect to be quite this high on Garrett Richards heading into this draft season, his strong finish to the 2017 season gives us hope that the former top-20 starter can get back to fantasy stardom if he can just stay on the field. He’s currently going at pick 166 on average and I’d certainly reach a round or two ahead of that to secure his services.
Luis Castillo looks to have the makings of a fantasy ace after compiling a 3.12 ERA with 9.87 K/9 over his first 89.1 major league innings. He’s shown solid control throughout the minors and looks poised to take a leap.
There is a ton of talent outside to top-200 ADP. Dinelson Lamet and his 10.94 K/9 certainly looks attractive. JA Happ has put together a very useful 3.33 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over the past two seasons. Joe Musgrove and his move the NL has me buying. After an injury-marred season, Vincent Velazquez is going undrafted in most 10 and 12 team leagues. Sean Manaea, Matt Shoemaker, Jacob Faria, Michael Wacha, Daniel Mengden and Nate Karns are among the other pitchers I am targeting late.
The outfield is always one of my favorite positions to build on draft day. Our top two tiers bring us a bevy of powerful options with a few 20/20 candidates sprinkled in.
J.D. Martinez put up some silly numbers in 2017, blasting 45 home runs and driving in 104 over just 119 games. Since his 2014 breakthrough, Martinez has posted an elite .300/.362/.574 line, with his failure to crack more than 125 games more than once over that span being the only blemish on his record. Quite frankly, Martinez does not need 150 games to return you massive roto value and at this point, I have to approach him much like I do Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton — bet on the talent, hope for the health. the difference between Martinez, Harper and Stanton? J.D. is just might slip to you in round three.
When looking at the second tier, both Yoenis Cespedes (ADP: 67) and Yasiel Puig (ADP: 109) have the potential to turn massive profit based on past performances and since kicking off drafts a few weeks ago,have ended up on a majority of my teams. Cespedes injury trouble early on certainly will give some pause, so this is certainly one to keep an eye on for updates.
Puig very quietly slashed .263/.346/.487 to go along with 28 home runs and 15 swipes. If he can stay comfortable closer to the top of the Dodgers potent lineup, we’ve got top-10 upside regularly available outside of pick 100 overall.
Billy Hamilton and his sub-.300 OBP are unlikely to find their way onto any of my squads. In this era flush with power, it’s difficult to sacrifice an outfield spot to someone who will likely hurt your average and deliver single digit home runs. There are enough 25/10 bats in this league to make up the steals elsewhere while you are not hurting yourself in other places.
Steven Souza sits outside of the top-50 in terms of outfield ADP and is one of those 25/10 options that can be scooped up in the mid-rounds of drafts. Adam Eaton gives you just enough of everything and is hitting in a fantasy friendly spot atop the Nationals lineup. Whenever Michael Conforto (ADP: 191) gets back on the field, he’s going to mash. Matt Kemp put together a very productive season in 2017 adn while the Dodgers don’t appear to have a starter’s share of at-bats for him, the veteran appears motivated to re-emerge with his old team… I’m buying late. Hunter Pence bottomed out with a .701 OPS over 134 games last year, but even with that performance, he’s averaged 20 home runs and 8 steals per 162 games over the past four seasons. The speed is going, but a healthy pence can provide some counting stats on the cheap.
The class of the group is easy to find and Trea Turner is the rising star of the group. He’s flashed elite stolen base ability piling up 81 thefts in his first 198 career games. With mid-teens power and potential to steal 50+ bags, Turner reminds us of the days when Carl Crawford and Jose Reyes were first round selections in the mid 2000s. Taking him with the 3rd overall pick presumes he’s going to get you close to that 20 home run plateau, but if you want this dynamic shortstop on your team, thats likely going to be the cost on draft day. I tend to lean towards power bats at the top of my draft boards, but Turner has a clear path to being the No. 1 player in fantasy.
Carlos Correa – .288-94-30-111-12 per 162 games played | ADP: 13.3
Corey Seager – .305-102-26-82-4 per 162 games played | ADP: 32.3
As both players head into their 4th major league season, we’ve seen them blossom into fantasy studs at a typically thin position. They’re both great, but Correa is a first/second rounder while Seager can be had in the 3rd or 4th. Now that Seager has begun getting defensive work in spring training, it’s safe to assume he’ll be ready to rock on Opening Day.
It’s easy to say that Elvis Andrus‘ 20 home run campaign in 2017 was a fluke.. so I’ll just do that. Look, he’s a solid player, and bring a steady floor with 20+ steals and a handful of homers each season, but watching his HR/FB rate nearly double with the rest of his profile remaining steady, we’re doubtful of a repeat. He’s a solid player, but watching him push his way toward the fifth round (ADP of 63) is a bit to aggressive for us.
When the thing I like the best about a player is his ballpark, it can be tough to justify a top-100 pick. That’s the case with Trevor Story. he delivered 24 home runs last year to follow up a 27 homer year in 2016, but posted a K-rate north of 30% for the second straight season. Predictably, Story’s average bottomed out at .239 last season after putting up a .272 average the year before. We’ll pass on the slugging shortstop until he can cut down on the whiffs and snag Andrelton Simmons or Zack Cozart six rounds later.
Tim Anderson (ADP: 229) offers some speed and Zack Cozart (ADP: 221) has some pop as a pair of deeper options to fill your shortstop or middle infield spot. We’re also optimistic on a bounce-back effort from Brandon Crawford, who struggle in 2017 after establishing himself as an underrated fantasy option in the years prior.
|22||Asdrubal Cabrera||NYM||SS, 2B, 3B|
The second base position gets a little boost at the top if you play in a Yahoo! league and Anthony Rizzo sneaks in that eligibility, but Jose Altuve is clearly the class of the group. He’s the consensus No. 2 overall player on the board so unless you get lucky in that draft lottery and snag a top-2 pick, Altuve will not be likely to be there.
The veterans in the top tier — Daniel Murphy and Brian Dozier — represent the best draft day value outside of Altuve if you want to take care of the position early.
While I do like Dee Gordon as a player and respect his ability to put up a massive steals total, at pick 32 overall on average (one behind Corey Seager, One ahead of Brian Dozier, and FIFTEEN spots ahead of Anthony Rendon) I cannot justify an invest of that caliber in a speed specialist.
Over 213 career games, Devon Travis has put up a rock solid .292/.331/.462 slash line while averaging 19 home runs and 83 RBI per 162 games. Yes, he’s and injury risk. No, the Blue Jays lineup is not what it once was. This late round pick, however, has shown the skill-set at the major league level of a fantasy stud and will get every chance to hit near the top of Toronto’s lineup. You can easily grab Travis more than 150 slots ahead of his ADP of 366 and turn a profit.
The first base position is loaded with pop heading into the 2018 fantasy baseball season. Our top tier of first base sluggers run six deep, with up-and-comers Rhys Hoskins and Cody Bellinger poised to join that group with repeat performances of their rookie breakouts.
Coming off of an injury-marred 2017, perennial first-rounder Miguel Cabrera has slipped all the way into our second tier. The Tiger’s lineup is certainly leaves a lot to be desired at this point, but Miggy has some nice bounce back potential if he’s fully healthy.
Jose Abreu‘s floor of .290-25-100 looks awful nice couple with the fourth round ADP. He’s a phenomenal option if you opt to look somewhere else early, or to pair with another stud as your CI bat.
The anti-humidor hype looks like it could turn stud Paul Goldschmidt into a second round pick (as happened in my NFBC Rotowire Online Championship draft this past weekend). Goldy remains firmly in the No. 3 spot in our overall rankings, so yea, jump on that discount in the late first/early second.
Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers will certainly make the Padres a much more competitive lineup this season, but I’m not excited about either as a top-80 pick on draft day.
Deep leaguers have a number of intriguing options if waiting on first base. Logan Morrison, Jose Martinez and Hanley Ramirez can all be had after pick 200 and come with some serious upside.
It’s that time again. Heading into the busiest fantasy football draft weekend of the 2017 season, we are all prepped up and ready to go.
Ezekiel Elliot remains one of the most difficult players to rank, but remains a top-20 play. While my deep rooted Cowboys’ hate may prevent me personally from spending a second round pick on the second-year back, the potential for game changing numbers over even half of a season make him an intriguing risk.
We’re also confident in a number of bounce-back performances with Lamar Miller, CJ Anderson, Cam Newton and Jeremy Maclin appearing much higher in our list than FantasyPro’s consensus rankings.
Though it sounds like a bit of a broken record year to year, we’re fading the rookie running backs once again, ranking Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffery and Dalvin Cook a solid 20 spots below each of their consensus positions. Yeah, I get it, there were a number of high-impact fantasy rookies who helped teams last year, each of these backs is faced with an uncertain role to open the season behind (or beside) veterans who really aren’t all that bad. I’m certain that one of these guys will contribute, I’m just not spending a 3rd round pick to find out which one it will be.
We’ll be back tweaking and updating this list as the draft season progresses. Let the games begin!
Draft Season is in full swing and sometimes, it’s not until you’re literally sitting on the clock until you’re true preferences as a fantasy player are revealed. Given the fluid nature of things, we’ll continue tweaking these ranking right up to Opening Day.
Here is our overall list heading into the 2017 Fantasy Season. Positional breakdowns coming later this week — have at it!