Fantasy Baseball Draft Question: Risk vs. Dependability

Nov 20, 2008

Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

I want to pose a question to everyone to see what their draft strategy is.  What is your preference, a player who you have a good idea what you are going to get from him or a player who is young and has yet to fully prove that he is capable of repeating the numbers he’s posted in the past?

An example of this is CC Sabathia vs. Tim Lincecum (which is a comparison we will be discussing in much greater detail here in the near future).  In Sabathia, you have a pitcher who has been one of the best in the league for the past 3 seasons, while being a very good pitcher since ‘01.  In Lincecum, you have a young pitcher who was unbelievable in 2008, but we really don’t yet know if it was fact or fiction.

Another example could be Magglio Ordonez vs. Corey Hart.  In Ordonez you have a veteran who has consistently proven to be among the best, while Hart has shown the potential to be a 30/30 player (as we discussed in a Quick Hit column that you can read here), having gone 20/20 the past two seasons.  This comparison we will actually discuss in detail next Monday.

My philosophy, honestly, is that it depends on what part of the draft I’m looking at.  The old philosophy is that you can’t win your league in the first few rounds, but you certainly could lose it.  Basically, there’s no reason to take an unnecessary risk, especially in the first 4 rounds or so.  Personally, if there are two players who are extremely similar, most of the time I’m going to go with the one that has proven more dependable instead of the one who has slightly more upside.

Obviously, there are some exceptions.  A player like Ryan Braun heading 2008 was a player that I coveted, but I still wasn’t going to take him earlier then necessary due to the uncertainty surrounding him.  Would I have considered him in the mid-to-late second round?  Absolutely, but I wasn’t going to risk grabbing him in the first.  It was just too big of a risk, because if he did fall into a sophomore slump, I’d have wasted my first round selection.

If other people in your league have dependable options and you have a risk that doesn’t pan out, where does that leave you?  Most likely, in a big hole that you may not recover from.

As the draft progresses, I’m going to start to become more and more open to taking some risks.  I’m going to start looking at potential upside, because these players clearly are not going to cost you your league, but if they mature and pan out, they certainly could help you win.

I’m not going to give you my opinion on the two scenarios I spelled out earlier, because like I said, those are columns for another day.  Right now, let’s hear what your strategy is when we are talking about Risk vs. Dependability on draft day.

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3 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. MadMan
    November 20th, 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    Great info.. I did, WAIVE, Lincum just because he is with the SanFran, boy that was a bad move huh??

  2. crazy canton cuts
    November 20th, 2008 at 5:28 pm #

    very good job

    i learned a lot

  3. LestersLegends
    November 20th, 2008 at 7:01 pm #

    Yeah, this would good stuff that I had to share. Roto knows his stuff.

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