Introduction, And Rankings New And Old

Greetings, new readers. I'm part of the group that's come to Fake Teams by way of the now-defunct sister site, Roto Hardball. I've been writing about fantasy baseball for most of my writing career at this point, thanks to contributions to Heater Magazine, Baseball Prospectus, Roto Hardball, and now Fake Teams.

At Prospectus, I put together pre-season rankings for fantasy baseball drafts each season. These evolved over time, as they started out as numbered lists that went through the top players at each position, until they eventually became the version that I will use again this year. That is, my rankings are broken up into tiers, constructed in a way where you can easily compare the values of players across positions without any heavy lifting during your draft.

There are five different tiers. Five-star players are the best, and one-star players are your more fungible fantasy assets. For the sake of easy understanding, star rankings generally come down to their auction values and the number of categories they should contribute to. A five-star player is expected to be worth at least $30 of production and contribute in all five categories, a four-star player worth at least $20 and good for four categories, three-star players are $10 and up (and, you guessed it, three categories), two-star are your single-digit buys that you hope to get value out of, and one-star are the kind of guys you throw $1 at and hope to get something out of. But if not, hey, it was just $1.

Organizing players like this allows you to differentiate between the remaining assets at your draft, and make the proper decisions in terms of timing. If the last four-star first baseman just went off the board, and you need a first baseman, but all of a sudden you see there are 10 very similar three-star first basemen still on the board... what's the rush? Try to find a four-star player at another position instead, as these rankings, constructed out of projected dollar values and categories, work across position. That's why you would have seen Buster Posey as both a three-star catcher and three-star first baseman in the 2011 rankings, even if he has more value as a catcher: he's a three-star player, as position was already taken into account in the creation of the star rating.

This also allows you to throw all of the position lists together into one huge list, ranked by tier, and be able to see a loosely-organized but complete list of every player's fantasy value on draft day. And, since Fake Teams already has rankings that come at you from different angles than this, my hope is to just give you one more tool and viewpoint with which you can work on succeeding with this year.

Another thing I like to do is review the previous season's rankings, to see where I went wrong, where luck was as bad for me as it was for the player, and what I did right (and, therefore, should keep on doing). I already completed this series over at Roto Hardball, though, meaning you don't get to see me go through the review process. However, my actual rankings will start soon, and if you're so inclined, you can see all of the ranking reviews over at Roto Hardball. The National League Starting Pitcher review links to every other position I covered.

Rankings won't be all I do here at Fake Teams, of course, but that's where you, the reader, and I will start. I'm looking forward to working with you here -- be it through comments, emails, or via Twitter -- and I hope to be of service to you and your teams.

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