Differences Of Opinion

Generally, experienced fantasy players have similar valuations for players. Maybe they would move around a few players here, a few there, on their favorite pre-season rankings list, as they have their favorites and disliked players like anyone else. But generally, there's a somewhat narrow view for how good or bad most fantasy-eligible players are.

That's why it's always interesting to see which players are slipping through the cracks in drafts, especially if you haven't built your own team yet. You can develop your own list of which sleepers out of players who are being forgotten about elsewhere. Using Mock Draft Central's average draft position listings, we can see who has the largest differences between the earliest and latest they have been drafted, to see if there's anything to learn from the type of player with the most significant gaps.

Don't take this as science; it's just a bit of fun to get you thinking about who you might be able to wait on.

Player Pos Team Earliest Latest Difference
John Axford RP MIL 54 301 247
Drew Storen RP WAS 61 247 186
Craig Kimbrel RP ATL 38 206 168
Mariano Rivera RP NYY 54 188 134

We shouldn't be surprised to see closers here, leading the way in differing opinions. Ever been in a league where you all begrudgingly draft closers after eight-to-10 rounds or so? Everyone just silently agrees not to bother opening that flood gate until more important players have been taken off of the board.

Player Pos Team Earliest Latest Difference
Tommy Hanson SP ATL 74 166 92
Josh Johnson SP MIA 42 130 88

The next grouping is two pitchers who had their seasons shortened by injuries, but are both great when healthy. This is simply a case of some leagues having more tolerance for risk than others.

Player Pos Team Earliest Latest Difference
Brett Gardner OF NYY 69 153 84
Drew Stubbs OF CIN 62 145 83
Ichiro Suzuki OF SEA 60 140 80

Here we see three speed-first players who all have other skills that make them more than just that. Ichiro generally hits for a high average, Stubbs has power, and Gardner is on base often, an important thing for someone with the powerful Yankees lineup behind him. Many fantasy owners avoid players who rely on their speed to this degree, but there are others who swear by them -- this group has more to offer than just their steals, though, so it's interesting to see the same kind of split in opinion existing here anyway.

Player Pos Team Earliest Latest Difference
Corey Hart OF MIL 67 145 78
Cameron Maybin OF SD 73 148 75
Lance Berkman OF,1B STL 48 122 74
Ben Zobrist 2B TB 32 105 73
Asdrubal Cabrera SS CLE 32 102 70
Alex Gordon OF KC 37 105 68
Michael Morse 1B,OF WAS 42 110 68

Ah, the players with huge 2011 seasons. Will they revert to their pre-2011 form, or is this who they really are? You learn a lot about your tolerance for risk when players like this are available for you to draft. Whether you have reason to or not, it's easy to talk yourself into someone coming off of a huge year.

On the other side of things, the differences in opinion don't have any real theme, other than that owners disagree on who is more likely to keep it up (Jacoby Ellsbury or Curtis Granderson?), who should lead at second base (Dustin Pedroia or Robinson Cano?), and if it's Josh Hamilton or Ian Kinsler who's really the MVP of the Rangers. No one seems to question the guys up top very much, but looking from the other direction, those differences in opinion are what win or lose seasons.

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