Just how good does a guy have to be to get some respect at your draft? (Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)
Last month, I went through each position to rank hundreds of players in tiers. Five-star players were the best of the best, the guys capable of producing $30 to $40 (or more) of value for you, usually thanks to being studs in not one or two, but four or five categories. These are generally the kinds of players you should see going in the first round of a draft. Conveniently, there were just 12 five-star players in my rankings, enough to fill out a standard mixed league's first:
|Jose Bautista||TOR||3B, RF|
|Carlos Gonzalez||COL||LF, CF, RF|
|Miguel Cabrera||DET||1B, 3B|
People haven't been drafting all of the players I rated as five-star as early as they could or should, though. Today we'll take a look at a few of them who have been under-appreciated by average draft position.
14 - Carlos Gonzalez: He's close, just missing the top 12. That's likely a combination of his down 2011 and the fact the world seems intent on overdrafting Justin Verlander. His "down" season, though, was still worth $26, just a few bucks short of five-star status. A healthy Gonzalez is an easy $30 with Coors Field behind him, and is a much less risky bet to make than Verlander. He's also far more likely to achieve his potential than Evan Longoria, who is also in front of him. Longoria is wonderful, but he's better in reality than fantasy: that pitcher's park and his lineup hold him back a little. His upside is Gonzalez's disappointing 2011 -- nothing to be ashamed of, but Gonzalez is just that good for fantasy.
20 - Curtis Granderson: Jacoby Ellsbury is going ninth overall after his most significant season. Granderson, who had just as believable a year -- if not a little more -- is all the way down at 20. He deserves more respect than that, but if you're the lucky owner who gets this talent towards the end of the second round, enjoy whatever dynamic duo you've built your team around.
Otherwise, I'm pleased to see that things match up between what others are doing and what I suggested was the way to do things. I've been treating Ian Kinsler as a five-star player in my own drafts, after I had a little more hesitation in my rankings due to his injury history -- he's going at #23 overall via ADP, so he's another overlooked fantasy monster.