Center field is loaded with star power -- in leagues that don't split up the outfield positions into left, right, and center, you're going to want to focus on these guys as much as possible. They are one of your best bets if you're looking for combined speed and power.
There isn't a wrong answer in this group. Matt Kemp broke out in the way we all knew he was capable of -- or in the way you thought he was going to when you spent big money on him for 2010. While the 50/50 season he is shooting for probably isn't realistic, getting close to 40/40 makes him a major player. Jacoby Ellsbury's power outburst from 2011 likely won't all survive the transition to 2012 -- I doubt he'll see nearly as many fastballs as he did last season -- but even holding on to two-thirds of that would make him an absolute fantasy beast. Same goes for Curtis Granderson, and as long as Carlos Gonzalez is in Colorado, we can all safely love him.
Man, center field is deep. If the four five-star players are too rich for your auction blood, or you choose too late to snag one, don't forget about these four-star guys who likely won't earn you $30, but will do the next best thing. If you could guarantee a full, healthy season from Josh Hamilton, he'd be tops here, but that's some risky gambling. Otherwise, these players are all pretty close in terms of abilities, although Michael Bourn will be a little more straight steals than the others.
And center field just keeps on going. Chris Young has been useful even when he's been disappointing, so years like 2011 are just great. Expect more of the same, but he's still capable of three-star value even if he dips a bit. How much time will he miss due to injury is always the question with Crisp, but 500 plate appearances of Covelli will go a long way. Drew Stubbs is a lot like Chris Young -- low average, steals, and power. Shane Victorino might not be what he once was, but he's still looked upon kindly in fantasy terms by this author.
Adam Jones and Dexter Fowler haven't quite realized their potential yet, but even so, they have done well. Melky Cabrera was worth as much as a four-star guy last year, but he's also Melky Cabrera: I'll give him some benefit of the doubt, but not all of it just yet. Austin Jackson just missed three-star value in 2011, but I think he makes the extra jump this year to nab those last few bucks of value. Angel Pagan might be worse in San Francisco than New York, but between his solid power and speed, he's a useful piece.
|Two-Star ($9 & under)|
If you can guarantee Denard Span won't have any kind of concussion hangover, then I'm all for three-starring him. But we can't guarantee that, as anyone with a concussion could tell you. Cameron Maybin would be worth far more were he not in Petco Park for half of his games, but even with that, last year looked to be the breakout we've all been hoping for.
Colby Rasmus won't be drafted by me given his ups and downs, but he's worth a flier if you're getting desperate for some upside. I like Peter Bourjos a lot, but the fact he might play through a season with a hip injury worries me. Nyjer Morgan's value depends on playing time, as does that of Andres Torres. Ryan Sweeney should pick up the majority of the playing time in right field this year with the Red Sox: in that lineup, he'll get his R and RBI.
Enjoy Alex Rios, because I have sworn off that particular ride. Jon Jay is no Rasmus in terms of upside, but he might be a safer bet to produce in both the real and fake games. Marlon Byrd should have been this good last year, but a ball to the face ended that dream.
Even center field's one-star category is kind of interesting. But no one here is due to massive fantasy value. Cody Ross might end up getting more playing time than expected, but probably at the expense of Ryan Sweeney. Maybe Rick Ankiel will make some noise, but I wonder how long Bryce Harper will be in the minors, if at all.