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Taking a look at early NFBC ADP Rankings

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Ray offers his take on the top 50 picks according to the early NFBC ADP rankings.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The calendar has turned to January and fantasy football season is over, so it is time for the focus to change to preparing for fantasy baseball drafts over the next three months. Most of us don't have our drafts until March, I have four in March, but there are some drafts happening right now in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) leagues. That is, unless you are participating in fantasy hockey, basketball or English Premier League fantasy leagues.

With that said, the NFBC publishes their early average draft position (ADP) rankings over at NESN for our reading pleasure. The NFBC has their own site, and I am sure they publish more up to date rankings their, but NESN offers it for free, so I am going to use their site for the purposes of this article.

The NFBC leagues are 15 team leagues, most of which are mixed leagues, but they do have NL only and AL only leagues as well. And there is money involved, so I imagine the competition is very good. I play in three home money leagues where the entrance fees are $150 and higher. I started out playing in keeper money leagues, can understand it isn't for everyone.

Here are the top 50 rankings according to the recent NFBC ADP rankings over at NESN:

Rank

Player

1

Mike Trout LAA

2

Giancarlo Stanton Mia

3

Clayton Kershaw LAD

4

Miguel Cabrera Det

5

Andrew McCutchen Pit

6

Paul Goldschmidt Ari

7

Jose Abreu CWS

8

Carlos Gomez Mil

9

Felix Hernandez Sea

10

Jose Altuve Hou

11

Jose Bautista Tor

12

Edwin Encarnacion Tor

13

Anthony Rendon Was

14

Adam Jones Bal

15

Troy Tulowitzki Col

16

Anthony Rizzo ChC

17

Michael Brantley Cle

18

Ian Desmond Was

19

Buster Posey SF

20

Chris Sale CWS

21

Jacoby Ellsbury NYY

22

Robinson Cano Sea

23

Madison Bumgarner SF

24

Hanley Ramirez Bos

25

Josh Donaldson Tor

26

Ryan Braun Mil

27

Stephen Strasburg Was

28

Corey Kluber Cle

29

Justin Upton SD

30

David Price Det

31

Max Scherzer Det

32

Adrian Beltre Tex

33

Bryce Harper Was

34

Todd Frazier Cin

35

Victor Martinez Det

36

Yasiel Puig LAD

37

Freddie Freeman Atl

38

Matt Kemp SD CF

39

Dee Gordon Mia 2B

40

Starling Marte Pit

41

George Springer Hou

42

Johnny Cueto Cin SP

43

Billy Hamilton Cin

44

Yu Darvish Tex SP

45

Aroldis Chapman Cin

46

Carlos Gonzalez, COL

47

Corey Dickerson, COL

48

Adam Wainwright, STL

49

Craig Kimbrel, ATL

50

Zack Greinke, LAD

Quick Thoughts

The top ten picks in the NFBC rankings are not very surprising with the exception of Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. Altuve had a terrific 2014 season, leading the majors in batting average and the American League in stolen bases, but I like to draft power early, and he hits for little power.

Pitching goes early

We started seeing the trend toward drafting pitching early last season, as there were on-going debates about where to draft Clayton Kershaw. It is not surprising to see him going off the board at #3 overall, and I know many don't like taking pitchers that early. He has been one of the most consistent fantasy players in the game over the last three years, and actually has gotten better each year. To expect him to improve upon his 2014 season would be asking a lot, but it isn't out of the question.

In these rankings, we see two starters in the top ten, and 12 starters in the top 50. I am not sure that is a record, but off the top of my head, I don't recall seeing that many starters taken in the first 50 picks. Pitching has become more and more dominant over the last 4-5 years, with the rise in strikeouts and lowering of ERAs, pitchers have become the 30 home run, 100 RBI hitters of yesteryear.

Aroldis Chapman, Reds/Craig Kimbrel, Braves

There is the old saying that drafting a closer in the first few rounds of drafts is not recommended, or something like that. Well, here we see Chapman and Kimbrel are going off the board in the third round, on average, in the NFBC drafts. Way too high for me, but can see the reasoning since they are the two most consistent closers in the game, and their stats are worthy of an early selection if you want consistency in the closer position on your roster. With that said, too early for me.

Ryan Braun, Brewers

Braun is coming off a down, injury-filled 2014 season but had offseason surgery to repair the thumb injury that bothered him so much at the plate last season. The NFBC rankings reflect the fact that fantasy owners are confident he can return to being the hitter he was before the injury, but he used to be an annual first round pick. I am not sure he will return to being the 30+-100+-.300 hitter he was several years ago, but he can be a 25-90-.285 hitter and still be very valuable.

New kids on the block

Whether it is Jose Abreu or Jose Altuve in the top ten, or Anthony Rendon, Anthony Rizzo and Michael Brantley in the next ten, we see plenty of new faces in the top 50 rankings above. Moving further down the list, we see George Springer, Corey Kluber, Corey Dickerson and even Dee Gordon in the top 50, which wasn't the case last season.

Who is ranked too high? Who is ranked too low? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments section below.