Tip #4: Fill up those categories
Quick, what's the easiest way to win a fantasy championship? Simply stated, lead your league in every statistical category, or at the very least field a strong eight- or 10-category team, depending on your league's scoring system.
Assuming you're in a 5x5 league, which player would you rather own:
Player A: .306, 29 HR, 123 RBI, 93 runs, 6 steals
Player B: .273, 29 HR, 105 RBI, 114 runs, 35 steals
Player A had a much higher average and a few more ribbies last year, but player B
scored 21 more runs and stole 29 more bases. Which player would you rather have
on your roster? I'd choose B in a flash but many others would lean toward A.
How about this comparison:
Player C: .273, 43 HR, 105 RBI, 99 runs, 2 steals
Player D: .289, 29 HR, 94 RBI, 89 runs, 23 steals
Player C has better power numbers than player D, plus he scored 10 more runs,
which would be enough to entice most owners on draft day. But again, I'd much
rather have player D's all-round stats.
Who are these anonymous sluggers? Player A is Garrett Anderson, B is Carlos
Beltran, C is Rafael Palmeiro and D is Torii Hunter. Many owners, if given their
choice of these four players, would probably choose Anderson over Beltran and
Palmeiro over Hunter, which has as much to do with their bigger bats as it does
their bigger names, but again I'd go with Beltran and Hunter.
In fact, unless we're talking about the upper-crust of fantasy sluggers, I'd give the draft-day edge to a five-category player in almost any comparison, assuming the power numbers are fairly equal. Why? Because stolen bases are an annual pain in the ass. I always seem to be looking for some speed around midseason, trying to gain a few extra points to boost my overall standing.
Or how often have you been about 10 or 15 rounds deep in a draft when you suddenly realize that you've neglected steals with nearly every one of your picks? What do you end up doing? Taking some one-category chump like Tony Womack or
Eric Young, a move that may be a quick-fix to your roster-wide speed epidemic, but your overall team production will slip because you're starting a guy who'll be lucky to register a
.275 average with half a dozen homers.
Why put yourself through that misery? When draft day rolls around, don't be a sucker for a
name and don't drool over those inflated power numbers. Palmeiro's about as
steady as they come but you can find plenty of guys who can match his stats. You
won't, however, find too many five-category studs out there who may give you a
few less homers but will also contribute some much-needed stolen bases. It's a
rare commodity, trust me, and it's a luxury you'll love having on your roster
while everybody else is trying to trade for Juan Pierre in July.
Some other stat-sheet fillers to consider include Vlad Guerrero, Alfonso Soriano,
Magglio Ordonez, Bobby Abreu, Shawn Green, Preston Wilson, Cliff Floyd, Derrek
Lee, Junior Spivey, Aaron Boone and Derek Jeter. There are several more, some a little more outstanding in certain categories than others, but you get the idea.
So while other owners in your league will find themselves stuck with championship killers like Womack and
Roger Cedeno, you'll have a blast watching studs like Torii Hunter and Bobby
Abreu fill up the stat sheet night after night.
If you've got some fantasy baseball questions you'd like answered or if you just want to comment on this column, drop me an e-mail at