There is a lot to learn from the wisdom of the crowds, but you'll never win a Fantasy championship by swimming in the same direction as everyone else. You need to find ways to make your team stand out from your competitors, and taking bold stances is the only way to do it.
Of course, you've got to identify the right players to make those bold choices. You need to figure out who your favorite sleepers are, and which established players you need to make sure you end up with, no matter the cost. You also need to find those players you absolutely won't be drafting. The landmines who could ruin your season all on their own.
I surveyed our Fantasy baseball crew to see which players fall on their personal "Do Not Draft" lists. It doesn't mean you shouldn't draft these players; just that we won't.
Who is Al Melchior avoiding?
"Carlos Gonzalez is so inconsistent, so injury prone and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets traded out of Colorado. Someone else can have their precious CarGo."
"Francisco Lindor hit .313 with 12 homers in a partial rookie season. Both of those marks far outpaced his accomplishments in the upper minors, so I just don't buy those stats or his ADP."
"I'll admit I would put up with Jonathan Papelbon's middling K-rate if not for his volatile personality. Just seems like the Nationals could get fed up with his act."
"Michael Pineda is no stranger to the DL, and last season he dealt with a forearm strain. He wasn't good enough to mess with, given that he appears to be a Tommy John candidate."
Who is Chris Towers avoiding?
"Troy Tulowitzki could end up being the top shortstop in Fantasy this season -- it wouldn't be the first time -- but we're quite a ways removed from him playing at that level. He hit .239/.317/.380 after his trade to the Blue Jays, and managed just a .269/.330/.419 line away from Coors overall."
"Carlos Gonzalez put his health issues behind him last season and rediscovered his elite stroke after a slow start. He hit .292/.336/.624 with 36 homers over his final 100 starts, though his average fell to .242 on the road in that span. He still managed a .263 ISO on the road, but he becomes a pretty feast-or-famine hitter on the road, and still has trade rumors swirling around him."
"The fact that Adam Wainwright was able to return to the bullpen after rupturing his Achilles last season is remarkable, and he mostly managed to maintain his high-80's velocity in his few appearances. However, that's an entirely different animal than making it through a full season as a starter. I would take a risk on a 34-year-old coming off a major injury in the 10th round, not the sixth."
"Justin Verlander improved dramatically as the season went on, posting a 2.68 ERA with nearly a strikeout per inning in his final 16 outings. His early struggles could be chalked up to the triceps strain that landed him on the DL to open the season, but he has dealt with two separate injuries over the last two years and seems like too much of a risk at 33."
"Clearly, I'm a big believer in the Coors Field effect, even post-humidor. Corey Dickerson has two knocks against him; platoon issues (.677 OPS vs. LHP) and home/road splits (.695 away from Coors). It is easy to overstate the home/road split issues, but he just moved from one of the best hitters in baseball for lefties to one of the worst, and Dickerson doesn't get on base enough or do enough once he is there to make up for any park-related slide."
Who is Heath Cummings avoiding?
"Not going to use a first-round pick on Miguel Cabrera when there are first basemen going in the second round I think will be better. Miggy's power is clearly declining and I doubt he has the BABIP required to win another batting title."
"Nearly everything Zach Greinke did last season was unsustainable. I'm not taking him until the end of the 4th at least. In my opinion it's more likely that he falls outside of the top 20 pitchers than finishes in the top 5 again."
"We got egg on our face calling Nelson Cruz a bust last season, but he was historically lucky to be that good. He was just the fourth player since 2000 with a HR/FB rate over 30% and a BABIP over .350. He did that with a hard contact rate that was identical to his career mark."
"Marcus Stroman is being taken in the eighth or ninth round; no thank you. It's possible he starts striking batters out, but I think it's more likely his HR/FB Rate and BABIP normalize and he's a solid Fantasy No. 4."
"For me, Billy Hamilton's stolen base totals don't justify his terrible on-base skills. The fact that he's battling a shoulder injury only seals the deal. I'm not 100 percent sure the Reds will stick with him all year if he's as bad as he was in 2015."
Who is Scott White avoiding?
"Of the three young hopefuls at the position, Francico Lindor and Corey Seager being the others, Xander Bogaerts is rarely the last one drafted, but his track record actually works against him because ... well, it's kind of underwhelming. I'll gamble on the two who have yet to let me down."
"Brian Dozier is a fine player, but his strengths (home runs, mostly) don't completely make up for his weaknesses (batting average). I'm not sure the complete package is appreciably better than, say, Jason Kipnis, Joe Panik or any of a dozen other second basemen, but he's drafted like a stud."
"Stolen bases are essential in a Rotisserie league -- and there aren't many to go around -- but if you're taking Billy Hamilton in the middle rounds, it means you didn't give a second thought to stolen bases early. Otherwise, you're overdoing it in the one category for nothing but misery in the others."
"Mark Teixeira hasn't played even 125 games in four years, and in only one of those four was he a mixed league-caliber first baseman. Just because last year was that one, doesn't mean he gets the benefit of the doubt at age 36."