Fantasy Baseball’s Most Accurate Experts
It’s a fun time to be a baseball fan. Spring Training is in full swing and Opening Day is right around the corner (just 32 days away…yep, we’re counting!). It’s a clear sign that now is a great time to get your fantasy draft prep in gear.
Of course, any good preparation involves knowing which experts provide the most trusted advice. Earlier this year we announced who delivered the most accurate projections in 2014. Today we’re excited to unveil the results of our latest Expert Rankings assessment. Before we get to the results, here are a few notes about our draft accuracy study:
- Draft rankings from 66 fantasy experts were analyzed (including the Expert Consensus). That makes this our largest MLB accuracy competition to date.
- All of the rankings tracked used a standard 5×5 Roto setup.
- The experts were rated Roto-style at each 5×5 category. The scores (PAY™) listed below represent the % of total possible Roto points earned by each expert. A 100% PAY™ would mean the expert rated best for every 5×5 category (see: full methodology).
Without further ado, here are the experts with the most accurate draft rankings.
Expert Accuracy Standings
|Top Fantasy Baseball Experts
|1.||Steve Gardner – USA TODAY Sports||84.2%|
|2.||Tristan Cockcroft – ESPN||73.0%|
|3.||R.J. White – Fantasy Baseball Cafe||72.4%|
|3.||Timothy Farmer – Dynasty Sports Empire||72.4%|
|5.||Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR)||71.4%|
|6.||Jesse Sakstrup – Roto Spectrum||69.4%|
|7.||Josh Shepardson – The Fantasy Fix||69.1%|
|8.||Brett Talley – The Fantasy Fix||67.9%|
|9.||Luke Gloeckner – Mr. Cheatsheet||67.0%|
|10.||Kevin Hanson – EDSBaseball||66.2%|
|11.||Zach Jacobson – The Fake Baseball||64.4%|
|11.||Andrew Gould – Bleacher Report||64.4%|
Congratulations to Steve Gardner (USA TODAY Sports) for earning the crown as 2014’s top-rated expert. This marks the 2nd time in the past 3 seasons that Gardner has cracked the top 5 of our competition. This past season, Gardner was particularly on-target with his Hitter advice, as he netted an impressive PAY™ of 93% across the positions. His best pick was slotting Michael Brantley as high as any expert we monitored (+18 spots vs. Consensus). Brantley emerged in 2014 as a tremendous value pick and was subsequently dubbed by Gardner as “Baseball’s Fantasy MVP“. Gardner also showed some foresight by ranking Denard Span (+24 spots vs. Consensus) and Johnny Peralta (+7 spots vs. Consensus) above all experts. Neither player was expected to be a huge fantasy difference maker but both exceeded expectations. On the flip side, Gardner had a good read on a few notable busts: Wil Myers (-10 spots vs. Consensus) and Josh Hamilton (-9 spots vs. Consensus). Both players disappointed fantasy owners and only a handful of experts delivered lower rankings for them.
As for his Pitcher advice, Gardner wasn’t a slouch there either. He ranked 6th at the position with a 75% PAY™. He was notably higher than most pundits on a pair of aces that ended the season as top 10 starting pitchers: Jon Lester (+8 rank spots vs. Consensus) and Johnny Cueto (+5 rank spots vs. Consensus). Gardner also gets credit for identifying reliever Jim Johnson as a bust candidate. The former A’s veteran was projected to be a top 15 closer. That never materialized as he was demoted from his closing gig just 10 games into the season. Gardner’s rank (RP #26) for Johnson was lower than every expert we monitored. A few other disappointing pitchers Gardner slotted below most of his peers were Anthony Cingrani (-13 spots vs. Consensus), A.J. Burnett (-13 spots vs. Consensus) and Clay Buchholz (-9 spots vs. Consensus). Each was projected to be a top 50 fantasy starter and all three fell far short of those expectations.
As always, there were more than a few players that performed above expectations last season. The difference between drafting or passing on these players could have impacted any team’s fantasy fortunes. Below are the experts that had the best read on each player (i.e. they had him ranked higher than anyone else). Expert Consensus Ranks (ECR) are included in the table below to show just how far out on a limb each expert went with their ranking.
|Victor Martinez||1B||R.J. White – Fantasy Baseball Cafe||14||25|
|Anthony Rizzo||1B||Eno Sarris – FanGraphs||6||14|
|Dee Gordon||2B||Scott White – CBS Sports||18||27|
|Anthony Rendon||2B||Nando Di Fino – CBS Sports||12||19|
|Brian Dozier||2B||Seth Klein – Razzball||9||17|
|Alexei Ramirez||SS||Tom Schriner – FFLockerRoom||7||13|
|Alcides Escobar||SS||Grey Albright – Razzball||13||21|
|Jimmy Rollins||SS||Muntradamus – Beast Dome||9||17|
|Nelson Cruz||OF||Muntradamus – Beast Dome||13||38|
|Charlie Blackmon||OF||Tim McCullough – RotoExperts||75||120|
|Melky Cabrera||OF||Neil Parker – The Fake Baseball||46||73|
|Johnny Cueto||SP||Muntradamus – Beast Dome||17||38|
|Corey Kluber||SP||Al Mechior – CBS Sports||25||55|
|Jake Arrieta||SP||Dave McKay – The Fantasy Sports Brain||85||153|
|Doug Fister||SP||Zach Sanders – FanGraphs||16||36|
|Francisco Rodriguez||RP||Nando Di Fino – CBS Sports||36||80|
|Huston Street||RP||Nate Springfield – Baseball Press||14||22|
|Mark Melancon||RP||Site Projections – RotoChamp||24||40|
*Ranks are at the position level
On the flip side, here are the notable disappointments from 2014 along with the experts that went against popular opinion with their rankings. Note that certain players (e.g. Jean Segura) are not listed if there wasn’t much variety in the experts’ rankings.
|Chris Davis||1B||Site Rankings – KFFL||9||2|
|Joey Votto||1B||Michael Pichan – Fantasy Alarm||8||4|
|Allen Craig||1B||Eno Sarris – FanGraphs||18||10|
|Joe Mauer||1B||Grey Albright – Razzball||12||3|
|Jedd Gyorko||2B||Muntradamus – Beast Dome||22||10|
|Jason Kipnis||2B||Nick Williams – Legion Report||5||2|
|Pedro Alvarez||3B||Eric Mack – Bleacher Report||15||8|
|Xander Bogaerts||3B||Muntradamus – Beast Dome||30||19|
|Bryce Harper||OF||KJ – Fantasy Team Advice||18||6|
|Shin-Soo Choo||OF||Site Projections – RotoChamp||29||14|
|Jay Bruce||OF||Al Mechior – CBS Sports||20||12|
|Domonic Brown||OF||Andy Behrens – Yahoo! Sports||53||29|
|Yu Darvish||SP||Dave McKay – The Fantasy Sports Brain||11||2|
|Justin Verlander||SP||David Kerr – Fantasy Squads||16||11|
|Joe Nathan||RP||Jeff Boggis – Fantasy Football Empire||16||6|
*Ranks are at the position level
That does it for our analysis of the experts’ 2014 draft accuracy. Congratulations again to Steve Gardner for earning the accuracy title. If you’d like to see the entire list of sites we tracked, please check out our MLB accuracy section.