Andrew Gould’s Cheat Sheet for Friends and Family (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
The past year has reinforced the importance of friends and family. Many of us took our loved ones for granted before realizing how hard life can be without getting to see them regularly.
I still don’t want them to find this fantasy baseball cheat sheet.
Let me explain. I’m not giving the cold-shoulder to a friend — or stranger on social media who asks nicely — seeking help. If certain family members reach out, I’m worried they’re digging up intel to use against me in a money league we’ve yet to draft.
If any of them are reading, this is all a ruse to trick you before draft day. For everyone else, here are my legitimate targets and strategies for your 2021 fantasy baseball draft. Hopefully we’re all be able to gather, laugh, and draft together soon.
My Favorite Targets by Position
- Catcher: Christian Vazquez, James McCann, Yadier Molina, Wilson Ramos (two-catcher league), Yan Gomes (two-catcher)
- First Base: Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, Josh Bell, C.J. Cron, Carlos Santana, Renato Nunez, Andrew Vaughn
- Second Base: Ozzie Albies, Whit Merrifield, Mike Moustakas, Jean Segura, Kolten Wong, Tommy La Stella, Ty France
- Third Base: Anthony Rendon, Rafael Devers, Eugenio Suarez, Yoan Moncada, Gio Urshela, Justin Turner, Josh Donaldson
- Shortstop: Xander Bogaerts, Tim Anderson, Gleyber Torres, Dansby Swanson, Marcus Semien, Didi Gregorius, Amed Rosario, Elvis Andrus
- Outfield: George Springer, Starling Marte, Nick Castellanos, Eddie Rosario, Tommy Pham, Ramon Laureano, Michael Brantley, Victor Robles, Dylan Carlson, Kyle Schwarber, Max Kepler, Raimel Tapia, Andrew McCutchen, Nick Senzel, Alex Kirilloff, Joc Pederson
- DH: Nelson Cruz, J.D. Martinez, Franmil Reyes
- Starting Pitcher: Walker Buehler, Lucas Giolito, Blake Snell, Lance Lynn, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Carlos Carrasco Zack Wheeler, Jesus Luzardo, Charlie Morton, Patrick Corbin, Joe Musgrove, Tyler Mahle, Kevin Gausman, Frankie Montas, Aaron Civale, John Means, Jose Urquidy, Brady Singer, Mike Minor, Yusei Kikuchi, Josh Lindblom, Justus Sheffield, Luke Weaver
- Relief Pitcher: Ryan Pressly, Kirby Yates, Trevor Rosenthal, Amir Garrett, Greg Holland, Giovanny Gallegos, Freddy Peralta, Anthony Bass, Adam Ottavino, Tanner Rainey, Emmanuel Clase
My Favorite Targets by Round
- 1st: Any stud hitter with a top-six pick, Jacob deGrom at No. 7 or later, Trevor Story or Jose Ramirez at the end
- 2nd: Francisco Lindor, Bryce Harper, Walker Buehler, Lucas Giolito
- 3rd: Xander Bogaerts, Anthony Rendon, Max Scherzer, Ozzie Albies
- 4th: Rafael Devers, Whit Merrifield, Marcell Ozuna, Brandon Woodruff
- 5th: George Springer, Starling Marte, Lance Lynn, Tyler Glasnow
- 6th-7th: Michael Conforto, Eugenio Suarez, Paul Goldschmidt, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Nick Castellanos, Carlos Carrasco
- 8th-9th: Yoan Moncada, Nelson Cruz, J.D. Martinez, Edwin Diaz, Zack Wheeler, Anthony Rizzo, Zack Greinke
- 10th-12th: Ryan Pressly, Kris Bryant, Charlie Morton, Eddie Rosario, Mike Moustakas, Patrick Corbin, Joe Musgrove, Marcus Semien, Trevor Rosenthal, Kirby Yates
- 13th-16th: Ramon Laureano, Michael Brantley, Gio Urshela, Christian Vazquez, Frankie Montas, Victor Robles
- 17th-20th: Justin Turner, Tyler Mahle, Kyle Schwarber, Josh Donaldson, Aaron Civale, Marcus Stroman, Jose Urquidy, Carlos Santana, John Means
- 21st-25th: C.J. Cron, Tommy La Stella, Nick Senzel, Kolten Wong, Joc Pederson, Brady Singer, Greg Holland, Joakim Soria, Amir Garrett, Jordan Montgomery
- ADP 300 or later: Mike Minor, Ty France, Anthony Bass, Yusei Kikuchi, Josh Lindblom, Myles Straw, Freddy Peralta, Justus Sheffield, Adam Ottavino, Jesus Aguilar, Luke Weaver
Players I’m Avoiding Near ADP
- Trevor Bauer (14)
- Adalberto Mondesi (27)
- Luis Robert (41)
- J.T. Realmuto (49)
- Josh Hader (58)
- Corbin Burnes (59)
- Cavan Biggio (60)
- Zach Plesac (74)
- Teoscar Hernandez (80)
- Kyle Lewis (137)
- Gary Sanchez (148)
- Devin Williams (158)
- Mike Soroka (163)
- Triston McKenzie (180)
- Know your league. It seems simple, but my rankings (or anyone else’s) won’t help you if you’re playing in a points league with a quirky scoring system. Be sure to know the scoring, categories, roster and IL slots, waiver wire/trade rules, or anything else that can set your league apart.
- If playing in a returning league, look at last year’s standings to establish statistical targets for each category. Also take a look at the draft results, if available, to get a better sense of your competitors’ tendencies.
- Speaking of knowing your league: Yahoo is rolling over all 2019 eligibility. Take advantage of this, particularly by scooping up Isiah Kiner-Falefa as a cheap starting catcher despite not squatting beyond the plate at all in 2020.
- Prioritize safety early, and chase upside late. Building around high-floor pieces like Xander Bogaerts and Anthony Rendon makes it far easier to fill the backend of your roster with low-risk, high-reward gambles.
- Last season was the shortest and strangest one ever. There’s a lot of weirdness unlikely to stick in 2021. Buy the stars who slumped, and don’t pay full freight for players who wildly exceeded expectations over two months.
- Rather than overpaying for top prospects, take the post-hype sleepers who struggled in their first cup of coffee.
- Old geezers can be your best friend. You don’t want too many veterans – Father Time comes for most players sooner than later – but steady contributors are often available far beyond their worth solely because of their age. This is also known as the “Just Draft Nelson Cruz Rule.”
- Too many injuries will pop up throughout the long season to knowingly start it short-handed. Don’t take the plunge of someone certain to open the season on the IL unless receiving a notable discount. Also be sure your league has IL spots.
- Practice makes perfect. FantasyPros’ Draft Wizard allows you to conduct multiple mock drafts in minutes against the computer. Test out different strategies and builds and see which one the grading algorithm likes best.
- More shameless plugs: Connect to our Draft Assistant to get suggested picks, projected standings, and more during your draft. Create custom dollar values using the Auction Calculator.
- If drafting online (certainly the recommended option in 2021), get a sense of your site’s draft room beforehand. Make sure you’re comfortable with the setup and aren’t trying to figure out how to adjust your queue on draft day. Look at the platform’s standard rankings/ADP to see who’s undervalued and overvalued.
- Don’t be a jerk. Don’t veto trades just to block anyone else from getting better. Don’t try to fleece the league’s newbie, especially in a casual league. Don’t start petty arguments on your league’s message board. Don’t forget that this is supposed to be fun. We all need a fun distraction now more than ever.
My Draft Season Prep Articles
Beyond our fantasy baseball content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Baseball Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – that optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy baseball draft season.