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Michael Waterloo’s Cheat Sheet for Family and Friends (2021 Fantasy Baseball)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Mar 28, 2021

It’s the final push for 2021 fantasy baseball drafts, as the biggest draft weekend is upon us.

Opening Day is less than a week away, which means it’s time to overreact, work the wire, and pray the injuries don’t find us as they did with Eloy Jiménez managers.

We’ve covered a lot this offseason, and it’s been especially daunting for analysts and players alike coming off a year like we’ve never seen before.

We’ve had to be especially careful and mindful of how much stock we put into the 2020 season, as it was a third of a regular season.

Yet, when you look at ADP, we see players who had outlier seasons – good or bad – in 2020 have their value shift in one way or the other.

That’s a mistake, but it also leaves open a ton of value on the draft board.

By this point, I’ve done about 35 drafts – 14 real ones – and 21 mock drafts for coverage purposes or for my own prep.

I tend to know who to expect in certain spots, and I shift my value and evaluation on players depending on the league settings.

As you get ready for your draft this weekend, and if you’ve enjoyed my coverage and analysis, here is my one-size-fits-all cheat sheet for 5×5 leagues.

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Favorite Targets by Position

Catcher: Max Stassi, Wilson Ramos, Sean Murphy, Mitch Garver

First Base: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Anthony Rizzo, Freddie Freeman, C.J. Cron, Luke Voit, Pete Alonso, Alec Bohm, Ryan Mountcastle

Second Base: Ketel Marte, Nick Solak, Kolten Wong, Gavin Lux, César Hernández

Shortstop: Bo Bichette, Trevor Story, Trea Turner, Tommy Edman, Elvis Andrus, Brendan Rodgers

Third Base: Anthony Rendon, Alex Bregman, Kris Bryant, Yoán Moncada, Hunter Dozier, Ty France

Outfield: Any of the top seven, George Springer, Michael Conforto, Nick Castellanos, Yordan Álvarez, Austin Meadows, Joey Gallo, Trey Mancini, Ian Happ, Max Kepler, Joc Pederson, Kyle Schwarber, Mitch Haniger, Nick Senzel, Austin Hays, Lorenzo Cain, Josh Naylor, Josh Rojas

Starting Pitcher: Any of the top three aces, Lucas Giolito, Luis Castillo, Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kyle Hendricks, Joe Musgrove, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Soroka, David Price, Tyler Mahle, Aaron Civale, Jose Urquidy, Marcus Stroman, Elieser Hernández, John Means, Brady Singer, Jake Odorizzi, Tarik Skubal, Dylan Dease, Yusei Kikuchi

Relief Pitcher: Liam Hendriks, Raisel Iglesias, Brad Hand, Trevor Rosenthal, Nick Wittgren, Emmanuel Clase, Craig Kimbrel, Amir Garrett, Jordan Hicks, Jordan Romano

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Favorite Players by Round

1st: Any of the big five hitters, Trea Turner, José Ramírez

2nd: Trevor Story, Francisco Lindor, Lucas Giolito, Bryce Harper

3rd: Bo Bichette, Luis Castillo, Anthony Rendon, Alex Bregman, Ozzie Albies

4th: Brandon Woodruff, George Springer

5th: Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Luke Voit, Liam Hendriks 

6th-8th: Corbin Burnes, Hyun-jin Ryu, Michael Conforto, Ketel Marte, Kyle Hendricks, Nick Castellanos, Yordan Álvarez, Austin Meadows, Yoán  Moncada

9th-12th: Max Muncy, Matt Chapman, Chris Paddack, Brad Hand, Jesús Luzardo, Alec Bohm, Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa, Joe Musgrove, Joey Gallo, Ke’Bryan Hayes

13th-16th: Trey Mancini, Dylan Moore, Ian Happ, Ryan Mountcastle, Shohei Ohtani, Mike Soroka, Craig Kimbrel, Tyler Mahle, Nick Solak, Aaron Civale, Kyle Schwarber, Andrés Giménez

17th-20th: Marcus Stroman, David Fletcher, John Means, Hunter Dozier, Andrew Vaughn, C.J. Cron, Mark Canha, Mitch Haniger, Nick Senzel

21st-25th: Kolten Wong, Archie Bradley, Brandon Nimmo, Joc Pederson, Lorenzo Cain, Brady Singer, Jake Odorizzi, Austin Hays

ADP 300 or later: Taik Skubal, Alejandro Kirk, Tommy La Stella,César Hernández, Dylan Cease, Pete Fairbanks, Elvis Andrus, Bobby Witt, Jr.

Players to Shy Away From at Current ADP

Trevor Bauer (14)

Walker Buehler (19)

Eloy Jiménez (injury)

Adalberto Mondesí (26)

Zac Gallen (injury, 53)

James Karinchak (98)

Keston Hiura (67)

Zach Plesac (73)

Kenley Jansen (114)

Eric Hosmer (147)

Nick Madrigal (183)

General Strategy 

  • Quality innings are what we need more than anything this year. Load up on pitchers, fade those with risk
  • Don’t draft injured players. Injuries will find you
  • Avoid one-trick ponies. It’s better to draft good baseball players, unlike Adalberto Mondesí and Nick Madrigal
  • Draft Marcus Stroman and Joc Pederson
  • Buy the breakouts before they happen
  • Get one good closer, and one at a good value
  • Wait on catcher
  • Don’t fall behind on steals

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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.

Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.