Justin Mason’s Draft Cheat Sheet (2023 Fantasy Baseball)
Check out Justin Mason’s Draft Day Cheat Sheet.
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Justin Mason’s 2023 Draft Day Cheat Sheet
Targets By Position
*NOTE: These are listed in order of my rankings and, more often than not, their current ADP. That means the players at the end of each section are ones you can typically get in later rounds.
Catcher: J.T. Realmuto, Daulton Varsho, Salvador Perez, Willson Contreras, MJ Melendez, Danny Jansen. (In a one-catcher league, I do not typically draft a top guy unless they drop very far. I am usually fine waiting for one of the last ones off the board.)
First Base: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Nathaniel Lowe, Vinnie Pasquantino, C.J. Cron (in daily formats where you can only use him in Coors), Josh Bell
Second Base: Trea Turner, Ozzie Albies, Jose Altuve, Marcus Semien, Jonathan India, Thairo Estrada.
Third Base: Jose Ramirez, Rafael Devers, Austin Riley, Jordan Walker, Josh Jung, Ryan McMahon (in daily formats where you can only use him in Coors)
Shortstop: Trea Turner, Bo Bichette, Dansby Swanson, Willy Adames, Nico Hoerner
Outfield: Ronald Acuna Jr., Kyle Tucker, Mookie Betts, Randy Arozarena, Cedric Mullins, Kyle Schwarber, Seiya Suzuki, Bryan Reynolds, Christian Yelich, Taylor Ward, Cody Bellinger, Lars Nootbaar, Jarred Kelenic, TJ Friedl, Leody Taveras, Brandon Marsh, Kyle Isbel
Utility: Shohei Ohtani, Nelson Cruz
Starting Pitcher: Corbin Burnes, Gerrit Cole, Brandon Woodruff, Aaron Nola, Alek Manoah, Zac Gallen, Lance Lynn, Logan Gilbert, Jordan Montgomery, Brady Singer, Drew Rasmussen, Andrew Heaney, Trevor Rogers, Jack Flaherty, Jose Suarez, Kyle Bradish
Closer: Edwin Diaz, Emmanuel Clase, Josh Hader, Raisel Iglesias, Jordan Romano, Felix Bautista, David Bednar, Alexis Diaz
Targets By Round (12-Team League)
1st: Jose Ramirez, Kyle Tucker, Shohei Ohtani (in leagues where he is eligible as a hitter and pitcher), Vlad Guerrero JrMookie Betts.
2nd: Freddie Freeman, Bo Bichette, Manny Machado, Corbin Burnes, Gerrit Cole, Paul Goldschmidt.
3rd: J.T. Realmuto (in 2-catcher leagues), Edwin Diaz, Francisco Lindor, Jose Altuve, Emmanuel Clase, Randy Arozarena.
4th: Brandon Woodruff, Aaron Nola, Daulton Varsho (in 2-Catcher leagues), Josh Hader, Cedric Mullins.
5th: Kyle Schwarber, Ozzie Albies, Jordan Romano.
6th: Alek Manoah, Zac Gallen, Raisel Iglesias.
7th: Dansby Swanson, Felix Bautista.
8th: Willson Contreras (in 2-Catcher leagues), Willy Adames, Bryan Reynolds.
9th: Nathaniel Lowe, Vinnie Pasquantino.
10th: Christian Yelich, Taylor Ward, Logan Gilbert, David Bednar, Lance Lynn.
11th-15th: C.J. Cron, Nico Hoerner, Alexis Diaz, Chris Sale, Ian Happ, Jordan Montgomery, Thairo Estrada, Ke’Bryan Hayes.
16th-20th: Brady Singer, Cody Bellinger, Jonathan India, Josh Bell, Lars Nootbaar, Jordan Walker, Andrew Heaney, Jack Flaherty, Ryan McMahon, Trevor Rogers, Wil Myers, Josh Jung,
21st-25th: CJ Abrams, Jarred Kelenic, DJ LeMahieu, Manuel Margot, Zach Eflin, Andrew Painter, Michael Kopech, Ross Striping, Sean Manaea.
Post-300 ADP: TJ Freidl, Brandon Marsh, Nelson Cruz, Edward Oliveras, Kyle Bradish, Brendan Donavon, Aaron Civale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Isaac Parades, Leody Tavares, Jose Suarez.
Players To Avoid Near ADP
- Yordan Alvarez
- Will Smith
- Shane Bieber
- Tyler Glasnow
- Gunnar Henderson
- Xander Bogaerts
- Camilo Doval
- Logan Webb
- Nick Lodolo
- Bryce Harper
- Alex Cobb
- Michael Conforto
Know your format!
Player values change drastically depending on whether you’re playing in a roto, H2H categories, or points league. They even change a lot in different versions of these formats. Run your league rules or format through some sort of draft software in order to get a good idea of what kind of players your format favors if you do not already know.
Be aware of tiers and drop-offs.
Starting pitching is really deep this season, and so are first base and catcher. Shortstop is deep at the top and drops off quickly. Third base is weaker at the top but is much deeper than most people believe. Second base is complete garbage. Outfield is shallow, depending on your format. Be careful not to miss out on your tiers.
Have your ranks or dollar values ready and up to date. Things change quickly, especially with players playing in the WBC. Injuries will happen, and roles will change. Make sure you keep your information as up-to-date as possible.
Be ready for the rule changes, but don’t overreact to them.
There are a lot of rule changes that will affect left-handed hitters, pitchers, and stolen bases. These will have an effect on our games, but be careful not to overreact to them because we do not really know how much they will affect things. Focus on core skills like walks, strikeouts, and the ability to make contact and be ready to adjust in-season once we have more data.
Throw ADP out the window halfway through the draft.
ADP is a great tool to know when to pounce on your guys, but ADP is only a guideline, not a map. After about halfway through the draft, you can pretty much ignore it, though, and just go get your guys. All it takes is one person to think as highly of a guy as you do to miss out on him during your draft. If you value a player at a certain point, don’t be afraid to “draft them too early” so you don’t miss out on them.
Draft smart early and risky later.
Upside is great, but there is a time and place for it. When you are drafting early, you should be thinking more about the floor of a player than the upside. Guys like Jacob deGrom and Fernando Tatis Jr. are amazing, but they have huge risks that can sink your season if they do not stay on the field.
Conventional wisdom says to think about the draft from beginning to end. However, you should be building your draft plan from the back with your late targets as the priority. If you like a lot of late pitchers and outfielders, you don’t need to prioritize them early. If you hate the late second basemen, then you should probably target some earlier in the draft. All the players at the beginning of the draft are good, so it is important to know what you do and don’t like at the back of the draft before you worry about the first few rounds.
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