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Fantasy Baseball Position Scarcity Draft Strategy & Targets (2024)

Fantasy Baseball Position Scarcity Draft Strategy & Targets (2024)

Every year at the beginning of draft season we hear about which positions are strangers to others, and this year is no different. The question is how much is positional scarcity and what can we do to use it to our advantage.

Position Scarcity Draft Strategy & Advice

In trying to discover the answer, I made this chart of each position and where they are being drafted in NFBC Online Championship drafts which are 12-team Roto leagues since the beginning of the year.

Position Top 100 100-200 200-300 Total
C 5 11 6 22
1B 9 9 8 26
2B 8 7 12 27
3B 10 8 7 25
SS 12 7 7 26
OF 20 24 27 71
UT 1 1 3 5
P 42 40 42 124

Starting Pitching

The first thing you discover is how deep starting pitching is, especially for 10 and 12 team mixed leagues. This is backed up by what I have seen in drafts so far this season. You can wait on pitching in a lot of these formats.

Catcher

When you look at catcher, it depends a lot on your roster format. In a one-catcher format, it is pretty easy to wait on catchers. This is the deepest the catching pool has been in years with 16 going in the top-200 picks. There is no reason to draft a catcher before the last round of a 1-catcher format league unless you have someone that you truly love more than everyone else. In two-catcher leagues, there is a benefit to drafting better catchers because while there are a bunch of good ones this season, there is a drop off in talent. I am probably living in the 100-200 range for two catcher formats, but I am not opposed to grabbing Adley Rutschman or J.T. Realmuto if the price is right.

All the infield positions are about equally deep if you play in leagues that are 12-teams and deeper, but they aren’t as evenly distributed.

Shortstop

Shortstop is top-heavy but has a big drop off after the top 100. There are 10 shortstops going in the top-70 picks, but then there are massive question marks in terms of what kind of production you will get. This means in 10- and 12-team leagues, it is OK to wait on the position, but in deeper formats, I would be more aggressive at shortstop.

Second Base

Second base is better than this past year at the top with the additions of Mookie Betts and Matt McLain, but it still lacks the depth that other positions have. Part of the issue is that of the 27 second basemen being drafted in the top-300 this season, 14 of them have multi-positional eligibility which means that they go a little quicker in a lot of drafts. There is also a drop off in talent and risk after the top 15 second basemen. For some of them it is skills like Nolan Gorman and for others it is a role like Jonathan India. This is a position I prefer to target earlier rather than later.

Third Base

Third base is a little better than last year but it looks very similar to second base with only five guys going in the top 40 and then a number of question marks along the way. The bigger issue is how bad the drop off becomes after the top 200. In deeper leagues, it is really important to grab a guy before that drop off, but in shallower leagues, it is ok to wait a little bit but I still prefer getting one of those top guys.

First Base

First base isn’t as strong at the top with only five real elite options in Freddie Freeman, Matt Olson, Bryce Harper, Pete Alonso and Vlad Guerrero Jr. However, the position still has a lot of depth in the middle rounds and late. You are able to get former top 100 picks like Jose Abreu and Anthony Rizzo towards the back end of the top 300 which is not something you can do easily in other positions.

Outfield

Finishing up with the outfield, this is another position that scarcity is determined by the depth of the league you play in. In a 10-team league, there is a lot of playable depth at the position. Even in a 12-team league, the depth is still pretty good with 71 guys going in the top 300. The problem becomes when you get into deeper leagues. In a 15 team league with five outfielders per team, it becomes a lot more difficult to find your fourth and fifth outfielder, much less guys for your bench. That is not to say it is great even in shallower formats. The difference between the top 10-20 outfielders to the rest of the pack is pretty big. There are about 10 guys I am very comfortable with and then even outfielders going inside of the top-50 picks have question marks about their health or skills. I have been trying to attack the position early and then typically I wait until later unless a big value appears in the draft. I think if there is a position that is the most scarce or that you can think about drowning the pool a little bit, it is the outfield because there is such massive tier drop offs.

There are a lot of ways to approach the player pool this season, but knowing how to apply the depth and avoid the scarcity of the positions is how you build winning teams.


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