Written by Jonathan Leshanski
Published: 10 February 2009
Every year, I get a number of e-mails about a feature we discontinued a number of years ago - our fantasy guide reviews. After one rather poignant such missive, I decided that maybe we needed to revive the old guide review and talk about which ones are worth the bucks and which ones aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.
BUT after a lot of thought I decided that maybe we’d do things a little differently when it comes to fantasy guides.
The first thing I did was establish some criteria as to what any top fantasy player expects from a fantasy guide.
- Articles - Sure I’m no beginner, and most people picking up a fantasy guide don’t need to read the articles, but articles are often insightful, offering ideas, suggestions, and enlightening you to some things you might not know. After all the writers of fantasy guides follow baseball all year long, while most of us take at least a month away from the game during the winter. At the very least, you can always use the knowledge that the articles in some popular guides might well influence the decision some other managers make
- A list of top prospects, what position they fill for what team and when we might see them in the majors along with capsules highlighting their skills and explaining why the experts at this guide rate them so highly.
- Sleeper picks telling who the experts think could have a break out year and why.
- Boom and bust predictions - again with explanations
- Medical updates/injury watch - Highlighting good players who are recovering from, or are coming off, major injuries, or who are major injury risks.
- Cheat Sheets for AL/NL/mixed leagues.
- Team Previews
- Depth charts for each team with lineups and projected starters, closers and bullpen.
- Mock draft with expert analysis
- A position eligibility chart showing players who qualify at multiple positions
- Chart of park factors to help you alter your projections for players who are playing in new stadiums.
- An Information Key - This should explain how many teams in a league the guides draft sheets and dollar are keyed to. (In other words, are the dollar values or projected round players will be drafted in, based on a 4x4 league, 5x5 league and how many teams are accounted for in the projections).
In Auction leagues this is important as in a 20-team auction league you’ll have $5200 in fantasy cash floating around, and thus more competition, leading to higher prices than you’d get in a league with only 12 managers. With 12 teams only $3120 dollars is floating about, as opposed to a 10 player league were only $2600 is available to buy players.
In Serpentine drafts, players who are first round picks in a 20-team league might be second or even third round picks in a shallower league.
That allows you to adjust the chart to have a more realistic idea of what prices in your league might be.
- Rankings by positions
- Player capsules
- Available Internet updates (which keeps abreast of things that happen after the magazine goes to press)
- Bonus features, which might include things like lists of what players are in a contract year, who should be upgraded or downgraded in terms of fantasy value because of a new situation (a closer facing tough competition, CC Sabathia moving to the Yankees, Matt Holliday leaving Colorado, etc), list of players likely to be traded midseason, etc.
This category is the most subjective one. It’s about quality of the content and unlike past years, I’ve found myself very impressed with the quality of the content in almost all of the guides with few egregious errors found.
That being said let’s get on with the reviews.
Keep reading AtHomePlate.com to see multiple fantasy guide reviews in the upcoming days.