|Rank||Player||Team||Current ADP||1 Week Ago||Trend|
Let’s just start with the depth here. Everyone covets power early in the drafts and as you can see in the current ADP data, through the first 100 picks (roughly 6.5 rounds) of most NFBC drafts, the top 13 first basemen come off the board. But even after they’re gone, you’re still left with a number of 20-plus home run guys and, if you can stomach some of the batting average issues, you’ve got a couple of 30 to 40-home run guys in Chris Davis and Adam Dunn available another two or three rounds later. Hard to wait beyond that, even if it’s just for your corner infield spot, but you’re still looking at some great production 20-deep into the first base pool.
Also note the tiers in which those top 13 break down into. If you don’t get one of the top three, who come off the board within the first round, you can wait until the tail-end of the second round and find Edwin Encarnacion and Adrian Gonzalez. The next three, who should post very similar power numbers don’t start coming off the board until the fourth while the final five finishes off in the mid-fifth and sixth rounds. Being aware of how they break down allows you to really map out your game plan in the early rounds and help you maintain the integrity of your specific draft strategy.
How about a quick nod to Albert Pujols? Eleven years running as the number one first baseman off the board in drafts, even after a down year. Joey Votto is definitely nipping at his heels, but the trends have them subtly moving in opposite directions right now.
Now let’s take a look at some of the more significant risers and fallers…
Brett Wallace, HOU (+21.11%) – Once the Astros shipped off Carlos Lee last season, Wallace started receiving regular playing time and is slated to be the Astros starting first baseman this season. There’s not a whole lot of power there and if he continues to struggle against right-handed pitching he could find himself in a possible platoon situation, but for now, he looks like an interesting late-round pick for some corner-infield depth.
Lance Berkman, TEX (+20.97%) – Coming into the season as a 37-year old with a major red flag for injuries makes for a very risky pick here, but apparently signing with the Rangers to DH in a bandbox like Arlington has given him a little boost in the eyes of the drafters. He’s a tough one to recommend though, considering the significant drop-off that began shortly after the All Star break in 2011.
Mitch Moreland, TEX (+10.70%) – Even with the addition of Berkman, the departure of both Mike Napoli and Michael Young opens up the door for Moreland to receive much more regular playing time. He’ll still find himself down at the bottom of the order, but a sneaky 20-home run season just might be had in the lower rounds of your draft.
Carlos Pena, HOU (+9.67%) – The Astros moving to the AL West this season was likely a big factor with Pena’s decision to sign with them early rather than wait for other possible offers. He’ll DH regularly for them and possibly find some time at first as well. While his numbers have been in decline, he gets to stay in the American League and now has a favorable hitters’ park to call home.
Matt Carpenter, STL (+9.33%) – While nothing is etched in stone just yet, Carpenter has been working diligently this offseason to master second base. He claims the progress is going great and, if it truly is, there’s a chance that he pushes Daniel Descalso into a utility role as the Cards would love to keep his bat in the lineup regularly.
Carlos Lee, MIA (-18.30%) – He’s a man without a home right now as the Marlins have no interest in re-signing him despite a lack of corner infield depth. Hard to blame then really, as the decline has been more than evident over the last few seasons.
Mike Olt, TEX (-15.00%) – The signing of Berkman pushes him back down to Triple-A to start the season according to the Rangers, so fantasy owners can really just leave him to the waiver wire, unless, of course, he has some monster spring and forces the team’s hand.
Matt Adams, STL (-12.09%) – There’s just no room for him right now, plain and simple. He could stick as more of a utility player, but his value in fantasy is almost non-existent without a starting job.
Justin Smoak, SEA (-9.17%) – The drop in ADP isn’t all that big at the moment, but it is likely to get worse now that Michael Morse has signed and the Mariners have a glut of corner outfielders, first basemen and designated hitters. Given Smoak’s poor track record, he could end up on the outside looking in, so be careful even grabbing him super late.
Adam Dunn, CHW (-6.02%) – This is a drop that is hard to agree with as people seem to be putting far too much stock in batting average. 40 bombs is 40 bombs, people, and very few players reach that mark these days. If it means eating a little in overall batting average, it’s definitely a risk worth taking.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy and for more detailed questions, thoughts or comments, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.