Friday, January 28, 2022

2022 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Highlighting risky picks like Jazz Chisholm, Adalberto Mondesi in Busts 1.0

2022 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Highlighting risky picks like Jazz Chisholm, Adalberto Mondesi in Busts 1.0

Following a definition of bust that most reflects risk


What’s the best way to go about making bust picks in Fantasy? It’s harder than ever in 2022 because the amount of data available and the number of smart people doing analysis means there are very few obvious bad values in drafts. Fantasy players and analysts are so much sharper now than they were even five years ago that it’s hard to look at consensus rankings or average draft position and point to players who aren’t worth their cost. Generally speaking, we get things right.

So, I think the best way to look at it is with an eye towards risk and reward. Sometimes, two players will be ranked right next to each other with entirely different risk/reward profiles. Take Zack Wheeler (SP7 in NFC ADP right now) and Jacob deGrom (SP8). Wheeler is one of the most dependable starting pitchers around these days, but he doesn’t have the strikeout skills to put together one of those truly transcendent seasons. DeGrom is, well, the best pitcher in baseball and arguably one of the best we’ve ever seen at this point. But he missed much of last season with elbow woes, so he’s one of the bigger risk/reward plays in the first few rounds in 2022 drafts.

If you were to assign a probability of how each player’s season would go, Wheeler would have a very high percentage of his outcomes cluster in the SP30 to SP10 range, with relatively skinny tails on each side. We can be reasonably certain that he’s going to be good, or at least as certain as we can be with any pitcher.

Draft Prep: Sleepers | Breakouts

DeGrom’s distribution would look very different. You’d have a decent percent of his outcomes distributed below SP100 and above SP10, with reasonably high percentages everywhere in between. DeGrom’s best-case scenario is a lot better than Wheeler’s but he probably has a much higher chance of being bad, too.

Which is to say, deGrom has the better chance to bust. That doesn’t mean he isn’t worth drafting at cost – I’d take him above Wheeler, personally – but it does mean there’s more risk involved in drafting him. 

So, that’s how I go about defining the term, at least when we’re this far away from the start of the season. As Draft Prep season really kicks into high gear, I’ll come up with a list of players I’m actively avoiding in drafts. For now, here are the players who seem to hold the most risk at their current price in NFC ADP:

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