Fantasy league owners will find home run hitters, run scorers, guys who drive in runs, and players that steal bases. They can provide statistical help in three or four offensive categories. You'll notice that every tier includes players that are useful. You can't say that about average infielders.
In the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League, it's a good strategy to draft at least five outfielders. You'll want them in your utility slots and on your bench because they provide help in specific statistical categories and you can "mix-and-match" to give you an advantage against your weekly opponent.
Look at all of this crunchy statistical goodness! Shane Victorino could be a 20/20 player with 90+ runs scored AND a low strikeout rate. Outfielders are stat machines, but, they do whiff a lot so Victorino's command of the strike zone is especially valuable. Brett Gardner could lead the league in stolen bases and score 100+ runs. Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth have injury histories but, when healthy, can be keeper-level players.
With 18 outfielders kept in February, you would think the second tier of free-agents would have less talent. Instead, you can find players capable of helping in three or four statistical categories. Shin-Soo Choo could be a steal in the first round. He's being drafted on average (ADP) 78th, which would make him a keeper in our league (he was a keeper for Twinkle Toes last year). Alex Gordon falls into the same category, with an ADP of 71. There are two injury risks on this list - Nick Markakis and Corey Hart. Hart will miss the beginning of the season recovering from knee surgery while Markakis is recovering from abdominal surgery.
This is the base stealing tier. Desmond Jennings is highly thought of by the fantasy league community, having a 47 ADP. Compare that to Coco Crisp, who is being picked, on average, with the 178th pick. You can wait eight rounds after Jennings has been drafted to pick Crisp and get a similar statistical profile. Michael Bourn has a 69 ADP while B.J. Upton has a 79 ADP so both represent excellent value in the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League, where 80 players have already been picked.
I don't buy CAIRO's predictions for Andre Ethier. He's a prime candidate to rebound after last season's injury-marred campaign. His ADP is 124, so fantasy owners are hedging their bets. Matt Joyce has a 222 ADP, Josh Willingham a 214, and Angel Pagan 248. Pagan is essentially the same player as Ichiro but the Japanese star is being picked 110th - 138 players earlier! The value pick in this tier is Adam Jones. He is just 26-years-old and his ADP is 96. BaseballMonster.com has him ranked 97th overall based on our league rules and CAIRO has him as the top player in this tier.
Jason Heyward is a tough player to project. His ADP is currently 90 but BaseballMonster.com has him ranked 195th overall in our league. He's only 22-years-old, so his command of the strike zone should improve and his home run totals should climb. Jose Tabata is a base stealer with a decent batter's eye that will help someone's fantasy team. BaseballMonster.com projects Chris Young as a 15th-round pick while his ADP is substantially better at 140.
Melky Cabrera is projected to go in the 11th round by both ADP and BaseballMonster.com. His CAIRO projections are similar but, given he's a Giant having a torrid Spring Training, I suspect his value will soar in our league. BaseballMonster.com projects Brennan Boesch for 25 home runs and has him ranked 96th overall, considerably higher than CAIRO. His ADP is 236, which places him in the 15th round. The only player on this list that may be overrated is Jason Bay. He's ranked 403rd overall, good enough to get drafted in the final round of the draft.
Logan Morrison is projected as a 10th or 11th round pick in our league, so this CAIRO projection is a little low. BaseballMonster.com projects Morrison for 20+ home runs. Drew Stubbs could be a 20/20 player but his high strikeout rate hurts his value. Fantasy league owners love Stubbs, as illustrated by his 106 ADP but most leagues don't penalize strikeouts like ours.
Austin Jackson could score 100 runs and steal 25 bases but his strikeout rate is high and his OBP is low. His 225 ADP projects as a 14th round pick. Ben Revere is essentially a steals-only guy. BaseballMonster.com projects him as a 24th round pick while his ADP has him going in the 16th round. The 33 stolen bases are inviting, but you don't want to overpay for one statistical category. Jeff Francouer can be a late-round steal (ask Carla King about his value in 2011). His 188 ADP projects as a 12th rounder while BaseballMonster.com values him in the 18th round.
BaseballMonster.com eyes David Murphy as more than a late-round afterthought. They project Murphy as a 15/15 player with 12th round value. In many fantasy leagues, he's not being drafted. Fantasy league owners are drafting Vernon Wells in the 16th round. Andres Torres is not being drafted in many fantasy leagues but BaseballMonster.com projects him as a 23rd round pick.
Alfonso Soriano has had a red-hot spring which has increased his fantasy value nationally. He's now being drafted on average with the 230th pick which is the 15th round in the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League draft. Beware hot springs. Cameron Maybin's 147 ADP projects as a 10th round pick in our league and BaseballMonster.com has him as a 16th-rounder but they have also projected 50 stolen bases for the young Padre. Nate Schierholtz is a Giant so he'll be drafted in the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League but his ADP and BaseballMonster.com don't project him as draft worthy.