Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Outfielders

When I prepare for any fantasy draft, I always rank players into tiers. This way, you will have a better understanding while drafting of when there is a big drop-off in talent. Using this type of drafting strategy should lead to an increase in overall value for your team.

When compiling my rankings, I focus on a couple of major factors. First, I look at last year’s statistics. That is obviously a great place to start because it is the most recent data to project how a player might perform this year.

Then, I look into any circumstantial changes a player might have going into this year. For example, was this player traded? Did this trade lead to a new ballpark that may be more/less favorable to hitters/pitchers? Is this player surrounded by new players in the lineup? Is this player going into a contract year? Is this player injury-prone of currently injured? All of these questions can give you a better idea of who might have the biggest jump or drop from last year’s performance.

Next, I look into the player’s history. This is less important in my opinion than the first two steps of analysis because a lot can change in two or three years. What it does help me with is it shows me which players I can feel confident and safe in drafting due to a consistent run of seasons of similar statistics.

Finally, the last factor that I use in my rankings is the team that the player plays for. I mean this in a couple of different ways. I personally believe that first and foremost, fantasy sports is supposed to be enjoyable. So, if you are deciding between a few players who on paper have similar values, go ahead and be a homer and take your favorite team’s player ahead of the others. But more importantly, I look for teams that I believe will still be playing competitive baseball towards the end of the season. I have been burned many times by having my top player get a minor injury come fantasy playoff time, only to be rested for the remainder of the season due to their actual team not having any chance of making the real playoffs. If you are deciding between two players close in every other category, my advice is lean towards the player that you are confident will be in a playoff push towards the end of the year. This will give you the best chance of them playing competitive baseball when it matters most in your fantasy season.

Here are my Outfielder rankings going into this season:

  1. Mike Trout, Angels
  2. Mookie Betts, Red Sox
  3. Kris Bryant, Cubs
  4. Charlie Blackmon, Rockies
  5. Trea Turner, Nationals
  6. Bryce Harper, Nationals
  7. Starling Marte, Pirates
  8. J.D. Martinez, Tigers
  9. George Springer, Astros
  10. Yoenis Cespedes, Mets
  11. Ryan Braun, Brewers
  12. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
  13. Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
  14. Nelson Cruz, Mariners
  15. A.J. Pollock, Diamondbacks
  16. Gregory Polanco, Pirates
  17. Ian Desmond, Rockies
  18. Christian Yelich, Marlins
  19. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
  20. Billy Hamilton, Reds
  21. Mark Trumbo, Orioles
  22. Justin Upton, Tigers
  23. Adam Jones, Orioles
  24. Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
  25. Kyle Schwarber, Cubs
  26. Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
  27. Stephen Piscotty, Cardinals
  28. Khris Davis, Athletics
  29. Matt Kemp, Braves
  30. Adam Eaton, Nationals
  31. Jose Ramirez, Indians
  32. Jose Peraza, Reds
  33. Ben Zobrist, Cubs
  34. Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox
  35. Lorenzo Cain, Royals
  36. Miguel Sano, Twins
  37. Michael Brantley, Indians
  38. David Dahl, Rockies
  39. Willson Contreras, Cubs
  40. Kole Calhoun, Angels
  41. Adam Duvall, Reds
  42. Odubel Herrera, Phillies
  43. Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees
  44. Brett Gardner, Yankees
  45. Jay Bruce, Mets
  46. Curtis Granderson, Mets
  47. Randal Grichuk, Cardinals
  48. Carlos Beltran, Astros
  49. Byron Buxton, Twins
  50. Dexter Fowler, Cardinals
  51. Joc Pederson, Dodgers
  52. Carlos Gomez, Rangers
  53. Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
  54. Melky Cabrera, White Sox
  55. Nomar Mazara, Rangers
  56. Kevin Kiermaier, Rays
  57. Ender Inciarte, Braves
  58. Rajai Davis, Athletics
  59. Eric Thames, Brewers
  60. Yasmany Tomas, Diamondbacks
  61. Yasiel Puig, Dodgers
  62. Keon Broxton, Brewers
  63. Max Kepler, Twins
  64. Hunter Pence, Giants
  65. David Peralta, Diamondbacks
  66. Michael Conforto, Mets
  67. Domingo Santana, Brewers
  68. Jason Heyward, Cubs
  69. Manuel Margot, Padres
  70. Ben Revere, Angels
  71. Josh Reddick, Astros
  72. Hunter Renfroe, Padres
  73. Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays
  74. Cameron Maybin, Angels
  75. Jorge Soler, Royals

Outfield is unique. You would think that with there being three times as many outfielders as other positions, there would be three times as many elite players to draft from. That is not the case, at least not this year.

Trout and Betts clearly make up the top tier as arguably the top two players to be drafted in standard leagues. After them, there is a solid tier of Bryant, Blackmon, Turner, Harper, and Marte. These are all top-notch outfielders who can anchor a fantasy team and will be drafted in the early rounds.

Mike Trout
Mike Trout is as safe a 1st overall selection as you could make, with his consistent, 5-category production.

Tiers 3 and 4 definitely can stabilize a team. There are plenty of quality outfielders in these two tiers who will be selected in the early-mid rounds and who can produce quality numbers for your team.

Then comes the largest tier I have ever created. 33 players! I could not break it up just for the sake of breaking it up. Be smart when drafting. Do not reach for a player in this tier over someone from another position who you believe in because odds are you will be able to take a player with similar production a round or two later.

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