Fantasy's 'sure things' aren't always top choices

Updated: February 3, 2010, 12:25 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
It's best to enter a fantasy sports draft looking to create a balanced team, and the word balance can mean a lot of things, really. It could mean choosing a mix of strong hitters and pitchers with all stats potentially covered, finding strength in both young and old players, speculating with injury risks as well as durable options, and of course taking a chance or two on young players (proven or unproven) along with seeking those oh-so-reliable veterans. In every draft, I spot a team or two that totally ignores balance, which is dangerous.

A reader named Graham from Moscow, Idaho, sent this message to my feedback box recently, and it very much interested me:

    "Eric, to me, drafting is about getting sure-thing players who will be productive for the entire year. It's not about taking gambles on players with high injury risks, who have sat out a lot of games, or have notoriously slow first or second halves. I play in a league that allows 50 free-agent moves per season, and even though I didn't draft well last year, this was more than enough for me to pick up players like Ben Zobrist, Andrew McCutchen, Garrett Jones, Todd Helton, Tommy Hanson and Luke Scott to win my league. With only 10 teams in a league, there are more than enough players who emerge later in the year who either go undrafted or are dropped by inpatient managers. Therefore, I was wondering if you could put together a list of 'sure things' on draft day. Maybe a list of the top five or so players at each position who have the best track record for games played, fewest injuries, consistent production, etc. Thanks."