Common players on my 2011 fantasy teams

With draft season over and my final draft recap posted yesterday, I thought I’d resume my yearly tradition of reviewing my rosters and seeing which players ended up on more than one of my teams. With 24 players making the list this year, I’ve far eclipsed the totals from previous years (of course, I’m also in one extra league this year).

The strategy of having common players

Having so much overlap between teams can be a good thing or a bad thing. As Chris Liss of Rotowire noted a couple days ago when he engaged in the same exercise, “I’ll win because I picked the right guys, or I won’t. If you have six leagues, and you roster all different players, you almost can’t help lucking into a win just because you have an investment in every possible scenario. And at the same time, there’s almost no way all your teams will do well. But this year, I have a chance if five or six players pan out.”

I’m comfortable with this scenario because I have confidence in my judgment on players. In years that it works (like two years ago), I’ll end up doing well in most of my leagues. In years that it doesn’t work as well (like last year), I won’t excel in any of my leagues, especially if the reason these players underperform is because they get injured (I’m looking at you, Nelson Cruz). A couple of injuries to a couple of key cogs could torpedo several of my teams.


As I mentioned last year, just because a player is on here doesn’t mean he was a “have to have” guy for me or that I was targeting him specifically. Take this list for what it’s worth: Simply that these players, for one reason or another, wound up on my fantasy team multiple times. Some guys I targeted specifically (like Napoli, Lewis, Uribe, Scott, Valverde and Pierre) while others merely happened to end up on my team through no real preconceived plan (like Votto, Byrd, Nolasco, Betancourt and to an extent Stanton). Then there are others that I thought would be on more of my teams but, for whatever reason, aren’t (Jay Bruce, Tim Stauffer, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Adam Dunn, Vladimir Guerrero, Seth Smith, and Ryan Raburn, among others).

Finally, note that there is some bias here in that there wasn’t an equal chance of me selecting every player. I play in two mixed leagues (Tout Wars and Yahoo! Friends & Family), two NL-only leagues (LABR and FSIC), but only one AL-only league (Cardrunners). If it seems like there are more NL players on this list, there probably are. I had four opportunities to select NL players compared to three chances for AL players.

The rosters

If you want to recap each of my drafts, here are the links to all five articles I penned about them:
Cardrunners AL
Tout Wars Mixed
Yahoo! Friends & Family Mixed

The players

Hitters — 3 teams
Mike Napoli: TOUT, CR, YAHOO!
Juan Uribe: TOUT, LABR, FSIC
Ryan Theriot: TOUT, LABR, YAHOO!

Pitchers—three teams
Colby Lewis: TOUT, CR, YAHOO!
Frank Francisco: TOUT, CR, YAHOO!

Hitters—two teams
Joey Votto: YAHOO!, FSIC
Jose Bautista: TOUT, YAHOO!
Juan Pierre: TOUT, YAHOO!
Mark Reynolds: CR, YAHOO!
Aaron Hill: TOUT, CR
Adam Lind: TOUT, CR
Mike Stanton: TOUT, LABR
Luke Scott: TOUT, CR
Dan Johnson: TOUT, CR
Marlon Byrd: LABR, FSIC

Pitchers—two teams
Ted Lilly: TOUT, FSIC
Ricky Nolasco: TOUT, YAHOO!
Phil Coke: TOUT, CR
Joel Hanrahan: TOUT, LABR
Jonathan Broxton: LABR, FSIC
Jose Valverde: TOUT, YAHOO!
Sergio Romo: LABR, YAHOO!
Rafael Betancourt: YAHOO!, FSIC
Alex Sanabia: LABR, FSIC

Concluding thoughts

What do you think? Are these players you’d want to bet your season on? And if you have any questions (maybe about a specific player on the list), as always, feel free to comment.

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Urban Shocker
Urban Shocker

I participate in only one league, a deep head-to-head mixed keeper league with very experienced owners.  I don’t have a single player you listed on my team. In my view your common player list is loaded with guys with highly variable outcomes; they could win you a championship or have you planning your football team by June. It is easy to identify your first round pick—Votto—but I don’t see another guy worthy of spending an early round pick on, or a lot of money on at an auction. My goal is to win my divison every year and I would… Read more »


What do you like about Phil Coke?
What do you like about Alex Sanabia?
Why Betancourt vs. other middle men, he would appear to possibly not even be next to close with Lindstrom there?

Blair Wendell
Blair Wendell

I disagree with the premise.  I finished with 109 points in my NL Only league last year, and finished with 98 points in the NFBC NL-Only league (13 team, standard roto). I had 1 player in common.  Jon Garland. (now I hate to use personal examples to illustrate a point, but…) Both teams has an estimated $40-$50 in value before the season started.  That’s where the success came from, by taking what the auction gave me and capitilizing on opportunities that presented themselves. If you end up with a lot of similar players, that might be luck, but if anything… Read more »

Derek Ambrosino
Derek Ambrosino

If you end up with a lot of similar players, that might be luck, but if anything it shows that your valuation of those players is in disagreement with a very large number of Owners, and you are LESS likely to succeed, rather than more likely. That’s an interesting point, and I’m interested to see Derek’s take on it. But, in your disclaimer you sort of rationalize your deviation from this idea. Looking at Derek’s players, I think some players may qualify under the ‘undervalued due to when they get nominated” caveat you mention, and then others are more a… Read more »

Brad Johnson
Brad Johnson

Derek A touched briefly on the point I wanted to make in response to Blair’s post. It is difficult for all fantasy participants to follow such a deep pool of players. As such, sometimes personal scouting can create opportunities that other owners don’t notice. For example, not everyone knew about Ben Zobrist’s back injury last season because he played through it. A guy I have on all 4 teams, Will Venable, got there because I saw some of his spring at bats and noticed the changes he had talked about making. Many of my other repeat appearance are guys I’ve… Read more »

Will Hatheway
Will Hatheway

The only thing I don’t want to see later is a post wailing about players getting injured that you should have known were that sort of risk, as happened in cardrunners last year: you risked their list, and lost; that goes with the territory. But you seem much more conservative, insofar as it’s more of role-issues (Broxton, etc.) than health. It might be cool if you wrote a piece about what you learned when it wasn’t the everytime-I-see-your-bio year when you won very young… I just read in your piece now that it took conviction to play such an all-in… Read more »