In traditional 5x5 matchup and 5x5 rotisserie leagues, you have to manage 10 distinct categories. But is there a most important category? Is there one that will help you automatically win the others?
The answer to this question is simple and straight forward. It is a definite 'YES'. The most important category in fantasy baseball is home runs. No argument. If you go back and look at the champions in your leagues from previous years, you will find that the league champion never finished lower than third – 10 rank points – in the HR category. (OK, I can’t guarantee it but I’m still right.) Again: No other category is as important as the home run category.
A player who hits a HR also impacts R, RBI and AVG. Top HR hitters can always be traded during the season to shore up other categories.
Top HR hitters should always be at the top of your keeper list from year to year. They may have a down year but, even then, their contribution to your team will be substantial.
OK, then, what’s the next most important category? This one is open to debate but my opinion is Wins. Unlike the home run, often the win is a result of the pitcher doing well in other statistical areas. A solid starting pitcher should give you good ERA & WHIP contributions and he should also provide you with close to a strikeout per inning. A solid SP should also go deep into games (see Roy Halladay) so the bullpen will not give away his wins (see Zack Greinke).
For you math majors: HR is a causative factor for R, RBI & AVG. On the contrary: Wins are the result of strong ERA, WHIP, K/9 contributions. Always remember e=mc2 / HR (R+RBI) * AVG => e-mc2 * (WHIP + ERA) – (K/9) + W.
Or ---- For you non-math majors: Grab as many home runs as you can early (of course, five tool players preferred). Then go for starting pitchers who go deep in the game. Follow up with closers and speed. Then sit back, relax, and know you’ve made a solid start to your fantasy season.