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The Z Files: Looking For Breakouts

Todd Zola

Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He's the defending champion in NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was nominated for the 2015 Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year.

Like just about every endeavor, fantasy baseball is all about balance. We look for a power-speed balance. We must balance hitting and pitching. An overlooked aspect is balancing safety and risk. It's this fine balance of floor and ceiling that will be the focus today.

There's a lot of theories with respect to this topic. Old school fantasy players preach safety, likely based on the formats played where roster movement was limited. With the advent of reserve lists, waivers, free agent pickups and frequent roster moves, more risk was introduced into the game. Some high stakes enthusiasts preach “safe early, take shots late” while others embrace risk, especially if the goal is to win an overall competition.

Regardless of the philosophy, we're all looking for the same thing: players returning a positive return on investment via outperforming expectations. You may be surprised how small that pool of players is.

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