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How important is a good draft?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - We kick around some crazy ideas here at The Sports Network.

So here's another one.

Most people who compete in fantasy sports will tell you that draft day is the single most important day of the year.

But I'm not like most people.

Instead, I set out to make a team comprised entirely of players who didn't get drafted in my eight-team fantasy league.

Turns out, it's entirely possible to win your league without owning a single big name fantasy player. Here is my squad.

C: John Buck, New York Mets

1B: Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers

2B: Kelly Johnson, Tampa Bay Rays

3B: Josh Donaldson, Oakland A's

SS: Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers

2B/SS: Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres

1B/3B: James Loney, Tampa Bay Rays

OF: Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates

OF: Nate McLouth, Baltimore Orioles

OF: Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals

OF: Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks

UTIL: Vernon Wells, New York Yankees

UTIL: Norichika Aoki, Milwaukee Brewers

P: Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals

P: Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners

P: Tom Wilhelmsen, Seattle Mariners

SP: Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks

SP: Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox

SP: Justin Masterson, Cleveland Indians

RP: Edward Mujica, St. Louis Cardinals

RP: Jim Henderson, Milwaukee Brewers

When ESPN assembled its preseason fantasy rankings back in February, none of these players were in the top 200. In fact, only Aoki (209), Wilhelmsen (226), Cabrera (229), Buchholz (232) and Cain (243) cracked the top 250.

At our own fantasy laboratory here at TSN, only three of those players made our preseason top 200 with five more in the top 250.

The point is, from Bristol to Hatboro, none of us saw this coming. We have computers, but we're not prophets.

Today, all 22 of these players are included in ESPN's top 100 with four in the top 25 and ten in the top 50. Segura (.364, 7 HR, 20 RBI, 14 SB) was actually the highest-rated player in fantasy until Miguel Cabrera exploded for three homers on Sunday night.

We know this team is good (How can it not be with 22 guys in the top 100?) but how good? Time to bust out the Texas Instruments.

Offensively, the 13 position players on this roster have combined for 72 homers, 311 runs scored, 257 RBI, 83 stolen bases and a sleek .302 batting average. Meanwhile, the pitching has produced 31 victories, 32 saves, 352 strikeouts, a 0.94 WHIP and a 1.87 ERA.

Those totals compare pretty favorably to the rest of my league. If we add it all up, this team of only undrafted players would be second in my rotisserie league and trailing the leader by just one point.

Keep in mind that my league uses up to 27 roster spots and I only gave the undrafted team 22 players. If we added a few hitters to the bench and maybe an extra starter or closer, that one point could be made up pretty easily.

Obviously, the strength of this team is speed. For a team to have 83 steals this early on in the season is just unheard of. You'd only need 54 steals to be ahead in my eight-team league.

If this were my team, I'd probably look to flip one of my stolen base threats for a power hitter so I could make up some ground in home runs and RBI. Even if I lost two of my fastest players, I'd probably still be able to finish in the top one or two in that category.

So, yes, if this was my team's actual roster, I'd have a pretty good chance to win my league.

This is a fun idea to play around with, but ultimately it's far from realistic. Sure I could probably pluck a few of these guys off the waiver wire but could I really get 22 of them? Even in a league full of Kardashians that would be tough to pull off.

Here's another thing we haven't considered: injuries. In an eight-team league, there's pretty good value on the waiver wire, especially early on in the season. For that reason, it usually isn't that hard to find a replacement.

But now we're dealing with a team full of replacements. There's no more depth. By the middle of May, the only guys left on the wire are a bunch of chumps and maybe a handful of guys still waiting to come off the DL.

Suddenly, this has become a pretty deep league. You could be a Vernon Wells sprained ankle away from having to use Juan Pierre in the outfield.

There are a couple of points I'm trying to illustrate here. The first is that some of the best players in fantasy are overlooked on draft day. But at the same time, if your team can't lean on any big stars then it puts a lot more pressure on unproven players like Gerardo Parra to keep up their hot starts.

Parra has never sniffed an All-Star Game before this year. You really think he's going to finish the season with a .320 batting average? I doubt it.

Plus, if I have a chance to get Miguel Cabrera in round one, am I really going to pass that up? Come on, I'm not that crazy.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

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