It's generally hard to lose your fantasy league in the first few rounds. While there's always room for error, most of those errors will still be All-Stars during the season and provide a lot of value for your team. Choosing between, say, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Troy Tulowitzki is like a multiple choice exam in which all the options are correct.
Once you start getting into the middle rounds and beyond and are faced with the nitty-gritty task of filling out your starters who won't be contending for major awards and finding the marginal players with upside, that's where you risk fumbling away the trophy to team owners who make better decisions. At that point, your plans aren't as neatly laid out as they were back in the first round and the jury will still be out on the exact value of the players remaining.
With that in mind, here's a look at nine tantalizing players sure to be available in the later rounds who can make or break your season. Some of them are worth their draft spot, while others should be left to your competitors.
Ackley had a tremendous midseason debut for the Mariners, hitting .273 with six homers and 36 RBIs after being called up in June from Triple-A Tacoma. He's a terrific young player and one of the few dependable offensive assets the Mariners possess. And that's exactly what makes him a dangerous pick -- Ackley's a better real-life player than fantasy player, with Safeco Field a poor place for fantasy hitters to grab value. Not helping matters is that Seattle intends to begin the year with a lineup that puts Chone Figgins (.241 OBP in 2011) directly ahead of Ackley in the lineup and Ichiro (.335 SLG in 2011) directly behind. Even if Figgins and Ichiro have better 2012 seasons, it's still likely poison for Ackley's run and RBI totals.
If he's available where he's been going in ESPN leagues, he's worth it. However, don't be tempted to take him before the 15th round, because his teammates and park severely limit his fantasy potential.