Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout remains arguably the best player in Major League Baseball and a generational superstar, future Hall of Famer and, of course, nearly every fantasy manager loves him. However, Trout was not among the most reasonable candidates for the first pick in most 2022 fantasy baseball drafts for one simple reason: he misses myriad games, frustrating fantasy managers. Over the past four full seasons entering 2022 -- discounting the pandemic-truncated 2020 season -- Trout missed more than 200 of his team's games, or 35%. Would you rush to invest in a player early in the first round who, over a four-year period, played only 65% of his team's games?
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey established himself as a fantasy superstar during the 2018 season, and then he was even better in 2019, approaching 2,400 yards from scrimmage and scoring 19 touchdowns. He caught 116 passes, too, and there was absolutely no question who fantasy managers would choose with the first pick in 2020 PPR drafts. McCaffrey made history the previous season and, over his first three NFL campaigns, missed nary a game. The Panthers rewarded him kindly with a huge contract. Hmmm, sounds familiar: a fantasy superstar who rarely missed games in his early years.