One ironclad rule of fantasy sports is to choose players regardless of team affiliation. Just in case you feel like breaking the rules on occasion, here are the Mets and Yankees to analyze heading into fantasy baseball drafts, with the ideal spots at which to draft them:
Curtis Granderson, OF
Ideal round: Mid to late fourth
His uppercut lefty swing is reminiscent of Johnny Damon's, although he'll have a different role. Batting sixth or seventh is probable, which would mean 80-plus runs and 90-plus RBIs. Granderson is an undisciplined hitter, so Yankee Stadium's tempting right field porch could lead to a greater emphasis on moon shots and less on putting the ball in play.
Nick Johnson, DH/1B
Ideal round: 14th to 15th
The ex-Yank is a first-time DH, which should save his injury-prone body. Johnson will still get periodic days off as others in the lineup receive an occasional DH spot. Assuming relatively stable health, jot the line drive hitter down for a .290 average with 70-plus runs and RBIs.
Javier Vazquez, SP
Ideal round: Late eighth to early ninth
Don't expect a repeat of his Cy Young-caliber 2009 campaign. The advantage of less stress as the No. 4 starter is mitigated by transitioning to the game's toughest division for pitchers. Vazquez holds a 4.15 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 145 1/3 career innings at the four opposing AL East parks. Opt for an arm who calls a pitcher-friendly stadium home.
Jason Bay, OF
Ideal round: Mid-third
Cavernous Citi Field means Bay won't be the titanic slugger he was for the Red Sox. That doesn't mean he can't remain a good No. 2 or great No. 3 fantasy outfielder. Assume his batting average hovers around .275 with 25 to 30 homers and 90 to 100 RBIs. Beware you're likely to have a league mate who overvalues Bay.
David Wright, 3B
Ideal round: Early second
Don't sweat the home runs. An off-season correction to his swing's timing should restore Wright to 25-homer power and 100 RBIs, while 25-plus steals are also realistic. The timing correction should also draw down Wright's 26.2 strikeout percentage to a mark more in line with his traditional .300 batting average.
John Maine, SP
Ideal Round: 15th to 16th
Mike Pelfrey might be the projected No. 2 starter, but Maine is the better fantasy option. It's concerning that his K/9 rate dropped from 8.5 to 7.8 to 6.1 from 2007-09, but those rates are better than anything Pelfrey has produced. An improved and healthy offense should provide Maine a realistic chance for 12-14 wins.
These are the spots at which you should feel most comfortable drafting the following players:
Alex Rodriguez - Mid-first
Mark Teixeira - Late first
CC Sabathia - Mid- to late third
Robinson Cano - Mid-fourth
Derek Jeter - Early fifth
Mariano Rivera - Early seventh
A.J. Burnett - Mid- to late tenth
Jorge Posada - Mid- to late 11th
Jose Reyes - Late second
Johan Santana - Mid- to late fourth
Francisco Rodriguez - Late seventh
Carlos Beltran - Early to mid-tenth
Jeff Francoeur - 16th to 17th