This article is part of our The Z Files series.
"The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior," is often attributed to Mark Twain. If Twain was indeed the originator of the quote, there's a good chance he would have been a successful fantasy baseball player, so long as he understood variance in small samples.
Admittedly, the impetus for this discussion is the National Fantasy Baseball Championship Second Chance Contest. These leagues will begin accruing stats after Memorial Day weekend. That said, the information is relevant to current leagues and not just targeted at those planning on participating.
I thought it would be enlightening to look at various leaderboards from last season and compare those at the top from Opening Day through Memorial Day weekend, and from after Memorial Day through the end of the regular season. The purpose isn't to identify specific players to target or avoid, either on current teams or the NFBC contest, but rather be reminded that a lot can change over the last four months of the season. Not only will individual player performance shift, but so will that of our teams. Seeing the ensuing data laid out is a great reminder to keep grinding, as well as not to get too influenced by two months of production when preparing for the Second Chance Leagues.
The first table displays the Top 20 in the five standard rotisserie categories through Memorial Day, with their rest-of-season stats included. The second table shows the same leaderboards from after Memorial Day through the end of the season.