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Breaking down the early rounds of fantasy baseball drafts

Miguel Cabrera is one of several veterans who remain safe bets in the early rounds of fantasy drafts. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

The foundation of your fantasy baseball roster starts in the first three rounds or with players purchased for $20-plus in auction leagues. These should be the easiest players to identify; after all, they are today's top talents. But history shows that there is an extraordinary amount of year-to-year turnover, which can sabotage our best efforts.

Anyone who has drafted Giancarlo Stanton or Andrew McCutchen the past two years knows what I'm talking about.

But we can do a better job of identifying the players with the best chance of returning fair value at the top of the draft board. It comes down to separating players into four general groups.

Group 1: Veteran elite