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Avoiding fantasy baseball 'fool's gold' statistics

No matter which stats you consider, Cody Bellinger is a must-have for fantasy baseball lineups. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

In the 1980s, looking at baseball statistics to determine the "best" players was actually quite a basic exercise. For hitters, it was batting average, home runs and RBIs that mattered, and if you went .300-30-100, that was about as good as it got. For pitchers, it was 20 wins, a sub-3.00 ERA and 300 strikeouts.

Since then, however, sabermetrics entered the mix and we've got a whole cavalcade of statistics that fantasy owners can use to further help identify players who are strong contributors to their teams. However, amid all of the helpful stats, there's also a lot of noise in terms of stats that sound good, but deliver little actual value. Among them are two of the biggest purveyors of "fake news" for fantasy owners -- quality starts and hitting streaks.

Take Dinelson Lamet for example. The San Diego rookie threw his first-ever quality start on Saturday, striking out 12 batters in the process. Yet he did so with the minimum six innings pitched and the maximum three runs allowed -- a 4.50 ERA for the day. So, while it was certainly a promising start for the young Padres pitcher, and one worth 20 fantasy points in ESPN scoring, nearly all of the value of the effort comes from the Ks.