Draft a closer early. Don't draft a closer early. There are many experts on each side of this annual fantasy baseball argument. Even the most casual of fantasy baseball managers has a position on how he or she wants to draft relievers whether they have a strategy for anything else or not. Personally, I like to get at least one of the stable top notch closers, then wait for value. Speculating on saves is not something I want to do until the late rounds when there isn't really any risk. If a closer without much risk of losing his job falls a little bit in the draft, then I will not hesitate to draft him.
Francisco Cordero 2010: 6/3.84/59/1.43/40
Cordero had one of the ugliest stat lines of all of the closers last year with more than 20 saves. All of his value came from his ability to get saves. He didn't really help you out that much in any other categories. However, in the saves category he was very valuable to fantasy owners as he tied for sixth this past season with 40 saves. He also had 39 saves in 2009 and 34 in 2008. With a Mock Draft Central ADP of 218.05, Cordero is one of the better options for managers who don't want to draft closers too high yet want big save totals.
Daniel Bard 2010: 1/1.93/76/1.00/3
Bard is one of the more dominant non-closer relievers in baseball. He had great numbers last season, and he will be entering this season looking to prove he can be relied upon to be a big league closer. With decent strikeout numbers and an outstanding WHIP to go along with his 1.93 ERA he is a pitcher who can really help your team even though he isn't guaranteed to get many saves this season. With an ADP of 360.98 over at Mock Draft Central he will not be difficult to get.
Francisco Cordero 2010: 6/3.84/59/1.43/40/36/7.31/1
Daniel Bard 2010: 1/1.93/76/1.00/3/30/9.16/32
In a standard 5x5 roto league I would take Cordero over Bard based soley on the value of his ability to get saves, yet in most H2H leagues this ability to get saves, while still valuable, is not as important because of the addition of the holds category. Bard will get many opportunities to amass holds this upcoming season as well as pick up a handfull of saves. With holds counting just as much as saves in many H2H leagues the better numbers Bard puts up in the other categories makes him more valuable.
The roles for both Bard and Cordero are very subject to change. It is very possible that the Red Sox could trade Jonathan Papelbon openning up the 9th inning to either Bard or his teammate Bobby Jenks. My money is on Bard to get the job if that scenario plays out. Then when you look in Cincinnati it isn't hard to see that the much hyped Aroldis Chapman is a contender to steal the closer job away from Cordero. Chapman hasn't been properly stretched out to be a starter for a full season, yet he seems about ready to make the move into the big leagues. On top of that the Reds' rotation is already full. With this uncertainty hanging over the only thing that makes Cordero valuable to fantasy baseball owners, I would definitely take the up and coming Daniel Bard in H2H leagues.