This is kind of a spinoff of Fenway Punks threads.
If you calculate a player's career production on a per game basis and compare this to his prior season totals you can get a decent idea of which direction a player is trending and how they are likely to be viewed in fantasy. I'm going to label a player that produced below his career averages in the prior season as a value play and those that produced above it as a growth play for the next season (considering age/injuries in each instance).
For example. Value:
Using this approach you're essentially arguing that the immediate past is not a good predictor of the longer term future and that version to the mean can be expected. Hanley and Braun produced below expectations and will likely come at a relative discount in 2011 drafts.Growth:
This is the opposite approach. You're using the immediate past as a predictor of the future. It's a growth play because you're trying to capture players on the rise with the idea that they will either continue to rise or stay at this recent level.
(It was easiest to post these as pictures because that's the only way I know how to make it look decent without much effort. Also, the focus isn't meant to be on these players in particular. They are simply 4 players who fit the mold and could be used as an example. I could have just as easily picked different players.)
I'll wait for some responses before I share my opinion.