There are a couple of stats where mediocre fantasy players tend to lack focus. Heck, probably your above-average fantasy folks don't pay enough attention to them either. On the hitting side it is usually runs and on the pitching side it is definitely WHIP.
I suppose these are the stats that are talked about less in the real world. Besides, don't the other stats sort of drag these with them? I mean, if you have a decent batting average and you are hitting home runs, won't runs scored just sort of come with that?
And WHIP... it's hard to figure out. A lot of baseball sites don't even list it, so I have to go and calculate it every time. That's crazy! Can't we just get guys who pitch to a low ERA and strike fools out?
Nope. If you do that with your WHIP, you might as call it WHUP... 'cause you're going to get whupped by the competition. WHIP is where the big boys differentiate themselves. It is entirely possible to have a staff full of strikeout pitchers with 3.50 ERA's who post WHIP's in the 1.35-1.45 range. That's just not going to get it done.
So, make sure you find some sites that include it automatically for you. Even if (*gasp*) it isn't the same site your league is on. It's worth the effort.
And, the differences can be subtle so pay attention. If pitcher A is projected to have a 3.62 ERA with 180 K's but a 1.38 WHIP, just say "pass" and move on. There are other options, I promise.
I'd rather have pitcher B with a 3.78 ERA, 180 K's, and a 1.22 WHIP. It's subtle, but that is a huge difference in WHIP. The fact that you are dealing with a smaller number means the difference is magnified. (A change in the 1.3-ish number is almost three times more impactful than the change in the 3.7-ish number) So, in our example pitcher A and pitcher B are separated by 0.16 on both the ERA and the WHIP, with one favoring each pitcher. Take the lower WHIP. Every time.