I think you should absolutley use those alternate LOVs.
We recently revamped our statuses to remove a lot of old junk statuses acquired over the years. We are using an ammended LOV for Lead Statuses in SFDC. Our current list is:
Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
Sales Development Lead (SDL)
Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
Added to Existing Account
Old Lead (Pre-2012)
So far this has worked to help us organize our leads and understand where they are in the buying cycle. The sales staff was hesitant to work with these initially, but have warmed up to the simplicity of the statuses. It is important that you get their buy in since you will be relying on them to classify the leads once they are assigned to them.
Opportunity is a converted status we are using. It helps us to understand if a lead was converted as the staff is not always associating a contact with their opportunities. Added to Exisitng Account is also a converted status that we use for new contacts at existing companies.