Recommendable still versions should be those last released at the “end of life” of the respective second-digit versions. They got the most complete bugfixes available before the implementation of new features with the next X.Y.0 version. Please don’t misunserstand “end of life” in this context. “End of life” versions are happily living on many systems, and are still available from the download archive, mostly also as a PortableApps package (Win32, also running on Win64 and under Wine on linux).
I’m afaid there is currently no choice concerning the strategy of automated checks for updates.
I found, however, a slightly related old enhancement request bug tdf#55347, though aiming at a contrary goal. From the comment #3 there you may learn a few things about version naming.
Feel free to file another enhancement request, probably under a subject like “Auto update option to search only for end of life updates newly released (best still)” in the tdf bug site. Doing so please link there to the above mentioned bug and to this thread as well. Please alo update your “answer” here with a link to your newly filed bug, and do not delete the answer (which is not a comment in the terminology of this site).
(You may try again to upvote the question. Probably your “karma” is sufficient now.)