Got a Fantasy Football Hangover? Here’s Why Fantasy Baseball Could Be Your Cure…
It’s time to turn the final page on the 2017 NFL season. The Philadelphia Eagles were triumphant and every other team fell short. The season had no lack of stories:
- The Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers never lived up to expectations due to injuries of star players David Johnson and Aaron Rodgers
- The Minnesota Vikings led by Case Keenum made it to the NFC Championship, and the Jacksonville Jaguars rode their opportunistic defense to the AFC Championship.
- Rookies Kareem Hunt, Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette, Alvin Kamara, and Joe Mixon all showed up for their fantasy teams.
That all made for a great fantasy football season and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2018 MLB!
So it’s finally baseball season. For much of the country, we start to see the warmer weather, shorts come out of the attic or closet, we get more daylight, and there are baseball games on just about every day for 6 months. Personally, my transition to fantasy baseball is easy. Every year on the Monday after the Superbowl, we pick the fantasy baseball draft order in one of my longstanding leagues. Then instantly, the excitement of draft day, cheat sheets, and sleepers/busts consume me.
Many people out there only play fantasy football, and are hesitant to get into the baseball realm. If you like fantasy football, you should try your luck at fantasy baseball. This article is meant to go over some basics of the sport and hopefully give newcomers a base knowledge on what to expect.
First, let’s do a quick comparison of Fantasy Football vs Fantasy Baseball, in terms of the types of leagues that are offered, and which is best for you.
Type of League:
- Football (Head to Head, Points): Most fantasy football leagues are head to head, points leagues and run in a very similar fashion. You have a draft, fill you’re your roster spots with starters and bench players, and ultimately accumulate points based off of the stats that your team delivers. In baseball, you have a choice of H2H or Roto.
- Baseball (Head to Head, Points): This is similar to football. Know your leagues rules and point values because every scoring system is different. Do you lose points when your hitter strikes out? Are stolen bases 2 points? Do you get points if your hitter draws a walk? In the Head 2 Head setup, you play a different team each week, the team with more points gets a win, and the team with the best records make the playoffs. Fairly simple…
- Baseball (Season Rotisserie): In a rotisserie league, you earn points based on how you perform in each category. Most “Roto” leagues are 5×5, but this can be customized to any number of categories. In a typical 5×5 league, the categories are:
- Hitting (5 cats): Runs, RBIs, HRs, Stolen Bases, and Batting Average
- Pitching (5 cats): Wins, Saves, Strikeouts, ERA (Earned Run Average), and WHIP (Walks+Hits/Innings Pitched)
- If there are 10 teams, the team with best statistics over the whole season gets 10 points for that category, 2nd best gets 9 points, etc. The last place in the category will get 1 point. If a team was tops in all 10 categories, they would have 100 points. If a team was last in all categories, they would have 10 points. Every other team falls somewhere in the middle.
- Head to Head Points leagues are most similar to fantasy football, as they have weekly matchups, and you either end the week with a win or loss. This does allow for more luck involved in the outcome.
- A typical rotisserie league is cumulative over the entire season, which removes some of the week to week luck you may encounter in Head to Head. However, it is also much easier to fall out of contention half way through the baseball season. Rotisserie leagues typically require a little more strategy than a points league.
- There are also some leagues that are Head to Head Rotisserie. This means that the weekly scoring is based on your performance in each category vs your opponent. If you have more home runs than your opponent, you win that category. Whoever wins the most categories gets a win for that week.
Before you join a league, make sure that you understand how often you can change your lineup and how frequently waivers run. When I first started fantasy baseball, I was turned off by the fact of daily transactions. Unless you are active every single day for 6 months, I would recommend a league with weekly transactions and lineup moves. You can set your lineup once per week and just enjoy the games.
Drafting, Prospects, and Call Ups:
In the NFL, there are no minor leagues. When you do a fantasy draft, there are 32 NFL teams with starting spots and it’s a pretty finite universe. When it comes to baseball, you need to know your prospects and when they are expected to contribute. The player pool in baseball is much larger and provides plenty of players with potential. That will also impact where you will draft “the next Bryce Harper”. If you use a high draft pick on a player that doesn’t make the major league roster out of spring training, you may have to wait for a May/June call up. It’s a balance of risk/reward and baseball has many more moving parts than football. Whether fantasy football or baseball, one thing is consistent with drafting: “You can’t win your league in the first round, but you can certainly lose it!” I’m a firm believer in this. You absolutely have to take some chances when drafting, but most of my chances will be after the 6th round or so. And I will avoid injury prone players the same way because I need my core players on the field.
Make sure to come back and visit The Fantasy Sports Addiction website for position rankings, cheat sheets, and information to help you win your draft and your league. Good luck to everyone this year!