Playing fantasy baseball

I play in a fantasy football league each fall with my son and several friends. I have invited them to play fantasy baseball, but no one is interested. Too much work, they say. One of my friends commented that it’s like “a full-time job.”

There’s no doubt fantasy baseball takes more time and focus than fantasy football. In the latter, you have 13 weeks and the playoffs (if you qualify). You don’t have to look at your team, or the waiver wire, every day – especially early in the week.

With fantasy baseball, you have to look at your team every day. You have to check your roster and set your lineup, and you should be checking the waiver wire daily. Players are dropped and added much more frequently than in fantasy football.

I love it because I know that over a six-month season, my effort will be rewarded. There is less luck involved with baseball than in football because there are more games and there is also a larger player pool. You can replace players easier.

Since I can’t find enough friends to form a baseball league, I play in public leagues each year. If you’re just getting started, I would recommend you do the same thing. You can sign up for a league on ESPN, Yahoo, CBS Sports, and other sites.

Before you join a league, you must decide on a type of league. ESPN, for instance, has five scoring system: Roto, Head-to-Head Points, Head-to-Head Each Category, Head-to-Head Most Categories and Season Points. For me, the choice is easy.

In my opinion, Roto, or Rotisserie, is the oldest and best way to play fantasy baseball. Not everyone agrees. I mentioned in an earlier blog, my brother-in-law prefers Head-to-Head (H2H). I prefer Roto because there is less luck involved.

Roto scoring compares a team’s season totals to others in eight or ten categories. There is “4×4” and “5×5”, based on the number of statistical categories counted, as in four or five categories for hitters and four or five for pitchers.

The categories are batting average, home runs, RBIs and stolen bases for hitters, and wins, saves, ERA and WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings pitched) for pitchers in 4×4, with runs scored for hitters and strikeouts for pitchers added in 5×5.

The scoring awards points to teams in descending order by standings rank in each category. These standings change as games are played and totals change, and the team with the most points after the season’s final game is the league champion

There’s an element of strategy in Roto not found in the other formats. As a manager, you must balance players’ individual accomplishments as well as each team’s statistical totals over the course of an entire season. This is not the case in points leagues.


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