Saturday, January 31, 2009

Picking a Fantasy Baseball League

The Counselor is IN:

Pitchers and catchers and are preparing to start camp in the next couple of weeks. Football season wraps up this weekend with the big game. My attention is beginning to sway to the national pastime. It is time to examine the kind of fantasy baseball league (or leagues) that are right for you because there are various types and assortments.

Draft vs. Auctions
Draft leagues select players based on their draft order in turns. Most drafts are serpentine so the team with the last pick in the first round will have the first pick of the second round. This gives every team a chance to pick a portion of the stud players, average players, and sleepers. This is the basic draft style which is pretty standard. Owners in this style of league will want to order the players by the most desirable to the least desirable players to draft.

Auction leagues are a whole different style of selecting players. Each team in an auction league is given an allotment of fantasy dollars to bid on players with. The standard amount is $260 fantasy dollars but this can very from league to league. The auction starts with a team throwing out the name of a player and dollar amount. Each team gets a chance to up the amount of money for the player. The last team to bid on the baseball player will receive the player for that value and that money is removed from the amount of fantasy dollars. There is strategy on what players to bid on, if they want to run the price up on a player that a team does not want, and when to stop bidding on a player. Teams in an auction could have half their team of stud players and the other half rookies while another team may not have stud players but all good players. There are numerous strategies used in an auction.

Single season vs. keeper leagues
A single season league focuses only on this season. You draft for this year’s stats only and what players can do for you now. The advantage of a single season is that you get to start fresh and new every year. If you missed out on the stud player last year, he will be there for you draft this year.

Keep leagues allow you to keep a portion of your players from year to year. Usually keeper leagues have a method of limiting how many years in a row. If you draft a rookie that develops into a stud, then you can keep him at the auction amount or draft position next year. This encourages owners to research and examine sleepers because they may be a great value for next year.

Rotisserie vs. Head to Head
Rotisserie baseball was the original fantasy sport. This is a method of compiling stats in various categories of offense and pitch. Where your team ranks in each category at the end of the year determines where your team finishes. During the season, your rank in a category may change daily. In a 10 team 4X4 Rotisserie league, you will have a ranking of 10 for the highest in a category to a 1 ranking for the lowest. You add the totals in each category for that team’s grand total. The highest grand total wins the league championship. There is no great way to have a playoff with this type of league.

Head to Head has each team playing against another team. You usually play against one team each week and then it changes to a different team. You use the same stats categories as in Rotisserie. You compete in each category and you count how many of the categories each team wins against the other team. In a 4X4 league, you may have one team with 4 points, the other with 3 and a tie in a category. This system does allow a playoff system.

4X4, 5X5, and others
The section is about the categories and how many a league uses. Owners need to pay close attention to the type and amount of categories. A standard league is a 4X4 league with 4 offensive and 4 pitching categories: Batting Average, Home Runs, RBI, and Stolen Bases, Wins, Saves, ERA, and WHIP (Walk & Hits divided by Innings Pitched). In a 5X5, there are an extra offense like Walks or OBP and an extra pitching category like Holds or Strike Outs. These are the usual categories but other leagues will throw in various other categories. You need to know what categories your league will be using so you can draft appropriately.

Free Leagues vs. Pay Leagues
There are an abundance of Free leagues online. You can play for free on Yahoo with a public or private league. There are plenty of other sites that will do the same thing. Often these leagues are not flexible to some of the specific rules of a private league so league Commissioner should check on this before starting a private free league.

Pay leagues greatly vary in price and style. Some pay leagues only charge enough to pay for the use of the website and expenses of the Commissioner. Other leagues offer prize money to the winner or top tier teams. The amount of the entry can be as little as a few dollars or as much as hundreds of dollars.

Most Leagues are a combination of these different types of leagues.

The Counselor is OUT:

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