Fantasy Baseball Leagues

Fantasy Baseball Scoring

Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy baseball mimics Major League Baseball in many ways. Players of the game take on the roles of managers of baseball teams. Teams are made up of Major League Baseball players and managers draft their own teams, hoping to build a roster with elite fantasy baseball players at a few positions and with no glaring weaknesses at the others. Like any MLB playoff race, fantasy baseball is a marathon competition that takes place over a six month period. Like a pro baseball team, you bring up new baseball players when your guys get injured are can't get the job done.

In fantasy baseball, any player from any of the MLB teams can be picked. Since there usually aren't as many teams in your fantasy baseball league as there are in the major leagues, not every MLB player will participate, so you'll have a large free agent pool. When you play fantasy baseball, the object is you score points dependent on how your team members perform in real life games. There are many ways to score fantasy baseball, so we'll cover the most common fantasy baseball scoring systems later. For now, let's start with the bare basics of fantasy baseball.

Types of Fantasy Baseball

Fantasy baseball has two different types of league play: rotisserie and head-to-head. In rotisserie fantasy baseball, teams get points based off of different categories. Generally, stats are broken up into one-week blocks. In a ten-team fantasy baseball league, if you are first that week in home runs, you receive 10 points, while the worst receives 1 point. You do the same for a wide range of baseball stats, building a roster to dominate in one or two categories, while avoiding being awful in any one category. At the end of the season, the team with the most points wins. Rotisserie is the most common type of fantasy baseball league you can play in.

In head-to-head leagues, two teams are matched against each other and the team with the most points wins that match. At the end of the season, the team that has won the most matches is the league champion. This is less common than a rotisserie league, perhaps because of the difficulties with keeping track of daily roster moves in the real world Major League Baseball. Still, those who prefer a fantasy sports game that more closely resembles the sport it mimics will prefer head-to-head fantasy baseball.

Every league, of course, has its own set of alternative rules. Some of them even combine head-to-head with rotisserie rules.

Fantasy Baseball Rosters

Team rosters for fantasy baseball are the key to having a winning season, because you're looking for players who can help you win a category, while also competing in other categories. The player who hits a lot of home runs, but hits for average and steals a few bases is a huge asset. If that same player avoids errors, that's all the better. Since those players are hard to find, you'll probably start a roster of players in which most have flaws in their game.

There is a lot of strategy involved in predicting the performance of players. During the preseason, managers need to be able to forecast how well a baseball player will do in the upcoming season. Through a quirk in your league's scoring system, not all MLB players might translate their effectiveness to the fantasy baseball stats page, so you have to spot the players who are underrated fantasy baseball players and add them to your roster. In the preseason fantasy baseball draft, you also have to avoid the big name Major League Baseball players who don't perform as well in a fantasy baseball environment. So a good fantasy baseball owner has to learn how to analyze fantasy baseball statistics.

In some leagues, managers are allowed to keep players from one season to the next. Other fantasy leagues require everyone to start over with completely new teams in what's called a "redraft league". The leagues where you get to keep your players are known as “keeper leagues”. However, managers are allowed to trade players, just like in real baseball. If any player is injured, you are allowed to replace them. Often there are a number of MLB players who go undrafted. Managers are usually allowed to pick from this pool of baseball players, but their choices and the number of times they can pick are limited.

Fantasy baseball rosters vary depending on style of league play. In rotisserie leagues, rosters tend to have more continuity, because of the importance of having a well-rounded draft. Mangers may change out the pitchers (after all, they are the players who are switched most often in real games) for strategic reasons (one start in a week as compared to two, depending on how their spot in the rotation falls), but your roster will pretty well remain the same.

In head-to-head leagues, your roster lineup will be switched around for matchups. As players go through winning and losing streaks, you will want to take advantage of that in order to develop a winning strategy. With head-to-head matches, it is almost like having a new season every week. Head-to-head matches definitely require more maintenance to keep your team in the best position as possible.

Drafting Your Fantasy Baseball Team

Drafting is really the fun part of fantasy baseball. Leagues will have a start date for the draft. Fantasy baseball has two types of drafts. The first type is an auction, where every manager has an amount of fake money to spend on buying his team. Managers bid on players and the player goes on the team of the winning bidder. This type requires careful planning to make sure you get good players without running out of money. If your bids get out of control, you're going to have a couple of superstar fantasy baseball players surrounded by a bunch of scrubs.

The second type of draft is a serpentine draft. This is sort of a round robin style where every team is drafted in a determined order until all the team’s rosters are filled. Consider it like the real world Major League Baseball draft, except the draft order is inverted every other round. If you go first in the 1st round, you go last in the 2nd round.

Each league will have a set number of players that every team will need to start with. Traditionally, most require every team to have nine pitchers, two catchers, one first baseman, second baseman, short stop, and third baseman, five outfielders, one designated hitter, one middle infielder, one corner infielder, and a reserve list of anywhere from three to five players. That is a total of 26 to 28 members on each team or roughly similar to the pre-call-up Major League Baseball roster limit of 25.

How To Score In Fantasy Baseball

Scoring in fantasy baseball is determined by what kind of league you are playing in. For instance, in a head-to-head league, teams earn points by defeating other teams in weekly matchups. At the end of the season, teams with the most wins enter into the league’s playoffs. The winner for the season is the team that wins the most games during the playoffs.

In rotisserie fantasy baseball leagues, the statistics for each team member are ranked according to categories. The team with the highest rank at the end of the season is the league champion. Some examples of the statistics used are home runs, total runs batted in, total stolen bases, total wins, total saves, and team earned run average.

This style of scoring is often called a “4x4” format, made up of four hitting stats and four pitching stats. A new format has been adopted by many leagues, called the “5x5” format, adding runs and strikeouts. There are even more variations, depending on the set up of the league. Avoiding being the weakest at one category is just as important as being the best at another category, a concept that many rotisserie fantasy baseball players struggle with.

Keys To A Successful Fantasy Baseball Team

The key to having a successful fantasy baseball team is to pay attention to trends in real baseball. Keep track of how well players are doing in real life. Their performance on the field directly affects how well your fantasy team competes.

A successful team needs strong defensive players and a good relief pitcher in reserve. Starting players should not be injured or in the middle of a slump. Keep the players who are in a slump on the bench as much as possible until they (hopefully) pull out of it. Most importantly, keep track of injuries and trips to the designated list or DL, because a fantasy baseball player who isn't playing in ball games is certain to drop your team down the rankings.

Know the league rules for trading and picking up free agents. If it is allowed, take advantage of it. If you play in a “keeper league”, and players who did well last season are not doing well this season, consider trading them to another team. If a field player did well in a hitter's ballpark last year but left their team for a pitcher's ballpark in the offseason, that's a good player to trade. Just the reverse goes for pitchers. Also, keeper leagues require you to build a team for the future, so you can trade older player whose stats you believe are due to drop off for younger players who are "still a year away". This kind of speculation can net big rewards in future seasons, though you risk missing on a prospect and you're likely to take a hit in your stats line this year.

Keeping your fantasy baseball team operating at their prime is very similar to running a real life team, which is the point of playing a fantasy baseball game in the first place. If you ever thought you would make a good real world baseball GM, you can play fantasy baseball against your friends and fellow baseball fans and see if you stack up against the locals. To contend, pay attention to players, know when they are on a hot streak, and know when to change them out.

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