Fantasy baseball allows rabid and even casual baseball fans an even more intense way to enjoy the baseball season. It’s a way for you and your friends to follow the players and the statistics and be more invested in each and every game.
There are many ways to choose to play fantasy baseball; you and your group can tailor the game to whatever your preferences are at various points in the process. The first point in the process is to do a draft.
The goal in drafting your fantasy team is creating the best group of players who will contribute to your team based on how well they perform in various previously agreed-upon statistical categories. It’s best to have a good knowledge of who the players are in order to craft a winning team. If you are unfamiliar with baseball and current players, you should do a bit of homework on recent events before you go into the draft.
Two common types of drafts are the serpentine draft and the auction draft. The serpentine style has each fantasy owner taking their turn to make player selections for as many rounds as necessary to fill out each team’s roster. The auction draft is where each fantasy owner gets a budgeted amount of money they spend by bidding on and purchasing their players.
The most common type of keeping score is a rotisserie method. This method accumulates various statistics throughout the season to count towards your final score. This method employs 5x5 scoring, which counts batting average, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases and runs; as well as wins, saves, ERA, WHIP and strikeouts. There is also a 4x4 scoring method that removes both runs and strikeouts from the 5x5 method.
An alternate type of scoring is a league where your stats and score starts over every week and you go up against only one other opponent. In this league, you and your opponent aim to beat each other’s teams in the same scoring categories as above. You earn a win/loss record each week according to which person’s team gets the highest amount of scores in each category. So your weekly record could be 3-2 if your team scores highest in 3 of the 5 categories. Your overall record is important because only the fantasy teams with the best records will get to reach the playoffs, which coincide with the real season’s playoffs.
Maintaining Your Roster
If you find you have made poor choices in your draft, there is a way to upgrade your roster. You should become more familiar with how your players are doing during the first quarter of the season. If you need to get rid of a player for any reason (injury, poor performance, too many players in the same position) many fantasy leagues allow trades to be made. Some trades are made between fantasy teams, some can be done on a first-come first-served daily or weekly basis. There is usually a cutoff point where trades are no longer allowed the farther into the season it gets.
Truly hardcore fantasy players will do “scouting” in the off-season. This would include things like keeping up with player injuries, promotions, demotions, playing time, rumors about if players are getting traded, and anything else they can learn about a player that may affect their gameplay during the regular season.
If you are a true beginner to fantasy baseball, it might be a good idea to find other newbies and form your own league so you can all learn together. If you join a league with people who are seasoned vets to the fantasy arena, this would be a good learning experience for you, however you might not do well against others who have a handle on all the intricacies involved in fantasy baseball.