But the finer details often vary from league to league. These days, free leagues on sites like ESPN and Yahoo! allow commissioners to customize so many facets of the league that almost every private league is customized… and unique, even if the categories are standardized.
Below are seven of the stupidest fantasy baseball rules available in online league settings. Hopefully, after reading over these rules, you’ll understand why we think they’re dumb… and you’ll agree, too.
- Unlimited regular season player transactions – I made the mistake of running a money league on CBSSports.com with unlimited player transactions one year. One of the league members then proceeded to pitcher stream EVERY DAY for the entire season! In most fantasy baseball leagues, pitcher streaming every day of the regular season is a no-no and there are transaction limits are in place to prevent this. In other circles, this is considered one of the “unwritten rules” of fantasy baseball. In that league, 90% of the league members (myself included) decided to abide by the unwritten rule: none of us won the league. The daily pitcher streamer – again, playing within the rules of the league – was the champ. Make sure you set transaction limits every year.
- Inclusion of “Can’t Cut” lists – When a star player falls on the 60-day DL or is determined to need season ending surgery, you want to be able to get rid of him, right? If your league has a “Can’t Cut List,” guess what – you can’t cut the guy. Normally this player list is not that large and includes the biggest names in fantasy baseball. It is also commonly put in place to prevent teams in last place from cutting their best guys as a way to compromise league integrity. League commissioners should be paying enough attention to their league to make sure it is run ethically. Thus, a CCL should never be necessary and active GMs should be able to cut their good players who will be out all season with complete freedom.
- Hitter starting lineups that exceed traditional lineups – This is particularly lame in AL-only and NL-only leagues! In all honesty, this is probably required in universal leagues smaller than 10 teams. I love the inclusion of the UTIL position in fantasy baseball that can be filled with any hitter in the game. However, is it really necessary in a standard size league to include an additional middle infielder, a corner infielder, two catchers, and 5 outfielders in a daily lineup? Middle infielders and catchers are thin as it is… and now you have to start two every day? Give your league members a break if you’re in a league of 10 teams or more – use just a standard lineup and a utility hitter.
- Non-specific pitcher rosters – A lot of fantasy baseballers love the lineup flexibility that this provides, especially in leagues with daily lineup changes. While I do prefer to have some pitching rotation flexibility (maybe 3 “utility pitcher” spots in a 7-player lineup), failing to require fantasy GMs to draft relief pitchers allows owners to automatically punt the saves category. Saves are overrated in fantasy baseball, no doubt about it. Because of that, at least one relief pitcher should be required to be drafted for fantasy baseball rosters.
- Midweek lineup edits in leagues with weekly lineup freezes – I don’t think I need to go into a lot of detail about why this rule is lame. Most of these leagues force the lineup freeze to make fantasy baseball seem “more authentic” to the real game. There’s a risk involved with week-long lineup settings, and fantasy matchups can thrive or die based on injuries. Players in these types of leagues shouldn’t be allowed to change lineups mid-week if someone hits the DL. Pay the price for your injury and get your game together the next week.
- “Kentucky Derby” draft styles – In this draft style, fantasy GMs list their three preferred spots to draft and are drawn out of a hat. Based on where they are selected, they get slotted for the draft based on their preference. Actually sounds pretty cool, right? Wrong. Want to create issues among league members and the commish before the season even begins? Host a draft like this. I can almost guarantee 75% of your league will be pissed with you because they didn’t get the spot they want. They’ll also be jealous of the other quarter of their competition from day one if you decide to go this route. Spare yourself a headache and do a traditional snake draft with a lottery draft order or a “worst to first” draft structure.
- Minor league roster spots in non-Keeper Leagues – Why do you need these when, after the season ends, there’s no tomorrow? Simply have the settings in place for minor leaguers who get called up to immediately go on waivers for a minimum of 24 hours. Using waivers allows league members to bid on players and, based on waiver priority, receive the rook’s they want with limited argument. Besides, do you really want fantasy owners in a one-and-done league to stash guys like Bryce Harper and Mike Moustakas with no penalty? If they stash them all season, what fun is there to look forward to with add/drops when the season begins.
Agree with us? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.