Fantasy Baseball has become a hobby for millions of men and women all across the country. You may be a doctor, or a hotel janitor, but when it comes to playing fantasy baseball, the playing fields are equal. Blogs and forums are full of discussions on who to draft, who falls into the “sleeper” category, and strategy on how to manage your team.
If this sounds exciting, then you’re probably going to enjoy fantasy baseball. We know we have some beginners out there that would benefit greatly from a simple overview of what fantasy baseball is – and is not. Here is a snapshot of how the game of fantasy baseball works.
1. Start by joining a league- Begin by joining a free public league. Some leagues are invitation only, so if you were invited to play, start by entering the password or confirmation number for that league. Most of these league websites include social networking, free live scoring, auction drafts, fantasy casts, expert analysis, and mock or live draft lobby (also known as a chat room). There are some that play for fun and others that play for money. Choosing a league that fits your knowledge and time requirements is an important aspect of fantasy baseball. Some leagues have weekly updates, some allow you to adjust your time day-to-day. Fine one that you’re comfortable with and can devote some time to.
2. Prepare the league draft by scouting—After joining the league, then comes the fun part, the draft. Before you choose your players, you must first know what players are available to play which positions, and their injury status. You don’t want to be “that guy” who drafts a guy in the first round that probably isn’t going to play until the All-Star Break.
3. Start picking your team—Most leagues also offer auto-draft options that will pick the best player (based on projected stats) each round until your team is full. Try to avoid this and be on the lookout for “sleepers” or players that sneak under the radar that could contribute to your team. Big name players are who to draft in the first few rounds, and then it’s sleeper time. The difference between success and failure is often an unheralded guy that has a huge season.
4. Let the games begin! —There are two different ways to play fantasy baseball; Rotisserie League or head-to-head format. The head-to-head format is when your team is matched to play a different team every week to acquire wins through total points scored that week. Teams at the end of the season that have the most points enter the playoffs.
Another version to play is the Rotisserie League that uses each player’s statistics to then be ranked by category, and the team with the highest stats is the winner. These stats are compiled from the total team batting average, home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, wins, saves, and earned run average.
5. Manage your team—As the owner of the team you have the ability to trade players or add/remove them during the season. That highly touted young shortstop not living up to the hype? Cut him. Sign on the sly vet instead. Leading the league by a wide margin in stolen bases, but not hitting any home runs? Drop one of your speedsters and pick up a long ball threat.
6. Take your team to the playoffs—Getting to the playoffs takes a great deal of strategy and research. If you enter a prize league, you can even win money at the end of the season. Of course, it generally takes money to enter these leagues, but some actually make a living off of it. I know a guy personally that quit a six-figure job to play fantasy baseball full time. You can imagine the looks he got explaining that one to his family. The thing is, he’s actually making more money playing in multiple money leagues than he did at his past job and last I heard, he had consulted an independent financial advisor about writing off fantasy funds… Talk about living the dream.
The different decisions you make throughout fantasy baseball can impact a number of different things you would have never thought of, such as how successful you are in the league, to even financial issues such as the cost of living. No matter what league you choose to play in fantasy baseball is an often frustrating, but very rewarding game for any hardcore baseball fan. Knowing the basics puts you ahead of most fantasy baseball rookies and gives you the fundamentals to succeed in this highly competitive arena.
Good luck, and play ball!