More people everywhere are taking part in fantasy draft contests in their chosen sport. Baseball is no different, and fans can experience the excitement of watching their fantasy baseball players compete in the action.
But how does it all work? And what should players look out for?
Here is a guide to fantasy baseball for those new to the game.
The Fantasy Baseball Essentials
Fantasy sports games all share the essential component of choosing real-life players in various positions to complete a roster.
The players then accumulate points based on their real match day performances.
Fantasy baseball is broken down into two distinct formats; the Daily Fantasy Sports, or the season-long Fantasy League style.
The DFS format offers players the chance to choose players for a single match day.
The season-long league format is the best-known, although the more recent DFS is growing in popularity.
How a Fantasy Baseball League Works
A team wins more points based on how the real players are doing. As the season progresses, the team’s scores and points are measured against other teams in the league.
The person with the highest number of points at the end of the season wins. There may be a cash prize for the top places.
The points scoring system can vary depending on the set-up of the competition, but the following are common ways to score.
Sometimes called the 5×5 fantasy baseball league, it uses five hitting statistics and five pitching statistics to assess player performance. Categories include total home runs, total runs scored, and total strikeouts.
Another important aspect of the competition is how many fantasy team owners there are. The number of owners could be anything up to 30 or more.
Finding owners who will stay active throughout the season will make the competition much more worthwhile. The baseball season is six months long, and teams need to be checked most days, so it is a commitment.
How to Start Playing in a Fantasy Baseball League
So, once you’ve decided to take part in a fantasy baseball league, what are the steps to take?
Well, first you need to find a fantasy baseball league that has the rules that you want to play by.
A list of all the regulations and options are usually clearly set out on the specific league’s online details.
More personalized leagues run between friends and associates can be drawn up more informally. These sorts of leagues could require an entry fee of anything between $10 to $300 with all the money going towards prizes for the top positions at the end of the season.
Some private leagues have an even bigger entry fee and offer bigger prizes as a result.
There is a huge array of fantasy baseball contests and leagues available to find online.
You can have players chosen randomly for you in some cases. But most fans are going to want to pick their own players.
Once the style of play is decided and all the owners are in, the format needs to be configured. The two most popular scoring systems are Rotisserie and Head-to-head.
The rotisserie format was the original league structure when fantasy baseball was first devised. This is the most usual style and awards points based on a team’s standings in various categories. The points are added up for an overall score which will provide league standings and an overall winner at the end.
The head-to-head style is a more recent development. It pits one opponent against another each week. Their scores are compared and a winner is declared. In a head-to-head contest, owners need to agree on the formation of the results. So, a week can be scored as a win or a loss, depending on the real-life result.
Alternatively, you can score games based on the 5×5 scoring system, so rather than 1-0 or 0-1, it might be 10-0 or 3-7. These decisions will have a big impact on how the league plays out.
Next to many people’s favorite part; the draft. There are three main ways to choose players for your team.
A snake draft allows teams on each end of the league, say team 1 and team 12, to pick a player and then wait for their turn to come round again.
The standard draft is a format where the draft order in each round stays the same as the first. This is usually used in 12 team leagues.
The auction draft is rapidly becoming one of the most popular forms of drafting. In this style, each owner is assigned a value of dollars to spend on their roster. Teams then nominate one player after another to be bid on. The owners bid on each player until the highest offer wins the player.
Setting the Line-up and transfers
Next, it’s time to decide on whether lineups are changed daily or weekly. This is where it pays to keep up to date with the latest news on injuries and form. Once the matchday line-up is set at an agreed time it cannot be changed.
As the season goes on, owners can also change their roster around by dropping players and picking up new ones to replace them. This is done with free transfers and trading.
Fantasy baseball is an exciting and adaptable way to get even more out of watching the game. It adds another dimension to the sport and can be enjoyed all season long.