Double Dipping: Not Just for Chips

If you aren’t a Dungeon Master and actually leave the house every once and awhile, you know about the social faux pas that is double dipping. If not, “double dipping” is when you dip a chip, take a bite, and then dip again. It is frowned upon because not only are you a fat slob with an insatiable appetite for guacamole, but you are spreading your germs into the bowl of dip.

Double dipping shows up elsewhere in life, including fantasy leagues. What is Fantasy Baseball double dipping you ask? Fantasy double dipping is when an event affects two different stat categories in your league. When an event counts twice, it can skew league results slightly and have a small affect on player rankings. Fantasy double dipping comes in two forms: acceptable, and unacceptable. First, let us look at some acceptable double dipping:

  • HR & R/RBI/AVG – A home run goes into almost every category, but since it is such a special event it can slide through.

That’s it! The above case is the only common acceptable case of double dipping. Now, some of the many unacceptable cases:

  • ERA & QS – If you had a quality start, you had a low ERA.
  • AVG & OBP – A walk counts once, but a hit counts twice? Absurd.
  • OPS & OBP/SLG – OPS is “On-base plus slugging”. It’s in the name, people.

Consider this a public service announcement. In the words of the almighty Seinfeld, “Just take one dip and end it!”




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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.


46 Responses to “Double Dipping: Not Just for Chips”

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  1. Paul says:

    good stuff eno although a qs doesn’t always translate to fantasy-friendly era. The minimum requirement for a qs is a 4.50 era. They need to get rid of that sucker just like they did gw RBI.

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    • Aaron says:

      the average ERA for a QS is something in the low 2′s if I’m remembering correctly, about a half a run lower than for a Win. Even though a QS can technically happen with a 4.5 ERA it’s pretty rare.

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      • Jason B says:

        You’re right – quality starts can be a decent enough (albeit imperfect) indicator. The main point, though, is that you don’t need both quality starts AND earned run average as they both tend to get at the same type of information. Pick your favorite and go with it.

        I prefer ERA because it allows for finer granularity – if you carry it to enough decimal places you would very seldom have a tie in the category.

        Finer granularity, too, in that it doesn’t treat a 6 IP, 3 ER Blanton-esque start the same as a 9 IP, 0 ER Greinkerrific performance.

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      • BIP says:

        My league uses QS along with ERA because QS is vastly superior to W’s. Yeah, the overlap isn’t ideal, but W’s are an abomination.

        Also, your point about differentiating between 6 IP/3 ER and 9 IP/0 ER shows why the two stats can coexist.

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    • Big Oil says:

      I think Zach wrote this.

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  2. The A Team says:

    Here’s a couple for you to consider:

    K and K/BB
    AVG and OPS

    I tend to use them or convince the commish to use them in most leagues that I do. My justification for AVG and OPS isn’t very strong – I reeeaally want OPS, but most crowds balk at not having AVG included. Sure hits count twice, but the layering of walks and slug on top of that makes the categories not super correlated. Again, I would ideally use only OPS, but this is the compromise.

    The use of K and K/BB (and I suppose WHIP) kind of flows from that, pitchers need a 6th category. I recognize that K’s are correlated with K/BB, but at the same time, there are plenty of guys who have pedestrian k rates and elite k/bb and vice versa. I’m probably more concerned about how K/BB correlated with WHIP since they’re both basically proxies for control and efficiency.

    How would you classify these settings Zach? If I were to cut AVG, would it be ‘better’ to cut WHIP or K/BB?

    PS I count myself a dungeon master. See you on draft day in Shane’s league.

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    • Zach Sanders says:

      I would advise against using AVG/OPS, but I think it may be in the gray area.

      K/BB & K is like OBP/OPS. It’s in the name. However, since K is a counting stat and K/BB is a rate, it’s also in a gray area. But, yes, don’t use K/BB with WHIP. Just cut K/BB, and that way your league still has walks and strikeouts factored in.

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  3. The A Team says:

    On the subject of dipping, I support dipping one end and then dipping the other end. Each food can be dipped twice while observing proper etiquette.

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  4. Resolution says:

    My fantasy leagues often count saves and save opportunities – entirely redundant. The only reason SVOP was kept as a stat however is because we also count holds and felt that if just holds and saves were counted, there would be nothing differentiating setup men from closers – holds would just be saves by another name essentially…

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  5. Paul says:

    First, I apologize for calling you Eno. He tweeted this and on my phone I didn’t see author. I just assumed he wrote this. My bad.

    Second, I need to see some evidence that the average QS is an ERA in the low 2s. Perhaps I’m wrong but I don’t think I’m in the minority when I say that there are a heck of a lot more 6 IP, 3 ER games than there are 7 IP, 1 ER games (the only other way you get close to an ERA in the low 2s is with a bunch of 9 IP, 2 ER games. Based on the number of complete games out there, we know that’s an extreme rarity).

    I’m inclined to believe the QS average is closer to 4.00 than 2.00 based simply on the fact that there’s a lot more mediocrity in baseball (or any other sport for that matter) than there is excellence.

    Of course, I could be completely wrong. I just need facts to tell me that.

    I don’t think I’m in the minority when it comes to the idea of abolishing the quality start. Either the measures have to be altered (so that a quality start truly does reflect an ERA under 4 – 7 IP, 3 ER perhaps?) or the name needs to be changed.

    Thanks for the convo.

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  6. R M says:

    I am in a league that has average and OBP. It gives value to low avg/high walk guys like Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard value while making guys like Jose Lopez much less valuable. It is redundant, but adds plenty of strategy, and is much more fun than straight up average. All 20 people in the league agree on this, so I am not sure why it is so absurd when there are so many players who have bad averages/good OBP’s and good averages/low OBP’s.

    If you can’t stand it, go with AVG and BB’s. Doing just OBP for a league is stupid because it completely devalues guys who get a lot of hits but not a lot of walks, just as average-only devalues low average/high walk guys.

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    • elgringo79 says:

      Right you are. And while a BB generates a man on base the same as a hit, it does not advance runners the same as a hit. Therefore, hits should be more valuable. If you can’t set separate values for hits and walks, than “double-dipping” your hits in the AVG and OBP categories while “single-dipping” your walks in the OBP categorty pseudo-satisfies that calculation.

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      • elgringo79 says:

        For anyone interested, baseballmanager.com has a game-resolution formula that separately factors getting on base and advancing runners, with different values for singles, doubles, triples, HRs, sacrifices, BBs, and SBs derived from Bill James’ work.

        And, it’s fun.

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    • alskor says:

      “Doing just OBP for a league is stupid because it completely devalues guys who get a lot of hits but not a lot of walks, just as average-only devalues low average/high walk guys.”

      Uh.. Who cares? Seems to me devaluing empty high AVG players is the correct method. The only reason those guys are valued as much as they are is BECAUSE of fantasy baseball traditionally ignoring the BB.

      I say choose one or the other and live with the ramifications. If you really care about realism (and you probably should just get over that) then go with OBP. All that really devalues is doubles and triples, since HR is (presumably) another category. Doubles and triples (especially) are a little too rare and unpredictable to be a fun fantasy category.

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      • elgringo79 says:

        “If you really care about realism (and you probably should just get over that)”

        …easy for some, I see.

        At any rate, there really is no need to settle for this idiot’s one-or-the-other philosophy. There are other games in the world besides ESPN and tic-tac-toe.

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      • elgringo79 says:

        I take back the idiot remark. I’m hungry and therefore pissed off.

        But the question remains, why would you choose an unrealistic game over a realistic one?

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      • alskor says:

        Hey, if you want to live in your mom’s basement and be the Dungeon Master with a 74 category fantasy league with 150 man full minor league rosters, be my guest.

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      • alskor says:

        Neither version is “realistic,” that’s the issue.

        Fantasy Baseball is a game, and if the rules get too complex or the categories too duplicative it ceases to be fun for most people.

        As I said above, it is more than challenging enough to predict performance year to year. Adding in categories that obscure player value doesnt actually add realism, IMHO.

        Id much rather make it a dynasty league or add minor leaguers, or contracts, etc… rather than add categories to the scoring, actually. That is the best way to add realism, IMO, and do so in a way that keeps it a fun and challenging game that isn’t so complex people lose interest.

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      • elgringo79 says:

        First of all, it’s not that frickin hard to go with AVG and OBP to A) count a player’s contribution via the walk, and B) count the base hit more because it does more. That’s only two categories, not 74.

        I agree that to try to achieve realism by adding more and more categories to a roto point-accumulation game is never going to get you very far. When I talk about realistic baseball, I’m not even really talking about roto at all. There are other formats out there.Take a look at baseballmanager.com. You draft players (and yes there is ae financial system like you mentioned,) you set your daily lineup and what your players do in real life they do for you. That simple.

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    • BIP says:

      Or you can do what we do and replace HR with TB and AVG with OBP.

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  7. elgringo79 says:

    Well, unless you can count walks as a separate stat, then you have to count OBP along with AVG.

    (assuming you care anything about managing baseball and are not just a roto-tool.)

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  8. alskor says:

    Great points. I hate these super complex leagues. Predicting player performance is more than tough enough. I dont mind switching in say OBP for AVG, but KISS! This is a game, not real life! No one is impressed that you play in a 23 category league that includes WAR! All you’re doing is detracting from your enjoyment of the game.

    My rule of thumb is: If it isnt something that can be easily seen/calculated when you are watching a baseball game on TV then it shouldn’t be a fantasy category. Don’t be a Dungeon Master. Keep it to categories you can follow when you’re watching.

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    • FireOmar says:

      All true but a super complex league makes it easier to son all the other participants on draft day and rip them off on counterintuitive trades.

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    • R M says:

      I completely agree. I despise leagues with tons of categories. That said, I am a big fan of adding holds and OBP. Those are 2 easily predictable stats that add a little to the flexibility and fun of the league while not making it overly complicated.

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  9. recca says:

    a quality start can yield a 4.50 ERA. Isn’t giving 4.5 earned runs in 9 innings enough to win a game?

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  10. Lombard says:

    How about this for double dipping? My league uses Offensive SO’s, Avg, and OPS. So every SO dings me in AVG, OBP, SLG, and SO. Its completely frustrating especially knowing the true ‘value’ of a SO.

    Last year I came in with idea I’d punt SO’s without considering the other effects of the K. I ended up punting that category about 120 yards by having Mark Reynolds, Chris Davis, and Carlos Pena on my team at one point. It took a complete team overhaul mid season just to squeeze into the playoffs.

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    • elgringo79 says:

      Now THAT’s a good example of double-dipping screwing up a game.

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      • Jason B says:

        It’s not really a ‘double dipping’ thing per se (look! Latin! How learned!) but I detest counting K’s against hitters. Just hate it.

        Strangely, though, counting them *for* pitchers is perfectly acceptable to me. Pitchers with high strikeout numbers are always tantalizing draft bait. I’ll happily overlook almost any amount of wildness or ineffectiveness for 10 K/9!! Hellooooooo, Manny Parra!

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    • Nate says:

      Here’s a fun exercise as to what would happen if Mark Reynolds had only struck out 186 times like Ryan Howard and instead put the ball in play those 37 extra times.

      -Assume he maintained his BABIP of .338 he would have 12 extra hits (rounding down).
      -Assume those hits were singles
      -Mark Reynolds would have: .282/.367/.564/.931, 44 HRs, 186 SOs
      -Ryan Howard hit: .279/.360/.571/.931, 45 HRs, 186 SOs

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  11. Jimbo says:

    “If you aren’t a Dungeon Master…”

    I genuinely appreciate your saving me the time of reading this post. ;-)

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  12. AndyS says:

    This really isn’t that absurd. I disagree with this post entirely, in fact. If I have a 5x league, AVG, HR, RBI, R, SB, why should SBs be just as valuable as the other categories? We know this isn’t true. By putting in double dipping (for instance, AVG and OBP), you’re moving closer toward the true value of these events.

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  13. scatterbrian says:

    Just FYI – Mythbusters busted the germ-spreading double-dip myth.

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