What Else Would You Change, Fantasy Baseball Player?

If you were fantasy baseball’s “King for a Day” or “Queen for a Day,” then what would you do? Just imagine: The entire community must bow to your will. All commissioners are at your command.

I may have opened Pandora’s Box here. We might gain some serious insight into the makeup of some of our fellow readers who are bold enough to comment, particularly if the filter is off.

Last week, I expressed my dissatisfaction with the wins category in our fake baseball games. I wondered aloud if something beyond quality starts or wins plus quality starts, something like a modified version of Pure Quality Starts or Game Score, would do, even if it meant changing other categories to accommodate. I’m hopeful but not blind to the likelihood that something with a binary result like quality starts is most suitable for the standard game.

The response to that blog so far has been great. Some yays, some nays, most of the thoughts somewhere in the between, with plenty of impassioned comments – one way or another. I appreciate discourse, especially on a topic about which I don’t have all the answers – which is all of them – but often I have plenty of questions after I hear someone else’s. I look forward to surveying the feedback and coming up with some sort of reaction, an attempt to facilitate further discussion.

In the meantime, I’m curious about which other traditional categories you dislike and what might be your suggestions for alternatives. Many people play in leagues that have customized scoring, whether the scoring is rotisserie, head-to-head, or any other format, and they have a blast. Those leagues aren’t for everyone, or even most people, usually. Doesn’t make them wrong or anything. If there’s one label I’d be OK with having ascribed to me, it’s “relativist.” There are a lot of statistics in baseball, and a lot of fantasy games that people enjoy because of them. The possibilities seem boundless.

Practically, though, they’re not, really. My expectation is that, when you boil them down, many of the traditional categories do a respectable job in achieving what it is we want from our games. The work of some of my colleagues in the industry has helped me to form that belief. Thanks for the encouragement, eh? All I’m saying is that you might be disappointed, at least as far as my conclusions go. Fair warning.

Just because that’s what I anticipate doesn’t mean there’s no reason to discuss it, even for me. I could be wrong (yet again), obviously. That’s cool with me. Fantasy sports is one of the few arenas in which I’ve grown plenty comfortable with the idea that something I think, say, write or do might be incorrect. I wouldn’t gain more perspective if I didn’t ask. I might not like or agree with some of the viewpoints, but I might agree with or like some of them a lot. It helps you and I to understand the all-important why, as long as that’s something we’re willing to do.

Last year, Tout Wars experimented with a replacement for batting average in the mixed league auction. AVG was out, OBP was in. I understand that this isn’t a new idea, but it’s uncommon for an industry league to go against tradition, even for the sake of a potentially better game. (They’ve experimented with other things, too. I don’t have the time or space to get into the Tout LLC’s mission or why I think it’s kind of refreshing. If you’re interested, then head to their site.) They were pleased enough with the reception to institute the change in all four of their leagues in 2014.

A few years ago, the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Industry Insiders Leagues made some alterations, too. The setup exchanged AVG for OBP and HR for SLG. A couple of years ago, they made a switch from W to QS on the pitching side. The mix is challenging, if for no other reason than it’s different.

One of those changes in particular is, I think, outstanding. Dare I say ideal? Slugging percentage is a better alternative to home runs in an otherwise pretty traditional format. SLG rewards non-HR extra-base hits and doesn’t result in nearly as much duplicity for the home run. I think it works better with on-base percentage than batting average because of the redundancy of those two categories otherwise. I think it’s a great substitution because it incorporates two rates for hitters like there are for pitchers.

I think Perry Missner, supreme commissioner of those FSWA leagues, has set up the best 5×5 arrangement in the fantasy game. He’s surveyed the participants every year. He’s introduced the possibility of the substitution of SV for SV+HLD, if I recall correctly, and that’s probably a good way to go to distribute value among relief pitchers a little more equitably, even if the hold is a bit random and unbiased, like the win. Perhaps for that reason, W+QS is a good correlative evolution of his QS category. I think Missner is kind of cool revolutionary.

What do you propose? What have you found that works best in your leagues? What hasn’t? Why do you or don’t you believe that any of the suggestions work?

You’d include fielding statistics? How exciting. … Have you tried Scoresheet?




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Nicholas Minnix oversaw baseball content for six years at KFFL, where he held the loose title of Managing Editor for seven and a half before he joined RotoGraphs. He's played in both Tout Wars and LABR since 2010. He doesn't profess to be as intelligent as the rest of the FanGraphs staff, but he tries to make up for it with occasional wit and philosophical reverie. Follow him on Twitter @NicholasMinnix or Google.

84 Responses to “What Else Would You Change, Fantasy Baseball Player?”

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  1. shibboleth says:

    OPS instead of Average
    PQS instead of Wins
    SLD instead of Saves

    All Yahoo needs to do is get PQS in and I’ll be happy.

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  2. MillerTime89 says:

    In my 14-team H2H category league we use a 8×8 setup involving

    R
    H
    HR
    RBI
    SB
    TB
    AVG
    OPS

    IP
    W
    CG
    QS
    SV
    K
    ERA
    WHIP

    We have had issues with the pitching categories. A lot of guys are streaming/hoarding pitchers to make the most of the counting stat categories, which we want to get away from a little bit because it’s killing our FA options.

    We are looking to move more towards the following pitching categories:

    W
    QS
    CG
    SV
    HD
    K
    ERA
    WHIP

    I’m trying to sell the guys in my league that K/9 would be worth it to make the switch, but everyone feels it makes RPs way too good and hurts SPs.

    Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!

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    • MillerTime89 says:

      I really wish Yahoo would incorporate a W+QS category into their leagues. That’d be an awesome category.

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      • Tom B says:

        W + QS makes no sense to me. It just creates more mud.

        S+HLD is a completely different thing, because it incorporates more players and roles into the fantasy game.

        W+QS is just adding numbers that don’t need to be added.

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      • Danny says:

        I think the logic behind using using W+QS is a little flawed since it’s just a way to account for the limitations of both stats. Seems a roundabout way of accomplishing that. I’m not sure what a PQS is but if it allows for QS for a pitcher who goes deeper into a game while also giving up a few runs then I like it. I think it would also give some value to middle relievers who come in when the game is tied. If you’re in a league with QS and Hld’s then they only help ratios and K’s. Including a QS+Q category would give them 1 point at least. =

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    • Rob says:

      I think CG is a poor category. If you saw the Notgraphs piece last week, CG are in a steep decline and one CG a week would win it almost every week, but mostly you will have 0-0 ties in that category every week, which just isn’t fun.

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    • Doesn’t answer your question, but just as additional comment, I *hate* using CG for pitchers. Way too random.

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    • Bobby Ayala says:

      Don’t worry about K/9 with relievers, their 2-3 IP per week doesn’t impact those stats as much as you’d think, and you can always raise the minimum weekly IP to discourage people from trying an RP-only strategy.

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    • Cat says:

      Lose IP as a category. Instead, set a minimum IP requirement to score any pitching category that week. Then, limit FA pickups to a set number per week to restrain streaming. We have nice balance in our Yahoo League doing these.

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    • blahblahblah says:

      I’m in an 8×8 yahoo league that uses holds and its pretty good. Changes lots of dynamics and strategy. Some people stock up on SP, go for the cumulative stats. But holds guys have low ERA, low WHIP, lots of K’s so we have some players who start the minimum and load up on bullpen.
      We also don’t use IP, but rather losses instead. That way the hoarders get somewhat penalized for tossing out unbalanced staffs
      Plus, CG are pretty rare (Less so as of late admittedly)I’d hate to have a week riding on them.

      Tangenting, my one beef is that we use K’s as a negative in offense (As in lowest amount of K’s wins). Seeing how K’s are such a big part of the modern game I’d like to replace this with slugging or, dreaming crazy here, Runs Created, something more indicative of a players true offensive value

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  3. Atreyu Jones says:

    Isn’t the switch from HR to TB (rather than HR to SLG) a better accompaniment to the switch from AVG to OBP?

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    • supgreg says:

      Not to me, I like the idea of tw0 rate stats for hitters.

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      I was going to say, TB is a better way to handle it if you want a counting stat. SLG is better if you want a rate stat. And that comes down to how much you want to reward volume. TB also has some interesting side effects that aren’t present with SLG.

      Personally, I think quantity should be rewarded (slightly) more than quality. But I’m also the resident streaming expert, so I would say that.

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    • Double J says:

      Doesn’t TB have significant overlap with BA?
      A better category to replace HR, would by Total Extra Bases (TXB): Total Bases- Hits. So each 2b is worth 1, 3b worth 2 and Hr worth 3. You could also do Extra Base Hits: 2b+3b+HR.

      In my 5×5 we use: HR, SB, OBP, Runs Produced and Double+Triples, and standard 5 pitching categories. I’d like to do Net SB, but no one else likes it.

      Pitching wise: Sv+Holds is interesting other than Holds is such a stupid stat it makes Save look like wOBA. I’d like Sv+Holds-BS. I thought IP might make an interesting stat since it equates to getting outs. W+QS I like but probably tough sell to my league mates.

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  4. Lenard says:

    Owners need to be active and set their lineups, respond to trades in a timely manner, etc. etc.

    Of straight to the guillotine.

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  5. Adam says:

    Besides category changes, I’d love to see some rule like, “Everyone must make at least one trade before the deadline.” In too many leagues, people are gun shy. Make trading a requirement, and you’ll at least promote activity, even if people are trading scrubs to meet the requirement.

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    • JMo37 says:

      Isn’t managing a team up to the owner. Requirement to make a trade seems pretty petty as I usually do not trade for the sake of ‘just making a trade’.

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  6. James says:

    Drafting a DSL minor league team.

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  7. Rob says:

    Net stolen bases instead of just steals. It punishes overly aggressive baserunners, even if you sometimes end the week with -2 steals. I’ve never tried net saves, but it is a similar concept and might work.

    Otherwise, PQS would be nice to have instead of QS and I like SV+HD, SLG, and OBP. Runs created would also make for a good category.

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  8. Really enjoying this 5×5 league:

    R/AVG/SLG/OBP/NetSB
    IP/HRallowed/ERA/Kper9/BBper9

    If I could, I’d change the K and BB to %, rather than per-9, but that’s not possible at the major sites right now.

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  9. David says:

    Two things we have done in my main league:

    Small bench but bigger DL (3/5). Basically, if someone is on your roster you need to play him. No hoarding or sitting on players hoping for some change. It makes players put their money where their mouth is, so to speak.

    Second, we switched to points (it is a H2H league). With a points system you can assign a value to any and everything that happens on the field, and scale it exactly how you want.

    The H2H format keeps more managers active through the year. It is a redraft league, so some guys would be out and lose interest by July with traditional roto scoring. In a H2H league, with wild card playoff spots, nearly everyone has a shot at the playoffs late into the year.

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    • Tom B says:

      H2H points is quite possibly the worst system to play fantasy baseball under.

      IMO, H2H only allows for a manager to get lucky in the last 3 weeks of the season.

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      • Tom B says:

        H2H points also usually requires the ability to put in a “max innings per week”, something yahoo doesn’t allow for unfortunately.

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      • David says:

        Funny. I find it to be much more representative of actual baseball. While there is nothing worse than putting up the second most points in the league in a given week, only to be matched up against the guy with the most points, such angst is much like the real sport itself. And it makes for much better smack talk.

        As far as maxing out innings, that really depends on how heavily you weight IP with points. That is scalable. And of course, there is the risk inherent in chasing quantity over quality in any given week.

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      • Justin says:

        I like categories because it forces every team to be well balanced, instead of being able to stack your team in one area. In that regard categories is more representative of real baseball

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      • Reggie Cleveland says:

        I know I’m going to get my head bit off for saying this but I really don’t understand the appeal to roto. It’s like saying MLB is going to determine playoff spots by Run Differential as opposed to wins and losses. Obviously, we’re talking about “fantasy” baseball so it’s never going to be a perfect representation of the real thing but I prefer a system that comes as close to it as possible, even if that means I get bounced in the first round of the playoffs despite scoring the most points all season up to that point.

        I sure do wish there were at least an occasional piece here on FG that at least acknowledged the existence of H2H points and factored the differences into the analysis.

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      • Reggie Cleveland says:

        And since when is a balanced team an accurate representation of real baseball? There’s a bunch of different ways a MLB team can build their roster and very few are “balanced.”

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  10. David says:

    I personally like having negative accumulators, primarily in pitching, to provide a counterbalance against streaming. Streaming is fine as a tactic but no fun as a strategy. I’ve seen too many owners who simply abandon ERA or WHIP in exchange for grinding out INN, W, and Ks by turning over a roster full of middling pitchers every single week (or even day). If you include Losses with W/QS, and if you use HRA[llowed] (or HR/9 if ratios are your thing) it takes streaming down from a regular plan to something employed only carefully and when truly beneficial.

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    • Atreyu Jones says:

      An innings limit is another way to counter-balance streaming.

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      • David says:

        Also true, but it’s a cudgel that smashes everything. HRA is at least a skill based bound. High innings are still permissible, if you can field a good roster of pitchers to do it.

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      • Atreyu Jones says:

        True. You just have to find the right balance. If you simply add HRA, you might give the incentive for a relievers-only staff, which would focus on SV, HRA, ERA, and WHIP.

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    • d.petkanas says:

      We play in a head to head league and simply added a 3 add/drop max per week to allow for limited streaming. In fact we allow the trading of add/drops so if anything its increased trading and strategy in our league.

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  11. snufflefuegos says:

    Why would fantasy baseball players ignore what the more popular fantasy football does? Points. Its easy. I mean football is more popular empirically speaking, but there are lessons to be learned.

    As one commenter said, assign a value, weight it appropriately to actual value equally proportioned and within the context of a real game of baseball. We use 35 categories (a handful like pickoffs rarely coming into play,) you really don’t have to pay too good attention to traditional stats, but as it turns out, they translate to points and at the end of the year, our top 20 closely mirror WAR rankings. It’s great and my league loves it.

    There needs to be better ways to score fielding however. Assists work but when you add putouts, anybody w 1b or C eligibility screws up everything. And Yady Molina is one of the best defensive catchers but nobody runs on him so Caught Stealing doesn’t really work in counting.

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    • Tom B says:

      The irony here is palpable. Go look up ottoneu scoring formats.

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    • supgreg says:

      I’m glad you like your league, but my “fantasy” does not involve counting pickoffs.

      I prefer simple for points, just like my football leagues. Total bases, runs, rbi, and steals. Wins, saves, innings, K’s.

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    • Bobby Strawberry says:

      That sounds like the worst league ever. And fantasy football sucks.

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    • cs3 says:

      Why in the world would anyone want to make H2H fantasy baseball MORE like H2H fantasy football?
      Fantasy football is horrible (and yes of course I play it). It involves a ton more luck than baseball, and its just a complete crapshoot. The regular season is based on only 13 matchups, which is only 13 unique lineups.
      In baseball not only are there 20-22 weeks, but you can change your lineup every day.

      And in football, most leagues only use between 9-11 starting positions. Baseball uses more than that twice that amount.
      This results in football being completely unpredictable, and skill/knowledge plays almost no part in winning.

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  12. Matthew says:

    My league has AVG and OPS. I actually find this combination works really well; it rewards doubles, triples and walks while still celebrating the players that are good contact hitters and giving more value to guys like Adam Dunn or Pedro Alvarez at the same time. My league still has the other traditional 5×5 categories, plus HLDs, giving it a 6×6 game structure (HtH).

    If you have to have a 5×5 structure I would say replacing AVG completely with OPS is the best bet. It gives values to walks and doubles and triples and you can keep HR as a novelty stat.

    I will also give a big thumbs up to Perry’s structure. I hate that elite set-up men are ignored in favor of worthless guys that happen to be labeled as a team’s closer and the QS+W is perfect for countering the vagaries of the win stat.

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  13. Jeff says:

    Wins are a great category, as is AVG. Not because they are meaningful, mind you, but because they are volatile. They add a fun layer of chaos to the game. Using stable stats is more boring; the best draft wins barring injury. I prefer the ups-and-downs and inconsistencies of the standard game. It also makes the waiver wire more useful due to the volatility as well, in my opinion.

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    • Tom B says:

      No one actually wants chaos, they want predictable stats that can be prepared for. Making smart moves should win you fantasy leagues, not getting lucky.

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      • supgreg says:

        Don’t say “no one”, you don’t know everyone.

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      • David says:

        A league based on only the most predictable stats is boring. You might as well just declare the winner based on pre-season projections.

        That said, any idea that you are in control of the outcome is an illusion.

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    • Two Jakes says:

      I agree. Sure, there is a definite element of chaos with wins and runs, but it’s not completely unpredictable. I may have a great starter on a very good team, but if he is matching up with Kershaw, I know there’s a very good chance I’m taking a loss, even if he only gives up two runs over seven. (My league penalizes losses in addition to rewarding wins.)

      I don’t think the fantasy game needs to necessarily approximate value in the real game because this is not real baseball, just a game that follows it’s own internal rules. It’s like comparing Risk to actual warfare and world domination.

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    • Jim says:

      I’ve always wanted to do a four category league, just runs, RBI, wins and saves. Total chaos.

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  14. Mojotronica says:

    I like Ron Shandler’s point in his 2012 book that less is more — when you add several stats you generally just increase the emphasis of something like power hitting.

    Shandler’s Roto 500 system uses just 4×4 stats, and the goal is to improve the skills aspect of play without throwing away the traditional Fantasy Baseball measures of success.

    (His stats are HR, SB, OBP, Run Production (R + RBI – HR) x K, (SV + Holds), ERA and W in a Daily Changes auction league with an innings cap. He also has set minimum prices for auctioned players based on last year’s performance and a $500 cap that includes FAAB for the season.)

    I don’t agree with all of Shandler’s stats, I think Run Production, ERA and W are too team-based or field dependent. (SV + Holds) is opportunity based too, but a HUGE improvement over SV alone, and without this metric relief pitchers offer too little, in my opinion. Tracking SV + Holds is a concession to the need to include RPs in the game.

    I would use these stats in an Innings Capped league:

    HR, Net SB, Total Bases, OBP
    K, (SV + Holds), WHIP, Quality Starts

    These stats are much less dependent on luck or team or fielding or opportunity than the classic stats, with the (SV + Holds) and QS stats giving RPs and SPs a role to play.

    In leagues without an innings cap, we can add Run Production (R + RBI – HR) and track pitcher Outs (I prefer Out to IP as a stat, it’s the same thing but Outs are more elegant) to round out the stats. With those 5×5 stats we are tracking everything that classic 5×5 leagues track PLUS more, in simple 5×5 stats (except ERA or pitcher’s Earned Runs, which I think are so dependent on external factors I can’t justify keeping around.)

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    • Mojotronica says:

      Sorry, forgot to mention, in addition to doing more with less (tracking more with fewer stats) Shandler’s percentage stats for hitting and pitching are balanced. (OBP for the hitters, ERA for the ptichers.)

      This is important because the unbalanced stats in traditional 5×5 or classic 4×4 leagues puts emphasis on volume hitting but quality pitching. This was one of the aspects of the game that Shandler’s LIMA strategy exploited in his early 4×4 leagues. He could get improved ERA and WHIP by avoiding SP altogether and only punt W. We should generally push for FEWER stats, and BALANCED stats on both sides of game.

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  15. Burton Cummings says:

    Fantasy baseball is fun!

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  16. Sean Patrick says:

    If I had my way this is how I would set up a league. It probably takes a little bit a way from power hitters (RBI’s) and starting pitchers (Wins) in comparison to standard leagues. But those are fairly reprehensible statistics and I think those player types are over-represented in standard fantasy. 4 x 4 Setup:

    OBP
    ISO
    SB
    Runs

    RA/9
    Saves + Holds
    K’s
    WHIP

    I think ISO is far superior to SLG if you already have OBP on the table. No reason to repeat AVG in two stats. At the end of the day, having SLG and OBP would leave you pretty reliant on BABIP. Whereas, ISO gives power hitters a clear stat to dominate like they normally would HR.

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  17. buddyglass says:

    I play at ESPN. I’d like to see a change in how daily adds are handled. Specifically, I’d like to see them interact with the waiver order somehow. In my league there’s typically a “race” to add optimal streaming SPs each day when the rosters lock.

    For example, the second rosters lock on Monday I’m fighting with other owners to be the first guy to add a SP for Tuesday. A bunch of guys watching seconds tick off the clock so they can press “submit” is dumb. Plus there’s no “cost” to the guy who actually “wins” by being the first one through the gate.

    So…I’d like to see a system where owners can queue up add/drop transactions that will be adjudicated by the system right when rosters lock, according to the existing waiver order. If one of my queued adds goes through (because I’m higher in the waiver order than the other managers trying to add that same player) then I drop to the bottom of the order.

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    • pudieron89 says:

      Sounds like you need to plan your day better to get to the waiver wire first.

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      • buddyglass says:

        Oh, I usually win. I’m just saying it’s kind of a waste of time and kind of unfair that I’m able to get pick-of-the-waiver-wire every day without ever “paying” for it in any way in terms of waiver order, etc. We have no transactions limit (or cost) so I’m free to add/drop to my heart’s delight, and I do so liberally.

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    • Atreyu Jones says:

      I haven’t played at ESPN, but in daily leagues there’s part of a day in which you can’t add a player? I don’t understand.

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      • TheTheory says:

        You can add/drop at any time on ESPN.

        What buddyglass is referring to is when your roster freezes for the day.

        Any time before the day’s first pitch means any add shows up on your roster immediately. Any time after first pitch means the add shows up on the next day’s roster.

        If you’re streaming pitchers you need to wait until after that first pitch in order to keep your streaming pitcher in your lineup.

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      • buddyglass says:

        Exactly.

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      • Atreyu Jones says:

        Thanks. So his problem is multiple people using one, and only one, roster spot to use a SP who is going on any day?

        If there are a bunch of guys doing it, I would think it would make sense to “spend” an additional roster spot and just pick up attractive streaming options before the mad rush.

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      • Atreyu Jones says:

        If this situation came up on Yahoo, everyone would have to rush to make adds at around 3am instead of the time of the day’s first pitch.

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      • buddyglass says:

        Some managers reserve more than one roster slot for streaming. I usually have one or two, depending on how strong my other SPs are. Having two also lets me pick up replacements for hitters on Monday and Thursday when their teams don’t have games. So my hitting counting stats also benefit by virtue of my having more AB. Currently my OF5 and UTIL slots are for streaming, mainly because the OF5 and UTIL guys I drafted got hurt or have vastly underperformed and they were more-or-less replacement level to begin with. The choice is basically:

        1. Pick up a replacement-level guy off waivers and hope he morphs into a better-than-replacement-level guy that you can treat as a “permanent” piece of your roster. Think Corey Dickerson or maybe Adam LaRoche.

        2. Don’t try to hit the jackpot and just stream in whoever has the best splits on a given day and/or a guy whose stats profile meets your immediate needs. If I’m way ahead in HR and RBI but behind in SB then maybe I pick up a Craig Gentry against LHP. If I’m way ahead in SB but behind in HR then maybe I pick up a Lucas Duda against RHP. Etc. There are plenty of guys in platoon situations that aren’t viable fantasy options on an everyday basis but are decent when facing their preferred opposition. Drew Stubbs vs. LHP, for example.

        #2 has a few different advantages. First, you can tailor your streaming adds to meet your team’s immediate needs. Second, you’re guaranteed to get 7 games a week out of these slots, whereas a “permanent” guy is going to have off days here and there. There will also be days when “permanent” guy is facing a SP against whom he has bad splits. On the contrary, when you stream you’re nearly guaranteed to have a guy who’s facing his preferred opposition.

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    • Kyle says:

      You should try doing a waiver wire that is processed once a day, we do a FAAB with waivers processing at 11 AM everyday. It causes issues when a person makes claims that don’t process (someone with a larger claim gets the player you were trying to get) but if you add redundencies to your claims you almost always get a player.

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    • JMo37 says:

      I used to fight this, then I simply started picking a few days in advance and beat the curve until everyone else caught on, then the league was more normal as the best pitchers were housed earlier without the “waiting on line-ups to set”.

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      • buddyglass says:

        It’s a different dynamic. If you devote one slot to streaming then you can only stream on SP every 2 days. If you devote 2 slots to streaming then you can push through 1 SP/day, but at the cost of a slot that could be used for something else.

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  18. pudieron89 says:

    I don’t see why people get up in arms about W, ERA, whatever “flawed stats” you may have an issue with. My reasoning is simple: You use advanced stats/metrics to predict future performance, which manifests in the more basic statistics that laymen and fantasy rely on. You may not like the chaos this entails for stats like W/ERA, but it’s all part of the fun trying to predict not just which players, but which teams will be good enough to support their good players with run support for Ws or defense for ERA.

    If you get the nuance, it can be a big benefit to you as a fantasy player. Trade for a player who is undervalued in W/ERA like Samardzija or Price, who will likely be on a new (better) team offensively and defensively and help your team out a ton down the stretch. And that’s just one example.

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    • Atreyu Jones says:

      You make a good point about predicting teams and contexts in addition to individual players’ performances, but Wins do a very uneven job at capturing those things (even compared to other Roto stats). There are lots of examples, like John Lackey 2013 v 2011; In the former, he pitched much better, went deeper into games, and was on a better team – yet he had 2 less Wins.

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      • pudieron89 says:

        You can point out exceptions, but I don’t think they make the argument. And if it were easy every time, then why even play the game? That’s the entire fun of fantasy to me, trying to be a better predictor than my fellow league members.

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      • Atreyu Jones says:

        But if more pure randomness is involved, being a better predictor than your opponents becomes less of a factor.

        I, personally, have a high tolerance for luck (or whatever we want to call it) being a factor. Most of the leagues that I have been in have used Wins.

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  19. Cybo says:

    I would love to find a league that counts AVG/SLG/OBP/R/RBI/SB and K9/W/QS/ERA/WHIP/SV+HD.

    I understand and even agree that Wins are a flawed stat in a lot of ways but they are and always have been a part of the game. Luck is never going to be eliminated from sports or even fantasy sports. Runs and RBIs are both extremely reliant on luck as well yet we never hear the masses clamouring to remove those counting stats from fantasy baseball. It seems silly to me to complain about wins and not runs and RBIs as well.

    Also for every way a pitcher can be awarded a win undeserved so can he lose one after having spun a gem. Its baseball. It happens. Or my personal favorite, the 5.2 IP start with 0 ER and no win. QS are every bit as arbitrary as W. Its baseball. We have to build our fantasy rosters accordingly.

    The next best thing in my experience and taste is points leagues. Different values can be assigned to all the possible outcomes. I also like how points leagues offer owners more creative ways to build their rosters to be competitive.

    TL/DR Wins need to stay in fantasy. Just like runs and RBI which are equally as reliant on luck. I imagine there can be a way to quantify this and measure a true discrepancy but alas I am not the one to take on such a unrewarding venture.

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    • Atreyu Jones says:

      I don’t think Runs and RBI are anywhere near Wins in terms of reliant on luck.

      QS are also much less arbitrary than Wins.

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  20. me says:

    I can never get the guys I play with to be adventurous but if I had my way I’d do the following for a H2H cat league

    R
    RBI
    SB-CS
    SLG
    OBP

    W-L
    K
    SV+HLD-BS
    WHIP
    ERA

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  21. TheTheory says:

    The advantage to the typical 5×5 setting is that your average baseball fan knows, understands, and cares about those stats.

    Even minor tweaks to that greatly increase the learning curve for a non-fangraphs-reading fantasy newbie.

    So for fantasy baseball as a whole? I would keep things as they are.

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    • JMo37 says:

      Yes and No; I usually do not play in leagues with a bunch of fairweather baseball fans and the more representative of quality players and quality production is what we all strive to achieve.
      Simple is fine if you want 3 actives out of 12 playing and simple categories are fine as long as your 3 actives are not baseball guys.

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  22. Jonathan says:

    My favorite league is a 6×6 roto league. The categories we employ are…

    R, HR, SB, RBI, OBP, SLG
    IP, SV, QS, K/9, ERA, WHIP

    I particularly enjoy the pitching categories, as they make any and all pitchers relevant. Since IP is a category, you can obviously rack up points in that category by streaming pitchers. However, since we use K/9 instead of K, you can’t also just rack up points in that category. In fact, you generally hurt your team in 3 ratio categories if you simply resort to streaming.

    Also, I don’t see the point in using AVG and OPS, as some posters have mentioned. Since AVG contributes to both categories, its redundant. A better choice is to use OBP and SLG separately. OBP rewards players for getting on base, no matter how they achieve it, and SLG rewards players for all types of extra-base hits, not just HRs.

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  23. Kilgore Trout says:

    We have a unique format that I really like. It’s a head to head points league. We make daily transactions and have two games a week. Monday through Thursday is the first game and Friday through Sunday is the second game. This allows more games which removes some of the luck factor. There is obviously lots of streaming players for Monday and Thursday as many teams are off. I’ve never seen this format anywhere else, but I’ve played a number of other styles and this is easily my favorite.

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  24. danlby says:

    ottoneu with points has been a revelation for me. I like Rotisserie scoring over H2H, and I think I prefer points to Rotisserie/categories. I don’t think points encourages anyone to focus on one particular stat – instead all players are judged “fairly” and any category is worth investments if it is undervalued by other owners.

    In a 5×5, give me:

    R+RBI
    AVG
    BB%
    ISO
    SB-CS

    QS
    SV+HLD
    K-BB (total, not rate stat)
    RA/9
    WHIP

    And set up the league for (1) no streaming, and (2) pitchers only get credit when position matches role: SP slots only get points for actual starting appearances, and RP only get points for actual relief appearances. Perhaps my favorite ottoneu rule.

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  25. Mojotronica says:

    The advantage of HTH over Roto is the clean slate, and the team that wins at the end of the season is hot at the end of the season. There’s no storing up of stats generated in April or May, in September the team has to be competitive to survive.

    The disadvantage is the limitation of facing only one team per week. You might win big against a weak team. You might lose putting up the second best numbers in a week. There is more luck involved.

    The solution is to score Roto style bi-weekly (more than one week to minimize the two-start exploit and to play a meaningful qty of during the all-star break) and tally points at these intervals. Every two weeks you get a fresh star.

    You are scoring against the entire league each two-week period, so luck is less of a factor. You have to field a reasonably balanced team each period to avoid punting stats – you can’t punt SB one period and make it up the next. Those points are either won or lost.

    Two-week segment, Roto-style scoring has the advantages of Roto and the advantages of HTH, with fewer of the weaknesses of each.

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  26. Mojotronica says:

    Weekly adds/drops. It’s no fun to have the league’s indolent vultures scoop up all the interesting free agents while you are busy at work. I play in a league that features weekly adds/drops, with a weekly move cap, and it really adds a great deal to the game. You can research players in your spare time, and the moves cap helps to keep you from doing too much and undermining your pre-season plan.

    You can still do daily changes as long as you have an ottoneu style deep bench, but the limitation on adds/drops makes the game more focused and fun.

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  27. Bill says:

    Ottoneu is good. Would be nice to add AL&NL only leagues. I also like having a corner (1B or 3B) position. Leave 5×5 leagues alone.

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