Ottoneu 101: Roster Organizer

With just over 2 months left in the season, it’s likely that your Ottoneu league has started to have some separation at the top of the standings. In reality, this has probably been happening for a while.  Typically races do not stay “close” for this long and (since Ottoneu has no playoff structure) you have probably been faced with the opportunity to start rebuilding in some aspect. A lot of advice could be given on the type of moves you should consider if you’re rebuilding – which trades you should make, players you should claim, which breakouts players are for real, etc. – but instead of commenting on that specifically, today I want talk about a tool that can help you have perspective as you plan toward 2017.

If you’ve played Ottoneu for more than a season, you are probably familiar with the Roster Organizer. If you’re new to Ottoneu, you may not have noticed its existence in season. In the offseason, the roster organizer replaces the lineups page as your offseason planning tool. However, it still can still be accessed in season from your team’s lineup page (boxed in red). The Roster Organizer can be located from your team page as well. The link is in the same place on that page.

Roster Organizer
From this link you will be able to access the Roster Organizer. Clicking the link will take you to a page nearly identical to the Lineups page but with additional slots for cuts, disabled lists, and minor leagues. Note that any player can be put into these three categories, and listing a player as a “cut” does not actually cut them from your squad. However, it reduces the player’s salary from your current cap penalty. This can be useful when trying to determine which of your current players you can build around for next year. I’d highly recommend looking at your squad and seeing where you stand. By doing this, you can get a better idea of players you want to hold on to going into next year, as well as the financial implication of keeping that player. Maybe you have a lot of players you like, but will have trouble meeting the salary cap if you keep all of them. The Roster Organizer can be helpful in realizing this – and can help you organize the players you have who may be worth trading in season. But what about players you want to target? Is there a way to plan for acquiring players?

Roster Organizer 1

Actually, you can! All you have to do is click on an open spot in your lineup “Click to add Target” and type in a players name and salary. Hit save and that player and salary will be added to your roster.  For illustration purposes, I have included one of my teams in the graphic. Since I have an opening at 3B, I have included Kyle Seager as a target. I have no way of knowing if he will actually be available via trade but I can use this function to see what my roster would look like if I were to acquire him.

So how much money should I actually set aside for next year?

It will largely depend on the players you have, but I try to target about $5-$10 dollars per roster spot depending on need. That’s a very large range, and there isn’t really a wrong answer to this. However, what is important is that you have a plan. If you have a stacked super team, and you only need to fill 5 roster spots with $8 dollars, that’s perfectly reasonable. However, if you are rebuilding, you probably want to enter the auction with more wiggle room. As a rule of thumb, if I am rebuilding, I try to plan for a roster that allows me to enter the auction with as much money as possible. If I’m likely to be competitive, I don’t have any problem entering the auction with less funds, since my roster is already full of impact talent.

How many players should I plan to keep?

While there are valid arguments on both sides, I strongly believe you should plan to keep less players than convention may say you should. Often by a wide margin. Because too many players are usually kept, If you are rebuilding, I would advocate being stingy with your planned “keeps” and viewing any borderline players as trade fodder. As the deadline approaches, I would try condensing my assets to acquire several elite keepers instead of 3 good but not great keepers. Typically the endowment effect is strong in Roster Organizer decisions and it’s a lot easier to make keeping that borderline RP your default setting, instead of filling your roster with a cheaper option once the offseason starts. Due to this, I would recommend organizing your team into your 5-15 best assets. Include those in your budget for next year. Then take the remaining players and try to acquire other assets who you view as equivalent to those top assets on your team. It’s easy to run out of roster spots (especially in a rebuild) and condensing assets constantly is a way to preemptively avoid this.

What about you? Do you use the Roster Organizer in season? How do you find yourself planning for the next season? Let’s discuss in the comments.

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Joe works at a consulting firm in Pittsburgh. When he isn't working or studying for actuarial exams, he focuses on baseball. He also writes @thepointofpgh. Follow him on twitter @Ottoneutrades

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Tom Oltarzewski

I love using the roster organizer even when my team is in contention. If I’m considering adding or trading a high priced player (or a really cheap one who would help keep my cap space open) the organizer makes it really easy to visualize how that will impact my team going into next season, or even just to play around with various trade/free agent scenarios during this season.