Fantasy Baseball Options for Phillies Fans


For the past few weeks, I have been parsing through the Phillies roster and sharing my opinion on who may or may not have relevance in the fantasy game, both in the current 2015 season and in the near future.

Perhaps before sharing that player information, I should have given you a look into the different types of fantasy leagues that are available.  For those of you who may be new to the fantasy game, the inevitable question will be: which style or type of fantasy baseball league is best for me?

To help you answer that question, we need to examine those various types of leagues.  The two most common formats that you will find are Rotisserie (Roto) and Head-to-Head (H2H).

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These are the two types of leagues that you will most often hear me referencing when sharing my thoughts.  Whether you are a fantasy baseball newbie or a highly seasoned veteran, odds are that one of these two styles of play will provide you the most fun in your leisure time.

So what is the difference between two types of leagues?  Both are similar in that they usually use the same categories for scoring.  In most cases what is referred to as a “5×5” scoring format is used, utilizing 5 offensive and 5 pitching categories.

The typical 5 offensive are Average, Runs, Home Runs, RBI, Stolen Bases and the typical 5 pitching are Wins, Saves, ERA, Strikeouts and WHIP.  This is where the similarities in the two styles end.

Rotisserie: Season-long leagues based upon categories where your team is awarded points for where they finish in the overall ranking among all the teams in your league in that category. For example, if there are 12 teams in your league, and your team steals the most bases, then your team will earn 12 points for that category, while the team that steals the least amount of bases will earn 1 point.

This same process then continues for the total amount of categories chosen to use by your league, something that is decided before the season starts. All of the categories are then tallied up and league leaders are determined.

At the end of the season the categories are totaled, and the league Champion is declared based on the team with the highest total number of points.  These numbers are accumulated over the course of the entire season in most cases.

In Head-to-Head leagues, you play a scheduled opponent each week. The team winning the most categories when comparing your two teams wins that “game” or matchup.  In some cases there are ties, but most likely your league will have a tie-breaking method.  In most H2H league’s, there is usually a playoff format used to decide the Champion of your league.

From these basic points, the two styles of leagues can go in a variety of ways, ranging from simple and straightforward, to complex and so challenging that you need to devote a lot of your spare time to them.

I’ll provide you a list of options below to give you an idea on how complex your league can get, and provide an explanation for some:

  • Keeper/Dynasty – Teams can protect or “keep” an agreed upon number of players year to year.
  • Seasonal – All teams redraft all players every year.
  • Categories – Most of the time a 5×5 format as described above is used, but it’s up to each league.
  • Yearly/Weekly – Yearly scoring is used in Roto leagues that accumulate points over the course of the season.  H2H is weekly and a 20-22 week schedule is usually played, followed by playoffs.
  • Teams – In a Roto seasonal league, you can have an odd amount of teams whereas a H2H league will want an even number of teams for scheduling purposes.  Most leagues range from 8 at the minimum to 12, but can grow to 18 or more.
  • Rosters – Most rosters are made up of 25 players, the same as any MLB team.
  • Starters – The standard starting options are C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, 5 SP, 3 RP and occasionally a DH or Utility spot.
  • Minors – A growing number of Keeper/Dynasty leagues have some sort of minor league system where you can control actual minor leaguers/prospects. Seasonal Roto leagues do not.

Those are most of the options that pertain to the two main types of leagues.  I am currently involved with an 18-team Keeper/Dynasty league that plays Head-to-Head, and where teams have not only a 25-man Majors roster, but also a 25-prospect Minors system.

This is a year-round league that has an off-season trade period. There is a Majors Draft preseason, where we select major league players that weren’t “protected” to fill our 25-man rosters. Then in the summer we have a 5 round Minors Draft where we can add to our prospects.

That league is headed into its 18th season, and is by far one of the best out there. The possibilities are limitless in how in-depth you would like your league to become. For someone such as myself and the 17 others who are in the keeper/dynasty league that I belong to, the more complex the better.

Now the question that you need to answer is, which fantasy baseball league is the correct one for you? Hopefully the information that I laid out here will help you to make a decision. One thing I might suggest: try a season at each, and see which you might prefer. Heck, you can always play both if you like!