So many options…
Whether it’s because they’re new fantasy players or have just played in the same league for a long time, some team owners do not realize the different kinds of fantasy sports setups out there. They each offer a different angle to play from, so please give them all a chance if you have the option.
Keeper, dynasty and draft-over leagues are most common, but I’ll also discuss salary cap leagues, auction leagues, touchdown-only leagues and rotisserie baseball leagues.
Let’s take a look at the big three:
- Draft over leagues are the most common types. Yahoo, ESPN, etc. run these leagues every year. Every player starts from scratch and builds their team in the preseason via a draft. Later, trades and free agents allow players to tweak their lineup to championship quality.
- When the season is over, it’s over and players wait until the next preseason to draft a new team
- In their infancy all leagues start out as draft-overs, and follow most of the discussion above. However, throughout the season, an eye is always kept on a few players — usually anywhere from 1 to 6 — that owners would like to keep on their roster for the following year.
- A few months after April’s NFL Draft, owners select their keepers and will have them on their roster the following season. These players are not available in the fantasy draft.
- Depending on the owners and commissioner, players may be allowed to trade draft picks for upcoming seasons, just like NFL teams do. For example: I’ll trade my first- and second-round picks next year to Bob in accounting for Larry Fitzgerald. I get Fitz, but don’t have picks in either of the first two rounds of the draft.
- Again, this is just another layer in a league that starts out as a draft-over. However, in a dynasty league most (10+) or all of the players on a roster are kept for the following season. Add/Drop wisely.
- Obviously, in the following season’s draft, rookies are even more high-ticket items than in keeper leagues. And the drafts are much shorter.
And, some other fantasy sports variations:
Salary cap leagues
- In a salary cap league, owners are provided a set amount of funds (usually measured in millions of dollars) and are not allowed to exceed the limit when selecting a roster of players who are all given preseason salary values based on expectations. As flops flop and sleepers wake up, the dollar values are adjusted, but players stay on rosters for the original price paid. The key is picking players that are going to outperform their values. Every player across the country can have any player (say Adrian Peterson) on their roster, as long as they have enough money to pay for him.
- Auction leagues are a variant that eliminates the draft, and uses a process much like salary cap leagues. Owners are given a salary cap, bid on players auction-style, and can lose that player if they are outbid and don’t offer a higher price. Once you reach your auction cap, you can’t “pick” any more players. After the auction, most leagues follow the rules of standard, keeper or dynasty leagues.
- Obviously, this is a football-only fantasy game. Teams only score points when a player scores a touchdown. (DeAngelo Williams would have been a god in this format this year). This displays the many kinds of variants out there. Some leagues reward players for lengths of touchdowns as well.
- Many baseball leagues use rotisserie settings. Many, like the ones in fantasy football-land, are head-to-head, but some compare statistics accumulated throughout the entire season to determine a champion. In a rotisserie league, players accumulate baseball statistics, like home runs, RBIs, run, etc. and are ranked against the totals for the other teams in the league. If you are ranked near the top of more categories than your foes, you win.
Baseball: Points leagues vs. categories leagues
- While football has a fairly standard scoring setup, baseball has two predominant setups — points and categories.
- In a points league, players earn points based on players’ on-field accomplishments and a statistical forumla. A home run might be worth 4 points, a pitcher’s win might be worth 10 and a save might be worth 3 points. Compile the points from your starting lineup and you have your score. Works in head-to-head or rotisserie leagues.
- In a categories league — Yahoo and ESPN use these setups — players accumulate home runs, stolen bases and WHIP over the course of a week. The results are matched up against a head-to-head foe and whoever has the most in a category “wins” the category and gets a point. Most points (categories) wins.
It’s a quick and dirty overview, but I hope this sheds the light on some of the fantasy sports setups out there. Did I miss any? Should they be expanded? Are there any you’d like to see us review at www.chinstrapninjas.com? Let us know in the comments section below.