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BaseballGB Fantasy League Guide

by Mark George
We now have 14 managers lined up for the second BaseballGB Fantasy League. There are plenty of familiar names who are back for more this year as well as some new players. This guide will hopefully come in handy for newer fantasy players not just in our league, but also applies to new players in general.
How the league works:
Each week will see seven matchups between two teams, who will be competing in 12 categories, six each for offense and pitching.
The hitting stats are runs (R), home runs (HR), runs batted in (RBI), stolen bases (SB), batting average (AVG), and on base percentage + slugging percentage (OPS).
The pitching stats are wins (W), saves (SV), strikeouts (K), holds (HLD), earned run average (ERA) and walks and hits per inning pitched (WHIP).
The matchups will usually run from Monday to Sunday. 
Here’s a matchup from last season’s league:
Orpington Isotopes 22 3 15 1 .226 .625 3 7 51 1 3.92 1.24 3
SWAT 22 5 19 3 .214 .623 5 3 56 3 3.38 1.14 8
As you can see, SWAT beat my Isotopes in eight categories, while I won three categories and one was a tie.
The results are put in a standings table of wins-losses-ties.
Over the course of the season the records add up and we will end up with the top six teams going into the championship playoffs and the next six teams going into the consolation playoff.
The playoffs:
The top two teams in the championship and consolation playoffs get byes through the first round of the playoffs, so the other four teams battle it out for two places in the next round.
3rd v 6th
4th v 5th
9th v 12th
10th v 11th
Next round:
1st v 4th or 5th
2nd v 3rd or 6th
7th v 10th or 11th
8th v 9th or 12th
Final round (lasts two weeks instead of the usual one):
The two remaining teams in the championship and consolation playoffs go head-to-head. There will also be a matchup between the beaten semi-finalists.
The draft:
The draft is an exciting event which seasoned fantasy baseball players look forward to, as we all get together online and pick the players who will be on your team for the season.
About half an hour before the draft is due to begin, the teams will be put in a random order generated by Yahoo.
The draft works like a snake, so the 14 teams will each pick one player in the first round.
Then in the second round, the team which picked last in the first round picks first in the second round and so on.
The snake continues until all teams have picked 20 players.
Each manager has a maximum of 90 seconds to make their pick. If they do not pick in this time, Yahoo will pick a player, so you might end up with someone you don’t want.
Your roster:
Each team must fill the following positions:
OF (can also be CF)
OF (can also be CF)
UT (any hitter)
P (starter or reliever)
P (starter or reliever)
You also have five bench (BN) spots to fill. It is up to you how you use these spots. You can use them for hitters, pitchers or a combination of both.
It is a good idea to have at least one hitter on your bench who you can put in your lineup when other players aren’t playing, as well as having a rotation of starting pitchers.
REMEMBER: If your pitchers do not pitch at least 20 innings a week, they will lose ALL of the pitching categories. Reaching this limit should not be a problem if you check your team regularly. The minimum limit is there to make for a fair competition. It encourages owners to have a mix of starters and relievers rather than completely stocking up on relief pitchers.
Your lineup:
You can make changes to your lineup every day, but must do so before the MLB games of the players involved start. For example, if a hitter is not in the starting lineup (he’ll have an X next to his name), you can bench him for another hitter providing the games of the guy you’re benching and the guy you want to replace him with haven’t already started.
Another thing to keep an eye on is when your starting pitchers are due to pitch. If they are scheduled to pitch, you will see an ^ next to his name. Now it’s up to you whether you have them in your team that day – you may not want to if they are up against a good team or in a hitter friendly stadium – but your pitchers must throw at least 20 innings a week.
The DL:
If a player is put on the DL by his MLB team, you can do the same in your fantasy team. You have a maximum of three DL spots which you can use. Once you put a player on the DL, you can pick up a free agent player to fill up your roster.
Each team has a limit of 50 transactions they can make during the season, so use them wisely. You might decde to use them to pick up a player if you put someone on the DL, or dump a struggling player for a guy in form, or add an extra starting pitcher at the end of the week if you think it might help you in a close matchup.
You can also make trades with other managers. These do not count against your 50 move limit.
Useful advice:
Before you do the draft for real, do a mock draft – there is a link to this on the league website. This will help you get used to the draft system, see which players are being drafted when and should help you avoid any regrets you may have after you do the real draft.
When drafting, you are after a balanced team. It’s no good just having great hitting or great pitching, you need a mix of both.
Keep an eye on the latest injury news and battles for playing time, as it may affect the players you choose.
Use your bench spots and DL spots. They can really help you turn a close matchup into a win.
And, most importantly, don’t give up on your team. There’s nothing worse than a league which has a couple of teams at the bottom who give up early in the year.
In a head-to-head format you can make up ground quickly – and there’s always a weekly match-up to win regardless of the overall standings - so don’t give up!
Also, giving up is unfair to the other managers who are trying hard every day.
You don’t have to sacrifice a lot of time to your team, just check in for a few minutes a day to sort out your team and see how you are doing.

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Matt Smith March 8, 2010 - 7:21 pm

Thanks for the great primer, Mark. It should be a lot of fun once again.

As noted, it doesn’t take long to check on your team. Often you can set your pitchers up a couple of days in advance, so you don’t need to make changes every day. It’s always worth keeping an eye on the injured list though so that you can swap out someone who’s going to be on the bench for 3-4 days.

I see that Yahoo is making live scoring updates available to all this year (rather than those paying extra for it). That could get addictive at the end of the season, and even at the end of some weekly contests, if the scores are tight.

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