Fantasy baseball needs our help. It’s on life support. There are pockets of holdouts across the land where the love of fantasy baseball has never been stronger. However, there are more places where interest in the game is waning or flat out fading. What can be done to recapture some of those wayward daughters and sons? How can we bring them back into the fold? What follows are some changes that we could enact to help breath life back into the game.
SHOULD WE HAVE DAILY LINEUP CHANGES?
I dove into the topic the topic of setting your lineup and how you really should do it, in this podcast.
PLAY MORE HEAD-TO-HEAD?
I dislike H2H, and I’ve written about it forever. In Head To Head Baseball – How To Win, I detailed my distaste for H2H while speaking about ways to win in that style of fantasy baseball. What is clear is that folks want to play more of it, so folks should play more of it. As an industry, we need to do a better job embracing the H2H game.
DO WE NEED MORE IL SLOTS?
I know some folks seem to hate IL spots with a passion. I’ve listened to the arguments, but I simply don’t agree with those of you that believe zero is best. I wrote about the options in The Injured List.
WE NEED LARGER BENCHES
No matter what you think about the IL, I think we can/should just add bench spots.
The standard setup is six or seven bench spots.
Why not make it 10?
How about 15?
We all love drafting right? That’s why best-ball leagues have started to make such an impact, so why not draft 15 bench players? In this setup you don’t need an IL (in fact, there would be none in this setup). If you want to carry seven hurt guys, you still got eight guys to turn to. This expansion of a roster also leads to more emphasis being placed on the draft. All of a sudden, those 30th round draft picks matter a ton. When you get deeper than that you can target youngsters, injured guys, players who don’t have playing time locked down but strong skills, etc. While others are just tossing names out, you will be prepared to kill it in the reserve rounds.
SHOULD WE REMOVE CATCHERS?
Every league I’m in this year uses – two catchers. Using two has been the industry standard for decades. Pretty much since the beginning of fantasy really.
That said, I ran a poll and over 900 of you voted. Hardly any of you use two catchers.
With catchers pretty much sucking, is it time to just move on completely from catchers? If you want to use a catcher as a utility play have at it, but maybe we don’t need specific catcher spots? If we use the EPSN Player Rater tool, how many catchers are in the top-25 overall as of this article? The answer is zero. How many catchers are in the top-50 overall? The answer is zero. How many catchers are in the top-100 overall? The answer is zero. How many catchers are in the top-125 overall? The answer is three IF we include Yermin Mercedes who doesn’t actually catch. So just 3-of-125… and really just 2-of-125 since Mercedes should be UT only.
Should we just move on from catcher completely?
ONE PLAYER PER POSITION IN THE STARTING LINEUP? KINDA
The traditional fantasy setup, despite the fact that I know hardly any of you actually use it, is 14 offensive players. I know that seems like a lot to some of you, but 14 hitters is the industry standard and it has been for decades. That’s two catchers, a first baseman, a second baseman, a third baseman, a shortstop, a middle infielder a corner infielder, five outfielders and a utility player.
Again, talking to all of you, I realize that few of you play in a setup like that, which got me thinking… maybe we should go in the other direction. By that I mean, what about using one catcher, one first baseman, one second baseman, one third baseman and one shortstop? In the outfield, let’s start three. That’s eight offensive players. If you want to approximate a real lineup, you could go with one UT for nine players. Perhaps we go with two UT spots, 10 players total, giving you the freedom to diversify your lineup at two spots.
WHAT ABOUT MORE UT SPOTS?
I mentioned using two in the example above. Are you ok with that? Maybe even go to three? That would be two UT spots just to have them, and then a third UT spot to, in essence, replace the removed second catcher. We could even ramp it more with say four UT options.
JUST GO INFIELD AND OUTFIELD
If we want to simplify things ever further, what about we just go IF and OF?
You can go five of each to keep it straight up simple.
You could go six and six.
I would prefer in this format that you keep it even, same number in INF and OF, but if you wanted to go seven infielders and five outfielders, who am I to say no to that?
WHAT ABOUT ALL UTILITY?
One of our SiriusXM producers, and frequent contributor at Elite Fantasy, Phil Backert, came up with a novel idea. He set up a points league for us. No positions. It’s all utility players. Oh, also no pitching in that league. Its an offensive league. You don’t have to go that far, removing pitching, but just maybe this setup appeals to you? You can just use the normal pitching setup, whatever number your league uses, but make your offense all about utility. I personally would prefer there to be positions, but if we’re trying to generate interest, maybe we just open it up and say – chose 10 hitters, or whatever number your league uses and just go all utility.
SHOULD WE USE FEWER PITCHERS?
Again, I know many of you might already be doing this, using a smaller group, but the industry standard is nine active pitching slots. Nine. Not five, not seven, but nine. It is also standard to have the nine spots be “pitcher spots.” There’s no breakdown for starter or reliever meaning you can use the nine slots any way you want. You want six starters and three relievers? Cool. You want 5/4? Sure. You want to roll relievers out there fore ratios and saves, then go four starters and five relievers. You can do whatever you want with the nine spots.
Should we use less than nine arms?
Might it be better to use five starters and two relievers? Maybe just set it like that?
Perhaps we just say seven spots and give people the freedom to fill that however they want?
With the rash of injuries, we might just need fewer active spots to make sure we aren’t rolling crap out there just to get innings.
Think of it.
Twelve teams and nine pitchers is a total of 108 active pitchers.
If we do 12 teams with seven pitchers that number shrinks to 84.
That’s 24 fewer active pitchers starting each week.
That means injuries don’t crush you quite as much. That means when a guy struggles, you can go to waivers and actually find useable alternatives.
What about the overall setup of the league?
I’ve written about this option before.
Be honest, your favorite part of fantasy baseball is the draft, right? Why not do it six times? You get six rounds of drafting – one per month – if you go with this option.
You get to replace your beat-up team each month. Seasonal injuries only impact you for a month. Crappy performances impact you just a month. Made a bad pick last month? No worries. Just pick a new one next month.
You could do six monthly segments.
You could do four with a one-month playoffs.
You could do five with a one-month playoff.
Play with this option and make it work for you.
THE SEASON BY THIRDS?
Segment one is two months.
Segment two is two months.
Segment three is two months.
Pretty simple right?
Maybe Parts I and II are the regular season and part III is the post-season?
Maybe you just rock three segments, like the periods of a hockey game.
It is your call.
HALF SEASON LEAGUES?
Some folks just don’t wanna play for six months.
They either leave around the all-star break and hit up fantasy football, or they want to play all year long but by mid-season their team is just sunk.
Therefore, the pivot to leagues that play half the season has to have some interest in the fantasy universe. You can split the season into two segments, 81 games apiece, but that creates some obvious issues as not all teams play their 81st game on the same day. You could just go April-May-June and July-August-September. You could keep it even simpler and just go with first/second halves based off the all-star break. You get my drift here.
Less work than monthly or bi-monthly drafts, but a reset that still allows you to compete down the stretch. It also allows those folks who pay much less attention in the second half, cause of the rise of fantasy football, to bow out after half the season.
ITS TIME ALREADY. LET’S DUMP SAVES, WINS AND STEALS.
Think I’m crazy? You can read the articles for the baseline. You might also consider the following…
As or right now, Yusmeiro Petit has more wins than… Yu Darvish, Carlos Rodon, Trevor Bauer, Jose Berrios, Shane Bieber, Jacob deGrom, Corbin Burnes, Tyler Glasnow, Max Scherzer and on and on.
As of right now, Cesar Valdez has more saves than all but 13 pitchers in baseball. Cesar Valdez folks.
As of right now, Ramon Laureano has more steals than all but six men in baseball. He last stole a base on April 13th. It’s been six weeks since he stole a base.
YOU GOTTA HAVE DAILY LINEUP, NOT WEEKLY, CHANGES.
This one is obvious, right?
I’m in six “experts” leagues this seasons, and five of them are weekly lineup leagues. Only one of my leagues has daily lineup changes. Maybe your leagues all use daily changes, maybe its just “experts” who can’t change their lineup daily, but make sure that you can change your lineup daily. With all the injuries in baseball, it is paramount that you have the ability to manipulate your roster each day. I’m so sick and tired of getting three at-bats out of a guy when he’s placed on the IL on Tuesday and I just have to suck up zeros the rest of the week.
Here’s my podcast on this topic.
WHAT ELSE CAN BE DONE?
Before moving on, you might consider reading this piece too – What Is Wrong With Fantasy Baseball?
So, there it is. Plenty of options to consider moving forward in an effort to make the game of fantasy baseball more fun and enjoyable. Let me know what you think in the chatroom.