Drafts and auctions with fewer teams

By R. Gregory Scalf

The original Rotisserie game has expanded into many similar, but yet different types of games. To try to give strategy advice based strictly on the book is virtually impossible, due to the many styles of play today. Therefore, as you begin to develop your Draft Day strategy, keep in mind the following information and apply it to the style of play you use.

Rotisserie/Fantasy League Expansion

Major League Baseball expanded in '98, should our league expand as well? This is a question that is often asked by fantasy players. To answer that question one needs to look into the past to help them decide. The original Rotisserie League Baseball rules as edited by Glen Waggoner calls for twelve rotisserie teams for a fourteen-team rotisserie league. That translates into .79% (.78857) of the Major League Baseball players for one league being selected on draft day. To play the game as it was designed, and to interpret dollar values accurately one needs to keep this ratio in tact. Below are some numbers to help you decide if your league should expand.

Waggoner's numbers:

14 MLB teams x 25 players per team = 350 players in the draft pool.

12 Rotisserie teams x 23 players per team = 276 players selected.

276 Roto Players divided by 350 MLB players = .78857 or 79% of the pool selected.

1998 National League Only Rotisserie/Fantasy Leagues

16 MLB teams x 25 players per team = 400 players in the draft pool.

400 players in pool x .78857 percent of pool selected = 315.4 players should be drafted.

315.4 players to select divided by 23 players per Roto team = 13.7 teams.

14 teams needed to play the game as written by Waggoner.

1998 Combined Rotisserie/Fantasy Leagues

30 MLB teams x 25 players per team = 750 players in the draft pool.

750 players in pool x .78857 percent of pool selected = 591.4 players should be drafted.

591.4 players to select divided by 23 players per Roto team = 25.7 teams.

26 teams needed to play the game as written by Waggoner.

1998 American League Only Rotisserie/Fantasy Leagues

The standard is the same as Waggoner's numbers.

1998 Custom Leagues

( Y ) MLB teams x 25 players per team = ( Z ) players in the draft pool.

( Z ) players in pool x .788.57 percent of pool selected = ( X ) players should be drafted.

( X ) players to select divided by 23 players per Roto team = ( Q ) teams needed to play.

Obviously you can play with fewer teams in your league than Waggoner's standard calls for. You do not have to expand just because MLB did. A league and its commissioner must decide how they want their league to run. I personally have found following the Rotisserie League Baseball standard for teams to be the most competitive and fun leagues to participate in. Another key point to keep in mind preparing for draft day is dollar values. The dollar values advertised by the "experts" are based on the 79% standard. If your league has fewer teams than the standard calls for, you should adjust the given dollar values for draft day. For example, if you see that a superstar is worth $50 on a Roto web site and you only have ten teams in your league, you need to adjust his value. A ten-team league only drafts 65% of the possible players, 14% less than a twelve-team league. That 14% difference needs to be applied to that player's $50 dollar value making him only worth $43 in the ten-team league.


My approach would be different based on the number of teams. Is it a keeper league or an annual league? Again, strategy is based on the style. Below are some strategies to consider, and apply them to your league's style of play

I am an advocate of drafting based on supply and demand. I will pay the price to get the players that monopolize a category, position, or both. That style may be seen used more often this year. With the gap growing between the performance of the superstars and average players, be prepared to pay for those superstars on draft day. This overpaying at the beginning when the best players are selected will create opportunities later in the draft, as players will be left that still are starters. This is especially true in keeper leagues.

In keeper leagues, consider picking up players with upside potential for low dollars. This is an especially good strategy for a rebuilding owner. A lot of money will go early in the draft for the stars. Have some left so you can control the draft when values start going for single digits. There will be starters that slip through until the end, high profile prospects, and veterans recovering from injuries available at bargain rates. These players can be chosen and return big dividends to your team.

If you have done your homework for draft day, you will get some players with potential at the end of the draft. If they live up to the potential, now you have a solid player at low cost and you have them for two more years.

Try to give yourself an advantage at the end of the draft by bidding players up in the middle rounds. Many players will use the $30 strategy. They won't take a high priced player in the beginning of the draft, so you must force them to use up as much of their salary cap as you can in those middle rounds. Leaving you in the driver's seat to pick up the bargains at the end.

Finally, as is the case in any league, being informed is a must. Know who has jobs locked up and know who the backups are. The more research you have done the better the chances of success.

R. Gregory Scalf is a former division I baseball player and associate scout for the Kansas City Royals. He currently is the webmaster at Fantasy Baseball Central and the assistant webmaster at John Mosey's Fantasy baseball Home Page.



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