UFS and 5x5 strategy tips

Thursday, February 25, 1999

About half the leagues in this country use Rotisserie style rules and the other half score on the point system, like the Ultimate Fantasy Sports leagues. UFS generally places more emphasis on power and wins rather than speed and saves. They also use a straight draft rather than an auction. An order is determined prior to the draft, and that order is maintained throughout the draft in serpentine fashion (1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1). A lot of these leagues draft from both the AL and NL and have up to 16 teams in their league.

UFS Draft Strategy

The stud hitters usually go in the first few rounds. Then the really good starting pitchers follow suit beginning in rounds 3-5.

Some teams will stockpile power-hitters, middle infielders or starting pitchers and trade off the excess later. This plan works if you are a good trader, the rest of the league likes to deal and you don't take your second shortstop ahead of a better pitcher who is still available.

If you are drafting towards the beginning or end of a round, keep an eye on the person that drafts directly ahead and behind you. At the end of the draft, if they only need a particular position, you know you can skip a position that you still need because the next guy doesn't. Then grab him with your next selection coming back.

5x5 leagues devalue steals and saves as well.

In the 5x5 Rotisserie variation (five hitting categories and five pitching categories) runs scored and strikeouts are usually added to the standard categories.

In this case, you still want to draft the top sluggers and starting pitchers but now you have to pay more attention to strikeouts. Most of the sluggers score runs anyway so don't worry too much about them. Leadoff hitters and those with a higher on base percentage might be slightly more valuable since they have a better chance at scoring runs. Platoon players are worth less, just like in standard Rotisserie.

Speedsters and closers who are worth more in standard Rotisserie scoring are devalued somewhat in the 5x5 game. Starters' strikeouts are the most predictable pitching category from year to year. Most relievers cannot strikeout as many as even the end-of the rotation starters. And saves are worth less because of the added category. Middle relievers and setup men are also worth less even if they contribute a low ERA and WHIP because their low innings totals will not have much affect on your team ERA and WHIP when all is said and done.

On the other hand, pitchers with a mediocre ERA and WHIP numbers won't hurt you as much in the 5x5 game because those categories are slightly devalued as well. You can win championships by sacrificing steals or saves. Some standard Rotisserie teams can contend with just three starters, two closers and juggling the rest between hot starters and safe middlemen. Not so to win a 5x5 championship. At least five starters are required to build up the win and strikeout categories.

In-season strategies nearly the same for UFS and 5x5.

Owners must keep up with their disabled players. A few weeks with no runs or strikeouts can really hurt. It also behooves the owners to watch the major league's pitching rotations closely. Starters that are inline for two starts in any given week have twice the opportunity for a win and more strikeouts than those with only one start scheduled. Be careful you don't sit down your top and/or hot pitchers though. They can be just as effective in one good start as a bum pitcher in two mediocre starts. The worst thing you can do in these leagues is not to draft enough pitchers who will give you innings to shuttle in and out of your lineup each week.



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