Fantasy sports are almost as main-stream as vampires and Jimmy Buffet with millions around the world logging online to create their fantasy teams and compete against friends, family, coworkers and the World Wide Web.
Of the major sports, fantasy football is certainly the most popular and accessible, however, for the diehard fantasy fan, or a fan of the Diehard films that plays fantasy; fantasy baseball is where it’s at. Truth.
It's All About Strategy, Bro!
What makes fantasy baseball better than fantasy football? One word: strategy, or, as George W. Bush might say, strategery. The only strategy required in fantasy pigskin occurs one day during the entire season, and that is the day of the fantasy football draft.
Even the draft doesn’t take much brain power as teams simply use gym class logic and choose the best player on the board each time their turn comes around. Once the draft is over, managing a fantasy football team is little more than setting a lineup once a week with likely the same core NFL players each and every Sunday, or their A-Team, if you will (The A-Team was awesome). Are you ever going to start Mark Sanchez over Tom Brady? No. You're not.
Not so in fantasy baseball. No sir. Fantasy baseball requires more research, decisions, player moves and time, much, much, much more time. Seriously, a lot more time. If fantasy football is Eli Manning, fantasy baseball is Peyton Manning on steroids and six cans of Red Bull doing back flips into your neighbor’s pool. Which I suppose is another way of saying it's pretty intense.
Baseball vs. Football
The obvious difference in the NFL season and the MLB season is a 16-game schedule compared to a 162-game schedule, or dauntlet, as I like to call it (combination of “gauntlet” and “daunting”).
Obviously, for a fantasy baseball manager, this means over 10 times the amount of games to follow. Unlike fantasy football where only one lineup is made per week, most fantasy baseball leagues allow daily lineup changes, meaning every day is its own chess match with the potential of over 162 different lineups over the course of the season. Look out, Bobby Fisher.
More after the jump:
Managers must decide whether to start their pitching ace against a dominant offense, sit their star slugger against a Cy Young winner or gamble on a younger, lesser-known player. Sounds like fun, right? This means that every player on a team is likely to contribute to the stats over the course of season, as managers will lean on their bench during starters’ off days, tough matchups and time spent on the disabled list.
Get to Know All the Players
With more players contributing to fantasy baseball teams’ results, more attention has to be paid to the entire MLB, including the minor leagues. Heck, maybe even the Dominican leagues. Maybe even your Aunt Edna’s Bridge League. Double heck! It’s impossible to know what player may be the key to success and a fantasy baseball league championship. Research is of the essence. So hit the books, or the internet or Fake Teams or any viable source for up-to-date baseball info.
Winning is Everything!
To be successful in fantasy baseball, managers will want to know every player available in a league’s free agent pool and minor league players that will be added once eligible. Players are added to and dropped from your fantasy baseball team on an almost daily basis based on slumps, hot streaks, matchups and position eligibility.
Trades also play a larger role in fantasy baseball. Where you may only see one or two trades in a fantasy football league throughout the course of a season, trades are an almost weekly occurrence in fantasy baseball. This means managers will also need to know the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents and when a trade with another team could be beneficial.
Of course, a manager could stand pact with their original team from their fantasy baseball draft, but it is likely that any extended slump by a player or major injury could derail their season before the All-Star break. Therefore, it is highly recommended that fantasy baseball managers make pickups and trades and know the ins and outs of their opponents.
Not Your Daddy's Scoring
Scoring in fantasy baseball is also much more complex and involved. Whereas in fantasy football, essentially every player is measured on the same merits: how many yards they typically accumulate and how many touchdowns they score. In fantasy baseball, players are valuable for a multitude of reasons and affect multiple scoring categories, especially since scoring is split down the middle between pitching and hitting.
Obviously a pitcher doesn’t offer the same potential as a hitter, nor does a leadoff man do exactly what a cleanup hitter does. A manager can build their team to dominate with speed or pitching or power or try to create a balanced squad. There are no right or wrong strategies, but there are certainly more to choose from, unlike fantasy football where a manager simply hopes their running back runs better than their opponents.
In Conclusion, Sports Fans ...
The fantasy baseball season is not for the faint of heart, strategically challenged or those afraid of commitment.
But, if a manager has what it takes, any success achieved will be much more rewarding than what a fantasy football league has to offer, making fantasy baseball a home run! (Get it, like baseball.)