USSM Fantasy update

DMZ · March 6, 2008 at 7:25 pm · Filed Under Site information 

We face two challenges I’d like to put out there:
– how to accommodate as best we can the many people who wanted to join while not creating a burden on the authors (that is, me)
– how to setup scoring

On the second, I’ve been tinkering with Yahoo and I’m not entirely clear on how to best set up a cool approximation — whether it’s better to go head-to-head or have just counting stats, and then I totally don’t get what I’m doing with the roster limits there.

(I thought about having the Mike Hargrove Memorial Fantasy League, where the offense scores points on average, singles, stolen bases, caught stealing, at-bats, sacrifice hits, and GIDP, and the pitchers score points on average, singles, home runs allowed, games started, saves, holds, and outs)

Anyway… I welcome comments/suggestions on how to best handle this stuff.


25 Responses to “USSM Fantasy update”

  1. joser on March 6th, 2008 8:13 pm

    Head-to-head is fun because it isn’t as easy for one person to run away with the win (which can happen if you luck into a couple of players having their career years in a couple of the fantasy stats). You’re kind of starting over from scratch every week. The bigger controversy that I’ve seen is whether you have to set rosters every day, or just once a week. Some people don’t like having to do it every day (though you can automate it mostly), some people hate the idea of being stuck for a week with somebody who went on the DL right after the roster was set (plus it makes it harder to get optimum performance out of your pitcher positions).

    I don’t know about the roster limits — I’ve never been a commisioner. All the games I’ve played on yahoo, it’s the usual positions, a utility position (aka DH), the starters and relievers, plus one DL.

    I’d suggest you farm out the commissioner jobs just like you did the mods.

  2. Cap on March 6th, 2008 8:13 pm

    One of the leagues I’m in currently offers for this set of categories. There are some redundancies here, but both Hitting and Pitching have an opportunity to cash in on a bonus cat (OPS and K/BB) which makes it kind of fun…
    Hitters: R, H, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, SB, BB, E, AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS
    Pitchers: W, L, SV, H, BB, K, Hld, ERA, WHIP, K/BB

    This might also be interesting…
    Hitters: R, H, RBI, Net SB, TB, OPS
    Pitchers: IP, TB Allowed, K/9, OBP Against, Save Percentage, Quality Starts

  3. cinthree on March 6th, 2008 8:21 pm

    Here’s a very simple idea. Hitters are positive, pitchers are negative. For every base a hitter gains he gets a point and minus points for CS and GIDP. For pitchers, every base the give up is negative, GIDP and Pickoffs are positive points. The team with the best differential at the end of the year wins. Or weekly, either way, you need the minimum and maximum to be the same in regards to innings limits.

  4. Cap on March 6th, 2008 8:22 pm

    Also, I’m a big fan of Head-to-Head and daily roster changes. It allows people who are really into the league to micro-manage, and with 6 games per week (or so) per player, the macro-managers also can stay competitive. The league I have had the most fun with was a 25-man roster with 2 DL slots. C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, Util, SP, SP, RP, RP, RP, 11xBench.

  5. ooter on March 6th, 2008 8:26 pm

    The way I usually set up my categories is to try to set them up so each statistic awards as close to 1 point per 1 run it contributes as possible. So a solo home run is 1 point.

    I’m a fan of weekly moves instead of daily. I found there is usually more problems with people not managing their rosters for a few days when something comes up if its on a daily basis. This can really hurt in head-to-head because someone can get a free win if their opponent has some circumstance that prevents them from managing for 2-3 days (actually happens a lot in my experience). Whereas with weekly moves, people generally seem to be able to make their movies every week.

    Head-to-head is, in my opinion, more fun and I recommend it. Rotisserie is more fair. It’s like real baseball though, would you rather have your season based on runs scored vs runs allowed (more fair probably) or on win-loss record (more entertaining in my opinion).

    I really like ESPN for fantasy sports. Played Yahoo for about seven years, then switched to ESPN a couple years ago.

    I guess you could set up a bunch of leagues, give guidelines for the rules, and let them go. Then take the winners from the leagues and have a winner’s league next year? I don’t know. I’d just be really happy to play with some people who follow baseball for once. In my other league, someone drafted Zito in the mid rounds. Sigh…

  6. earinc on March 6th, 2008 8:41 pm

    If we’re going with Yahoo, head-to-head is most fun, but Yahoo kind of sucks the fun out with their limited system… I also prefer weekly moves if poss…

  7. CecilFielderRules on March 6th, 2008 9:04 pm

    You should definitely stick with Yahoo. ESPN fantasy baseball is HORRIBLE. They spend more time trying to make the pages look cool then actually making sure things work. Their systems have blown up repeatedly in past years – to the point where they couldn’t even go back and get correct stats. Yahoo isn’t fancy but has all the basics and never seem to have technical issues. If you are willing to give up simplicity for tons of flexibility and customization, try You can customize almost everything (line-ups, roster changes, custom fields for each player’s auction value or draft round, games for position qualifications – so you don’t have Troy Glaus qualifying at SS like Yahoo did last year). There are about 50 hitting and 50 pitching stats to chose from, but if you want you can create your own stat using a formula. But you can’t go wrong with Yahoo. Just avoid ESPN.

  8. Gillis27 on March 6th, 2008 9:16 pm

    I’d be game for whatever the rules are, I also suggest sticking with yahoo and going with head to head as well. To maybe help weed out the process make a small donation necessary to play along?

  9. joser on March 6th, 2008 9:40 pm

    Well, the other thing is that with a large enough group of people you’re going to have several leagues, so you could set most of them up head-to-head and a few roti, and make some of them weekly and some daily, so everybody’s happy. I mean, people can put their dibs in for what they’d prefer, and you’d get a head-count that would allow you to line things up to mostly give everybody what they want. I assume the real draw of USSM leauges vs all the other ones is that they’d tend to use “real” stats, assuming those are available. (OPS+ yes, WHIP no, etc). That, and the added opportunity for trash talk during game threads.

  10. DAMellen on March 6th, 2008 10:17 pm

    Everybody get on Yahoo and join The Mongooses. Nobody’s joining. Why isn’t anybody joining?

  11. xeifrank on March 6th, 2008 10:47 pm

    Use Yahoo.
    Don’t over complicate the categories used. Simple is better. Once you tinker with the stats then you throw off the typical valuations of the players. One type of player usually gets most of the value and you lose much of the managing/strategy fun. If too many people signed up, make multiple leagues A, B, C and D league then promote/demote 6 teams for next years league. Have one trusted person commish each league.

    vr, Xei

  12. Gomez on March 6th, 2008 11:35 pm

    Roto style scoring pretty much knocks some teams out of the running if their team struggles early and they fall behind because once the stats compile, it’s really hard to catch up (which isn’t all that fun for some). But H2H isn’t as punishing for teams that hit early season slumps.

  13. joser on March 7th, 2008 12:29 am

    Once you tinker with the stats then you throw off the typical valuations of the players

    I thought that was exactly the point of this exercise. If I want to play using the standard fantasy stats and the standard valuations there’s any number of games/leagues I can join. When Derek floated this idea a few months back I recall he specifically talked about ignoring the useless stats like WHIP and using more “real” stats. Yes, that means you can’t rely on all the fantasy evaluations that are floating around the internet, but on the plus side — you can’t rely on all the fantasy evaluations floating around the internet. Yeah, it’s more work, but I was kind of looking forward to learning something (or at least getting a better sense of how these stats work and how various players I otherwise wouldn’t care about compared using them).

  14. Kacidy on March 7th, 2008 12:32 am

    could you play duplicate leagues? ie let some of the wise folks here choose initial teams and then make up more leagues in which players choose which wiseman’s team they want. so i could compare myself with the other managers in my league and with the other managers with Dave’s team? (and learn from the moves he makes). am i correct in assuming i’ll be able to follow all the leagues?

  15. yteimlad on March 7th, 2008 5:16 am

    If you decide on h2H, avoid categories that can reward someone for not playing. Examples of this are BB, L, and R for pitchers. Not only can they reward an absentee manager, but they can create a situation where a team may not play its entire roster if the risk/reward ratio is right. I think a league should be run so that every team starts all of its starters as often as possible- just like you would in reality. After all, if you do not want to start a player in fantasy baseball, he probably should not be on your roster. This also brings up the issue of IP limits- make sure they are high enough to make managers have to use more than one SP per week.

    I also would recommend avoiding categories that are abnormally scarce for h2h. I was in a league last year that had Sacrifice Hits as one of 19 categories- after you removed usual suspects such as Jose Lopez, it became essentially a random stat from week to week.

    Finally, I recommend setting up a keeper system. This should go a long way toward keeping people interested once they are out of contention.

  16. TheEmrys on March 7th, 2008 7:44 am

    Well, regarding the accomidating the masses…. I’m usually all for letting everyone go for it. But, as you guys are unpaid and it costs you to run ussm…. why not use this as a fund-raiser? Charge $10 or $20 for 32 people to join? All proceeds going to USSM?

  17. todda70 on March 7th, 2008 8:12 am

    I have run a head to head league on CBSSportsline for seven years now. It is weekly transactions, and we start 9 Offensive players and 6 pitchers per week. I agree that head to head helps to not have the teams who get off to bad starts give up prematurely.

    (sorry for what I am guessing will be bad formatting)

    Scoring for Batting Categories
    1B – Singles 1 point
    2B – Doubles 2 points
    3B – Triples 3 points
    BB – Walks 1 point
    HP – Hit by Pitch 1 point
    HR – Home Runs 4 points
    IB – Intentional Walks 1 point
    KO – Strikeouts -1 point
    R – Runs 1 point
    RBI – Runs Batted In 1 point
    SB – Stolen Bases 2 points

    Scoring for Pitching Categories
    BBI – Walks Issued -1 point
    BS – Blown Saves -5 points
    CG – Complete Games 6 points
    ER – Earned Runs -1 point
    HD – Holds 8 points
    IBBI – Intentional Walks 1 point
    INN – Innings 2 points
    K – Strikeouts (Pitcher) 1 point
    QS – Quality Starts 4 points
    S – Saves 12 points
    SO – Shutouts 8 points
    W – Wins 5 points

    The wins and saves end up balancing out over the whole season – we try to get it so the top 20 pitchers are split between closers and starters. We have gone as deep as 16 teams without issues.

    I’d be happy to help run a league.

  18. Trev on March 7th, 2008 8:59 am

    There is a discussion of this with Tangotiger at The Book blog.

    Using linear weights, you can make an accurate points scoring system. But as someone alluded to above, any season long system (points or roto) punishes players whose teams fall out of contention early. Head-to-head is a better guaranteer of people’s interest. Unfortunately, yahoo doesn’t do H2H points leagues.

  19. tangotiger on March 7th, 2008 9:57 am

    FWIW, I set up those points to mimic WAR (wins above replacement). The average full-time player would have 200 points (implying 2.00 WAR).

    It’s a decent starting point, that can be tweaked and played around with, especially with ace relievers.

  20. tangotiger on March 7th, 2008 10:33 am

    Re17: Having 10 closers and 10 starters in your top 20 is not realistic, if that’s what you are looking for. If I were to look at the top 20 paid pitchers in baseball, I think you’ll only find one closer in 2008, and none in 2007. A listing by WAR would likely give you a similar result.

    I presume the rationale for giving 2 points for SB and 1 for walks and singles is to account for speed? Still, that is quite an impact.

  21. todda70 on March 7th, 2008 11:31 am

    Having 10 closers and 10 starters in your top 20 is not realistic, if that’s what you are looking for. If I were to look at the top 20 paid pitchers in baseball, I think you’ll only find one closer in 2008, and none in 2007. A listing by WAR would likely give you a similar result.

    I presume the rationale for giving 2 points for SB and 1 for walks and singles is to account for speed? Still, that is quite an impact.

    We were looking to strike a balance for those who wanted to draft closers and those who did not. We didn’t take in to account the real life salaries, look at Johan Santana. He was a bargain for the Twins for years.

    As far as steals, yes, that was the idea. This league was run on paper for a few years, then Excel after that, and in the earlier seasons speed players were discounted. Bumping up steals was a way to add more value to Kenny Lofton and his ilk. Our league averages are pretty close to even between the 6 pitchers and the 9 batters. I’d be happy to discuss off line as to not hijack this thread, my email is in my profile.

    (To answer obvious questions: Vancouver, WA is where we are based out of, our auction is Saturday the 22nd, we have 12 teams now, we may entertain the idea of adding more. Send me an email for details.)

  22. tangotiger on March 7th, 2008 1:05 pm

    Your Santana point is irrelevant, since I also said WAR (wins above replacement). If all pitchers were free agents, the top 20 pitchers selected would be at least 18 starters, if not all 20. It certainly wouldn’t be 10 starters and 10 relievers. That’s the reality of it.

    However, you can create your league however you like.

  23. Mike G. on March 9th, 2008 1:13 am

    I feel we face a third challenge:

    Quantifying Grit and then coming up with a fair point value for it.

  24. schneidler on March 9th, 2008 1:53 pm

    I’m with #18. And I’m so competitive that if I’m in 20th place out of 20 teams I’ll be scratching and clawing to get to 19th. Maybe thats just me, but we could surely have at least one ultra-deep (like 20-25 teams?) points league (not head to head), couldn’t we? Its not as important, but I’d vote for weekly changes and not daily. Less time, just as much fun. People who sit on their fantasy roster page 5 hours a day don’t have an advantage.

  25. J.L. White on March 9th, 2008 11:50 pm

    I just created a new fantasy league using the free Yahoo system, and I think I created the best scoring system, when factoring in all the limitations this version allows. It is H2H league with 12 teams, and the lineups go: C-1B-2B-3B-SS-OF-OF-OF-UT-SP-SP-SP-SP-RP-RP-RP plus 8 bench spots (for a 25-man team, plus 1 DL spot). Here are the best stats I could choose from a limited list (and I should mention that I could not edit the point total for any of the stat categories):

    (For batters) Runs, Singles, Doubles, Triples, Homers, RBI, BB, K, GIDP, Assists, Errors, OPS, Net Stolen Bases, Outfield Assists and Double Plays Turned. (For pitchers) Wins, Losses, Saves, IP, Outs, Runs, Homers, BB, K, Wild Pitches, K/9, BB/9, Quality Starts and Blown Saves.

    Go to this link, and see if this format would be acceptable.

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