You play in a fantasy baseball league.
Your league is not like other leagues.
Sure, there are some common formats: 12-team 5×5 Roto, 10-team head-to-head. But even within that, there are a lot of important variables. How many middle infielders do you have to start? How many bench spots do you have? Do you have to start LF-CF-RF or just a mix of OFs? Do you have to start SP-RP or just any mix of pitchers? Do you use keepers? How many keepers?
By the time you answer these and all possible questions, it is likely that your league is unique, at least in some way from other leagues. And what may seem to be an insignificant difference between two leagues, if you understood it perfectly, would make a difference in choosing one player over another come draft time.
Let’s walk through a simple example. Let’s look at a player who would be most impacted by making a change to this simple league setting: how many teams are in your league?
Let me show you a player who had value in a 14-team league, who lost value in a 12-team league, who may not have been worth owning in a 10-teamer. Let’s assume a 25-man roster, that requires you to start 8 pitchers, and uses 5×5-standard stats.
This year, Jon Jay, STL CF, had 628 Plate Appearances, and also had this 5×5 stat line:
- R: 75
- HR: 7
- RBI: 67
- SB: 7
- AVG: .262
In a 14-team league, this stat line added value. In a 12-teamer, it added less value. In a 10-team league, it was not worth owning.
From league to league, Jay’s performance did not change. So what did?
The difference between leagues is their individual replacement levels. Your fantasy league has its own, unique replacement level.
This may be a revolutionary, illuminating idea to you. This may be just another way of saying something you already knew. This may even just be saying something you have already said yourself.
Either way, I think there is a takeaway here. It has to do with what you read and listen to. You may be reading a column or listening to a podcast, and read/hear something like this: ‘I love Will Venable for next year.’ Understand that writer/analyst is speaking to everyone, not to you. They do not understand the uniqueness of your league.
If you would like for me to give you your league’s replacement stat line, I would be glad to do that. I think knowing what it takes to win your specific league can give you a huge advantage over your competitors. Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or catch me on Twitter.