I’ve recently been fulfilling a fantasy of mine thanks to Yahoo!. No, this isn’t an inappropriate and awkward admission of how I spend my ‘personal’ time, but more of a confession of a newfound addiction.
Like that long-haired kid that hooks everyone up with pot in the dorms, I’ve been getting my fix from Yahoo! and the best part is it’s free.
Many people have asked me, ‘So, what’s the deal with this fantasy stuff?’ I guess the world of fantasy sports, despite being a major part of my life, has not yet reached the mainstream consciousness of everyone around me. So I’m going to try and explain this strange concept to those of you who have no idea what us fantasy geeks are talking about.
OK. Basically, fantasy sports is a way for us sports nuts to feel like we’re in control of our own team while also getting some competitive juices flowing against our smack-talking buddies.
The performance of the players ‘owned’ in a fantasy league directly affects how the fantasy leaguer’s team performs.
There are many different types of fantasy sports games, but I’ll use baseball as my example since that’s the season we’re in now. Also, fantasy baseball is the best type of fantasy game to play because of how statistically oriented the sport is. A baseball box score, more so than any other sport, reveals everything you need to know about a game and what happened in that game.
So how does it all work? Well, every fantasy baseball league starts with a draft that includes every major league player. Participants in the league draft players based on a number of factors including their stats in past seasons and how so called experts believe they will do this year.
However, if drafting your fantasy team was as simple as choosing the best player available, everyone would do well. The key to a successful draft in fantasy baseball is to go into it having done your research and to have a well-thought-out plan. I spent nearly four hours preparing for my fantasy draft—an amount of time many serious fantasy leaguers would view as vastly inadequate.
My league’s scoring is based on how my players perform in five offensive categories: BA (batting average—the percentage of times they get a hit), runs (how many runs they score), home runs (pretty self-explanatory), RBI (runs batted in) and stolen bases, and five pitching categories: ERA (earned run average-the amount of runs a pitcher gives up over a nine-inning span), WHIP (walks given up plus hits given up per inning—or, more simply, base runners allowed per inning), strikeouts, wins and saves (closing a game out in a pressure situation).
In a rotisserie scoring league (which is the standard in fantasy baseball) players compete for the lead in each of these respective categories over the course of the season. The better a fantasy leaguer does in a category, the more points they’ll get for that category. The points are totaled at the end of each day to see how the fantasy teams stack up against one another.
I went into my fantasy draft with the intention of drafting players who hit for a high average and drove in a lot of runs. I felt these categories were very telling of how many runs a player would score and how many home runs a player would hit. I also thought it was very important to use my high draft choices on players who play positions which don’t typically generate a lot of offense, mainly, second base and catcher.
I also adapted this strategy to my pitching selections. I felt there were a few elite closers (pitchers who produce in the saves, ERA and WHIP categories) so I used relatively high selections on closing pitchers.
I know, I know, you’re falling asleep and my rambling is giving you a sense of how addicted I am to this seemingly boring venture.
But fantasy sports is more than just another form of competition to me. It’s a vital part of who I am as a complete sports fan. It really teaches a lot about the game (whether it be baseball, basketball, football or any other sport)