Janesville59.3°

My very own Fantasy Island

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Tim Thompson
July 12, 2012

I decided to ramp up my fantasy baseball "career" this year -- I joined two leagues and started another, the inaugural Peace & Glove league. Each of my leagues plays under slightly different rules and I don't believe I have yet developed a preference. I know which one is my least favorite, but that may have something to do with where my team ranks in that league's standings.

The two dominant formats in fantasy baseball are "head-to-head" and "roto." Scoring for both is based upon the real-life stats accumulated by the players on your team, but each format determines winning in a different fashion. The league commissioner determines the format and scoring categories before the season. You may hear terms like "5x5" or "6x6" when talking about fantasy baseball scoring. These refer to leagues that score five (or six) offensive categories and five (or six) pitching categories.

My least-favorite league is run by @wisportsblog. This Twitter superstar knows his Wisconsin sports as well as anyone and his timeline is always full of random info. He's definitely worth a follow if you do the Twitter thing. I don't enjoy this league's scoring method and team size. It is set up so you play head-to-head in 20 categories (10 offensive and 10 pitching). The problem isnít in the number of categories, or even the categories; the problem is that each category counts toward your overall win-loss record. So at the end of each week, rather than being 1-0 or 0-1, you are 11-9 or 4-16, etc. Those records accumulate -- quickly -- and determine your spot in the standings. Iím sure lots of people like this format, but I prefer a win or loss based on the head-to-head match-up.

One of the keys to fantasy success -- whether it be in baseball, football or the girl of your dreams -- is grabbing a desired player before the next guy does. There are 14 teams in this league, which is fine, but each team has five bench spots, meaning that 70 players who could be free agents do nothing but ride the pine. I understand you NEED a few bench players to manage around off-days and injuries, but I believe that limiting the number of bench spots makes the manager's job more important. In this league I rank sixth of seven in my division and 12th of 14 overall, with a 100-120 record.

The Peace & Glove league also uses the head-to-head format but uses a few different categories. I also set it up so at the end of the week you either have one win or loss. There are only 12 teams in this league and each has just three bench spots, which definitely makes managing your team more difficult. When adding a free agent, the decision of which player to "broom" is always difficult because whomever you drop likely belongs on a fantasy roster. Because each team has few players, the trade-off is that the free-agent pool generally has some good options. This, of course, also makes managing more difficult. I currently rank fourth of six in my division and eighth of 12 overall with a 6-7 record. Quite obviously, there is no benefit to running the league or being a Brewers blogger!

The third league Iím in is run by a longtime friend and is the only "roto" league Iím in. Scoring in this format isnít about wins and losses, but rather cumulative stats that determine your team's score. This 10-team league uses six offensive categories and six pitching categories. Whichever team leads a category received 10 points, the team with the second-highest total gets nine, and so on. Points from all categories are totaled to determine your spot in the standings.

For most of the first half I somehow lead this league, despite 2011 NL MVP runner-up Matt Kemp on the disabled list for a good chunk of the season. I was lucky enough to grab Adam Dunn off the waiver wire, as well as first-half surprise Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays. I lost about 10 points in the standings over the final week before the all-star break, which dropped me to third in the standings. This is my favorite of the three teams because I believe Iím in a good position to make a run in the second half. As long as Kemp comes back and plays up to his early season form I donít think I will drop any further than I already have. I also have Jose Reyes, Justin Upton and Paul Konerko on this team, so if they stay hot in the second half thereís no reason I canít win my first fantasy baseball championship.

Just a quick All-Star break update on my bobblehead giveaway. Not counting myself, I ended up with 16 entries. Eight have the Brewers finishing in first place, seven were split between the Cards and Reds, and one person actually picked the Cubs to finish first. Fifteen of the 16 entries picked the Astros to finish last; the final entry chose the Cubs to occupy the division cellar. At the break there are two entries tied for first place: MKA12552 and volsmanning both have 24 points.

Is your fantasy team surviving? Any second-half sleepers youíd like to tell me about?



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