Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The FanGraphs Experts League

Before going into anything else, let me provide some details on the league itself.

We will be using the "Old School" ottoneu settings - basically all of the roster implications of ottoneu, but traditional 5x5 roto stats. We'll have a $400 salary cap to fill a 40 man roster with the following starting positions:  C (technically there are two C spots, but that is just because it is so difficult to platoon catchers - we are still limited to 162 games at C), 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, MI, OFx5, Util, SPx5, RPx5. Players can be kept for a $2 increase in their salary, and you can keep anyone and everyone, if you want to. As I noted in the previous post, I have been playing ottoneu for five years now, so these roster considerations are pretty straightforward for me, but as the auction occurs and the season goes on, I am sure they will come up in posts quite a bit.

The 5x5 stats are actually a bit of a change for me. Part of the origination of ottoneu was an attempt to get rid of stats that either do not measure individual performance (like wins, which are team dependent) and stats that do not reflect a play making a contribution (like stolen bases, which in most cases are completely balanced out by high speed guys getting caught stealing). So for the past five years, my focus has been on a 4x4 league with OBP, SLG, HR, R for hitters and ERA, WHIP, K and HR/9* for pitchers.

Suddenly, I am losing OBP and SLG, instead getting AVG (so long, Adam Dunn), SB (Jacoby Ellsbury might actually have value in this league!) and RBI (time to avoid sluggers on bad teams). On the pitching side, I lose HR/9 (which my other team is actually quite strong in), and pick up wins (might make a Yankee pitcher other than CC ownable) and saves (time to play "guess the closer!"). This is going to mess with my knowledge of the game quite a bit and my guess is that all of my rankings will look a bit funky to you when I post them.

So...those are basically the rules.  As for the competition, there are 12 teams.

1) The league was set up by Eno Sarris from FanGraphs and he will be one of the 12 owners. He's the only other owner I have ever had any interaction with, which means I will likely lean on him in trade negotiations a bit - I find it easier to negotiate when I have at least some sense of how to interact with the person.

2) Two writers from Yahoo! Sports are joining the league - the first is Dave Brown, who just this morning posted a piece on Evan Longoria's AK-47. Not sure what the fantasy implications are of that but...well...yeah...

3) The other Yahoo! owner is Andy Behrens, who recently gave Michael Brantley a shout out as a guy worth watching. As a life-long Indians fan (which I am sure will influence my roster construction), this makes me quite happy and officially makes Andy my favorite other owner, at least for now.

4) Jeff Erickson and Peter Schoenke of Rotowire are the only co-owners in the league. Co-owners always confuse me - do I need them both to agree to a trade? And how do you handle an auction with a co-owner when auctions end if no bids are made in 15 seconds? Need to talk fast and hope other owners bid slow.

5) I have only recently started using KFFL and so I don't know much about Tim Heaney and Nicholas Minnix's fantasy perspective. It seems to me one advantage I SHOULD have in this league is that these guys are all paid to tell people what strategies to use, which means putting their own ideas down on (electronic) paper. Of course now I have started this blog so maybe I gave that up?

6) Andy Andres is a professor at Tufts University, alma mater of both ottoneu founder Niv Shah and my dad. If only I had followed in my dad's footsteps, I could have taken a course on Sabermetrics - Andy teaches one of the only courses on the topic offered anywhere.

7) Neil FitzGerald and 8) Tom Kephart are joining from BaseballHQ, where Ron Shandler plies his trade. Earlier this year, Niv was able to talk to Ron about ottoneu and learned that Ron had been talking about a similar style league...which likely means that Tom and Neil are more up to speed on what ottoneu is than anyone else.

9) ESPN split duties in writing positional previews for 2011 and one of my competitors, James Quintong, wrote the preview for 3B.  Which means I know exactly what he thinks of each 3B.  I have no idea how to take advantage of this.

10) Me. Sites featuring fantasy analysis from other owners in this league are listed above. Sites featuring my analysis?  None.  Well, unless you count this one. Which I don't. And I imagine you don't either.

This could get ugly.

Update: Seems the lineup has changed a bit - Derek Van Riper and Kevin O'Brien from Rotowire are in with one team, as is Jack Moore from RotoHardball. I'll add them to the list above at some point, but wanted to at least give their due. Welcome aboard!

*Technically we have been using slugging percentage against for pitchers, but moving forward, ottoneu will be using HR/9. The change has some real implications but nothing like the change from our 4x4 to the traditional 5x5.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect that you and Eno will have a significant advantage this season as you have a better idea on how to manage the day-to-day roster considerations (for instance, your tip about handcuffing the relievers is interesting, as is the requirement to have 5 SP and 5 RP).

    Peter and I are sharing a team in part due to time considerations - we each have kids, but live in different time zones, so I'll handle the first part of the draft from the West Coast while Peter will grab the second half after his kids are in bed.

    Thanks for the blog and for running the league!

    (Jeff Erickson)