Monday, February 11, 2008

A Roto Strategy Question from a Reader

I thought this was a great question and since I spent more than the normal amount of time on this email than I do on others, I thought I'd share this. Although for some of you who are subscribed to this blog feed may have already seen my stance on this, sometimes hearing it twice will help spark some new thoughts and ideas.... enjoy!

Question: I have been playing fantasy baseball for almost 10 years, but I am joining my first roto league this year (12-14 teams, 5x5 mixed league). In the past it has been fairly easy to choose players since the goal was to score the most points by using a simple arithmetic formula. Now, when preparing for my roto auction, I don't really have an idea on how many SB, HR, etc. will be needed for me towin a category. I don't want to overspend chasing steals and end up without enough power or pitching. Is there any data available that shows category by category expectations for first through last place ineach category? For example, if I project that my team will finish with a batting average of .280, where can I expect them to rank against therest of the league?

Answer: Thanks for the email. Its very difficult to come up with a tool to describe what you are asking because every league is different and in all roto leagues, it all depends on how many transactions are made, active players on the roster, etc. etc...But there is hope!

In my experience and looking at countless leagues I have played in with 12-14 teams, 5x5, mixed, roto leagues..... you normally need about 300 HR and 170 SB to really compete at the head of the standings, as in top 3. RBI comes with HR and Runs come from both HR and SB's. AVG is an animal all in its own. As for pitching, you'll need at least 1000+K to compete, an ERA under 3.90 and a WHIP under 1.30. These stats will normally keep you towards the top of the standings in both hitting and pitching, or at least in the middle depending on league guidelines.

On top of that, here are some quick tips. For more information, surf through my 2008 Draft Guide at and my blog at . I have a ton of free information on draft strategies for roto leagues that match this question.....

- My personal opinion...its better to load up on 30+HR players earlier because they are more scarce late in the draft, then look for speed either as you draft the power hitters early or look for additional speed later in the draft. For example, In the first 3 rounds, look at say Ryan Howard in the late 1st, Alfonso Soriano in the early second, Aramis Ramirez in the late 3rd and Carlos Pena or Justin Morneau in the early 4th. This will give you approximately 150 HR in the first 4 rounds with about 30-40 stolen bases if you take a guy like Soriano.

- Then, whenever you draft hitters later, look for players who can steal at least 20+. Or look for Shane Victorino in the 7th or 8th, or Rickie Weeks in the 8th, or Willy Tavares in the 16th, or Felipe Lopez in the 15th, or Nate McLouth in the 20th for sleepers with SB potential.

- As you are drafting, you should be counting using basic player projections to get an estimate of the amount of stats a player and your team has the potential to get. So if after the first 4 rounds you see that you have a potential of 150 HR, then you need to keep in mind that as you draft and look for speed, you still need about 150 more potential HR to compete at the top.

- The key to success in most 5x5 roto leagues is this.... opt for the player with the better AVG potential. Opt for Fielder over Howard. Opt for Tex over Morneau. Opt for Jeter over Young.....when selecting comparable talent, always opt for the healthy durable player with the better average potential.

- With pitching in a roto league, its wise to either draft at least two top SP's sometime from rounds 4-7 and maybe pick up another in th 9th and then two solid closers between 9-11 OR draft two top Relievers in rounds 5-7, get a decent SP like Dice-K or Carmona in the 9th and then look for solid SP's with upside later. Point is, you need horses for ERA/WHIP/K's. Two of the top 4 closer provide those three categories as does two top-notch SP's enough to keep your standing in the pitchers category respectable.

So those are my basics and the strategy that I am employing this season. Like I said, for more info...check out the site.
Hope that helps!


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