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Fantasy Baseball Categories League Primer (2023)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Jan 20, 2023
Brandon Nimmo

Know your league’s rules and categories to know how to value someone like Brandon Nimmo.

I do a lot of writing each year about sports. Particularly about baseball. And particularly, particularly (that phrase WILL catch on just like fetch did), about fantasy baseball. With that comes questions from people of all experience levels. But I get a lot of questions asking me which scoring format I recommend for new players and which scoring format is my favorite.

The former is points leagues since the people who come over to play fantasy baseball typically have experience playing fantasy football. It’s an easy format to learn as the person tests the waters on whether or not the marathon that is the 162-game season is for them.

But the answer to the latter is head-to-head category leagues. This, too, has an element of fantasy football, as you’re facing off head-to-head with someone else, but instead of accruing points and getting the most you can regardless of the position, you have to be a little bit more strategic in the players you are rolling out there depending on your scoring.

For the scoring, traditional 5×5 roto scoring is still the default (R, RBI, HR, SB, AVG, W, K, ERA, WHIP, SV). While I love playing in leagues with different scoring settings (SV+H, QS, IP, OPB, OPS, etc.), my hot take is that the traditional scoring settings are still the best settings to use.

Stay with me here, OK?

About a decade ago, when I was covering the Pittsburgh Pirates, I was on a podcast (yes, they had them back then) with a few people, including The Score’s Travis Sawchik. At the time, he was the Pirates beat writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and a question was posed about what the Triple-Crown stats should include. A few of us were tossing around WAR, OPS, and other “advanced” stats. But Sawchik said, “It should be HR, RBI, AVG because that attracts the casual viewer and gains new fans.


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