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Collette Calls Mailbag

If you would like to have your fantasy baseball question responded to in this format, drop Jason a line. He'll publish his mailbag twice a week.

I am in a 10 team keeper league. No budgets.  The only restriction is that I can keep 7 people.   It is a 5x5 league that makes use of OBP instead of AVG. I've sort of narrowed the possible keepers down to this:  Obviously the top 3 are excellent keepers.  What would you do for the last 4 spots if you were me?


Miguel Cabrera


Matt Adams




Matt Moore



We are a one-catcher league with 9 pitching spots and five bench spots.

Thanks so much!

First off, sweet top 3 keeper list for a 10 team league with no budgets! To have three of the top 10 players on the same team is rather awesome. In a small keeper league like that, I am loading up on offense because there will be plenty of pitching to go around. I would keep Puig, Mauer, Profar, and Strasburg as my last four guys. Tough to give up the other guys, but that allows you to continue playing for the present ant the future. If the present is more important to you, let Profar walk and retain Kimbrel. Good luck!

Just joined an AL only league, standard 5x5 roto $260, where the team was dissolved last year, but brought back. I know flags fly forever, but I get to pick my "keepers" before the auction after every other team can keep 11, including minor leaguers. Wondering if I should forgo the play to win mentality, and grab as much young talent as possible, or even grab 2-3 studs to trade mid-season for more prospects. Thanks for the great analysis.


I'm guessing if the guy left the team, it wasn't that good to begin with. Are you allowed to pick just players that were on the team or can you somehow expand your pool? When I've gone into new leagues, that first year I would target the high-priced & good talent and then use those guys to trade for the players I coveted on the other teams. If you go all youth out of the gate, it could take a few years to build up that team into a competitor because immediately out of the gate, you're going to be buying overpriced players in the auction. Good luck!


First, the basic, non-unique stuff: it's an auction dynasty that is expanding this year from 12 to 14 teams. 5x5 with OBP instead of AVG and we're moving to QS instead of W.


Here's the thing: the stated goal of the league is to mimic owning, being the GM of, and managing a real baseball team as much as humanly possible. This has led us to a 3 particularly unique aspects, all of which are what make it so great:


1. Daily Scoring.Every day, my team has a game against another team, after which I get a flat "W" or "L." We use head-to-head roto scoring, but instead of getting a "6-4" or "3-7" each day (or whatever), like I said, I just get a W or L. We do that because that's how real baseball works: my Dodgers don't accumulate 3 runs to tack on to some runs total at the end of the year when we lose 7-3 because Josh Beckett pitched and Donnie B sac bunted 4 times. We just get a loss.


From a fantasy perspective, this makes every day incredibly fun and really exciting.


2. Instead of a Buy-In and a $260 Fake Money Allowance, Each Team Pays What it Wants. I love this aspect of the league. Instead of everyone chipping in, say, $100 of real money, then getting a fake $260 for an auction, each team pays what it wants for it's team (just like real baseball). We've toyed with eliminating a salary cap altogether, but we have some friendships we want to protect, and we don't want anyone dropping more money on their team than they should and then storming out of the league/friendships at the end of the year. But no cap would work well.


Here's what we do instead: we have a $200 soft salary cap and a $300 hard cap. From $200-$300, there is a 3-1 luxury tax, so that conceivably, the most money you could spend on your salary is $600 ($300 in actual salary, plus $300 in luxury tax). That's a financial scale that works well for the life stages/income levels of the guys in our league.


This has all kinds of awesome implications. My little brother is a college student who has almost no income, and last year he spent a little over $100 on his team, while piling up top tier minor leaguers. Another guy spent the full amount. I was right around $200. I won the league in 2012 (our first year) without going over the cap, while the last place team was right at the top limit. Again: just like real baseball.


3. Multi-Year Contracts. We just changed this for this year, so we'll see if it really works, but we really wanted to do multi-year deals. The contract's AAV is the trump card at the auction (i.e. $25 for 1 year of Justin Upton will beat $24/yr on a 2 year deal for him), and we have some buyout clauses built in to save people from hating their teams forever (you can cut the guy with remaining years, but it will cost a percentage of his remaining contract depending on how many years remain on the deal). Also, like in real baseball, minor league call-ups have extended team control: every rookie will get $2/yr for 3 yrs, then $5, $10, and $15 for years 4, 5, and 6 respectively, with the option to cut him in any of those years without financial punishment.


I never want to go back to doing fantasy baseball another way, and I bet there are others who would love it also. I didn't really know who else to send this too in the fantasy baseball world, so maybe it'll be some interest.


That is certainly an interesting league setup. I have heard of other leagues that have the second and third features you describe, but not a combination of all three. Personally, I am not a fan of the head-to-head or daily scoring format as I find it to be an unfortunate side effect of fantasy football. Fantasy baseball is a marathon – 26 weeks/26.2 miles is no coincidence. I like to spend my week looking at everything else but the daily results because there's too much emotion tied up in what a guy does in short spurts. That said, I'm for whatever keeps more people playing fantasy baseball and keeps the interest growing. I just don't see myself playing anything but standard roto scoring moving forward. I tried the scoresheet format, but it didn't hold my interest and I know I'm in the minority with that one.


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