Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 

2013 Draft Prep: Nando Di Fino's Roto strategies

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

More Rotisserie strategies: Al Melchior | Scott White

Points leagues have their perks: you can face off against friends and family each week in a spirited--oh wait, you can do that in Head-to-Head category leagues.

Let's try that again.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

Points leagues are great because ... they're shallower than regular leagues? They have deep waiver wires? Er ... triples count?

You know, let's do this instead: Rotisserie leagues are all kinds of awesome. Rosters are deeper. You really have to know the player pool. It's the way the game was originally played, along with pun-y team monikers based on your actual name (none of that Anchorman referencing weakness that litters the landscape today). And if you think five categories on each side are too simplistic, know this: not only did Daniel Okrent tirelessly research and identify eight of these 10 categories as closely correlating with actual baseball success when he began writing the rules back in 1980 (eventually, strikeouts and runs were added), but CBSSports.com ran last year's MLB results through both systems -- Points and Roto -- and the results were staggeringly similar: the top 10 teams in real baseball were the same in both formats, with just minor discrepancies between the two.

To some Fantasy baseball newbies, points leagues may be the norm -- it's how the more-popular football game is played, after all. But Roto is beautiful in its simplicity. You have five batting categories (runs, RBI, batting average, stolen bases, home runs) and five pitching categories (wins, strikeouts, ERA, WHIP, saves). You don't have to worry about how many points you lose for a batter striking out or keep referring to the rules on how many points a triple is worth. There are no message board disputes when you find out your opponent just got 75 points for a no-hitter. Remember these 10 categories -- and get know a deeper pool of players, who will all likely be drafted or auctioned -- and you're ready to play.

For the new drafter curious about what to expect, or even the old grizzled vet looking for some new strategy, here are four tips on improving your chances at a Roto win.

1. Your doubles and walks are not welcome here

That loud 'whoosh' you just heard was Royals outfielder Alex Gordon zooming down the player rankings for Roto leagues. Gordon led MLB with 51 doubles last year, and while those doubles play a role in his batting average -- with a somewhat tangential effect on RBI (you'll drive in more runs with doubles) and runs (you'll score more if you start off on second base instead of first) -- you aren't going to get two points for each of his doubles here in Rotoland. The same can be said for silliness such as walks, triples and innings pitched. Rotisserie players are concerned with five hitting categories. Everything else is just background noise.

That being said, you can sometimes use doubles as indicators of a young player's power potential, so they shouldn't be totally ignored when put in the right context. Gordon seems to have settled into a role as a doubles-hitting outfielder (he had 45 doubles in 2011). But someone like Billy Butler hit 45 doubles in 2010 and 44 doubles in 2011, finally turning them into 29 home runs (after seasons of 15 and 19) in 2012, as a 26-year-old.

2. It's OK to consider middle relievers who have no shot of getting saves

If you're playing in a single-league format, chances are you're going to hit a point where the closers are all gone and the starting pitching options look grim -- in other words, they'll hurt your team more than help it. At this point, it might be wise to start looking at some middle relievers who have low ratios (ERA and WHIP), while getting at least a strikeout per inning. While other owners may chase down the closer-in-waiting candidates, who will likely sit on Fantasy benches for a good amount of the season, you can add one of these middle relievers who can contribute from day one. Some solid options for 2013 include Jake McGee, David Hernandez, Tim Collins, Tyler Clippard, Rex Brothers, Antonio Bastardo, David Robertson, Vinnie Pestano and Jonny Venters. The downside? They'll get you about one-third of the innings a starter would. The upside? Their ERAs and WHIPs will be significantly lower and they may only lag behind in strikeouts by as few as 50 or 60 from a low-end starter.

In Points leagues, it's not as sound a strategy, because you aren't seeing points for wins, innings pitched or large strikeout totals. But in deeper Roto leagues, these middle relievers can provide some nice cement for a pitching staff at a point in drafts when you're left to choose among the Jeff Francis and Chris Narveson types.

3. Get to know your low-end catchers

Points formats will have bountiful waiver wires, as leagues are usually set up with one starting catcher per team. But in Roto formats, two catchers is the norm. In a 12-team league, you're going to have to know at least the top 24 catchers, and once teams start taking backups later you'll find yourself digging through actual backup catchers, especially if you wait too long to add one to your team.

Catchers have significantly fewer at-bats than position players. In 2012, for example, the top 25 catchers averaged about 415 at-bats, while the top 25 shortstops got around 560. So you're already talking about somewhat-marginalized players. Waiting for that second catcher, however, can turn up some gems in Roto formats. Two in particular who could be helpful this year are Jason Castro and Welington Castillo.

Castro, 25, was the 10th overall pick in the 2008 draft and is slated to start for Houston this year, after getting just 257 at-bats in an injury-riddled 2012 campaign. While he hasn't shown much in the way of talent at the major-league level just yet (.235 average, eight total home runs in 452 at-bats), Castro has a solid average over four minor league seasons and has flashed some power at times. But what's most important here is that Castro has the starting job locked up, meaning he'll be in position to score and drive in more runs, just by playing regularly.

Castillo, also 25, doesn't have the potential in batting average like Castro, but he has shown better power in the minors. In the final two months of 2012, Castillo hit .279 with four home runs, 18 RBI and 13 runs scored. Again, nothing to get excited about, but he's the starter. Castillo and Castro will probably be auctioned off for a total of around four dollars in mixed Roto leagues, and could put up numbers close to those of catchers who go for far more.

4. Don't be afraid to load up on middle infield gambles

As opposed to points formats, where you fill out a normal infield at each position, Roto leagues force you to draft for those middle and corner infield roster spots. Every year, owners grouse about how shallow shortstop and second base are, and every year they have a chance to address this by loading up early on middle infielders. Yet they tend not to do this, opting for starting pitching or outfielders instead. Corner infield is always deep, thanks to plenty of players -- outfielders, catchers, third basemen -- taking enough turns at first base to gain eligibility, as well as the corners having depth with big bats to begin with. But middle infield doesn't boast nearly as much offense. Most players getting dual eligibility are Nick Punto-style utility types who have an upside of 350 at-bats. And other than a handful of studs with big bats, middle infield is overwhelmed with light-hitting, maybe-he'll-get-20-steals options. So, at the expense of passing on other positions, it would be wise to lock up your middle infield relatively early in Roto drafts. Otherwise, you'll be looking at a long, dark summer, dangling surplus pitchers and big bats in lopsided deals for any help you can get up the middle.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @nandocbs . You can also send us an e- mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Angels pitcher Mike Morin tagged for three-run homer Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:14 am ET) Angels pitcher Mike Morin lasted just 1/3 of an inning Saturday in Los Angeles' 4-0 loss to the Astros. Morin served up a three-run home run to Robbie Grossman on a 1-0 pitch in the seventh, leading to the Angels' loss.

"We know the dimensions of the ballpark," Morin said. "I didn't execute the pitch -- bottom line."

Morin has posted a 4.91 ERA in 3 2/3 innings this season and may be fighting for a role with his struggles.

"I trust Sosh completely," said Morin. "It has nothing to do with that. I'll be ready day in and day out, whether it's the second inning or the 10th or the seventh. It's not weighing on my mind at all."


Rockies surprising 2B LeMahieu cranks first homer Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:45 am ET) Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu had his nine-game hitting streak to start the season snapped Friday night. He apparently didn't take too kindly to it.

LeMahieu, a hot hitter on a hot-hitting team, provided most of the offense in a loss to the Dodgers with a two-run homer in the seventh inning off standout right-hander Zack Greinke. The RBI give him eight on the year and the performance improved his slash line to an impressive .463/.476/.585.


Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis thriving early this season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:43 am ET) Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis has ripped through the first two weeks of the season with a bang, hitting .333 in 45 at-bats. Manager John Gibbons loves the way the rookie is playing this season.

"He's got the complete game, he really does," Gibbons said. "He was such a good hitter in spring training I thought to myself: 'This kid will hit some home runs in his career.' But he's shown a lot more power than I expected."

Gibbons is handling things at the plate like an old veteran, according to Gibbons.

"One thing he's got that's advanced for a young guy is he's got a great approach at the plate, he doesn't chase out of the zone much. He's got the ability to foul off tough pitches to stay alive and a lot of guys can't do that. And he handles breaking balls, at least fouls them off, and that's a big part of it. He stays alive and if they make a mistake he doesn't miss it. He's been very productive."


Blue Jays manager just fine with Kevin Pillar's aggressive style of play
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:38 am ET) Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has no issue with how outfielder Kevin Pillar attacks the game head on, reports the Toronto Sun. He will deal with the slight issues that comes with his aggressiveness.

"I love the fact that he's aggressive, he can pull off some catches that a lot of guys don't make," Gibbons said. "It depends on the situation, some balls you can't get to, them back off. But he's always had that mindset (to go get it) and that's what allows him to be so good and make those plays. A lot of guys don't. But he's smart enough too to know there's certain times he's got to back off too."

Pillar doesn't think he's overly aggressive.

"He believes he's going to make it, that's why he makes a lot of them," Gibbons added. "There's no hesitation with him at all. He's got a ton of confidence when he's playing that outfield, really in his whole game. When he's on the bases he's a confident kid too."


Adrian Gonzalez drives in three more for Dodgers on Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:37 am ET) The 2015 RBI Machine, otherwise known as Adrian Gonzalez, was at it again Saturday night.

The Dodgers slugger not only boasts a ridiculous batting average of .523, which actually went down in the game but he added three RBI to his total, giving him 14 in 11 games. He brought home a run with a fielder's choice in the third and singled in two in the fifth. Gonzalez owns an eye-popping slugging percentage of 1.045.

He has struck out just three times in 44 at-bats on the year.


Dodgers closer Peralta overcomes pain in neck to be pain in neck to Rockies
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:30 am ET) For a guy considered questionable to pitch with a neck issue, Dodgers closer Joel Peralta was certainly impressive Saturday night.

Peralta was a pain in the neck to the Rockies. He closed them down with a shutout inning, yielding only a walk along the way to notch his third save.

The right-hander has yet to surrender a run in six outings as he holds down the role for the injured Kenley Jansen.


Rockies starter Lyles can't compete against Greinke in defeat
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:24 am ET) Opposing pitchers must be sharp when matched up against Dodgers stud Zack Greinke. Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles was not sharp Saturday night. The result was his first loss of the season.

Lyles walked five in six innings. He also gave up five hits and four earned runs. He was hanging in there until a two-run single by Adrian Gonazalez in the fifth stretched the Los Angeles lead to 4-1.

His ERA jumped more than a point to 3.50, but he will have a chance to lower it Thursday against San Diego.


Mariners catcher Mike Zunino rips first home run of the year
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:17 am ET) Mariners catcher Mike Zunino went 1 for 3 at the plate in Seattle's 3-1 win over the Rangers Saturday. Zunino did his damage in the fifth when he smacked the first pitch he saw from Colby Lewis over the left center field wall for a solo home run, his first of the year.

Zunino, who also struck out twice, boosted his average to .139 in 36 at-bats this season.


Dodgers RHP Greinke good enough for second win Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:16 am ET) Good was good enough Saturday night for Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke.

Greinke was dominant in his first two starts this season. He was merely good against the hot-hitting Rockies and that earned him his second win.

Only a two-run homer by DJ LeMahieu in the seventh inning really marred his performance. He finished having yielded three earned runs on five hits in 6 2/3 inning with one walk and three strikeouts. His ERA nearly doubled to a still-wonderful 1.83.

Greinke has now allowed just 12 hits and two walks in 19 2/3 innings. He will try to continue his fine start Thursday in San Francisco.


Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis knocked around for 10 hits in loss
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:14 am ET) Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis allowed three runs on 10 hits in Texas' 3-1 loss to the Mariners Saturday. 

Lewis worked efficiently through the first three innings before running into issues in the fourth. Lewis allowed a sacrifice fly to Seth Smith, allowing Robinson Cano to score. Then in the fifth, Lewis surrendered a leadoff home run to Mike Zunino.

"I thought he settled in nicely and pitched a heckuva game," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said to MLB.com. "He made pitches and he mixed pitches. I felt good with the way Colby was throwing."

Brad Miller then tripled in the sixth, driving in Kyle Seager, before getting pulled.

"There wasn't one inning that was easy," Lewis said. "I didn't get any quick innings. I was always working out of the stretch. I was just trying to keep it close like I always do."

Lewis, now 1-1, boasts a 3.79 ERA and will look to get back on track Saturday against the Angels.


 
 
 
Rankings