A chiller version of fantasy baseball
January 23, 2014 6:14 PM   Subscribe

Is there a more relaxed version of fantasy baseball -- preferably one that I can just play online without organizing a league among my acquaintances?

I've never played any fantasy sports before, but I feel like this year is the year to start -- I'm hoping I'll learn something about a team other than the Red Sox. But from what I've heard, baseball is the most intense of fantasy sports, partly because there are more players, games, and stats, but also just because it attracts obsessives.

I'm afraid of obsessives. I'm basically just looking for a stake in lots of different games. I also don't really want to organize a league among people I know; there's not that much interest and I'd rather lose in private. Is there a service that will let me make some kind of fantasy team, without requiring a gang of preexisting friends, and doesn't absolutely require me to learn about all the minutiae (although it's nice if the option is there)? Bonus points if the interface is pretty; I want it to be fun to check in on my team.

(also: i'm not willing to bet real money.)
posted by vogon_poet to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most fantasy baseball or whatever leagues will let you join whatever league is open and those tend to be bunches of randoms. I like Yahoo Fantasy but ESPN's probably has the better interface.

Or keep an eye on MeTa, there's usually a league or two going.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:26 PM on January 23, 2014

Yeah, any of the big sites have public leagues that are free to join. The downside is that you run the risk of being in a league with people who abandon their teams partway during the season, which is kind of annoying. I do recommend the MeFi leagues- I actually started the first, but haven't played in years. They're pretty chill.

Out Of the Park Baseball is another alternative- it's pretty deep and plays real (not fantasy) baseball, but it's single player and the iOS version is $1.99.
posted by mkultra at 7:16 PM on January 23, 2014

Yesterday I learned about the the IDEAS fantasy league, ie: "fantasy economists".

(Because "fantasy economics" is most of economics, but...)
posted by straw at 9:04 AM on January 24, 2014

You are looking for a Standard Public league. There are literally millions of these formed every year. This will put you into a 10-team league where you can pick players from both AL and NL teams (a "mixed" league). Conveniently, the default player rankings for ESPN, Yahoo, and pretty much everybody else are based on this type of league. You still have some options:

1. What style of play, head-to-head or rotisserie or some sort of points league. I'd recommend head-to-head to start, if only because it quantizes the whole season into a series of weeks. Whatever mistakes/awesome plays you make will only affect your total for that one week. In rotisserie leagues, you accumulate stats over the course of the whole season, so if Francisco Liriano turns back into a pumpkin, those earned runs are on your ledger for the whole season.
2. What kind of draft, live "snake", live auction, or auto-pick. Live drafts are more fun because you get to make your own decisions. Auctions are more advanced (but quite fun). Make sure you test out the draft software (Yahoo for some reason doesn't work on my Windows computer). You can also do mock drafts, for practice. The league provider will have their default rankings (and whatever custom rankings you've made) available to you during the draft, and will pick for you if you lose connectivity or don't make a pick in time.

Fantasy baseball is more intensive because there are more players involved, but also because they play every day (so you have to set your lineup every day) and the season is longer. Some leagues have you set your lineup once a week, but I'm pretty sure the standard games are "daily" leagues. One of the biggest keys to victory is to actually go set your lineup every day.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:52 PM on January 24, 2014

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