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Sunday, March 19, 2017

HOW TO PLAY FANTASY BASEBALL

Yesterday, I picked my first fantasy baseball team.  This competition is sponsored by ESPN and is free.  However, you can upgrade through various outlets and pay thousands to play this game.  My younger brother, Dan, who lives in Las Vegas, is especially good at fantasy sports.  Of course, during their seasons, you can also do football (NFL and NCAA), basketball, golf, soccer and just about anything else.
March Madness Tournament Challenge?  That's fantasy basketball.  I've not done well this weekend.  My 95% ranking is now down to 66%, and there are 6.5 million doing better than me.  But, big deal, the grand price will only win for two a trip to the 2017 Maui Jim Maui Invitational, and the flight is on economy.  However, there is that $10,000 Amazon gift card.

There was a time when I was a fanatic.  I flew to Las Vegas to participate in drafting my baseball team with my brother.  There was one USA Today competition when he and I placed second and third in the nation of tens of thousands of players.  He has won a lot of money doing this.  I might have had as many as 50 different fantasy teams per year in my prime, which was perhaps a decade or more ago.

The value of having fantasy teams is that any game you watch is meaningful.  You lose total loyalty to your favorite teams, and only want your players to do well.  For example, you cheer for your hitters to hit home runs, and your opponents to strike out or get injured.  Yes, this game is merciless.  If you focus in the draft to only select players from your teams, you will not do well in the competition.

According to Forbes, 23 million players spend 3 hours/week over a 17 week NFL season, wasting $70 billion.  I've given up on pro football because I never do well.  Overall, 57 million in the USA/Canada participate in fantasy sports.

I won't explain how this all works, but you can link to Wikipedia.  Here is a good explanation, and a quick summary:
  • Also known as rotisserie or roto.
  • You can join a league or only compete as an individual.
  • Concept started more than half a century ago, although the modern founding was in 1980.
  • In the early days you had to call to make your player changes.  Now, with the internet, everything is quick and efficient.
  • If gambling is illegal, are fantasy sports legal?  Mostly yes, but the situation is evolving.
So here is what you do to get started.  After all, it's free, so if you screw up, try again.  You are allowed 25 free teams, so don't worry.  Let me tell you that the draft is intimidating, and your computer must be up to date to get connected to, at the same time, link with 7 others to spend an hour picking your players.
  • Say you join ESPN.  Click on THIS.
  • You can hardly see this link, but left of Create a League, click on League Directory.
  • Let me simplify this.  Click on:
    • Format:  All
    • Access  All
    • Restriction:  None
    • Scoring:  Roto
    • Categories
    • League Size:  8
    • Player Universe:  MLB
    • Then you join a league to meet your schedule.
      • Click on the name of the league.  At this typing, Best 2017 HTH League was available.
      • Click on Join this League.  I did, and now have six teams.
      • If you don't have an ESPN username and password, you will need to first join.
      • If you succeed, you will be sent to a page where you will click on Take Me To My Team.
    • If you get this far, first edit your pre-draft player rankings by clicking on the link, and save your changes.
    • On the day of the draft, at least half an hour before the start, click on the link that allows you to join the draft.  If you did choose a snake system:
      • This means you will, an hour before the draft occurs, receive a number from 1 to 8 as to when you will draft in your league.
      • Say you are #7.  This means you will get the seventh, then the 10th choice...etc, until all 27 spots are filled.
Don't want to scare you, but a million things can go wrong.  If you've never done this before and don't belong to ESPN or Yahoo or whatever, the process can get tedious.  Congratulations if you finally get a team.  At one time, in the pay-in leagues, you might win an ESPN t-shirt.  I won many, but gave them away.  Today?  I don't think you win anything.  

CDM is also popular for $45, but you can win $25,000.  I've done Yahoo in the past.  But they wanted me to change my password to join this year, and I did not want to bother.  Perhaps readers of this blog site can next year form our own league.  Let me know.

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