A few weeks ago, there was some talk on the message board in one of my leagues about moving from weekly transactions and lineups to daily. I’m firmly on Team Weekly because I prioritize sustainability.
Daily lineups require more frequent interventions from their owners. Starting pitchers get skipped or moved back a day, position players get unplanned days off due to minor maladies and relievers get days off after working three of the past four days. Attentive owners do very well in this type of league and attentiveness is a positive attribute in an owner. What do I have against attentive owners?
Nothing, of course. It’s just that sustaining the type of attentiveness required to win a competitive league with daily transactions for six months is unrealistic and sometimes nearly impossible due to family obligations, travel plans or a million other things that fall into a category of living a life. Making owners choose between living a life and fielding a competitive team is a good way to ensure a high owner-attrition rate. Having a stable group of owners might be the most critical component for a good league. Making sure that the effort required to field a competitive team over the course of the season fits within the framework of the time your fellow owners have available will pay off in the long term in the form of lower owner turnover rates.
Leagues with daily transactions frequently have continuous first-come, first-served free-agent pickups. I’m not a fan of this type of free agent pickup because it changes the game from what it should be into something it shouldn’t. Fantasy baseball should be about drafting or auctioning the best team possible, then making trades, pickups and start/bench decisions during the season depending on the conditions on the ground. When big news breaks, like a team naming a new closer, the team that gets the newly desirable player from the free-agent pool is the person who was able to switch from Twitter to their roto app the quickest or the person who acted on the push notification about the news most quickly.
This isn’t skill or strategy. Critical pickups end up being determined by which owner was working from home rather than stuck in a conference room or on vacation in Ireland. Considering that big free-agent pickups can have a huge impact on winning or losing a league, determining these pickups by who happens to be closest to their phone when they happen is kind of silly. And owners who see their shot at competing for a title scuttled by the fact that they didn’t look at their phone on date night are owners who are less likely to come back the following year.
Requiring a sustainable level of effort from owners makes them more likely to stick around. Minimizing owner turnover makes leagues more sustainable year after year. And keeping a good league together is a good thing.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now
Thus, if you are going to play weekly, it would be a plus to have a site that allows you to replace a player during the week, if an active player hits the DL.
This makes the reserve roster more than a place to accumulate the latest prospects, and rewards the owner who does have a working and viable reserve roster.
(note, I play in a weekly transaction league with FAAB once a week, and a daily league with 2x wk FAAB )
We have, however, taken steps to make it more fair for those with less time to spend. We have add enough active pitching spots to avoid missing starts - no need to switch starters every day. We also put all available players on waivers, so you have to use a claim to add anybody. Instead of the first person to hear the news getting some new closer, it goes to whomever has a higher waiver position.
As commissioner, I've also been willing to set lineups for managers who go on vacation, as has my co-commish.