Fantasy Baseball vs. Fantasy Football

The world of fantasy sports is dominated by football. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FTSA) currently estimates that there are over 27 million people playing fantasy football. In comparison, the FTSA says fantasy baseball has only 11 million participants.

Because of this, many men are first introduced to the fantasy hobby by playing in football leagues. If that experience is enjoyable, some guys will then accept invitations to play fantasy baseball. Unfortunately, certain people that decide to play fantasy baseball will start the season unprepared.

Strictly researching players is not enough when it comes to adjusting from fantasy football to baseball. An owner should also look at all of the differences between Major League Baseball (MLB) and the NFL. With those distinctions in mind, an owner should then learn how they affect the fantasy game and his particular baseball league.

Below are four important points to remember when preparing to make the transition from fantasy football to baseball.

1. Frequency of Games
Someone moving from fantasy football to baseball must first recognize that MLB players are constantly in action. NFL regular season games are primarily played on Sundays, with only a few exceptions to that. MLB regular season contests are scheduled everyday from early April until the first days of October.

The high level of MLB activity generally forces fantasy baseball owners to be much more involved. If a league allows daily player transactions, owners have to regularly check and fill empty roster spots. Owners setting weekly rosters must look ahead to minimize the probability of having inactive players in starting roles.

2. Position Eligibility
Fantasy baseball owners analyzing potential draft picks will notice that some players are listed at multiple positions. In the world of football there are very few fantasy players with multi-position eligibility. Therefore, it is not a factor in football, but is very important to fantasy baseball.

Players that can be moved between different positions are valuable in fantasy baseball. It allows for that particular player to be substituted in another spot(s) and helps avoid benching a potentially productive hitter. Also most leagues allow extra position eligibility to be earned in-season when players make a certain amount of appearances at new spots.

3. Minor League System
Many fantasy football owners monitor the college game to learn about future NFL stars. However, those players must remain in school for a certain amount of time. Players in the MLB minor league system can potentially get a shot with the big club at any time.

A good idea for fantasy baseball owners is to be aware of which players are top minor league prospects. Some owners will even draft or claim minor league players with hopes that they will get called up later and asked to contribute. In 2010, many owners did this with San Francisco’s Buster Posey and were ultimately rewarded for it.

4. League Switching
The existence of two separate NFL conferences is usually not considered a factor by fantasy football participants. Baseball however contains two alliances that each differ a bit, the American League (AL) and National League (NL). The primary difference is that NL pitchers bat, while AL teams use a designated hitter (DH) to replace pitchers in batting orders.

Because of the DH rule, each league plays a somewhat unique type of baseball. Therefore, a player switching leagues might perform poorly or lose at-bats if they do not adjust well. Aside from this, fantasy owners in mono-leagues (AL-only or NL-only) completely lose a player that switches leagues mid-season.