Crazy fantasy leagues

If you’re just here for the PDF of the league rules for the Alphabet Soup League, Download here

I enjoy oddball fantasy leagues. In my experience, they tend to draw a crowd that enjoys a bit more of a challenge, and I definitely enjoy a competition. Winning is great, but I live for the pure thrill of competition.

My favorite league is a league of my own creation – the Alphabet Soup League. The intent of the league was to create something that would be considerably more challenging than a typical league – and based on some comments last year, I think I succeeded. Some of the GMs were very anxious to get started this year. The league is very different than any other league I have every encountered.

I go into considerable detail about the ABC league in an earlier post so I won’t rehash all of it here. The gist is that you are only allowed to have one player represent each letter of the alphabet (A-Rod for R, for example). The draft is also very strange. You are allocated specific letters in each “round” and choose players from those letters. Within a given round, the picks are completely independent of each other, so there is no need to use any sort of draft order. People just email me their picks at the end of each round. The downside is that there isn’t a good way to upload the information for the fantasy provider. Is it unrealistic to hope for XML support?

The 2009 draft is just winding down (it takes about ten days to complete). As with last year, some very good players slipped quite a way down the board. For example, I had second choice of the S players after another GM picked Sizemore. Johan Santana and CC Sabathia were the obvious picks, but I went with Geovany Soto. Why? Because my letters for the next several rounds were lousy for catchers, and I was afraid of being stuck with someone like Jason Varitek. It is important to look ahead and figure out when you might be able to fill a specific position (particularly catcher and middle infielder).

I am making the rules for the ABC league publicly availably. Download it here. If you decided to create your own version of the ABC league, drop me an email at Kosmo@ObservingCasually.com. Feel free to let me know if you have questions or comments about the league format. Yes, I realize that the letters E, I, and N suck.

The other oddball league I am in is a bit more typical. It is a keeper league – we keep all of our players from year to year. I adopted a very aggressive strategy for the draft. I took a list of the top prospects. If they were draft-eligible in Yahoo, I put them at the top of this list. As a result, only a few of the players I draft were bona fide full time major leaguers that year. As a result, I got crushed in the league, finishing 20th out of 20 teams. As a result, I got top waiver priority for the next year – and used it to pick Evan Longoria.

The second year – last year – was much different. Many of the prospects had been promoted to the majors and the team blossomed. I finished with the best record in the league (although I lost in the playoffs). In September – a time when most of the league’s GM were ignoring the league, I was busy snagging prospects who were called up for cups of coffee with the big league club. Needless to say, I’m very excited to see how the team does is 2009.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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