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A Shortcut to Projecting Hitters in Ottoneu

One of the better features of Ottoneu fantasy baseball is the linear weights-based scoring system for FGPTS and SABR.  These advanced, non-roto scoring options are well tuned to sabermetric-minded baseball fans, but they are not inherently intuitive until you get a feel for how a full season Ottoneu plays out.  Failure to quickly understand how player production and linear weights scoring are linked can put new Ottoneu owners at a disadvantage when entering an existing league of experienced game players.  In revisiting a RotoGraphs article by Justin Merry on how hitting is scored in Ottoneu (FGPTS and SABR), I was drawn to this statement:

If you total up a player’s fantasy points using this system, you will get a number that is going to be very close to ten times a player’s wRC.

Is this true? If so, wRC may serve as a nice “shortcut” to converting player production (and more importantly, projections), into actual FGPTS/SABR points for hitters, which can be helpful for owners new to the Ottoneu core scoring system.

Since this article is about taking shortcuts, I’ll take one myself and skip over all the statistical explanations for correlating FGPTS (hitters) to wRC and just give you the bottom line up front:

Over the small sample reviewed (2013 – 2015), the “wRC x 10” formula is a bit too generous, but if you adjust to “(wRC x 10)*.93” you can get pretty darn close to actual points scored, by player.

Let’s call this shorthand point calculation “wRCPTS”.  Here’s a quick graph (full version) showing the correlation of “wRCPTS” to Ottoneu scoring (FGPTS/SABR) for the top 100 hitters over the past three seasons:

2013 - 2015 FGPTS vs. wRCPTS vs. wRCx10

Top 100 hitters from 2013 – 2015 showing correlation of actual FGPTS (blue) scoring to wRC x 10 (red) and shorthand “wRCPTS” scoring (yellow).

In other words, a player’s “(wRC x 10)*.93” looks to be a viable but very general rule of thumb for quickly estimating how many points they have scored in a given season.  It isn’t perfect (speedier, low power hitters tend to have a greater correlation to wRC x 10, for example), but that’s the point: it’s just a shortcut designed to quickly get you to an estimated point total, by hitter, for linear weights. You can find the full three year comparison here.

Where could this shortcut help owners new to the Ottoneu game? Projections.

If you’re reading this article there’s a good chance you’re already comfortable converting projection data into linear weights scoring for FGPTS and SABR (Steamer projections, for example), but there are plenty of others who might benefit from a simplified version of a player-to-points calculation, which is what “wRCPTS” offers you.  It’s just a estimate (which can be quickly eye-balled by locating wRC on FanGraphs player pages), but sometimes that estimate is all you need to make an evaluation between comparable players.

Just for fun, let’s compare the “wRCPTS” shortcut calculation to the full scale calculation of FGPTS for 12 players using 2016 Steamer projections:

In graph form:

2016 Steamer Proj. by wRCPTS

In chart form:

2016 Steamer Proj. by wRCPTS Chart 2

2016 projected wRC and FGPTS by Steamer

Interesting? Helpful? “wRCPTS” seems to at least pass the eye test for viability, so if you’re new to Ottoneu and are having some trouble visualizing what player production might look like in a linear weights-based scoring system like FGPTS or SABR, give it a try.

Questions? Comments? Let us know.

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A New Way to Play Ottoneu

Ottoneu is one of the premiere fantasy baseball (football is coming!) platforms available today.  It’s “smarter, better fantasy baseball” that offers some of the deepest player pools and sabermetric-friendly formats around.  After all, where else can you interact directly with the game developer and see league enhancements in almost real-time?

With all that said, there’s always room for improvement, and addressing the issue of “parity” within Ottoneu (always a hot topic in any version of fantasy sports) is the subject of this post.  After playing Ottoneu for five seasons, I’ll summarize a key issue I see trending in many leagues and propose an idea on how to correct it without massively overhauling a game that is already best-in-class for die-hard baseball fans.


Problem: Despite its dynasty-like foundation, Ottoneu’s “winner-takes-all” structure leaves no distinction between teams finishing in 2nd and 12th place in the standings in a given season.  Continue reading

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Ottoneu Auction Calculator

Today I present to you the Holy Grail of Ottoneu Tools… Okay, well not really, but in all seriousness, this took a ton of work. So before I dig into the details, thanks to anyone who has already reviewed, questioned or commented on my work. The feedback is incredibly helpful.

Let us begin…

This is a custom dollar value calculator for Ottoneu FGPts leagues. What do I mean by “custom?” By custom, I mean that anything I thought to include as an input is able to be changed. Now you can see dollar values that directly reflect your opinions. Some examples of custom inputs: Replacement Level, PA and IP thresholds, # of prospects in a league, individual player’s projections… The list goes on. So, where do you start?

The Assumptions Tab: This is where the majority of inputs exists. Ignore “Methodology” for now (will come into play in future versions). And start with “Importing Rosters?” Selecting “Yes” will cause your league’s salaries and players to be removed from the total money, roster spots and Points Above Replacement (PAR) available in the league. To import rosters, use the Export.csv function on your team’s homepage and paste your players and salaries (as values) into the “Rosters” tab – cell A2 for names, cell B2 for salaries. Once rosters are included, You can still toggle between “Yes” and “No”, in the event that you want to see $ values ignoring players who are currently kept. (I do this constantly). As you will see in grayed out cells, toggling between “Yes” and “No” will automatically update the calculation.

Not only that, but you can also select assumptions for your own leagues regarding the number of prospects (and cost of said prospects) that will impact the values as well. This cost is in excess of the $1 mandatory cost that each roster spot requires. Ex: $2 cost for prospects is really $2 + $1. Please note that prospect inputs should be changed as league rosters are imported.

Next, you can change the PA and IP threshold for replacement level production. (Assumptions B29 and B33). These cells set the threshold for which all players receive replacement level production. What does this mean? Every player that is projected to received less playing time than the selected PA/IP threshold (currently 625/185 respectively) will receive replacement level production for the difference in plate appearances or innings pitched. Ex: 325PAs would give you 325PAs of a players own projection, in addition to 300PAs of replacement level production. (I probably would not tinker with this too much until I had set all my other assumptions).

As many of you know, I have been doing my own replacement level work this offseason. All of my benchmarks are included in the workbook. In an effort to keep everything custom, you can select your own replacement level that will update the dollar values (no reason to use my values if you disagree with me, PICK YOUR OWN!) You have two options, use the PPG methodology, or the Xth player ranked methodology. By PPG, all replacement levels will be calculated off of the designated PPG that you choose at each position. By Xth player ranked, the baseline for production is the Xth highest P/PA at a position (given all players projecting for 250PAs). So for example, the 17th C would be the 17th highest P/PA of all C projected for 250 or more PAs in 2015.

Now here’s where the fun comes in. Once you have updated your assumptions, go to the Batters and Pitchers tab. You will see the resulting $ values of your assumptions… Now go change your assumptions. Snap! The dollar values have updated. Now, remember, these values are calculated off of Steamer projections. “But wait!” you say, “I don’t agree with Steamer’s playing time projections.” That’s okay, because you can update the “Adj. PA” or “Adj. IP” column to be whatever you choose and the dollar values will update automatically. This is incredibly helpful for running scenarios. For example, what is Tulo worth if he gets 250PAs? 400? 600? (Look and find out). Also, you can change the position a player is getting replacement level for (if steamer did not include a position, 1B has been given as a default). So, what if Mike Trout was a SS (A man can dream…) what would the resulting cost difference be? What if Josh Harrison picked up SS? You get the point.

Also, I have only imported Steamer for now. Future iterations will let you pick between other projections, but in the interest of customization, all projections can be edited. If you think Robinson Cano will hit 22 HR instead of 18HR, change it. The values will update.

Last but not least, if you have selected “Yes” for “Importing Rosters?” all players currently owned will be excluded from the dollar values. (They will receive a $0 value and will no longer be marked as “Available” on the Batters and Pitchers tabs.) This is where the auction calculator part comes in… As you draft, simply type in the player’s salary in the “Drafted?” column and as a result, the dollar values will update. The player will be removed from the pool and his roster spot, salary and PAR will be excluded from calculations. No longer do you have to worry about inflation as a fudge factor, you can get specific inflation to your league depending on who has been kept/cut. A warning: Some teams/leagues keep overpriced players (causing inflation in keeper decisions). Is Miggy worth keeping at $70, probably not, but you might rather pay $70 and guarantee you own him than risk you rival snatches him away. Due to situations like this, it is very possible that a league can achieve negative inflation, or no inflation. This may cause you to disagree with a value placed on one of few remaining “Studs.” However, if 1 or 2 studs do appear under-priced, and consequently go for $10-$15 higher than their theoretical value, remember that there will be a lot of bargains available later. Consequently leaving underpriced talent. Ex: Hamels calculated at $24 (post roster import) and goes for $32. This increase in value is offset by the fact that steamer sees Cliff Lee, John Lackey, Gio Gonzalez, Yusmeiro Petit and Tim Lincecum as $10-$17 dollar assets. Does an $8 increase in Hamels price offset the fact that 3-4 of these guys may go for $10 less than their projected price? Something to consider.

That’s about it! I tried to make everything as custom as possible so that you can have dollar values that reflect your opinions as an owner. I’m happy to answer any questions or comments. I’m sure updates will be made and future iterations will be released. For now, this is a starting point. Enjoy!

The file should now be compatible with earlier versions of Excel.

Ottoneu Custom Auction Calculator (updated for 2016 Steamer!)

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Features of the Ottoneu Community on Slack

“The #Ottoneu community on Slack is basically a giant, customizable, feature-rich social network devoted to the game of Ottoneu.”

By now you may have heard about the growing #ottoneu community on Slack.  If not, you can find out more about it here.  We have over 600 members discussing all things Ottoneu baseball and football.  We hope you’ll join us.  You can request a free invite by expressing your interest in the comments section below.

Also, be sure to check out “10 Tips for Ottoneu Rookies”

For those of you new to the #Ottoneu community, I want to highlight a few core features of Slack that might come in handy as we get closer to the Ottoneu regular season.

Before you read any further, you’ll want to download the Slack mobile app, which allows you to keep up with everything Ottoneu on the go.

Slack mobile app is a must.

Slack mobile app is a must.

“The #Ottoneu community on Slack is basically a giant, customizable, feature-rich social network devoted to the game of Ottoneu.”

Ottoneu community on Slack

Ottoneu community on Slack

The #Ottoneu community is broken down into channels, which can be thought of as discussion topics.  For example, with less than 72 hours before the Ottoneu keeper deadline (1/31), we’ve added the #keeporcut channel for baseball, a rapid fire discussion thread where Ottoneu owners can crowd source last minute feedback about those players that may be on the chopping block before the auction.  New channels are added occasionally, but for the most part you’ll find dedicated, permanent thread channels on trade reviews, prospects, Ottoneu tools, the @ottoneutraderumors podcast, and others.

Ottoneu Community Channels on Slack.jpg

The #tradefeed channel is a direct link to each trade made in Ottoneu, in all leagues (just in case you want to see what others are getting in return for trading Bryce Harper…)

Niv, the creator of Ottoneu, is also a member of the #ottoneucommunity

Niv, the creator of Ottoneu, is also a member of the #ottoneucommunity

Once you’ve gotten the hang of the channels, you’ll also want to begin setting up keyword notifications.  Whether you’re active on the message board every day or just want to check in occasionally, setting up highlighted words – specific words that activate push notifications to your mobile device via the (excellent) Slack app – will help you get just the information you need.  For example, you can setup player names (“McCutchen”, “Puig”, “Miggy”), topics (“steamer”, “standings”, “yankees”), and other triggers (“my name”, “my team name”, “my league name”) as highlighted words to “ping” you only when they are mentioned by the entire community.  In addition, you can customize notifications by channel, so you may decide to push more frequent updates feedback from the #tradereview channel and just use your keywords for others (you can even “mute” channels if you don’t want to be ever notified and just want to check them manually when convenient).

Highlighted words notifications

Highlighted words notifications

“You can setup player names, topics, and other triggers as highlighted words to “ping” you only when they are mentioned by the entire community.”

Customize notifications by channel in Slack

Customize notifications by channel in Slack

Another great feature of Slack is that everything in the #Ottoneu community is searchable by keyword.  Been out of town and want to check if anyone has mentioned Yoan “Moncada” over the past few days? You can search for just about anything, including files, links, photos, etc.  And with regard to files, you can use Slack for just about any type of file transfer (Dropbox, PDF, Excel, GoogleDocs, photos, etc.), and you can integrate other resources like RSS feeds, Facebook, and Twitter (you’ll never miss an update from @ottoneu, an article from FanGraphs, or a blockbuster announcement from MLBTR again).  In other words, everything is in one place in a very user friendly environment, which makes communication with your league and with other like-minded Ottoneu owners easy and addictive.

Search anything in Slack in the #ottoneucommunity

Search anything in Slack in the #ottoneucommunity

While most of the action in #Ottoneu community takes place inside specific channels, you can also use Slack to privately direct message any members (up to 9 people in a single message) of the Ottoneu landscape.  Do you need trade advice on a deal you’ve been offered by an independent third party from another league? Need to nail down the final details of a trade you’ve been working on for weeks? Use direct messages to communicate quickly, and if you choose, setup a private group for your entire league that complements the discussion normally just found on your league home page.

Create a specific group for your league or direct message anyone in the community.

Create a specific group for your league or direct message anyone in the community.

Slackbot is also a feature of the #ottoneu community that functions sort of like your own private assistant (he can be pushy sometimes).  Slackbot is always available to you (just ask him), and can be used as a resource for Ottoneu and plenty of other things, including articles and files you need to reference often throughout the season.  You can even use Slackbot to setup personal reminders like “remind me in 2 hours to respond to Joe’s trade offer”, or “remind me in 30 days to start an auction for Adam Wainwright.”

Use Slackbot as your resource for all things Ottoneu

Use Slackbot as your resource for all things Ottoneu

This is just a list of some of the features of Slack within the #Ottoneu community.  These features and more can be accessed and customized by logging in via the community webpage: https://ottoneuc.slack.com. The #Ottoneu Slack community is a great resource if you’re interested in joining an Ottoneu baseball or football league, new to the game and looking for some advice, or a veteran title-holder looking for more information about the Champions League.  Request your invite by commenting below.

Ottoneu Slack signup

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