2021 MLB Draft Guide: Intro to High Stakes Fantasy Baseball
Published: Mar 11, 2021
We all know people who dominate in home leagues. They consistently finish near the top and are always in the mix to win a Fantasy Baseball championship. If this sounds like you, it might be time to play in a high stakes league and take on a challenge.
The definition of high stakes is different for many. The National Fantasy Baseball Championships (NFBC), rtsports.com, and fantrax.com are generally considered to be the place to play in high stakes. There are different price points to play in and the payouts can be big. The entry fees can be anywhere from $150 to five figures.
The first year will be a challenge, especially in the NFBC where the competition is fierce. It won't be easy and you might perform worse than you expect your first time. I have heard numerous of the top players say they experience that. This isn't like your home league that has several weak players that might not invest as much time as the top players. There will be things you haven’t seen before. Just because someone spends a lot of money in a league doesn't mean they are a great player, but most are very savvy and put in a lot of work and research.
In many home leagues, there will be players who fall out of it early and check out. That rarely happens in the high stakes leagues where people are spending significant money. Most have pride and will play to the end.
The ADP (Average Draft Position) you see on mainstream sites is useless in the high stakes arena. The better resource is the ADP of that site you play on and even that gets thrown out the window the closer it gets to the draft date prior to the start of the season. The sleeper you get in your home league in round 15 might go in round 10 in a high stakes league. People will push players they want up the board and ignore ADP.
Another aspect that's different from most home leagues is there are no trades in the high stakes format. If you have had success fleecing your league mates in home leagues, that is eliminated. For some, trading is one of their strengths. If that is the case for you, hopefully making lineup decisions and picking the waiver wire clean are also strengths. Since there's big money on the line, trades can't happen since there could be collusion.
The NFBC has live drafts in Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York in addition to online drafts. The entry fees vary from $150-$15,000. The Main Event has an overall grand prize of $150,000 with an entry fee of $1,700 in a 15-team league. The NFBC online championship is a 12-team format with a grand prize of $150,000 and the entry fees are $350, $750 and $1,500 and the league prizes are based on the entry fee. RT Sports has all online drafts with entry fees ranging from $125 to $2,000 and are 10-team leagues.
Most of the leagues use rotisserie scoring with blind bidding waivers. The scoring is usually 5x5 with average, runs, home runs, RBIs and stolen bases on offense with wins, saves, strikeouts, ERA and WHIP on the pitching side. One of the differences between a lot of home leagues is lineup moves are made weekly. There are no daily formats. The NFBC allows you to make offensive changes on Friday for the weekend, but pitchers are locked in to start the week.
Many people are accustomed to head-to-head leagues or daily formats where you can stream players in and out and pile up at-bats and innings. This can't be done in the high stakes format. Each decision becomes more critical. Looking at matchups and ballparks become crucial. Every decision matters.
There's also an overall component to the high stakes format. If you play in the NFBC main event, not only can you win the league, you go against every team in the main for an overall grand prize. In this format, it's difficult to punt a category and win the overall.
You need to be on top of everything and work real hard. Read everything in the Fantasy Alarm Draft Guide. Absorb as much information as possible. Expect everyone to be on top of their game and be savvy. If you have had a lot of success in home leagues, step up and enter the high stakes arena. Someone has to win the grand prize. Who knows? Maybe, it can be you!