There are many people who can dominate their home leagues. The same players tend to finish near the top in leagues year after year. If you're ready for the next challenge, enter a high stakes fantasy baseball league.
The definition of high stakes is different for many. The National Fantasy Baseball Championships (NFBC), rtsports.com, and fantrax.com are the popular places to play high stakes. There are different entry fees depending on the format and the payouts can be big. The entry fees can be anywhere from $150 to five figures.
There's a different level when playing in high stakes leagues and there likely will be an adjustment period. The first year could be difficult. Like anything in life, when you step up to another level, getting acclimated can take time. It won't be easy and many of the top high stakes players frequently mention how they didn't perform well in the beginning as they learned how to play the format.
Home leagues tend to have a few weaker players. Some people will check out if their season starts poorly. That can happen in high stakes, but it's less likely. Just because someone spends a lot of money in a league doesn't mean they are a great player, but most are savvy and put in a lot of work and research.
The ADP (Average Draft Position) on mainstream sites is useless in the high stakes arena. Compare the two and there will be stark differences. Knowing the ADP is critical when building a draft plan. For example, a player might have an ADP of 96 on the mainstream sites and 72 in the NFBC. The better resource is the ADP of that site you play on. It's best to filter the ADP to recent weeks as it will give you a better gauge of recent drafts. 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. It doesn't mean to do it, but it's something to be cognizant of when formulating a draft plan.
Trading is often a big thing in home leagues. Many love to make trades. There is no trading in high stakes. If you have had success fleecing your league mates in home leagues, you'll need a new strategy. Some win leagues based on the prowess of trading. If that's you, hopefully making lineup decisions and success on the waiver wire are also strengths. With big money on the line, trades aren't allowed due to potential 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 $175,000 with an entry fee of $1,750 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 Monday and Friday for the weekend, but pitchers are locked in to start the week on Monday.
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 becomes 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 competition 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 hard. Read everything in the Fantasy Alarm draft kit. Absorb as much information as possible and put in the time. Expect everyone to be on top of their game and be savvy. If you have had 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!