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This week The Locker Room is bringing you the second installment of a four-part series on Fantasy Sports . . .

Part II: Different Fan Sports/Leagues, Rotisserie vs. Fantasy

As far as Fantasy leagues go, football has become the most popular sport. This is probably because the season is more compact--17 weeks long and most games are on the same day each week (Sunday for you communist kooks that don't follow football.)

Baseball, on the other hand, has more die-hard fans. Some baseball leagues are literally decades old.

Of course, we are equal opportunity. You can choose from many other sports. Most notably, basketball (both pro & college), golf, hockey, tennis, and auto racing. 

There are several scoring systems, with the most common being rotisserie and fantasy. With fantasy, scoring is based on cumulative season totals leagues and head-to-head leagues. Head-to-head leagues have a set schedule, where teams are matched against each other to get a win each week. Head-to-head leagues are the most popular style. The team with the most points from their players wins. The next week your team starts over, achieving points against a different team in the league. Won-loss records are more important than cumulative stats. In cumulative season totals leagues, you simply add up all the fantasy points for all your players throughout the season to see who had the most total points (see below for how you earn fantasy points).

Many sites provide a set of scoring rules you can swipe, so look around. You will also have to find a way to compile the stats. Again, shop around. There are many sites and software packages that will do it and some are free. 

The Rotisserie vs. Fantasy Debate

Baseball leagues come in two varieties: rotisserie and fantasy. There are football leagues that use rotisserie (or "roti") scoring, but it is most closely associated with baseball leagues. 

Rotisserie scoring typically uses 10 major statistical categories (i.e., homeruns, RBIs, pitcher wins, ERA, strikeouts, etc.). Rotisserie leagues typically have 10 teams, with each team ranked according to how well they finish in each statistical category, best to worst. The best-ranked team gets 10 points, the second-ranked team gets 9 points, and so on until the last team gets 1 point. If there are teams that are tied, total points are divided so each tied team gets equal points.

For example, if the #1 and #2 teams tied, add up total points (10+9=19) and divide by the number of tied teams (2), so 19/2 = 9.5. Each team gets 9.5 points. Repeat this for every scoring category and each team's sum total for all categories is each team's score. Each player's statistics are added to your team's running tally in the category each week. The final winner (or winners, depending on the league) is based on the cumulative season totals for each category added together. Thank God there are sites and software that do the math for you!

Fantasy is typically a scoring system that assigns a point value for every type of statistical category, i.e., a homerun is worth 4 points, one RBI is worth 1 point, etc. The total of all points for all players per team determines each team's score. Typically, fantasy leagues use a head-to-head schedule, where teams are matched against each other to get a win. Again, won-loss records are more important than cumulative stats.

I have been in both types of leagues that use either scoring system. Fantasy scoring system leagues tend to be gaining acceptance, but prevail in roti baseball leagues. Roti folks say that it's easier to learn because you don't have to learn any point values. Additionally, all the categories are equally weighted. One drawback is that you don't know how well you are doing for the week, since you would have to also know how well everyone else's players are doing in that category as well. Another setback is that some teams typically will be unable to "catch up" in certain categories as the season progresses, which causes a loss of interest before the season ends.

In fantasy scoring, some categories can become more important based on the particular point values assigned. For example, some football leagues award 6 points for passing touchdowns. This makes the quarterback more important since they typically score more touchdowns per game than any other position. Also, since your team's points fluctuate from week to week, as do all the other teams in the league, you can get lucky by catching other teams on "bad" weeks. This adds such an element of luck that some purists just don't like it. 

In any case, Baseball is better for roti scoring leagues. Football seems better for fantasy scoring leagues. It boils down to a matter of preference for the folks involved.

Online Leagues

There seems to be a million different online leagues for every sport., and every web site seems to host Fantasy leagues. Stick with the better-known sites like CBS.Sportsline.com, ESPN, USAToday, The Sporting News, Yahoo, etc. They have bigger payoffs and easier, more flexible rules to understand. Stay away from leagues that promise all kinds of money, don't have clear, concise rules posted, or want your credit card numbers. There are said to be some scam Fantasy sites lurking out there (though I personally don't know of any).

Locker Room is written by Michael Skordeles

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