It is that time of year when Fantasy Football is behind us, and all eyes are on Fantasy Baseball preparation. At FantraxHQ, we are more than preparing you for your drafts and have content for any and every league. Head on over to our MLB Draft Kit to check out all of our great content. Today, we are going to dive into points leagues.
When you see rankings, even on our site, most of the time, they are geared for standard 5×5 Roto leagues. This is because roto is the most common format played in Fantasy Baseball. But what about those who play in points leagues. With the growing popularity in best-ball leagues, you must be familiarized with points league scoring. Let’s dive in on what factors are important in points leagues and players who gain value in that format.
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Points League Scoring on Fantrax
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You will find the default points league scoring for Fantrax leagues above. Many commissioners will add things to this or change point values. In some points leagues, strikeouts will be a negative point value. If this is the case, you will likely want to avoid hitters with high strikeout rates. For this article, I will be using the Fantrax points scoring system to look at important factors and players to target in points leagues.
Points Leagues: Evaluating Players
The biggest issue that many points leagues players face is they value players similarly to roto. In reality, there is a huge difference in some players’ values, so it is important to understand how to evaluate hitters for this format.
Points and Roto Differences
In a standard roto league, you are drafting five offensive categories: batting average, home runs, RBI, runs, and steals. For some roto leagues, OBP is substituted for batting average. In a standard 5×5 roto league, players are not rewarded for a high walk rate, other than the fact they may score more runs. If a player has three doubles in a game, that player is not rewarded and is valued the same as if they hit three singles. In a roto league, five categories may be all that counts. In Fantrax standard points scoring, there are 9 different ways for a hitter to score.
Steals are much more valuable in a roto league, given that they count for 20 percent of your stats. Steals are scarce, which means drafters are willing to push up hitters who can steal bases. Any hitter with big-time steals potential is drafted in the first several rounds of a roto draft.
However, in a points league, especially those that use Fantrax standard scoring, stolen bases are only worth two points. That is half of what a home run is worth. So what is the use in drafting guys who strictly provide value in stolen bases? Do not make that mistake in drafting in points leagues.
In addition to stolen bases, another major difference in roto and points leagues is that hitters are rewarded for walks. OBP matters much more in a points league format than batting average because a walk counts the same as a single in Fantrax points leagues. So when looking at hitters in this format, look for players who walk and post-high OBP.
Given what we know about points leagues, let’s take a look at hitters who are more valuable in this format.
Hitters More Valuable in Points Leagues
Carlos Santana, 1B, Kansas City Royals
Carlos Santana is the poster boy for a points league specialist. His career .249 batting average is less than optimal for roto leagues, but Santana gets a huge boost in a points format. He has a career 15.5 percent walk rate and, in 2020, posted an impressive 18.4 percent rate. Despite being nearly 35 years old, Santana still has a ton of raw power and will post high OBPs.
Last season, in standard 5×5 roto leagues, Santana finished as the 94th ranked hitter. But in a points format, Santana finished ranked as the 55th best hitter. Considering his current NFBC ADP of 285.5, Santana will still likely be extremely undervalued in points leagues, so you can get him at a great price. I am drafting him everywhere in OBP, best ball, and points leagues in 2021.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets
Brandon Nimmo seems to be underrated by Fantasy Baseball players even though he can provide some sneaky value. Nimmo posted a strong season in 2020 with a .280/.404/.484 slash line. He also hit eight home runs in 225 plate appearances. Nimmo does not have big power like Carlos Santana does, but his OBP gives him a huge boost in points leagues. His batting average has been all over the board throughout his career, but Nimmo does have a career .390 OBP. He feels like a safe bet for at least a .375 OBP, meaning Nimmo will get a nice boost in points leagues. For reference, in 2020, Nimmo was the 107th ranked hitter in roto leagues but jumped up to 76 in points format.
Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies
There are a lot of similarities between Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana. Both have a ton of power, mediocre batting averages, but a high OBP floor. Hoskins’s career batting average is just .239, but his career .366 OBP gives him a nice boost in points formats.
Over a full season, Hoskins is more than capable of hitting 30-35 home runs. His OBP of .384 in 2020 was impressive, but I feel comfortable projecting Hoskins for at least a .365 OBP in 2021. Hoskins is very valuable in a points league format but tends to get underrated. He is a buy for me if I do not draft a first baseman early.
At this point, you probably see the mold of hitters who gain value in OBP formats. Generally, a hitter who gets on base at a high clip and can hit for power general gets a boost. Players like Santana, Nimmo, and Hoskins are just several examples. In the meantime, I will continue to dive in on hitters who can help you in points league and provide more content for this league format that often gets neglected.
Media References: Fangraphs
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