Most people who 'played fantasy football are familiar with the idea of a head-to-head league: your team of players goes head-to-head against another league team that week; your squad gets a win, loss, or a tie, and then you move on to the next week. The best record at the end of the regular season in each division makes plays, and so on. But you may not be aware that there's another interesting option out there: Rotisserie leagues.
Here's how Rotisserie leagues work. Each week your players accumulate stats in a variety of different statistical categories, and those stats are added to your category totals moving forward through the year. Highest scorer in a 12-team league at the end of the year in each category, such as Rushing Yards, gets 12 points and the second-highest scorer gets 11 points, and so on. Then, in Receiving Yards, the highest scorer gets 12 points, just like with Rushing Yards. The categories (Rushing Yards, Receiving Yards, Passing Touchdowns, and many more) are determined by the League Commissioner at the beginning of the year, and the winner of the league is the team owner who's accumulated the most final category points at the end of the year.
Rotisserie Leagues vs. Head-to-Head Leagues Does this scoring system seem odd? Rotisserie leagues are definitely a different way of thinking about fantasy football, but some analysis of the differences may give you a real interest in this alternative. There are several points worth considering.
1. Basement owners still have a chance to win. In a head-to-head league, if you've ever been the team whose team loses its first 3 or 4 games of the season, you know it can be tough to stay motivated throughout the year. This situation is much less of a problem in a Rotisserie league.
2. Players get traded more often. In a head-to-head league, certain players WILL NOT GET TRADED through the year. The owner simply counts on that player too much for points, and wants to ride that player the whole year. Good luck trying to get Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, Randy Moss, or Jason Witten away from their respective owners in a head-to-head league. However, in a Rotisserie league, owners will sometimes be ahead enough in one category (say Rushing Yards), but down enough in another (say Catches) to want to trade their best players for good players in other categories.
3. Tough divisions do not kill average teams. If you're the average team in a head-to-head league division with 2 stud squads, you're not likely to make the playoffs. You have to play the stud squads twice, and you're probably going to be too far down in the win department to catch a wild card slot. However, in a Rotisserie league, this simply is not a problem: you're playing for Rotisserie in various categories throughout the year, not head-to-head victories and there are no Divisions.
4. Late-season flukes are less of a problem. If you know Peyton Manning is only going to play 2 quarters in the season finale because the Colts have their playoff spot locked up, you might have to worry in your head-to-head play game. This is not quite as much a problem in Rotisserie leagues, where again you're looking for Rotisserie from your categories. You might have most of Peyton's categories already locked up yourself by the time the season finale rolls around.
5. Everyone plays the whole year. Instead of head-to-head leagues where the post-season starts in week 15 or week 16, most Rotisserie leagues give all owners the opportunity to play all of the weeks of the season, and it can get tense trying to build up those final points categories in the late weeks.
Strategy Rotisserie leagues are very different on a week-to-week basis than traditional Head-to-Head fantasy football. You're not playing against a certain opponent, and you're not going to have as much reason for trash-talking. But that does not mean there is not quite a bit of strategy to observe. Here are some key strategy points.
– Get used to trading players more often. You'll find yourself down in certain categories and up in others, and you'll need to play out these imbalances throughout the season by trading for the categories in which you're weak.
– Balance, grasshopper. Instead of grabbing several stud running backs and hiring the rest of your head-to-head team can manage, you'll need more balance in a Rotisserie league. It may not be as important to grab the second uber-back in an early draft round when you can balance your team out with a top-tier TE or WR. Team balance is critical in Rotisserie leagues.
– Overloading and unloading. Just as we get done talking about balance, if you drafted to dominate a category, and now you're dominant in that category by week 4, you'll get the chance to sell high and unload those studies and rebalance your squad.
These are just a few tips, but many more strategies and tips exist for Rotisserie league owners. If your league agrees to head down the Rotisserie path, spend some serious time getting to know the categories and researching which players are going to dominate in each. And then take advantage of the owners who have not picked up on the variety of strategies available in Rotisserie leagues.