Ottoneu: First Impressions

2018 is here, and the dawn of a new year is the best time to reevaluate your overall fantasy strategy.  But before digging into the finer points of roster construction, auction value calculations, and post-post-hype sleepers, January is also the perfect time to step back and ask whether it might be time to trade in your entire fantasy experience for one of the more advanced, up-and-coming fantasy platforms around.

This is a shameless plug for Ottoneu, a fantasy sports platform so addicting that it has also launched a community of more than 1,000 hardcore baseball fans that sleep and eat baseball year round.  But don’t take my word for it.  There are many reasons why you should try Ottoneu (including some exciting new features launching in 2018), but today I want you to hear from some of the “rookies” who just finished up their first full year of Ottoneu in 2017. This growing community of raving fans is a big part of the Ottoneu experience, and their Season One feedback may help you make the final decision to drive your own league to Ottoneu in 2018.

What are you some of your initial impressions of Ottoneu after finishing your first season playing the game?

The draft (auction) was daunting, but despite a few impulsive valuation mistakes ($12 Dansby Swanson?), the large rosters and player pool allowed for more mid-season adjustments than I expected. Overall, it was the closest approximation to being a GM that I’ve experienced. I had a ton of fun. – Jeff M.

Very immersive fantasy baseball format, ultimately what I was looking for. – Joe G.

Pretty much what I was hoping for (that’s a good thing!). There were parts of the year that this was constantly on my mind. I was originally wary of the website but by the end I appreciated its simplicity (although I still wish it had a few more features, and some of the pages are located in really odd spots). – Marc D.

Ottoneu is a wonderfully immersive twist on traditional fantasy sports. I have found that it does an excellent job to mimic many of the managerial aspects of running a real MLB franchise. Between the auction draft, deep rosters, game limits, and free agent nominations, there’s never a dull moment – and that’s great! – Adam K.

This was definitely the most fun fantasy league that I have played in. While it is very difficult to manage a roster/player pool this large with the fixed budget, this is what makes Ottoneu different from other fantasy leagues. I look forward to my first offseason as a manager with this arbitration and keeper process. – Jeff D.

Just the detail is far superior than any other fantasy game I have played. – Bryan P.

Wow! This game makes you look at fantasy sports in a whole new (awesome) way! – Mike M.

What were some of your biggest challenges during your first year of Ottoneu?

Projecting game and innings limits, finding the balance between prospects on a roster and functional players. Knowing when to drop a player when their production does not project to meet their salary cost. – Joe G.

Wrapping my head around how to calculate player value. It is much more that just salary and total point production. – Mike M.

It was very challenging to get a solid baseline understanding of player value at first. Along those same lines, it was initially confusing as to why in a pseudo-dynasty format, younger players wouldn’t be worth more than their veteran counterparts. Also, I found it to be a difficult decision when to cut bait on an underperforming player, as the waiver wire in Ottoneu has significantly less talent available than a normal 10 or 12 team fantasy league. – Adam K.

Expanding my awareness of the player universe. – Ryan D.

What was your favorite part of your first year of playing Ottoneu?

The format gave me the incentive and ability to stay active and have fun in a season when my team was terrible. I did that by playing for the future; specifically, I traded for injured stars, collected prospects and price-enforced on free agents. – Gregg P.

This game gives me so much more to think about versus previous fantasy leagues I’d played (basically weekly head-to-head points stuff). Building a team with an eye on both this year and the future was an interesting experience. – Marc D.

The idea that every decision has a potential long-term impact, so a level of daily dedication was necessary to win the league. – Joe G.

The huge player universe and being able to make trades mortaging my future to win this year. – Steve D.

I have to say I love the auction draft experience the best. All the research, all the planning makes for great fun! – Mike M.

Balancing the win now strategy while setting myself up for the future. – Joseph H.

Feeling like a real owner when talking trades. – Robin G.

League involvement all year round. – Dusty R.

Trading. There are so many different goals that teams have, it’s pretty easy to find trades that work for both teams. I really like that there is almost always room to find a trade with someone. – Andrew W.

The depth of the game is extremely enjoyable. Makes you feel as if you are a GM. – Bryan P.

What advice would you give to a new owner interested in trying Ottoneu for the first time in 2018?

Do your research and learn your [league] scoring system. There are gems that can be found on the waiver wire and in the draft if you really pay attention to the game and know the players. – Jeff D.

Try to find a league with other beginners, so that as you trip and make a mistake with your team, you are not alone. – Joseph H.

This isn’t really a game you can set and forget. But if you like baseball, numbers and rooting for players to succeed, you should give it a try. – Ryan D.

There’s no substitute for preparation. Ottoneu owners are the most informed group of fantasy players you’ll ever find, and the incredibly detailed nature of this format means that you need to stay informed on every aspect of MLB at every point in time if you’re going to remain competitive. – Adam K.

Stay engaged! It’s more fun for everyone if you sincerely try to put your best lineup together EVERY day. – Tim C.

Communicate early and often in your league, establish a rapport between you and your leaguemates and try to keep people chatting. – Marc D.

Get actively involved with the Ottoneu community – Dusty R.


Do you have more feedback about your first season of Ottoneu (or questions about playing in 2018)? Let us know in the comments.

Get started by joining an Ottoneu league here or here.

More Ottoneu Resources:

What is Ottoneu?

10 Tips for Ottoneu Rookies

Why You Should Play Ottoneu

There Is No Offseason in Ottoneu

Join the Ottoneu Community

The Math of Winning Ottoneu

Ottoneu 101: Production, Salary, Surplus, & Value

More Ottoneu content on RotoGraphs here.

We hoped you liked reading Ottoneu: First Impressions by Trey Baughn!

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Trey is a 20 year fantasy veteran and a five time Ottoneu champion, including the 2015 winner of the Ottoneu Champions League. He currently administers the Ottoneu community, a network of ~1,000 fantasy baseball and football fans. More resources here:

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Had a lot of fun in my first season, last year. Took over an 11th place team, did a complete makeover with some off season trades and draft, and finished in 2nd place. If you’re looking to start into Ottoneu, focus on finding a good league instead of a good team, one that has longevity, consistency and engaged owners.