Ottoneu: What Does a Championship Cost?

If an Ottoneu fantasy baseball team were a race car coming up to the finish line at the season’s end, there would be a whole lot of smoke coming out. The windows would have a layer of filth and film blocking you from seeing the driver inside. Bug guts would be splattered all over the hood, and a few pairs of body-less insect wings would still be twitching on the hunk of hot metal. Duct tape would be holding on semi-important parts and all kinds of unusual noises would be heard. Making it to the finish line is, for god sake, difficult.

I’ve always wondered how many of those theoretical race cars that are Ottoneu teams got a little extra help in the form of loans, allowing them to finish the season over the $400 salary limit allotted to each team. To be specific, I have data on 137 Ottonue Prestige League-eligible points leagues. Take a look at the average salary among those who finished with hardware in 2023:


Ottoneu Finishing Salary

This graph may lead you to believe all first-place finishing teams are over-budget. That’s not the case. But the majority of first-place finishers were over budget. Out of the 137 first-place finishers in this dataset, 80 finished the year over the $400 mark. That’s 58% of teams. Let’s look at the distribution of salary among the top three finishers:


This graph above is interactive. Click on “2” and “3” in the legend to isolate the distribution to first-place finishers. Hover over the bar to the left and you’ll notice that some impressive soul out there won their league with only a $234 budget. Who knows what the heck was happening in that league? But focus your attention to the right and you’ll notice that there are plenty of leagues where the first-place finisher either came very close to maxing out their budget or went over. In some cases, first-place finishers were over their 400-dollar budget by 100 dollars or more.

If you’ve ever been in a competition where you tried to work within a framework that you thought was the rules, only to find out you were wrong about that framework, you’ll know anger. But, let’s be clear, going over your $400 budget is plainly within the rule of the Ottoneu law and legal what-have-you. So, either “wake up stoopit, everyone’s doing it”, or hold to your rebuild and birth a dynasty.

That’s really what’s going on here, isn’t it? Maxing out your salary and agreeing to lopsided deals and loans at the end of the season makes for some really difficult decisions in the offseason when it’s time to get below the cap. It’s a double-edged sword. You may have won your league but you did it in an unsustainable way. Here’s an example of how this can work:

Team A is in the running for a first-place finish. Team F is barely staying out of last place. Team A is stacked and if they were to add Zack Wheeler for the final month of the season, they would surely win the league. Team F actually has Zack Wheeler and realizes Zack Wheeler is their only good player and that this instance of fantasy Zack Wheeler is being paid too much already. Team F decides to trade Zack Wheeler. Team A, who could really use Zack Wheeler, is nearly maxed out on budget so they couldn’t possibly be a good trade partner. But, Team A can be a good trade partner for Team F because Team F can loan Team A the money they need to roster Zack Wheeler.

Do you see? Now, will Team A keep Zack Wheeler for next year? No. They won’t be able to afford it. But, they won a championship and that is hard to do. Thus, the double-edged sword.

Now, don’t go running around telling everybody your strategy is to overpay all your players and max out your budget. It’s a true, season-long, reputationally built game that you must play to max out your budget at the right time. But, if you think your team is in a place where you could win your league this year, don’t be afraid to pay at the draft. Good players make good teams. The managers who won first place in my dataset paid. Here’s a look at how many players on average each rank finish (one through three) rostered at $40 or more:

Number of High Dollar Salaries By Finish
End of Season Rank Number of Players Rostered at $40 or more Number of Players Rostered at $30 or more Number of Players Rostered at $20 or more
1 2.4 3.8 6.5
2 2.0 3.4 6.1
3 2.0 3.1 5.3

While the edge is small, first-place finishers roster more players at $20+ players, more $30+ players, and more $40+ players than second and third-place finishers. So go out there and spend, spend, spend! Or don’t. But, whatever you do, know that in 2023, teams that finished the season over budget had a better chance of winning first place than teams that finished with money to spend.

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CC AFCmember
3 months ago

Honestly surprised it’s that low. I would have guessed $50 higher or more