The Dual Purposes of Six Picks

Monday afternoon, Niv Shah announced a new feature on Ottoneu’s Six Picks: The Big Board. This is a super fun feature and it is a good excuse to do something I haven’t done since last April: Write about Six Picks.

When I wrote about Six Picks last year, I noted that it is “free, simple and fun” and that I don’t exactly play to win – I play to have fun. But there is a second reason (and one which the Big Board helps) I play and look at Six Picks daily: I think it makes me a better fantasy player.

At the simplest level, another excuse to think about players, set a lineup, etc., is another opportunity to test out ideas and practice my decision-making, which should help me with Ottoneu and fantasy in general. But Six Picks also gives me some interesting insights into what is happening around baseball.

Right there on the Six Picks homepage, you can see the daily top ten and quickly poke around to see who drove that success. Looking at the top performers can often tell you if any players had a huge performance that night, one you might have missed if you were only looking at your rosters. For example, you might have missed that Pete Alonso had a huge game Saturday if he wasn’t on any of your rosters, but if you looked at the top Six Picks finishers, you would see that.

You’ll also (likely) notice that there is significant variety in what players are on the top-scoring rosters. For example, here are the “rosters” for the top four finishers from Saturday:


April 13, 2024 Top Six Picks Teams
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
C Adley Rutschman Salvador Perez Adley Rutschman Salvador Perez
CI Pete Alonso Spencer Steer Pete Alonso Pete Alonso
MI Jose Altuve Bobby Witt Jr. Spencer Steer Francisco Lindor
OF Jarren Duran Kyle Tucker Corbin Carroll Masataka Yoshida
SP Chris Sale MacKenzie Gore Chris Sale Chris Sale
RP Mason Miller Edwin Díaz Craig Kimbrel David Bednar

Even on a day when two guys put up huge days (Alonso and Altuve), you the top four teams pick two different catchers, two different CI, four different MI, four different OF, two different SP, and four different RP.

And here are the results from the next day:


April 14, 2024 Top Six Picks Teams
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
C Salvador Perez Alejandro Kirk J.T. Realmuto Jonah Heim
CI Gunnar Henderson Jose Ramirez Yordan Alvarez Justin Turner
MI Bobby Witt Jr. Willy Adames Gunnar Henderson Jose Altuve
OF Tyler O’Neill Mike Trout George Springer Yordan Alvarez
SP Zac Gallen Bailey Ober Bailey Ober Zac Gallen
RP Craig Kimbrel Alexis Díaz Mason Miller Yennier Cano

Again, a lot of variety. Four catchers, four CI, four MI, four OF, two SP, and four RP. For me, checking these kinds of results has been a reminder (or maybe a lesson) that roster construction isn’t something that can be “solved” with a correct approach. There are a lot of ways to build a successful roster!

The other thing you potentially learn from this is which players have had a hot day or two. But there actually aren’t a lot of interesting names on this list, from that perspective. The players who appear more than once are mostly fairly established names, but there are a few that are interesting.

Chris Sale’s start hasn’t attracted a ton of attention, likely thanks to a poor ERA, but his underlying numbers (which are reflected in his Six Picks performance) are pretty strong. He allowed 5 ER on Saturday, but also went 7 innings, struck out 7 and avoided the long ball. That’s intriguing for Ottoneu points leagues.

Spencer Steer appears in two different positions, a good reminder of how useful his positional flexibility is. And if you didn’t already have him on a roster or two, you might have missed how good he has been this April.

But now, with the new Big Board, Six Picks can also be a great way to crowd source popular or underpriced players. Because market behavior drives prices in Six Picks, a player who is being selected often is very likely increasing in market value while a player not being selected is likely overpriced and coming down in market value.

For example, last night 43.84% of Six Picks entries selected Tyler Glasnow as their SP. This makes sense on a number of fronts – he is very good and the Nationals are not seen as a good offense – but it also reflects his relatively low price. Aces can cost a whole lot more than $17.25. That price will go up if he keeps being selected by nearly half of entries when he starts.

Bobby Witt Jr., meanwhile, already costs $33.75 but was the second-most selected player at 21.92%. He’s the fourth most expensive MI, but people are not hesitating to buy-in. Despite that relatively high price, he still seems to be underpriced. At the other end of the spectrum, Trea Turner ($41.50, 1.37% selected) and Francisco Lindor ($32.25, 0% selected) are the 3rd and 5th highest-priced MI, but the market seems pretty disinterested. This suggests that, should you go out into the trade market in an Ottoneu league right now, Witt is much more highly valued than Lindor (the gap is far more than the $1.50 reflected in their Six Picks prices). Turner, despite being priced $7.75 higher is not viewed as a $7.75 better player. Not even close, it seems.

This is pretty interesting data. You can also start to learn what pitchers Ottoneu players are willing to target and which ones they avoid. If Witt is regularly selected over 20% of the time, perhaps slowing declining if his price starts rising, but then suddenly drops to 10% one day, that tells you something about the pitcher he was facing.

The Big Board also tells you whose price went up the most this week. Prices change every Sunday night based on player usage in the past week. An underpriced player who is selected often will increase. No surprise, given what we saw above, that Witt and Glasnow are both among the biggest movers. And it seems likely they will continue to move up, since they keep getting selected.

Go check out the Big Board (and make a Six Picks entry) and let me know what you find that is interesting.

A long-time fantasy baseball veteran and one of the creators of ottoneu, Chad Young's writes for RotoGraphs and PitcherList, and can be heard on the ottobot podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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