What is Ottoneu?

So, what is Ottoneu?

Ottoneu is a smarter, better brand of fantasy baseball.  By design, it’s a fantasy platform engineered for the hardcore baseball fan that doesn’t enjoy the term “off season”.  Ottoneu is the perfect fit for FanGraphs readers looking to join a competitive fantasy baseball league with a lot of cool features, a sabermetric-economy, and a massive community of raving fans.

You can read first-year feedback from Ottoneu players here.  You can also learn a lot more about the game from the FAQ, but here are the top 10 reasons you should consider joining or moving your fantasy baseball league to Ottoneu this year:

1) Depth & Breadth

Ottoneu is deep.  Standard leagues are 12 teams with 40 man rosters.  The available player pool is massive, which means you have access to the full minor leagues so that you can more easily build for both the present (22-man starting lineup) and the future (prospects).  But don’t let the size of the player pool intimidate you.  It simply means you can target any player you want, build your roster any way you like, and keep any player that fits into your $400 budget.

2) Year-Round Baseball

Ottoneu never sleeps, so it’s not ideal for the casual baseball fan.  Ottoneu is better suited for the hardball rat who follows the game as closely in the winter as they do in the summer. While Ottoneu stops just short of a true dynasty league, you have the option to keep every single player on your roster from season to season, which means you may be negotiating just as many trades in December as you are July.  Leagues and communities are active year round, so the result is more options, more flexibility, and a much better fantasy baseball experience.

3) Scoring Formats for All


If you play Roto, Ottoneu has you covered.  The standard game offers two versions of rotisserie baseball.

  • The “Classic” 5 x 5 (AVG, HR, RBI, R, SB x ERA, W, SV, WHIP, K)
  • The “Old School” 4 x 4 (OBP, SLG, HR, R x ERA, WHIP, K, HR/9)


If your preference is for a more sabermetrically-inclined points format, try “FanGraph Points”, which is based on linear weights.  Closely related, the FIP-based “SABR Points” is also available, and both points systems are fully integrated with FanGraphs.

New: Head-t0-Head is coming to Ottoneu!

4) Player Auctions

All players in Ottoneu are purchased via auction, either in the annual Spring live auction draft or during the season via 48-hour free agent player auctions.  The market (your league) dictates player salaries, the primary reflection of player value, which makes leagues more dynamic, more economic, and more realistic.  Gone are the days of lamenting your pick in the snake draft or missing out on a free agent because you could not get to your computer in time. If you want to own Cody Bellinger, you need only bid $1 more than your competition.

Resource: How to Calculate Auction Player Values for Ottoneu

5) Salary Arbitration

In addition to standard salary inflation ($2 increase for each MLB player/year), Ottoneu leagues also use one of two forms of arbitration as a seasonal competitive balance measure.  Regardless of which process you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to increase the cost of players on rival rosters at the close of each season.  A great deal of ink has already been spilled on the endless strategies behind Ottoneu arbitration because it’s one of the most unique, dynamic, and addictive features of the game.

Ottoneu Arbitration Results (2017)

6) Prize Leagues

While you can join your first Ottoneu league for a small registration fee, Ottoneu is primarily designed for the committed baseball fanatic, which is why prize leagues are growing in popularity. Ottoneu owners take game play seriously, so whether you’re a fantasy veteran looking for a higher level of competition this year, or an experienced commissioner looking to move your league to a premium platform, check out the Ottoneu prize league tiers.

7) FanGraphs & RotoGraphs Integration

Ottoneu is fully integrated with FanGraphs.  Let that sink in for a minute.  You already read FanGraphs daily, so why not align your fantasy league with FanGraphs, too? Ottoneu stats, player pages, and features are interconnected with FanGraphs, further making it the clear choice for the advanced fantasy manager, and an easy transition for established leagues looking to move to a host with better analytics and support.  Plus, we’ll provide you dedicated Ottoneu content right here at RotoGraphs.

8) A Massive, Engaged Community

One of the best aspects of Ottoneu is the massive contingent of game players discussing all things baseball (and football) 24/7/365.  You can find the most active Ottoneu gamers on the official community site and on Slack, which we’ve hijacked for all things Ottoneu, now with well over 1,000 members. Complementing the already feature-rich platform, the Ottoneu community brings all owners together in one place to crowdsource player information, trade feedback, auction tips, keep/cut decisions, enhanced league communications, and a forum for recruiting new league owners.  Even if you don’t play Ottoneu (yet), the community is a goldmine of daily baseball dialogue, strategy, and advice, and it also the perfect place to dip your toe in if you have any interest in learning more about playing and joining Ottoneu.  When you do play Ottoneu, you’ll want to get acquainted with the community as soon as possible, as it is an excellent resource for new Ottoneu players.

9) A Challenge Worth Taking

If you can’t tell, Ottoneu is premium fantasy baseball.  It’s challenging, it’s analytical, and it might just be the best fantasy format you’ve never heard of until now.  While more traditional fantasy platforms can offer a fun, casual experience, you should try your hand at Ottoneu this year if you’re reading RotoGraphs right now.  Ottoneu will put your skills to the test and you’ll quickly become a better fantasy player because Ottoneu is a better fantasy game.

10) The Most Dedicated Designer

All these reasons above help make Ottoneu a refreshing change to the typical fantasy experience, but the thread that holds it all together is the dedication of its founder and developer, Niv Shah. Unlike most other fantasy platforms, Ottoneu’s single biggest advantage may be its relative youth (created in 2005), which means improvements are coming in almost real time, and often by request. In fact, here’s a great example:

Whether it’s the initial creation of the game or the recent roll out of fantasy football (2015), Ottoneu’s accessible creator is constantly tweaking an already excellent game to make it the best fantasy sports product available today.  You can contact Niv here with any questions you may have as you get started.

Bottom line: If you play fantasy baseball and you read FanGraphs, you should play Ottoneu fantasy sports.  You can find a list of available teams or post your interest in joining Ottoneu here.  You can also check out an interview with creator Niv Shah here.

Have questions about Ottoneu before diving in? We’ll answer them all in the comments.

More Ottoneu resources here:

Ottoneu: First Impressions

Why You Should Play Ottoneu

The Ottoneu Community

10 Tips for Ottoneu Rookies

The Math of Winning Ottoneu

Ready, Fire, Aim

The Cap Space Delimma

How Loans Work in Ottoneu

The Roster Organizer

Approaching the Trade Deadline

Production, Salary, Surplus, Value

Ottoneu Trade Deadline

Arbitration Omnibus


Trey is a 20+ year fantasy veteran and an early adopter of Ottoneu fantasy sports. He currently administers the Ottoneu community, a network of ~1,200 fantasy baseball and football fans talking sports daily. More resources here: http://community.ottoneu.com

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8 years ago

I am curious why you don’t offer NL or AL only leagues.

8 years ago
Reply to  raygu

AL/NL-only becomes weird with the full minor leagues. There are some folks interested in those options, so they may be added in the future.

D Brown
8 years ago
Reply to  nivshah

Definately would be interested in NL only. 10-12 teams, 40 man rosters.

If guys like Carson Sands, Aramis Garcia, or Braxton Davidson aren’t owned, it ain’t deep enough.

8 years ago
Reply to  nivshah

I, too, would love an NL only option.

Eliassen Sports Bureau
8 years ago
Reply to  nivshah

Need a couple owners for a new fantrax NL only dynasty league, roto 5×5 standard, very competitive crew, slow draft starts soon. Email eliassensportsbureau@gmail.com if interested