Why you should play Ottoneu

With the baseball season down to it’s final game, I find myself in a state of joyous mourning. In the case that you support the Cubs or Indians, your emotions are likely mixed between anxiety and excitement. Regardless, 2016 has been a great year for baseball – and we have been very lucky to finish the season with quite possibly the best ending we could hope for. World Series games 7. The fact that both teams playing for the title have not won in 60+ years ago is icing on the cake. However, as someone without fandom to fall back on, I am left with the question of “what do I do tomorrow?” Baseball will be over, and the prospect of counting down the days till April 2, 2017 is sobering – even amidst the excitement tonight is sure to bring. Luckily, I have Ottoneu.

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “What is Ottoneu?” If you’ve never heard of it, I’d encourage you to check it out. While there are many reasons one could choose to play Ottoneu, I wanted to pose the question of “Why play?” to it’s communities of fans. If you have not played Ottoneu, why should you start? What is the draw? Here are some responses. Most of these fit into one of two main buckets. Increased involvement and in depth game-play.

Increased Involvement

Ciph: “For me it’s the fact that it is a year round sport league.”

Eddie Hanna: “For me it is the year round activity, the opportunity to build and rebuild a team and the comradery across the Ottoneu community.  The people that have been in the longest and are more knowledgeable such as the contributors on fangraphs, and others, are helpful with information and there is more communication in the Ottoneu leagues I am in than my Yahoo leagues.”

Pat: “I haven’t been playing long but most obviously is the activity. Year round with active owners who enjoy trading and moving players around. Also for me the community I joined into. By chance I randomly joined a very competitive league in league 100. Everyone there has done nothing but help me get the hang of how everything works. Arbitration, loans etc. They got me into slack which I now check daily. Honestly if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have a place where I can talk baseball in depth as I want to. My friends don’t care enough about it so it gives me an outlet to vent and voice my opinions.”

RJ Weise: “Because after joining Ottoneu in the off season I have had far more interaction than in a year on ESPN and Yahoo (3 teams each, while looking for trades and conversations). I think Ottoneu still has more to offer for players who just want to manage their team in solitude if they are looking for depth and season long strategy (although that is probably not what Ottoneu leagues are looking for), but for someone looking to chat baseball and looking for interaction in your league, Ottoneu is already proving more fun for me.”

Matthew G: “The biggest thing is how welcoming the community is. So many other places people are rude to newcomers and people who need to learn. That’s not the fact with Ottoneu at all. As far as the fantasy baseball part though it’s the dynasty aspect and rebuilding for next year so a year where tons of injuries occur and you have no way of winning there is still something to do.”

For me, this is the biggest draw. Growing up in a household where I was the only sports fan, I had no one to discuss baseball with. When the baseball season ended, I had to wait till spring. Ottoneu and it’s communities help to solve that problem. League activity is very high and players tend to be very involved in discussions throughout the year. During the season, I want to be able to talk about games with fans. It’s fun to go crazy when Vince Velasquez throws a 96 point game in April, or see the dialogue around that one divisive trade in your league. I want to follow the joy/anxiety of Cubs fans who hang on every out this season. Living in the Northeast, I want to  talk about baseball when I look outside and see a foot of snow in January. I want to believe the start of the season is right around the corner, even if I’ll still be waiting for 3 months.

In Depth Game-play

RJ Swindaman: “For me it’s the mix of wall street (valuations) and baseball. And the fact that even if you’re out of it you can play for next year.  Much more than typical leagues.”

John: “I prefer the larger pool of utile players.”

Eric: “I think the depth of the player pool and roster configuration is my favorite part.”

Brian Morris: “Ottoneu is for the fantasy 1%. I’m traditionally good at fantasy sports by being more knowledgeable and active than other owners. Those 2 characteristics are minimum requirements for Ottoneu players; thus, my competitive advantage is nonexistent…which is the best.”

Ottoneu can seem overwhelming at times. The extensive player pools, 40 man rosters, and auctions for everything can be daunting if you have never tried the format. Make no mistake this is the fantasy big leagues, but it is also very easy to casually play. Communities of fans are very willing to explain the nuances of the game if questions arise. If you are worried about the in depth format, I would encourage you to try it out anyways. This was a concern of mine when I started playing, but quickly went to the backburner. In many ways, it was easier for me than standard platforms. I already viewed the game from a sabermetric lens, and Ottoneu provided scoring settings that matched my view of the game. The parts of Ottoneu that I was not familiar with (arbitration, continuous auctions, player values) were very fun to learn, and not nearly as daunting as I imagined.

Of all the responses I received, this one struck me the most.

Henry Woodbury: “@ottoneutrades Playing Ottoneu is like being invited to the table when Rotisserie Baseball was first dreamed up in a French Restaurant by Daniel Okrent. Ottoneu managers are not only passionate baseball fans but interested in the fantasy game itself. The various Ottoneu communities bat around management strategies, scoring schemes, prospect evaluations, and what-if questions on a daily basis. I learn more in Ottoneu and have more fun.”

There’s a lot of good information here, but to put it simply, Ottoneu is fun. I have more fun with baseball because of Ottoneu. While there are a variety of reasons for why Ottoneu is great. What’s important to take from this is that it has something to offer everyone. Want a year round sports league? The deepest fantasy baseball rosters available? Scoring formats that reflect a more Sabermetric view (you are reading Fangraphs)? Do you want to be a part of communities of sports fans just as passionate (or shall I say obsessive) and opinionated as you are? Ottoneu offers all of these things. You should really try it out.



Joe works at a consulting firm in Pittsburgh. When he isn't working or studying for actuarial exams, he focuses on baseball. He also writes @thepointofpgh. Follow him on twitter @Ottoneutrades

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Spa City
5 years ago

I agree 100%. As a year-round league, Ottoneu can be almost as interesting in the off-season and it keeps baseball alive in my mind during the very long and very cold upstate NY winters. The other owners tend to be engaged and knowledgeable. And ia big part of the game (especially if you fall out of contention) is managing minor league prospects. It is always interesting to find an emerging, undervalued or overlooked prospect and snag them in a dynasty league.

In League 26 (Flags Fly Forever) the winner receives an actual, hand-made pennant in the team colors of their fantasy team. Things like that that each commissioner can add to the league makes Ottoneu (in my view) the most interesting and enjoyable fantasy baseball format.