The first choice any league commish has to make is how to format the league. How many teams will play? NL/AL or total MLB universe? Points, Rotisserie, Head to Head? Two catchers, Corner Infielders, Utilities? The options are endless, and all have their own unique strategies that must be taken into consideration.
Redraft leagues are the best option for the casual player, no need to worry as much about knowing each teams farm system in great detail, just a working knowledge of MLB and the best players. One downside is there is no incentive for teams that are performing poorly to trade later in the season. If there are trades with bottom feeders, you have to keep an eye out for collusion.
(my general outlook on collusion/veto power, if its not egregious or if members of the league aren’t complaining, let it go through)
Keeper leagues are the best option for players who want to build a multi-year league. It allows for teams to rebuild, or go all in for the championship. The number of keepers and whether you get to keep them outright, or in the round you draft them will determine how difficult it is to improve your fortunes. The more players you get to keep, the less viable the options on the waiver wire. For most leagues, no more than 5 keepers can keep the league fresh each year while still giving the better teams a benefit for their superior play.
Dynasty teams are for the hardcore player. Each player remains on the team, with minimal turnover and each subsequent draft typically involves minor league prospects and replacement level players.
Here the league commish will have the most latitude to make the league their own. The more roster spots there are, the tougher it will be to fill out the team with quality players.
The biggest decision will be whether to play two Catchers or one Catcher. Much like leagues with two QB’s in Fantasy Football, two Catcher leagues will put a premium on your backstop and force you to dip into the market earlier. Nobody wants to be stuck with Yadier Molina as your number one catcher.
My preferred format is a weekly head to head points league. Why? Because it most closely simulates real life baseball.
Luck comes into play in a weekly H2H, your star player may hit a barren spell, while Gary Sanchez can go off for 11 HR in one week to completely dash your hopes. Tough luck, it makes it that much more interesting. Plus it gives even the weaker teams in your league a fighting chance where they won’t be completely dominated from the start of the year. You will match up against an opponent for the week and whoever accumulates the most points wins, pretty simple. Remember to worry about what you can control. The points allowed stat is out of your hands, build a team with the best chance of putting up the most points over the course of the season. Teams with high Total Points stats, but bad records are victims of bad luck, but in the end the cream tends to rise by the end of the year.
Rotisserie tasks you with compiling stats (typically five hitting and five pitching) across your team. You can focus a few of your roster slots on speedy players to get your stolen base numbers up, or go heavy on power. Maybe you’ll try to find a bunch of players who are balanced. The team with the most of a given category will get the most points. If in a 12 team league, the team with the most steals would receive 12 points, 11 for the 2nd most , 10 for the 3rd most, etc. If you build up a substantial lead, you can attempt to focus on the other categories. At the end of the year, the player with the most total points wins.
Rotisserie forces you to divide players up into categories, whereas Points will force you to find well rounded players capable of compiling massive point totals.
Snake Draft: The standard draft format where the order will determine the player that you’ll be able to take in the first round. If you’re looking for Mike Trout, a #11 pick will pour ice water on your plans of league dominance. However, it all evens out over the course of the draft giving each team a good opportunity to select good players.
Auction: A format that requires more skill than the typical snake draft, an auction format allows each team to get any player they want (as long as its within their budget). With a budget of $260 (usually), teams take turns nominating a player and bidding. If you really want Mike Trout, you can get him.