I’m lucky enough to be partaking in my second serious year of fantasy baseball. I’ve played through MLB.com and ESPN every year since the sixth grade, but the last two years have really been special – all teams have been competitive up until the end, and the four-team playoff has been down to the wire throughout the month of September. In fact, after Gerrit Cole picked up a win last Sunday against the Dodgers, my #4-seed Springfield Isotopes were able to pull off the upset against the #1-seed 5-4-1 (we’re playing categories, not head-to-head scoring) and advance to the championship.

Along with this win, I watched my two fantasy football teams go from huge victories in Week 1 to blowout losses in Week 2. Roddy White and Mike Evans were both held without a catch. Keenan Allen couldn’t get over an early fumble. Chris Ivory and Travis Kelce weren’t able to record big numbers like they did in their previous games.

It was at this time that I realized something: competing in fantasy football leagues simply isn’t as fun as competing in a serious fantasy baseball league.

Season Structure

Part of why I think this originates simply from how the MLB and NFL function. In the NFL, each team plays one game a week. You could have the number one pick in your fantasy football draft, but if that player doesn’t get at least 20 carries, 35 chances to throw, or about six receptions, chances are they’re not going to have a great week. Fantasy football is one player getting one chance per game played.

Fantasy baseball, however, is different. Lineups can be manipulated every day to maximize point value. If Mike Trout has a bad few games Monday through Wednesday, chances are he’ll pop a 400-footer over the weekend. This also requires fantasy baseball team owners to constantly be monitoring their team, instead of carelessly subbing in players at 11:45 AM on Sunday. Additionally, the MLB season is much longer than the NFL, meaning a four-game losing streak in fantasy baseball won’t ruin your season – it happened to me this year, and I’m in the championship game. Fantasy baseball owners must constantly be watching for a rising prospect, rookie pitching phenom, or multiple-position qualifier in order to boost their team. Cesar Hernandez of the Phillies was a huge pickup for my team this season, as he added a boost with runs and steals. But, when he got injured, I dropped him for Rangers OF Shin-Soo Choo. That brings me to another good point.


This week, my two fantasy football teams have three and five injured players, respectively. Keep in mind that this is just Week 2. My fantasy baseball team has had just three all season (which is pretty crazy) – Joe Panik, Jorge Soler, and Cesar Hernandez – and all three were eventually dropped to pick up a replacement. Fantasy baseball is way more fun because injuries don’t factor in nearly as much, leaving actual talent to determine who wins each week. You might have the best draft in the history of fantasy football, but if you drafted Eddie Lacy and Dez Bryant, you probably have not been doing very well so far. By the nature of the sport, baseball players are far less likely to get injured, making the season all about monitoring for who is playing the best at that time. Football’s constant injuries make the same type of monitoring necessary, but usually take talent out of the equation – the top few players at each position are usually the ones who are pretty good, but have managed to stay healthy the whole season.

The Concept of “D/ST”

I’ve always hated the “wait until the last few rounds, then draft a defense and a kicker” part of fantasy football drafts. It seems like a total copout that minimizes half the game to one throwaway pick. I will say that not all fantasy baseball leagues have pitchers, but the vast majority do. Because of this, fantasy baseball is much more immersive – owners, like real managers, have to know both sides of the game and play to their respective strengths. The copout of a “D/ST” minimizes 50% of the entire game of football to one extremely inconsistent “player”, which does not foster immersion and subtracts from how real the game actually feels.

In the end, fantasy football still will be the prominent mode of fantasy sports due to the culture surrounding it – with shows (The League), analysts, and celebrities partaking in the phenomenon, it is likely to stay at the top for a while. But I’d argue that fantasy baseball requires more expertise and skill, and it will definitely be my preferred mode of fantasy sports. Here’s hoping that all reading this have successful seasons and deep playoff runs. Just hope your top RB doesn’t tear an ACL.