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Managing Multiple Leagues

By the nature of my job, I'm cursed (some would say "blessed") into having to run a bare minimum of five fantasy baseball teams. There's the FSTA NL only experts league, there's LABR, there's the RotoWire Staff Keeper League, the Yahoo Experts League and, of course, my home league (where the big money prize is at).

Now if five sounds like a lot to some of you, it's actually not very many by industry standards. Some of my colleagues have 10-15, or more. Of course that means they own just about everyone in at least one league, and of course, are rooting for and against just about everyone. The good thing about owning 15 leagues, I suppose, is that it's very hard not to win at least a couple. That is, unless you're so overwhelmed on Sunday nights that you're unable to make proper free agent moves or set your lineups for any of them.

Now you could just leave for dead your three or four worst teams each month, and by September you'd only have to care about the three or four still in contention, but you have to wonder whether you've cheated a little bit. It's like setting up a tout service for picking NFL games against the spread and telling 32 people to pick the home team and 32 others to pick the away team the first week. The 32 you gave the win to can call you next week, and you can do the same thing - tell 16 to take the home team and 16 the away team. The 16 who win call you the next week, and you split it 8 and 8. The 8 that win have now gotten three straight money-winning picks from you - you're a genius! The four people you get it right for again will swear by you. But you can see this is a scam.

Is it any different to own 15 fantasy teams and stick with your three or four best? One of them has to have sleepers who pan out and stars who stay healthy.

Even my five teams is too much, but I have a couple things going for me. LABR is AL only, and FSTA is NL only - those two don't bother each other thankfully. In the RotoWire Staff League, I co-own the team with RotoWire CFO, Tim Schuler, who handles most of the weekly transactions well enough to win us the league last year. And my home league has odd Thursday to Wednesday weeks, so I don't have to set lineups on Sunday for it. And free agent pickups in that league are only once a month. So on a weekly basis, I'm dealing with just three leagues, and since the yahoo league has daily moves, I don't need to do anything special on Sunday night. So it's only my two expert leagues, one for the AL and one for the NL.

Still, even with all that in order, it's still too many players to pull for, so I try to have as much overlap as possible. To that end I have Kerry Wood in four of five leagues (couldn't get him in my AL-only league, of course). I have Curt Schilling in yahoo, home league and LABR (couldn't get him in NL FSTA of course). I got Vic Martinez in my home league and the RotoWire Staff League. I got Felix Hernandez in my home league and LABR. I got Juan Pierre in yahoo, FSTA and my home league, and I have Carlos Beltran in FSTA and yahoo, to name a few. If those players have huge years, then, all things being equal, I should have almost all my teams in contention. It also means that a Kerry Wood win is four times as important as, for example, a Ben Sheets win, because I have Sheets in just one league. If Wood gets a win, I should be as happy as if four different players owned in one league each all got wins. Same thing when Juan Pierre steals a base.

It's a different way to play roto than when I started with one team that I'd give everything to - now it's more like managing a portfolio of stocks with a different percentage of my holdings in each. There's definitely something to that as well, but I do miss the days of going nuts for my one big home league draft.