Category Archives: Fantasy Baseball

Enforcing Nominations

This offseason brought some significant performance improvements to the ottoneu Fantasy Baseball auction draft. I’ve been tracking performance pretty closely and I’ve been thrilled with how much better the site has performed this year over last year. However, a small but significant rule change has caused issues for about half the drafts that have occurred so far, especially in leagues with a number of first-time owners.

The rule change was as follows:

II. f. Each owner must nominate a player in turn. If a team does not nominate a player, they will be considered done with the draft.

There is an important reason this rule was quietly added to football in 2015 and baseball this season. Last season, owners would purposefully not nominate players towards the end of auctions. By waiting until other teams were out of money or roster spots, a certain subset of owners attempted to lower prices on their sleeper picks. While the overall advantage gained is minimal, if you ended up in a draft with two like-minded owners, the standoff could last for hours or even days! This was not ideal, so a rule was implemented in the platform to lock teams out of the auction draft if they missed a nomination.

In my league, this was not a problem – we loudly shamed owners who missed their nomination turn, and paused often to prevent anyone from fully missing their turn. However, it became clear based on your feedback that my league was the exception – we were comfortable with the draft software, we knew each other well, and so we have a unique league dynamic that minimized the practical impact of this rule.

Some leagues embraced this rule, as they ran into owners using this strategy in past drafts. However, many leagues ran into logistical nightmares between keeping track of the fast-paced draft action and pausing every few turns to unlock a team that accidentally missed their nomination. There are few things more fun than an ottoneu Fantasy Sports draft firing on all cylinders, and few things more frustrating than having to stop that draft every few minutes to sort out what seemed like an overly harsh penalty for an honest mistake.

As a result, nomination enforcement is now optional and can be set in Commissioner Tools -> League Settings. It is off by default, so missing a nomination will not lock a team’s owner out of bidding or future nominations. In highly-competitive leagues, we recommend turning this setting on, but it is up to each league to handle this how they would like.

Rule II. f. now states:

f. If enabled in the league settings, each owner will be expected to nominate a player in turn. If a league chooses to require nominations and a team does not nominate a player, they will be considered done with the draft.

This change is live now and will affect any auction drafts in the future, as well as those currently in-progress.

ottoneu Fantasy Baseball Improvements for 2016

We’ve been hard at work listening to the ottoneu community and making improvements for the upcoming season. Here’s what to expect going into our 6th full year:

Improved lineup and roster organizer pages

Last season, changing lineups required juggling multiple drop-down boxes and clicking the Save button. Now, simply click the player you want to move, then click the new position you’d like him to play.

Improvements to lineup changes

Improved auction draft performance

I’ll save you from the technical mumbo-jumbo, but the auction draft should be much speedier! We overhauled the backend, and early feedback has been positive. Let us know how your draft goes, as we always are looking to improve that experience.

Available owners board and league description field

Finding new ottoneu owners hasn’t always been the easiest task and can even be discouraging for new and seasoned players alike. Being a part of the right team is a major component of the ottoneu playing experience and what makes this format so unique. With that in mind, we’ve added an available owners board and league descriptions to the Join Leagues page. I wrote about the available owners board last August when it first went live.

Real-time team-to-team messaging

Team messaging was a lot like email before: every team had an inbox and could see a list of messages from other teams.

The rise of Slack completely changed trade negotiations by allowing them to happen in real time. We revisited messaging and revamped the format to be more like chat and less like email.

The new format went live in the last 24 hours, check it out and leave a comment or a Tweet to let us know what you think.

More to come

ottoneu Fantasy Sports remain a work in progress, and we’ll continually be improving the site throughout the year. As always, you can leave a comment or email us with feedback, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates. Have a great season, and thank you for your support!

Finding The Right ottoneu League

One of the harder parts of getting started with ottoneu Fantasy Sports is finding the right league. Not everyone has 11 friends available for a time-intensive dynasty league, and joining a league of strangers can be a little awkward. Some leagues and owners are able to overcome this initial hurdle, but ottoneu leagues are more fun and more active when all the owners are comfortable with each other. To that end, we’re trying out a couple of things with ottoneu Fantasy Football that should make it to ottoneu Fantasy Baseball before the 2016 season.

First, you can see the league’s founder on the Join League page, with an easy link to email this user. Only logged-in users can email league founders, so make sure you are registered and logged in. The goal is to encourage users to email founders of leagues they’d like to join and see if the fit makes sense.

Secondly, an availability board has been set up to allow owners to post their availability for ottoneu Fantasy Football leagues. The goal here is to turn this message board into a great place for leagues to recruit new owners.

There is still plenty of time to join ottoneu Fantasy Football leagues, so please check out both features and let us know what you think!

ottoneu Fantasy Baseball Updates

It’s been a little while since the last ottoneu Fantasy Baseball development update, so let’s dig into what’s new on the site.

The commissioner tools have always been a powerful way to manually move players and change salaries and cap penalties. The flexibility allowed by these tools have led to interesting gameplay additions by various ottoneu leagues, but it is important to be able to hold commissioners accountable for any changes they make. Going forward, all transactions done through the commissioner tools will have a “(c)” next to them on your league home page and other places where transactions are listed.

One of the challenges of playing ottoneu Fantasy Baseball with daily lineups is making sure you hit your game limits and innings limits. If a team at the top of the standings is using up games at an unsustainable clip, it can be easier to catch them towards this part of the season. But how can you track which teams are using up their games played? Check out the new graph at the bottom of the standings page! You can see how you’re doing with game limits relative to your competition at each position. There are a lot of interesting ways to slice and dice games played data, and this graph is a very early attempt at tracking this data over time.

There have been a number of bug fixes over the last few weeks as well, including improvements to waiver claims, abandoned teams, auctions, and the live page. I’m always open to more feedback about ways to improve ottoneu Fantasy Baseball, so use the comments or  the contact page to email me!

ottoneu on Twitter

ottoneu now has three Twitter handles to follow. You should follow all three, but here’s the breakdown:

  • @ottoneu – will remain the primary source of all ottoneu-related news and information. Expect more contests (more than the 0 we’ve run in recent memory) from @ottoneu in the weeks and months ahead. You could get a free ottoneu Football or Baseball team!
  • @ottoneuFootball – if you are interested in football-specific news, follow here! Development updates, bug fixes, and everything ottoneu Fantasy Football-related will be announced here. We will also tweet out football leagues that need owners to help you find good owners and good leagues easier
  • @ottoneuBaseball – baseball-specific developments, information on when players are added to the player pool, and a great resource to find new owners and leagues – all available from @ottoneuBaseball

Weekly Summary: Improving Baseball

I read through all the comments in the post about the database and realized something important: some ottoneu Fantasy Baseball players seem to think Baseball is going to be negatively affected by Football. Nothing could be further from the truth. While ottoneu is a one-person (me!) company, there is currently enough time in the day to keep building and improving both Fantasy Football and Fantasy Baseball until there is enough revenue to justify growing the company. Now, onward to the Fantasy Baseball improvements!

First, the Trade Wizard now has a confirmation screen, so you can double-check your trade offer before it ends up in someone else’s hands. This much-requested feature should reduce the number of loan mistakes in your trade offers and allow for more complicated trade offers to be put together.

Second, the Live page was re-written to make it faster to see how other teams in your league are doing. It is still a little slow to initially load, and I’m continuing to make that page faster since I know the majority of you check it daily.

Third, the Roster Organizer was made accessible year-round, as some owners indicated that they’d like to use this planning tool even while the season is on-going.

Fourth, I rolled out some new information on player cards. Average salaries, projected positional eligibility, and ownership percentages are now available on player cards, so you can make smarter personnel decisions.

Finally, I’ve started work on a tool that will allow commissioners to retroactively change lineups. It is being built to directly address the kind of data loss that occurred last Friday. This tool will have a significant number of checks in place to prevent it from being used inappropriately. I’m hoping to roll it out to a few leagues towards the end of this season and it should be available to all baseball leagues this off-season.

On the Football side, more steps were taken to ensure that another database event never occurs. I now feel confident that the mistake I made Friday night cannot be replicated, and that if another database event occurs due to my error or any other reason that there are more fallbacks than were in place last week.

As always, find me on Slack, e-mail, or leave a comment here.

Week 2: Baseball Scores and Football Drafts

Last week was all about creating and joining football leagues. This week was wider in scope and full of interesting changes.

On the ottoneu Fantasy Baseball side, I pestered FanGraphs into giving me live scores of MLB games. By pester, I mean I asked nicely once. Integrating this data was not hard, and now live game scores are on the Live and Lineups pages. Doubleheaders are presented better on both of these pages as well. Now you can keep tabs on both your fantasy players and your favorite team from one page!

A lot of progress was made on ottoneu Fantasy Football this past week. Leagues can be created and joined and (most importantly to me!) paid for, which are the majority of the milestones ahead of release. Today I started working on another major milestone: the auction draft. The interface is going to look a lot like the ottoneu Fantasy Baseball system one for now. However, player search is much faster and drafts should generally go much quicker, since there will only be 20 roster spots to fill instead of 40.

I also experimented with Flex and Superflex on the new lineup pages. The good news is that they both now work properly. The even better news is that proof-of-concept 1 Flex, 2 Flex, and Flex+Superflex roster arrangements all work properly, which means that ottoneu Fantasy Football will launch with some form of lineup customizability. Between this and the scoring options, ottoneu Fantasy Football’s week to week experience should be varied and interesting for all kinds of fantasy football owners.

This upcoming week is going to be all about the auction draft. I’m hoping it will go quickly by utilizing the best parts of the ottoneu Fantasy Baseball auction draft system. There could be an alpha test as early as mid-June on some of these features, so please let me know in the comments if you are interested!

ottoneu On The Go

TL;DR – ottoneu is now mostly responsive and works much better on mobile devices, so visit on your mobile phone and let me know what you think!

In my last post, I dug into some of the most common ottoneu feature requests and built as much as I could during a little break from my day job over the holidays. When I first requested feature ideas on Facebook, and really every time I’ve ever asked the community for their wishlist, there is one common request that I wasn’t able to address over the holidays – a mobile app.

There are a couple reasons for this:

  1. Building native apps for Android and iPhone would distract me from continuing to improve the core ottoneu platform
  2. Maintaining (at least) two native apps while also maintaining the platform is a heavy ask for a single person who is, for now, running ottoneu as a side project.
  3. Native apps are a less flexible approach to mobile device support than making the existing site work well on mobile devices

With regards to #3 above, apps mean unique development for each mobile platform, a lack of support for future devices, and less than instantaneous addition of new website features. A mobile-friendly web layout addresses all of these issues. In reality, all these issues I’ve enumerated boil down to one thing – I’d rather try to build one thing (the core website) well, instead of three things (website, iOS app, Andoird app) poorly.

With all this in mind, I started digging into a mobile-specific layout for ottoneu this weekend, and I made a lot more progress than I expected! I am continuing to tweak little things here and there, but you can see it in action now. You will need to clear your browser’s cache to see the latest changes, and if you don’t take this step the site will look broken. Please check it out and let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or notice potential for improvements.

A Very ottoneu Holiday

I’m always looking for ways to improve ottoneu, and in the spirit of giving, I posted a quick question on Facebook. (give back and like ottoneu on Facebook!) The feedback was tremendous, and I’ve whittled it down to a few achievable, worthwhile features and fixes to hack through tonight and tomorrow:

  1. Counter-offers on trades – You just received a big trade offer and the deadline is looming. You don’t want to accept this particular offer, but at least it is a starting point in finally nabbing that superstar that will push you over the hump. If you’re grinch-like and press the Reject button, you have to build a counter-offer completely from scratch. Once I’ve built out this option, there will be a nice “Counter-Offer” button next to “Accept” and “Reject” that will allow you to keep chasing that elusive blockbuster trade.
  2. Trade email should include reason trade was rejected – Ok, so your trade was rejected – why? Surfacing this information more directly via email will save you a few clicks.
  3. Sortable headers for watchlists – To be honest, watchlists are a feature I had never considered when I launched ottoneu, and I still don’t use them to their full potential. But, you asked and you shall receive.
  4. Watchlist notes – You can thank Michael J. Shank for this request: “Notes for each player on the Watchlist so I can remember why I added them.” Because, sometimes, we forget.
  5. League History (historical how teams finished) – What’s the point of a dynasty league if you can’t brag about winning 2 years ago? You can view old standings now, but I’ll make it more accessible.
  6. Some way of designating who won the most recent season – We are now getting into some reach goals, but with a little focus and determination I can possibly make this happen. (possibly make this happen..) I don’t have anything in mind for this just yet, but I know that past champs will have their day.
  7. Link to average value page – Hey, did you know this page exists? Wouldn’t it be great for it to be at your fingertips when you are about to bid on a player or prepping for your auction draft? Yeah.
  8. Link twitter/facebook to your account and have that show up on team pages you own – Ah ottoneu, bringing people together over the shared love of stats, baseball, and fantasy sports. Or something. Maybe a begrudging respect. Either way, you’ll have the opportunity to connect outside the world of ottoneu.

I’ll get started on these specific goals soon, and I’ll keep you all updated as they get checked off my list.

Have a very ottoneu holiday and new year, and thank you so much for playing! (AND, I didn’t forget the biggest gift of all: FOOTBALL IS STILL ON ITS WAY)

UPDATE 12/23 11:46pm ET: Watchlists have been updated! Sortable headers and notes have been added, check ’em out.
UPDATE 12/24 6:04pm ET: Counter-offer button up, and emails now show a reason a trade was rejected, if any is given. 1-4 are done, and 5 & 6 are next up.
UPDATE 12/24 6:22pm ET: Past standings are now easily accessible on the standings page. Go forth and brag!
UPDATE 12/24 11:04pm ET: The team page of the most recent league winner now says they won the league last year. More bragging!
UPDATE 12/25 6:18pm ET: A new feature, the record book, has just been rolled out. Go to the Tools tab (where Average Values now lives, permanently) to see it.

First Pitch

We are now 4 days back from First Pitch: Arizona.  I can’t speak for Geoff, but for me, the conference was a rousing success.  If you had told me all the positive things that happened in Phoenix were going to happen before going, I would have gladly paid twice.  An overview:

  • Maybe not the father of fantasy baseball, but at least a pretty influential uncle, Ron Shandler is the real deal when talking about one of the game’s great minds.  He presented a new approach to fantasy baseball at the conference, one which is similar to my game in a number of ways.  We met (along with Geoff!) for a hour after he presented his game, and he came away with a very favorable impression of what I’ve been working on.  He even mentioned it as legit to the entire conference.  If that isn’t a strong endorsement, I don’t know what is.
  • Joel Henard at Baseball Prospectus Radio offered to interview me for his show.  Repeat: I was offered an interview.  About a fantasy baseball game.  From the guy who has interviewed real, actual GMs and baseball players.
  • Everyone, without exception, who got a taste of my full pitch was asking me things varied from “sounds awesome” to “when can I sign up?”
  • Joe Sheehan recognized me coming up an elevator and asked if I’d be around later at the Rising Stars baseball game or for poker later on.  Swoon.

The amazing thing about having people, real live people validate what you’re spending hours a day working on – what you’ve left a safe, comfortable job, to work on – is that it makes you forget everything else.  It just makes you want to f’n code the hell out of it.  So, I’ll say it again: let’s go.