Fantasy Baseball

25 New Fantasy Baseball Rules & League Ideas

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Looking for some new Fantasy Baseball rules and league ideas on how to make it more exciting, more challenging, more awesome!?!

You happened upon just the article to do that!

We’ve also recently updated our list of the 25 Best Free Fantasy Baseball Draft Tools, as well as our list of the Best Rookie Cards From Every Year of Topps Baseball Since 1952!

Fantasy Baseball has been around for over 40 years, and I’ve been playing this game for over 25 years. When I was a Senior Fantasy Writer at, I was tasked with sharing unusual and new Fantasy Baseball rules and ideas. What an awesome assignment! Ever since then, I’ve been tracking new rules and new ways to make Fantasy Baseball leagues more fun, and that’s what this article is all about!

Many Fantasy Baseball commissioners are stodgy, rule-enforcing fun-killers – but you, you can be different! You can be the one that comes up with a handful of these awesome ideas yourself and save the fun in your league!

Even if you do not change your current league with these new Fantasy Baseball rules, I would like you to consider some of these for an alternative league, just to try them out! It might be something to add to your main league later!

New Fantasy Baseball Rules Affecting League Makeup

Whether it’s changing your draft process, roster size or length of the season, these new Fantasy Baseball rules should change how Fantasy owners prepare for the season.

1. Change Your League to AL-Only vs. NL-Only

Rather than having a big mixed league, with teams being able to draft players from both leagues, ramp up the difficulty level – and go to a 20-team league! Now, set 10 teams for the AL-only side, and 10 other teams for the NL-only side. They can only draft players from those leagues! Then set up Head-to-Head scoring and schedules, so that they only face teams from their league for most of the season (have a few weeks of interleague play!). Then at the end, the top four teams in the AL face off in the playoffs, and the top four teams in the NL go to battle, with the winners facing off in a three-week Fantasy Baseball World Series!

2. Go From Draft To an Auction

This obviously changes everything. If you switch things up and kill your draft for the almighty Fantasy Baseball auction, you’ll do a few things for your league’s owners. First, you’ll make Draft Day much more fun. Auctions are much more exciting – from beginning to the end – than a draft. Second, you give every owner a chance at winning, not just the ones that get a top-three pick.

Tout Wars Mixed League - New Fantasy Baseball Rules League Ideas
The Tout Wars Mixed Draft Auction at SiriusXM Studios in NYC.

3. Blind Auction

A reader gave me this idea several year ago – have each owner submit to the commissioner one player’s name at each position with a blind bid. Whoever bids the most on players wins those players, then you proceed with the rest of the auction. It’s a fun strategy because you could submit a superstar at a cheap price and hope no one else bids on them, or you can submit some bids on sleepers to make sure you get them early.

4. Do an Auction-Draft Hybrid

You can have the best of both worlds, and give each owner $50 to spend before the draft starts. Then each owner nominates players to go up for two rounds of auction (2 rounds, 12 teams = 24 players nominated). After those 24 players are off the board, the owners with the most money left get the first pick, and so on. Then just reverse Round 2 as usual.

5. Expand or Reduce the Number of Teams in Your League

Just changing up how many teams are in your league radically affects the strategy in your drafts. Add a couple teams – dump a couple teams, it doesn’t matter!

6. Add Fantasy Relegation

You might be familiar with relegation from the soccer world, where there are different levels of leagues. The champions of one league graduate to the higher level league in the next season, replacing the worst team from the previous season. So if you have a 14-team Fantasy Baseball league, make a four-team minor league, and a 10-team Premier League. The two best teams from the four-team league graduate into the Premier league, replacing the two worst teams!

7. Create a Fantasy World Cup Season

Have each team pay 125% of their league fees each season, then every fourth season, you can have a Super Season that’s worth double the payouts! This is one of my favorite new Fantasy Football rules because it helps keep the same owners from year to year because they are invested.

8. Finish the Season on Aug. 31

September changes a lot of things in the Fantasy Baseball world, as MLB rosters expand to 28 players, and Fantasy Football season takes off. Why not make the end of August the new finish line, so everyone can be on the same page entering September’s football season?

9. Break the Season Up

You can also change things up by making three two-month seasons, or even six six-month seasons. Have a new draft every first of the month, then add up the total standings from each month at the end to see who is truly the Fantasy Baseball champ! (Maybe teams can hold 10 players and just draft new ones each month to make it easier.)

10. Change Free Agency To Once Per Month

Rather than have waiver wire or free agency pickups daily or weekly, consider doing it monthly, in reverse order of the league standings! This gives the bad teams a great chance to fix their teams, seeing which players are affecting fantasy over a longer period.

11. Go With Two Scoring Periods Each Week

Most Major League Baseball teams play two series each week, about six games. Why can’t Fantasy Baseball teams play two series each week – or at least, two games per week, with a lineup deadline on Monday, and another lineup deadline on Friday. Count each win as three points, and by the end of the year, your league’s standings will be much closer to the real MLB standings, as far as games played.

12. Play Double-Headers

Similar to the above rule, you can play two games per week against two different teams if you set up double-header scoring, which takes out a lot of fortune from the game. The best teams tend to rise to the top in this setup.

13. Create a Fantasy All-Star Game

With Daily Fantasy Sports becoming engrained more and more in the fantasy world, how about having all your owners do a DFS tournament on FanDuel or DraftKings

14. Get Bonus Points For Your Bench

In Head-to-Head formats, give five bonus points to the team who gets more points from their bench that week!

Make Your Fantasy Baseball League More Fun!

15. Use a Theme For Your League!

I’ve written an article already about the different types of Fantasy Football themes you could use, and really, these all work for Fantasy Baseball leagues, too! I loved the Seinfeld league I was in!

16. Come Up With Some Great League Awards

At the end of the year, get all of your owners to vote for things like Fantasy Owner of the Year, Fantasy Sleeper of the Year, Best Late-Round Pick, Best Waiver Wire Pickup, Worst Trade Move of the Year, Rookie of the Year, MVP, etc. Then reward them each with some awesome baseball rookie cards!

17. Create Owner Records That Roll Over Year After Year

Along with handing out awards each year, you should maintain owner records, showing career records, records of one team vs. other teams, records of highest and lowest scoring teams ever, and keep the draft results. You can even track the average draft position of each owner, and what their difference is from where they drafted in Round 1 to where they finished at the end of the year. That would really show who were the best owners!

18. Switch It Up! Try Bizarro Leagues!

Drafting teams of bad baseball players has never been more fun. Draft players who get a lot of playing time, but are just bad offensively. Do Rotisserie scoring, and give points for categories like batting average, GIDPs and strikeouts for hitters, and give points for earned runs allowed, home runs allowed and walks allowed for pitchers.

19. Change the Size of Your Rosters

Whether you increase or decrease the size of your rosters or starting lineups, this will definitely change up the strategy to win your league!

20. Add Minor-Leaguers To Your Rosters

This is more for keeper leagues but allowing each team to pick one or two players currently in the minors adds another strategy layer. Different than just naming keepers, a team can choose minor leaguers who they can keep and not count against their number of keepers. You can have a lot of fun with this.

If you’re looking for some help with minor-leaguers, we re-rank MLB’s Top 10 Prospects according to collectability here.

No. 1 MLB Prospect Jackson Holliday, SS, Baltimore

21. Add Inflation To Your Salaries

If you already do auctions in a keeper or dynasty league, you can add 15% inflation to each player’s salary to really make the league exciting from year to year. Suddenly, considering a superstar that costs $90 to hold onto becomes a much tougher decision.

22. Use Advanced Stats in Your Rotisserie Format

Consider adding WAR, FIP, wRC or wOBA to your league’s Roto or Head-to-Head scoring formats! It’s time to move into the 21st century!

23. Try a 10×10 League

You can set your normal 5×5 categories for double points, and then add five hitting stats (OBP, ISO, Total Bases, Strikeouts and WAR) and five pitching stats (FIP, Holds, K/9, LOB% and home runs allowed) worth just single points.

24. Instead of Saves Category, Try SHLuBS

Many people understand how the saves category isn’t a true indicator of a relief pitcher’s value, so I submit to you: SHLuBS! This is a category I created that adds together Saves and Holds, then subtracts losses and blown saves to give you your SHLuBS number!

25. Change Saves To Goose Eggs

This came from Nate Silver, a longtime Fantasy Baseball expert turned statistics wizard. Instead of a save, relief pitchers get Goose Eggs when a pitcher throws a scoreless inning in relief in a clutch situation (seventh inning and beyond). Read more about Goose Eggs here!

Don’t forget to check out our list of the 25 Best Free Fantasy Baseball Draft Tools!

Whether you use one or 10 of these new Fantasy Baseball rules or league ideas, your league will receive a boost of fun, excitement and a change of strategy. Have fun!

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