[This article was edited on Aug. 24 to correct a games-played-for-eligibility error and to update the tables accordingly. -MM]
The flexibility to move a player into multiple lineup slots can be hugely valuable in any league and makes a fantasy manager’s life much easier. In Ottoneu, however, multi-positional eligibility is even more important because of the Ottoneu Prestige League.
The Ottoneu Prestige League (OPL) is a new creation in 2021, it is played on top of regular Ottoneu leagues with the same roster used for both entries. The difference, however, is that OPL scoring is best ball. The OPL best ball algorithm will automatically take the highest points for each lineup slot (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, 5 OF, Util, 2 SP, and 5 RP) every day.
The more points, the higher the score. The best way to score points is to get players into your lineup. Simple, but there is a snag. What happens if I have players on my roster who all score well in a night? Will all the scores count?
For example, my hitters have a really great day and I have seven outfielders who score more than 20 points. I can use the top five scores in my five outfield slots, and one score in my Utility slot, but I cannot use the seventh score unless I can move it into another roster slot. All are OF-eligible only, and I lose the one 20-point production. Meanwhile, my two 2B-eligible hitters go hitless and I have to take a zero in the second base roster slot.
If I have multi-positional players, the results would be very different. Same scenario, but of my seven outfielders one is also eligible at second base. Now I can use the 20+ points in five of my outfield slots, one in my utility and the multi-positional hitter can slot into the 2B slot. Instead of the zero at 2B, I get to take advantage of the 20+ point performance from my multi-positional-eligible outfielder. It may sound minor, but points are points and could make the difference between advancement and elimination.
Positional Eligibility in Ottoneu
Since 2020 was such an unusual year, Ottoneu decided to use positional eligibility from 2020 and 2019, meaning that if a player played 10 games at a position in 2020 or 2019, they would retain that eligibility. That has meant a lot of players have multiple positions.
Why does this matter? Apart from the flexibility that it allows a manager in a regular Ottoneu league, what is really interesting is the dynamic of OPL’s best ball scoring. Players who can play multiple positions have more value in best ball than in other formats because it makes it more likely that points that are scored are able to be used (not wasted because of lack of lineup slot), making it more likely that the roster slots will earn points in any given day.
Therefore, players with multi-position eligibility will be very valuable to teams that are participating in OPL. In order to participate in OPL next year, a team must finish in the top six in their league in 2021. So, if you are a manager who looks like they will finish in the top six this season, you need to be considering players who can play multiple positions. If you have a multi-positional player, you might be able to get more for your player when trading them to a team that will be participating in OPL.
The Ottoneu trade deadline is August 31st, and it is never too early to plan for the future, so let’s look at which players will be impacted.
Using games played data from draftbuddy.com, I have listed the players who have played 10 or more games at more than one position this season. Green indicates that they have played 10 or more games and will have eligibility at that position in 2021. Yellow indicates that the player is close to gaining eligibility (8 and 9 games at the position). All numbers are for games up until August 22nd.
We should expect many of the players with numbers highlighted in yellow have a good chance to make the ten-game threshold for eligibility. Incidentally, here is a list of designated hitters, and where they have played this season:
In case you missed it, J.D. Martinez will have OF eligibility in 2022, as will Yordan Alvarez. This will boost both their importance in fantasy and make them very desirable options. Shohei Ohtani and Franmil Reyes are very close to gaining outfield eligibility.
Of course, there is also some bad news… there are many players who will lose positional eligibility in Ottoneu in 2022. As mentioned earlier, Ottoneu allowed positional eligibility for players for both 2019 and 2020. It is not surprising, therefore, that we have a long list of players who won’t have the same roster flexibility next season.
What to Do Next?
So what should you do with this information?
1) If you are a manager who is planning to participate in OPL next year, these are some players that you might consider trading for before the August 31st trade deadline. You might catch your competition unaware if you make moves now rather than later in the year or when you have entered your team in OPL.
2) Consider trading players on your roster who are losing eligibility next season. These players could lose a modicum of value once their handy eligibility is gone. Obviously, do so within reason.
3) Be aware of your rostered players who will be gaining/retaining multi-positional eligibility next year. If one of the managers of the teams in the top six of your league comes calling, be sure to get full value in trade.
4) Take note of the players who are close to gaining eligibility. We are still five or so weeks before the end of the season so many players will gain eligibility between now and then.
5) Watch out for players who lose huge value when they lose eligibility at a position. Here are a few examples:
Isaiah Kiner-Falefa: Catcher eligibility is excellent, especially when a player never plays there. The wear and tear of the position is difficult and the normal, built-in days of rest are difficult for fantasy managers who need games played. IKF looks like he will only be eligible at shortstop next season and with the intense talent in the league at short, IKF will not be a player that you will want to play there with any regularity. He is an excellent fantasy catcher, not an excellent fantasy shortstop. Willians Astudillo is in a similar situation if he doesn’t meet the 10-games at catcher this season (he is currently at eight). Eric Haase and Daulton Varsho, in contrast, are catcher-eligible players who will play their fair share of games at other positions, making them more likely to have an increase in plate appearances.
There are a ton of multi-positional stalwarts who will see a reduction in eligibility in 2022: Cavan Biggio, Aledmys Diaz, David Fletcher, Ha-Seong Kim, Jurickson Profar, Jeff McNeil, Jean Segura, and Tommy Edman. While most will still be eligible at more than one position, they won’t have the Uno-hand-sized list of positions as they have now. Segura and McNeil will only be eligible at second. This will really hurt their value in OPL.
Alex Bregman, Manny Machado, Gleyber Torres, and Max Muncy are all premium players who may lose some positional flexibility. They will still be top choices at their positions, but we won’t have the luxury of slotting them into another roster spot. In the case of Bregman and Machado, losing shortstop also means that we can’t use them in our middle-infield spot. When planning your keepers and for next year’s auction, be aware that you may have taken a huge hit to the strength of your MI with the loss of some eligibility.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Ian Happ, and Keston Hiura all struggled in 2021, but also lose 2B eligibility (and MI eligibility). While Gurriel should still be an important part of a five-player outfield, Ian Happ is much more of a late dart after his poor 2021. Keston Hiura had a horrific 2021, with much of it spent in Triple-A. Without second base eligibility, Hiura can only slot in at 1B in 2021, making him even more of a liability, considering the other options at first base.
Joc Pederson and Wil Myers lose their infield eligibility and won’t be useable at first base. Both are the perfect examples of players who have made fantasy managers’ lives a little easier with their ability to slide into first base in a roster crunch or the occasional off-day for your regular 1B. Austin Riley, on the other hand, is currently only eligible at third base and will lose his OF designation, but is close to gaining 1B (at eight games). Riley has been excellent in 2021 and will be climbing draft boards in 2022. Keep in mind, though, that you won’t be able to bounce him into one of your five OF slots next season, making him more difficult to play, especially if you already have another third base option.
A lot can happen between now and the end of the season. Players can gain new eligibility between now and the end of the season. Fernando Tatis Jr. is someone who should become outfield-eligible before the end of the season. Perhaps (*crosses fingers*), Mookie Betts will play six more games at second base, which would make him the top second baseman in fantasy. Maybe Shohei Ohtani moves into a regular outfield job at the end of the season and gains eligibility? The point is that a lot of this can change. We also have to remember that players may move into new positions in the off-season and in Spring Training and can gain in-season eligibility fairly quickly. Don’t give up on a guy you like because he loses some roster flexibility.
As we approach the trade deadline, consider positional eligibility in 2022. In an article earlier this year, I wrote about how vital it is to have a plan and to make decisions that enact that plan. If part of your Ottoneu plan is to enter a team into the Ottoneu Prestige League, then positional eligibility is an important roster-building strategy to consider. Looking to acquire players who can slot into different positions is very important in best-ball contests and it is never too early to start building your team. You may get a deal if you make your move now.
If you aren’t planning on entering OPL next season, don’t forget that you may have some very desirable players on your roster for those managers who will be joining OPL. I’m not suggesting that all players who play multiple positions are prized fantasy players and should demand premium trade returns, but I do want managers to be aware that they should be aware that these players have value in a trade and may command a good return.
In the final few weeks before the trade deadline, I wish you the best in the pursuit of your championship this year, or in the one in the near future. Enjoy the trade deadline and the rest of the Ottoneu season!
Images by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)