Choosing the right league is important when it comes to high-stakes fantasy baseball. Knowing your level of skill is integral. Don't throw away money immediately due to high confidence. It's a different game and assessing skill level is important.


National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC)

If you have never played in the format, be selective in where you invest. Finances are different for everyone. As I always say when it comes to gambling, only risk the amount you're willing to lose. Don't go beyond your budget. The National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) is the most popular and offers some leagues, too. There are many different formats with low and high price points, so there is something for everyone.

The best preparation for the NFBC format is the draft champions league. There are entry fees of $150, $400, and $1,000 for this format. There's an overall prize of $40,000. The difference with this format is there are no waiver wire moves. As with all NFBC formats, there are no trades. All you do is draft and set a lineup each week for pitchers with hitters being allowed to be changed on Fridays for the weekend. The leagues are 15-teams with 50 rounds and that's the roster for the season. This is excellent draft prep as you get a deep knowledge of the player pool and can do research while drafting. The drafts can be done with a 55-second, 30-minute, one-hour, two-hour, or four-hour clock. I always kick off my season with these. 

For those used to playing in a points format, the NFBC offers the best ball Cutline Championship. The leagues consist of 10 teams and 42 rounds. This is a best-ball format, which means you don't have to set lineups. It automatically takes the best scores each day for the 23 starting slots. The entry fee is $175 and these are 10-team leagues. The overall prize is $75,000 and the winner of each league gets $350 with second place getting $150. There are only two FAAB periods on April 11 and June 6 where free agents can be acquired. The regular season ends July 12 and then there's a three-round period in the playoffs where you need to make the cut to advance. The contest concludes on Sept. 17. 

The big prize comes in the Main Event. This is a 5x5 roto league consisting of 15-team leagues. The draft is 30 rounds with FAAB running each Sunday night. The FAAB budget is $1,000. The overall prize is $200,000 and, in each league, the winner gets $7,000, second place gets $3,500 and third gets $1,750. These drafts can be done online or live in person in New York and Las Vegas in March and are very competitive leagues.

If the price point for the Main Event is too much, there's an online championship with an entry fee of $350. These are 12-team leagues with 30-round drafts and the max amount of teams is 3,204. The overall prize winner gets $150,000. This format might be most similar to a home league except it's not a daily format. The pitchers are locked in at the beginning of the week, while the hitters can be changed on Friday for the weekend. FAAB runs on Sunday nights in all NFBC leagues.

If playing in an overall contest is too daunting, there are satellite leagues where the entry fees are only awarded to the league. For 15-team leagues, the entry fees are $125, $250, and $500. In the 12-team formats, the fees are $150, and $250.

There's also an auction format, which I have participated in a couple of times. The entry fees are $1,500 and $2,500 with an overall prize of $30,000. If you can't do it live, there is an online auction championship with entry fees of $150, $250, and $500 with an overall prize of $10,000. These are 15 teams with 23 players being auctioned on a $260 budget with a seven-round snake draft after the auction. The top eight overall will be paid in addition to the top three in each league. There are also an NL-only and AL-only leagues with a $1,500 entry fee with $9,000 in league prizes. 

The NFBC also has a 15-team Guillotine league with a $200 entry fee and with league prizes of $1,400 with the top three getting paid. The lowest-scoring team each week gets eliminated and the players from that team go into the free-agent pool. There is also one for $100 with $700 in league prizes. 

If you want to start off cheap, there are “50’s” that are satellite $50-entry 12-team leagues. First place gets $400 and second place gets $100. The NFBC will have all the teams compete in one large overall tournament and first place gets a 2024 Main Event entry, second gets a 2024 Online Championship three-pack and third gets an Online Championship entry. If you don't want to invest a lot of money, this is a good option. There are also qualifier leagues. Winners of the $50 Qualifier leagues receive a free entry to the 2024 Online Championship and $50 and winners of the $125 format get a free entry to the 2024 Main Event. If you enjoy keeper leagues, the NFBC is running them for the second straight season. There is a max of five keepers. The entry fee is $250.

There are also stand-alone leagues with big entry fees if you're ready to play for bigger money. There is a $10,000 diamond league, which also has an auction format, and other leagues with entry fees of $5,000 and $2,500.

RealTime Fantasy Sports

The RealTime Fantasy Baseball Championship is an online championship. The grand prize is $10,000 and the top five overall teams get paid. There will be up to 144 teams competing in 12-team leagues with an entry fee of $250. The league champion wins $800 and second place gets $400. The draft is 32 rounds with 23 starting spots in a 5x5 roto format and nine reserve spots. This is a 5x5 roto format with on-base percentage instead of an average.

RealTime Fantasy Sports also has leagues with the prizes going to the league only. These are 10-team leagues with different price points. The $125 leagues have $1,100 in prizes, $250 leagues have $2,250 in prizes, $500 leagues have $4,500 in prizes, $1,000 leagues have $9,000 in prizes and $2,000 leagues have $18,000 in prizes.

RealTime also has a 12-team head-to-head points style league. The entry fees are $125, $250, $500 and $1,000. The winner of the $1,000 league gets $6,000. The top four teams qualify for the playoffs and playoffs are a three-week total points challenge. There is also a best ball championship with a grand prize of $10,000.

There are many ways to jump in the high-stakes leagues and formats for everyone. Choose the one that fits what you do best.


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