MLU Launches Fantasy Ultimate In Partnership With Ultiapps

The logo of Major League Ultimate.Today, Major League Ultimate launched their fantasy ultimate application, a complex and exciting new initiative.

When MLU and UltiApps announced their fantasy Ultimate partnership in March, we knew they would try to push the envelope. The beta version launched today and, featuring the yardage-based UltiApps stat system Ultiworld endorses as the future of statistics, it certainly lives up to that prediction and presents an alternative to AUDL fantasy.

The first thing to know is that the game hardly resembles traditional ‘fantasy’ ultimate. Instead, MLU’s version adopts key concepts from mainstream fantasy sports. Fantasy players create leagues and can invite up to seven other friends to join them; once everyone has signed up, the “live draft” process begins. Each team needs to draft ten players, and the fantasy application emails you when it’s your team’s turn to draft. The turn-based draft system is akin to what you see in other fantasy sports leagues.

In addition to drafting, MLU fantasy requires roster setting and selection each week. Seven of your ten drafted players make up your weekly active line, but you also need to assign each player to a position. The positions are O Line handler, O Line cutter, D Line handler, D Line cutter, and “superstar.”

Each of the positions scores points slightly differently. For example, handlers get five points for each assist they throw while cutters only get two points for an assist. Cutters get five points for receptions over 40 yards, while handlers only get 1 point for such receptions. The players you assign to defense only get points if they start the point on D Line – they won’t score if they cross over and play O Line points. You have to assign at least three players (and at least one handler and one cutter) to defense.

The basic intuition is clear: You’ll want to put guys that throw assists into your handler positions, put guys that get blocks on your D Line, etc. But there may be opportunities to experiment with creative positioning, like designating a handler who scores a lot in a cutter position. As we have seen statistically, many ultimate players have a more fluid game that can’t be easily assigned as “cutter” or “handler.”

The superstar position entails the most risk. Every positive contribution by your superstar counts for the maximum possible point value: The superstar gets 5 points for an assist and 5 points for a score, regardless of whether he starts the point on O Line or D Line. Every negative contribution is also maximized, so he gets -2 points for each turnover. But the superstar is such a dynamic position that drafting a stud early – someone likely to play lots of points on both sides of the disc – may be the key to winning your league.

Overall, the game has an entirely different feel than the AUDL’s Unbenchable fantasy ultimate game. The emphasis in AUDL fantasy is simplicity and Facebook integration; no one is going to stop you and your friend from selecting the exact same lineup, rostering Brodie and Helton and other studs every week. The gameplay is straightforward and the presentation is polished.

MLU fantasy offers a much more advanced (and complicated) drafting, positioning, and scoring system. It is a more serious and intense product that will reward diehard fans. The presentation is currently bare bones and stand-alone, but the developers are planning to update it throughout the season and make it more user-friendly. And while the scoring system is a bit superstar-biased for my personal taste, what should we reasonably expect from fantasy?

Finally, the social aspect is extra interesting. Friends and teams will be able to host competitive leagues with a draft, opening up all kinds of opportunities for betting pools, trash talk email threads, and fantasy glory within your social circle. While the game is currently limited in scope and feels a bit unfinished – for example, there’s no add/drop after the draft – it offers another fun fantasy option for players and fans alike.

Check out the full scoring rules below.

Roster size: 10 players
Line size: 7 players

Line must fit into the following slots:

3 Handlers
3 Cutters
1 Superstar

Three of the Handlers/Cutters must be assigned to “Defense,” with at least one of each. When the “Defense” designation is applied to a player they shall only receive points for when they start on D. Conversly, those players not marked as “Defense” will only receive points for when they start on O.

Handler Scoring (weighted to favor completions and assists):

1 point per 5 completions
5 points per assist
2 points per goal scored
5 points per completion over 40 yards
1 point per catch over 40 yards

-2 points per throwaway
-1 point per drop

Cutter Scoring (weighted to favor catching and scoring):

1 point per 5 catches
5 points per goal scored
2 points per assist
5 points per catch over 40 yards
1 point per completion over 40 yards

-1 point per throwaway
-2 points per drop

Superstar Scoring (best and worst of all other categories. Scoring counts on D and O):

1 point per 5 completions
5 points per assist
5 points per goal scored
5 points per catch over 40 yards
5 points per completion over 40 yards
3 points per D
2 for “bookends” (D and score on same possession)
5 for “callahan”

-2 points per turnover

Defensive Bonuses (applied to Handlers and Cutters in any point):

3 points per D
2 for “bookends” (D and score on same possession)
5 for “Callahan”

  1. Sean Childers

    Sean Childers is Ultiworld's Editor Emeritus. He started playing ultimate in 2008 for UNC-Chapel Hill Darkside, where he studied Political Science and Computer Science before graduating from NYU School of Law. He has played for LOS, District 5, Empire, PoNY, Truck Stop, Polar Bears, and Mischief (current team). You can email him at [email protected].


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