Rotisserie scoring – roto, for short – is a scoring system used in many fantasy basketball (and baseball, where it originated) games. In rotisserie-style scoring, each team is awarded points based on where they rank in a statistical category. If a league has ten teams, the team finishing first in the points category would get ten points, the second-place team would get nine, third-place gets eight, and so on.
The most common rotisserie format in fantasy basketball leagues uses eight categories:
field goal percentage (FG%)
free throw percentage (FT%)
Such a league would be referred to as “eight-cat roto” in fantasy-speak.
Many leagues add turnovers or assist-to-turnover ratio as a ninth category.
Counting Stats vs. Percentage Stats
Categories like points, assists and rebounds are often referred to as “counting” stats. Tracking them is simple – add up the total number of points scored by every player on the team. But for percentage stats like field goal percentage (or batting average in baseball), scoring is based on the entire team’s percentage.
When rating players in a percentage stat category, it is important to look at the component numbers that make up that percentage. Dwight Howard’s awful free-throw shooting has a disproportionate impact on a fantasy team’s FT% because he is usually among the league leaders in attempts.
Fantasy baseball – and most of the fantasy sports that followed – was invented in the early 1980s by author Daniel Okrent and a group of his friends. Their usual meeting place was a restaurant in New York called “La Rotisserie Francaise.” As the sport gained popularity, “rotisserie” became a catch-all term describing any and all fantasy sports games and the basis for popular fantasy sport information sites like Rotowire.com .
While “fantasy” sports or leagues is the more common term now, “rotisserie” lives on as the most popular way to describe that style of scoring.
Examples: Dwight Howard’s awful free-throw shooting will absolutely kill you in leagues that use rotisserie scoring.