Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
2013 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2013 Draft Prep: Nando Di Fino's Head-to-Head strategies

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

More Head-to-Head strategies: Scott White | Al Melchior

You may not like Head-to-Head (Points) leagues, but you're probably going to have to play in one at some point in your life. Or maybe you love Head-to-Head leagues, but you're always looking for new ways to improve your strategy (for instance, did you know that there's a way to set up leagues to play more than one team at a time?) Or maybe you just googled "Medlen squeezes Duchscherer Christmas dominoes" and landed here.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

Whatever the case may be, I hope two things are abundantly clear: 1. You are going to need to develop separate strategies when competing in Head-to-Head leagues and Rotisserie leagues, as they have their own quirks and rules, and, 2. Things are going to get a little weird later in the column.

Full disclosure: I do not like Head-to-Head leagues. But I play in them because I like the people who ask me to join them. It's like making dinner plans for a restaurant you really hate, but agreeing to eat there anyway because the other people going are cool and the drinks are cheap. Suck it up, have some fun, and you can always go to a bar you like that same night (Roto leagues) to balance things out.

If that doesn't get you fired up for my following four Head-to-Head strategies, I don't know what will. Read on and enjoy!

1. Don't reach for sleepers

Unlike Roto formats, where 23 players are drafted as starters, Points leagues have a truncated roster -- three outfielders instead of five, no corner or middle infield spots, one catcher, and smaller rotations that force you to pick a certain amount of starters and relievers. Because of this, many deep-ish sleepers are either marginalized or irrelevant. If you have a lot of love for a player like Lonnie Chisenhall, for example, it may have to continue in secret, as he could be too deep to even use a bench spot on in most standard Head-to-Head formats.

2. Get ready to ignore low-end closers

There are a handful of pitchers who will be starters in 2013, but retain relief pitcher eligibility because of the appearances they made last year. Kris Medlen, Aroldis Chapman, Hisashi Iwakuma, and Alexi Ogando are probably the most high-profile, but there are a few more lower-tier options who could make a case for Head-to-Head relevance (like David Phelps, Andrew Cashner, and Wade Davis). Their eligibility as relievers essentially sets off dominoes and squeezes the lower-ranked closers out of the draft window. And because those closers are then sent to the waiver wire, there's really little reason to use limited bench spots on them, as they'll be available for adding and dropping throughout the entire season. So while Bruce Rondon and Jonathan Broxton have plenty of value in Roto leagues, they may be little more than waiver wire fodder in Head-to-Head formats, at least initially.

3. Don't be obtuse about the scoring quirks

I used to be an idiot, refusing to use starters in RP roles and ignoring doubles and walks when I played in Head-to-Head leagues. Then, one night, I was visited by the three spirits, who took me on a journey through my past, present, and future and showed me the folly of my ways.

The Voided Check of Leagues Past took me to 2008, when I complained in message board posts about how dumb it was to allow starters to be used as relievers, losing to my college roommate, Rob, twice that season because he used Justin Duchscherer in his RP slot and I insisted on plugging in only closers.

The Hundred Dollar Bill of Leagues Present brought me to Rob's fancy apartment in Boston, pointing out all the cool stuff he was able to buy with his winnings from that year.

And the League-Fees-Are-Due E-mail Reminder of Seasons Yet To Come took me to my gravesite, where I died broke and penniless at the age of 41, having given all my money in the form of league fees to my friends (who, incidentally, all pitched in for a nice baseball-shaped floral arrangement). I woke up with a new paradigm: If the rules allow for you to plug in Kris Medlen as a reliever -- which will result in him accruing more points for the absurdly heavily-weighted innings pitched, for instance -- then you do it. You're not going to win any titles sticking to Rotisserie strategies, personal ideals, unfounded feelings of nobility, or anything else that would, in a normal world, fall under the umbrella of fairness and logic. As much as I hate the idea of rewarding a player for hitting doubles, I'm still going to run Alex Gordon up my Head-to-Head ranks. If you don't address these quirks, you are setting yourself up for failure.

4. Persuade your commissioner to enact some playoff changes

One of the biggest gripes from people playing in Head-to-Head formats -- especially those in the standard variations -- is that teams scoring a lot of points end up with mediocre records and eventually miss the playoffs. In my many years of playing, I've found two fixes for this:

1. Convince your league to change playoff requirements. If six of your league's 12 teams make the playoffs, then have the first four be placed by record, with the final two wildcards getting in based on highest point totals. If only four make it, then the top two records should be seeded along with two high-scoring wildcards. This way, you avoid the all-too-familiar scenario of a great team having scored more points than most of its opponents, but getting shut out of the playoffs because it got stuck with an unfavorable schedule.

2. CBSSports.com has a pretty awesome option, where a commissioner can opt to have teams play more than one opponent each week. So if you score the second-highest amount of points in a week and get pitted against the team that scored the most, you still have another game against another opponent that same week. Instead of finishing the week 0-1, you have a 1-1 record. The downside to this is that it kind of squashes the anticipation and fun of playing just one friend each week, as you have to spread your attention over two games. The upside, though, is having a larger sample size in terms of win-loss record, thus avoiding those weeks where the second-highest scoring team gets stuck with a loss.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Huston Street makes quick work of Dodgers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:39 am ET) Padres closer Huston Street made quick work of the Dodgers for the save Friday night in Los Angeles.

Making his first appearance since blowing a save against the Giants on July 5, Street struck out one and needed only 12 pitches to complete a perfect ninth inning to close out a 6-3 victory. He is 24 for 25 in save chances, with a 1.09 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP over 33 innings of relief.


Jesse Hahn ends first half on high note
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:36 am ET) Padres starting pitcher Jesse Hahn turned in another quality start for the win Friday night against the Dodgers, improving to 5-2 on the year. The right-hander allowed only one run on three hits and four walks while striking out six over six innings of a 6-3 victory.

Over his last three starts covering 18 innings, Hahn has allowed only four earned runs. He enters the All-Star break with a 2.21 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over seven starts (40 2/3 innings). His next start will come after the All-Star break, though the Padres have yet to announce their pitching plans.


Dan Haren hit hard in loss to Padres
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:36 am ET) Dodgers starter Dan Haren took the loss Friday night against the Padres, dropping to 8-6 on the year. The right-hander permitted four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five over four innings of a 6-3 defeat. 

Over his last two starts covering 9 1/3 innings, Haren has allowed 12 earned runs. He enters the All-Star break with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP over 19 starts (112 2/3 innings). His next scheduled start has yet to be determined.


Matt Albers starts throwing from 90 feet
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:01 am ET) Astros reliever Matt Albers was able to throw from a distance of 90 feet prior to Friday's game against the Red Sox, the Houston Chronicle reports. Albers, who has been sidelined since April 22 with right shoulder tendinitis, hopes to progress from a flat ground to a mound session at some point next week.

Mike Bolsinger gets roughed up in loss to Giants
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:55 am ET) Diamondbacks starter Mike Bolsinger was roughed up Friday night against the Giants in San Francisco, dropping to 1-6 on the year. The right-hander was shelled for five runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out five over five innings of a 5-0 defeat.

Bolsinger enters the All-Star break with a 5.50 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP over 52 1/3 innings of work. The Diamondbacks have yet to announce their pitching plans for the second half of the season, so his next start has yet to be determined.


Tim Lincecum blanks Diamondbacks Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:55 am ET) Giants starter Tim Lincecum dominated the Diamondbacks on Friday, scattering three hits and two walks over seven scoreless innings to improve to 9-5 on the year. He struck out six and walked two in 101 pitches, 68 for strikes.

Lincecum enters the All-Star break with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP over 19 starts (113 innings). Over his last three starts covering 23 1/3 innings, Lincecum has allowed only one earned run. His next scheduled start will come after the All-Star break, though a date has yet to be determined. 


Francisco Rodriguez tagged with the loss Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:51 am ET) Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez picked up the loss Friday against the Cardinals.

Rodriguez entered the game with the score tied 6-6. He got through the first two hitters he faced without an issue. Matt Holliday then stepped to the plate and crushed a first-pitch changeup from Rodriguez out to left for the go-ahead run. The Brewers were unable to come back, tagging Rodriguez with the loss. He dropped to 3-3 on the year.


Matt Holliday clubs go-ahead home run Friday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:50 am ET) Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday hit a go-ahead home run Friday against the Brewers. 

In the ninth inning, Holliday crushed a first-pitch changeup from Francisco Rodriguez out to left for the go-ahead blast. The Brewers were unable to score in the bottom of the inning, making Holliday the hero. He finished 3 for 4, with three runs scored and one RBI. 


Nolan Reimold to get an MRI on injured calf
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:46 am ET) Blue Jays outfielder Nolan Reimold is expected to undergo an MRI Saturday to determine the severity of his calf injury, Sportsnet.ca reports. Reimold suffered the injury while going from second to third on a Juan Francisco grounder in the fourth inning of Friday's game. His status remains uncertain for the final two games before the All-Star break.

Fernando Rodney secures 27th save vs. A's
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:42 am ET) Mariners closer Fernando Rodney struck out one and worked his way past a walk in a scoreless ninth inning for the save Friday night at home against the A's. He needed 26 pitches to close out the game. He is 27 for 29 in save chances, with a 1.98 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP over 36 1/3 innings of relief.

 
 
 
Rankings