Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
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 .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Brewers SP Matt Garza heads to DL due to shoulder tendinitis
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:42 pm ET) Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday due to right shoulder tendinitis, the team announced. The right-hander was scheduled to start Tuesday against the Braves and no replacement has been named yet.

Garza is having a tough season. He is 4-10 with a 5.55 ERA through 17 starts. He is winless in his last five starts and has a 7.88 ERA in his last four starts.


Rockies GM: We will continue to exercise patience with Jon Gray
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:11 pm ET) With the Rockies in last place in the NL West and their chances of making the playoffs fading, calling up starting pitcher prospect Jon Gray could be an option to provide a spark and keep them in the playoff hunt. It seems Rockies manager Walt Weiss would be in favor of it.

"At some point, especially if we're in striking distance, yeah, you want to use all your weapons, absolutely," Weiss said of bringing up Gray, per The Denver Post. "No, I don't think it's early."

However, general manager Jeff Bridich isn't as eager to bring up the 2013 first-round pick, who has has logged 252 innings in the minors.

"Jon Gray is doing a great job right now of learning lessons and evolving at the Triple-A level," Bridich said. "So there are things that he needs to do and will continue to do. And we'll continue to exercise patience with him."

The top-100 prospect is 3-5 with a 4.88 ERA in 16 outings (15 starts) at Triple-A this season. He is 3-2 with a 3.47 ERA in his last 12 games.


Red Sox outright pitcher Zeke Spruill to Triple-A
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:48 pm ET) Red Sox pitcher Zeke Spruill, who was designated for assignment Friday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday.

Report: Red Sox send P Steven Wright back to Pawtucket
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:19 pm ET) The Red Sox on Sunday dispatched knuckleballer Steven Wright back to Triple-A Pawtucket one day after promoting him, multiple league sources have told the Boston Globe.

Wright did not pitch during his latest stay. He owns a 3-2 record and 4.15 ERA in 11 outings for the Red Sox this season.


GM: Pirates have no plans to demote RF Gregory Polanco
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:13 pm ET) Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco is batting a disturbing .148 (12-for-81) over the last month, but if he's going to work his way out of his slump, he's going to do it with Pittsburgh.

The team has no plans to demote Polanco so he can work on his hitting.

"We believe [he] is going to be a quality major league player but there are growing pains," general manager Neal Huntington told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "And [a demotion] hasn't even been a conversation."

Polanco, who has been benched often against left-handers and sat against Cleveland righty Danny Salazar on Sunday, owns a .231 average that is at its lowest point since May 25.


Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli struggling mentally as well
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:52 pm ET) The struggles of Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli are starting to take a toll on him mentally.

"I'm on what's supposed to be a winning team and I'm not producing," he complained to the Boston Globe. "...If you're not mentally frustrated, there's something wrong. But I come here every day to work and try to fix it ... I wake up every day thinking that today's the day. I'm just going to keep working, keep doing what I've done in my career, to get out of this thing."

Only Napoli and Yankees second baseman Stephen Drew own a batting average under .200 and on-base percentage under .300 among 116 qualifying regulars in the majors. Napoli owns a slash line of .192/.294/.358.

And it's not getting any better. He is on skids of 2-for-27 and 5-for-46. He has only one RBI in 15 games since June 19.


Report: Teams believe Braves could deal CF Cameron Maybin
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:36 pm ET) Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin has never achieved at the plate anything close to what he has recorded this season. And other teams believe Atlanta might be looking to sell high and trade him by July 31, according to ESPN MLB Insider Buster Olney.

Maybin has been hot in July with nine hits in 24 at-bats, including two doubles and a home run, to break a 6-for-35 skid. He boasts a slash line on the year of .294/.363/.416. All three numbers represent career-bests.


Royals SP Kris Medlen goes six innings in fourth rehab start
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:27 pm ET) Royals starting pitcher Kris Medlen (elbow) took the hill Sunday for his fourth start on a rehab assignment. It was his second start with Triple-A Omaha.

Medlen allowed two runs on five hits and one walk in six innings. He struck out two during his first win in four starts. 

The six innings were the most the right-hander has thrown since beginning his rehab assignment June 19. He also threw 81 pitches (50 strikes), which was also the most he has thrown on his rehab assignment.

Medlen still dealt with some control issues Sunday as he hit a batter. It is the fourth batter he has hit in four starts.


Pirates hopeful prospect Jameson Taillon can pitch in September
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:25 pm ET) Pirates premier pitching prospect Jameson Taillon could return to action in September if his recovery from hernia surgery, which he is scheduled to undergo this week, goes smoothly.

"We'll see how the recovery goes," general manager Neal Huntington told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It is two months-ish. I mean, we have been told it is roughly two months until he is ready to compete."


Rays 1B James Loney hits safely in first three games off DL
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:22 pm ET) So far, so good for Rays first baseman James Loney in his return from a fractured middle left finger, which forced him to miss six weeks. He has hit safely in all three games since he returned to the lineup Friday.

Loney drove in two runs on a single in the first inning Sunday against the Yankees, giving Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead. They won the game 8-1.

He is batting .308 (4 for 13) with three RBI, two runs and two strikeouts since his activation from the disabled list.


 
 
 
Rankings