Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Deep Head-to-Head Strategy Ideas

posted by Jon Williams
I received this e-mail recently:
Hey Jon

I'm being thrown headfirst into the deep end. Having never been in over a 12 team league I draft a terrible slot in my 1st 20 team league. I am open to ANY advice on how to draft from that slot. Setting are below
20 teams but 4 divisions
Scoring Type: Head-to-Head , but no playoffs … regular season winner = winner
Player Universe: All baseball
Allow Draft Pick Trades: Yes
Waiver Type: FAAB w/ Continual rolling list tiebreak
Max Acquisitions per Week: 5
Min Innings Pitched: 15
Roster Positions: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF, Util, SP, SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, BN, BN, BN, BN, DL, DL
Categories = std 5X5
Thanks in advance,
Big Mike
In my opinion Head2Head is the most difficult style of fantasy to have consistent success. The luck factor in H2H looms larger because of the weekly games. It becomes more important that you roster players that provide consistent production from week to week. It also requires that owners are extremely diligent in setting their lineups. In roto-style leagues, a week of inactivity can pass without incident, that is rarely the case in H2H. You are always looking to maximize pitching match-ups and get two-start pitchers into your lineup.

Five Deep H2H League Strategy Tips
  1. Pitching, Especially Starting Pitching is Emphasized - H2H leagues tend to have a smaller roster of hitters than in roto leagues. Fortunately, Big Mike is not in a points-based H2H league which would make good pitching even more vital. The balance of hitters to pitchers is closer. I would make a greater effort than usual to roster a couple of top starters. Overall, you want safer starters and in a deep league they will run out fast. Readers familiar with BaseballHQ.com would target pitchers with high PQS scores. Simply put, it is about minimizing the potential for disastrous outings.
  2. Take Fewer Risks - As fantasy owners we love the upside of less experienced batters. Guys like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are bound to find a place on the ends of our rosters. But in H2H leagues you want players you can count on. Sure, Harper may hit 40 homers but is as likely to to spend half the year in the minors and to struggle in his initial opportunity. This is not to say you should not take any risks. It is hard to win a fantasy league playing it completely safe. What you want to do is take better risks. Instead of betting on rookies or players coming back from injuries, focus on players who have been productive but who have the skills to do more. One example might be Logan Morrison. Morrison has shown he has the ability to hit for average with above average power but he hasn't displayed all those skills in the major leagues, this might be the season he does it.
  3. Dumping Categories is NOT a Bad Idea - In H2H your aim is to win more categories in a given week than your opponent. In deeper leagues, power has become a scarce commodity. Dumping homers to load up on avg, runs, and steals is a way to gain an advantage during your draft. This strategy would allow you to draft a few top starting pitchers early and build a surplus in 6-7 categories while your opponents struggle to build a more balanced lineup.
  4. Avoid the Injury Prone - I am usually one to draft a Chipper Jones or a J.J. Putz if they come at a discount. However, in deeper leagues the quality of the replacement player is far less. In a twelve-team mixed league I might be able to pick up Placido Polanco or a similar replacement for Chipper (maybe even better) but in a deep league that replacement is more like Greg Dobbs (if you're lucky) and you may have to overbid to get him.
  5. Plot Your Strategy Carefully - For experienced owners, the player pool in a twelve-team league is well known. In a twenty team league, even with smaller H2H rosters, the later rounds can be hazardous when you are breaching that depth for the first time. Avoid targeting specific players but put together short lists for each round so you have a target range. Remember, the deeper the league the more important your initial draft becomes. So do not wing it.



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