Last week, I congregated some fantasy and baseball writers with the objective of doing a league with similar characteristics to the Tout Wars H2H or LABR. A 12-team snake draft, head-to-head with 5×5 scoring categories and 2 catchers.

With the influx of fantasy basketball and football, the head-to-head leagues is a format increasing in popularity. (Which is why if you play in these leagues, check out the “Getting Ahead” series.) If you play head-to-head leagues, they offer a different way to play than Roto leagues, and it requires a different strategy. The league functions are essentially the same as the standard “rotisserie” style. However, instead of adding the accrued statistics and ranking each column as you would in a standard rotisserie league, each individual category is counted as a win, loss or tie. In a league using 10 categories, teams will rack up some combination of 10 wins, losses and ties per week. The head-to-head style of play lends itself perfectly to stocking a pitching staff with multiple relievers. Grabbing an elite reliever, such as Craig Kimbrel or Kenley Jansen, instead of a fourth or fifth starter may allow an owner in a head-to-head league to eke out wins in multiple categories.

In traditional rotisserie leagues, the production of some relievers may not be enough. They may log solid ERA, WHIP or strikeout totals, but their total number of innings pitched may not weight heavily in the overall statistics. Nevertheless, this is a very useful strategy in H2H, giving you the opportunity to obtain wins in saves, ERA, and WHIP with middle and late round players.

For the first time, and some research, this was my key strategy in my drafts this season. Trying to grab a couple of elite relievers between rounds 4 to 8. I drafted Robert Osuna with the pick 56 and Aroldis Chapman with the 65. And in late rounds Andrew Miller (161), Chad Green (224) and Chris Devenski (272).

The participants in order of draft position were:

  • Blake Sullivan (RotoBaller & @champsanalysis)
  • Shelly Verougstraete (Prospects1500.com)
  • Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)
  • Àngel Lluís Carrillo (Pitcheos Salvajes)
  • Big Joel
  • Zach
  • Keaton O.DeRocher (The Dynasty Guru)
  • TonyRP (Razzball)
  • Josh Spaunhorst (Stealing Signs Podcast)
  • Joe Mitchell (ITL Army)
  • Patrick J. Wisniewski (Fighting Chance Fantasy Sports)
  • Howtathor

 

Your favorite pick you made:

 

Find out who went where in this 12-team, head-to-head categories below.

Round 1

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Mike Trout 1 1 Sullivan
José Altuve 2 2 Verougstraete
Nolan Arenado 3 3 Camus
Trea Turner 4 4 Carrillo
Giancarlo Stanton 5 5 Big Joel
Paul Goldschmidt 6  6 Zach
Clayton Kershaw 7  7 DeRocher
Bryce Harper 8 8 TonyRP
Charlie Blackmon 9 9 Spaunhorst
Mookie Betts 10 10 Mitchell
Max Scherzer 11 11 Wisniewski
Kris Bryant 12 12 Howtathor

Best round pick: Max Scherzer

High risk/High reward: Bryce Harper

Safe pick: Mike Trout

Round 2

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Freddie Freeman 1 13 Howtathor
Chris Sale
2 14 Wisniewski
Carlos Correa
3 15 Mitchell
J.D.Martinez 4 16 Spaunhorst
Corey Kluber
5  17 TonyRP
Manny Machado 6  18 DeRocher
Francisco Lindor 7  19 Zach
Joey Votto 8 20 Big Joel
Anthony Rizzo 9 21 Carrillo
José Ramírez 10 22 Camus
Aaron Judge 11 23 Verougstraete
Stephen Strasburg 12 24 Sullivan

Best round pick: Manny Machado

High risk/High reward: Aaron Judge

Safe pick: Joey Votto

Round 3

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Noah Syndergaard 1 25 Sullivan
Gary Sánchez
2 26 Verougstraete
Kenley Jansen
3 27 Camus
George Springer
4 28 Carrillo
Cody Bellinger
5 29 Big Joel
Josh Donaldson 6 30 Zach
José Abreu 7 31 DeRocher
Dee Gordon 8 32 TonyRP
Brian Dozier 9 33 Spaunhorst
Madison Bumgarner 10 34 Mitchell
Alex Bregman 11 35 Wisniewski
Marcell Ozuna 12 36  Howtathor

Best round pick: Josh Donaldson

High risk/High reward: Noah Syndergaard

Safe pick: Gary Sanchez

Round 4

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Starling Marte 1 37 Howtathor
Edwin Encarnación
2 38 Wisniewski
Andrew Benintendi
3 39 Mitchell
Rhys Hoskins
4 40 Spaunhorst
Christian Yelich
5 41 TonyRP
Justin Verlander 6 42 DeRocher
Luis Severino 7 43 Zach
Jacob deGrom 8 44 Big Joel
Corey Seger 9 45 Carrillo
Craig Kimbrel 10 46 Camus
Carlos Carrasco 11 47 Verougstraete
Daniel Murphy 12 48 Sullivan

Best round pick: Rhys Hoskins

High risk/High reward: Daniel Murphy

Safe pick: Craig Kimbrel

Round 5

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Tommy Pham 1 49 Sullivan
Anthony Rendon
2 50 Verougstraete
Justin Upton
3 51 Camus
Nelson Cruz
4 52 Carrillo
Yu Darvish
5 53 Big Joel
Chris Archer 6 54 Zach
Robbie Ray 7 55 DeRocher
Roberto Osuna 8 56 TonyRP
Justin Turner 9 57 Spaunhorst
Carlos Martinez 10 58 Mitchell
Byron Buxton 11 59 Wisniewski
Jonathan Schoop 12 60 Howtathor

Best round pick: Anthony Rendon

High risk/High reward: Roberto Osuna

Safe pick: Nelson Cruz

Round 6

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Aaron Nola 1 61 Howtathor
Robinson Canó
2 62 Wisniewski
Billy Hamilton
3 63 Mitchell
Willson Contreras
4 64 Spaunhorst
Aroldis Chapman
5 65 TonyRP
Khris Davis 6 66 DeRocher
Will Myers 7 67 Zach
Andrew McCutchen 8 68 Big Joel
Zach Greinke 9 69 Carrillo
Kyle Hendricks 10 70 Camus
Xander Bogaerts 11 71 Verougstraete
Corey Knebel 12 72 Sullivan

Best round pick: Khris Davis

High risk/High reward: Xander Bogaerts

Safe pick: Andrew McCutchen

Round 7

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Buster Posey 1 73 Sullivan
José Quintana 2 74 Verougstraete
Elvis Andrus
3 75 Camus
A.J.Pollock
4 76 Carrillo
Miguel Cabrera
5 77 Big Joel
Adam Jones 6 78 Zach
Dallas Keuchel 7 79 DeRocher
Yoenis Céspedes 8 80 TonyRP
Domingo Santana 9 81 Spaunhorst
Eric Hosmer 10 82 Mitchell
Rafael Devers 11 83 Wisniewski
Lance McCullers Jr. 12 84 Howtathor

Best round pick: Eric Hosmer

High risk/High reward: Miguel Cabrera

Safe pick: Buster Posey

Round 8

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Felipe Rivero 1 85 Howtathor
José Berríos
2 86 Wisniewski
Gerrit Cole
3 87 Mitchell
James Paxton
4 88 Spaunhorst
Jean Segura
5 89 TonyRP
DJ LeMahieu 6 90 DeRocher
Cody Allen 7 91 Zach
Jake Arrieta 8 92 Big Joel
Lorenzo Cain 9 93 Carrillo
Miguel Sanó 10 94 Camus
Yasiel Puig 11 95 Verougstraete
Travis Shaw 12 96 Sullivan

Best round pick: Jean Segura

High risk/High reward: Yasiel Puig

Safe pick: James Paxton

Round 9

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Raisel Iglesias 1 97 Sullivan
Brad Hand
2 98 Verougstraete
Masahiro Tanaka
3 99 Camus
Ryan Braun
4 100 Carrillo
Sean Doolittle
5 101 Big Joel
Shohei Ohtani (P) 6 102 Zach
Adrián Béltre 7 103 DeRocher
Matt Olson 8 104 TonyRP
Trevor Story 9 105 Spaunhorst
Mike Moustakas 10 106 Mitchell
Joey Gallo 11 107 Wisniewski
Ronald Acuña Jr. 12 108 Howtathor

Best round pick: Joey Gallo

High risk/High reward: Trevor Story

Safe pick: Adrián Béltre

Round 10

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Ken Giles 1 109 Howtathor
Edwin Díaz
2 110 Wisniewski
Whit Merrifield
3 111 Mitchell
Alex Wood
4 112 Spaunhorst
Luis Castillo
5 113 TonyRP
Justin Smoak 6 114 DeRocher
Ozzie Albies 7 115 Zach
Didi Gregorius 8 116 Big Joel
Kyle Seager 9 117 Carrillo
Rougned Odor 10 118 Camus
Carlos Santana 11 119 Verougstraete
Marwin González 12 120 Sullivan

Best round pick: Whit Merrifield

High risk/High reward: Ozzie Albies

Safe pick: Rougned Odor

Round 11

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Luke Weaver 1 121 Sullivan
Manuel Margot
2 122 Verougstraete
Zack Godley
3 123 Camus
David Price
4 124 Carrillo
Johnny Cueto
5 125 Big Joel
Yoán Moncada 6 126 Zach
Jon Lester 7 127 DeRocher
Rich Hill 8 128 TonyRP
Ender Inciarte 9 129 Spaunhorst
Javier Báez 10 130 Mitchell
Greg Bird 11 131 Wisniewski
Chris Taylor 12 132 Howtathor

Best round pick: Jon Lester

High risk/High reward: Greg Bird

Safe pick: Javier Báez

Round 12

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Trevor Bauer 1 133 Howtathor
Eddie Rosario
2 134 Wisniewski
Gregory Polanco
3 135 Mitchell
Nicholas Castellanos
4 136 Spaunhorst
Kyle Schwarber
5 137 TonyRP
Wade Davis 6 138 DeRocher
Brandon Morrow  7 139 Zach
Alex Colomé 8 140 Big Joel
Ian Desmond 9 141 Carrillo
Ryan Zimmerman 10 142 Camus
James Taillon 11 143 Verougstraete
Avisaíl García 12 144 Sullivan

Best round pick: Eddie Rosario

High risk/High reward: Kyle Schwarber

Safe pick: Alex Colomé

Round 13

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Paul DeJong 1 145 Sullivan
Ian Happ
2 146 Verougstraete
Nomar Mazara
3 147 Camus
Jake Lamb
4 148 Carrillo
Matt Carpenter
5 149 Big Joel
Steven Souza Jr. 6 150 Zach
Brett Gardner 7 151 DeRocher
Wilson Ramos 8 152 TonyRP
Marcus Stroman 9 153 Spaunhorst
Eduardo Núñez 10 154 Mitchell
J.T.Realmuto 11 155 Wisniewski
Trey Mancini 12 156 Howtathor

Best round pick: Nomar Mazara

High risk/High reward: Matt Carpenter

Safe pick: Ian Happ

Round 14

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Sonny Gray 1 157 Howtathor
Salvador Perez
2 158 Wisniewski
Adam Duvall
3 159 Mitchell
Jon Gray
4 160 Spaunhorst
Andrew Miller
5 161 TonyRP
Danny Duffy 6 162 DeRocher
Arodys Vizcaíno 7 163 Zach
Jeurys Familia 8 164 Big Joel
Adam Eaton 9 165 Carrillo
Bradley Zimmer 10 166 Camus
Jeff Samardzija 11 167 Verougstraete
Yadier Molina 12 168  Sullivan

Best round pick: Andrew Miller

High risk/High reward: Bradley Zimmer

Safe pick: Adam Duvall

Round 15

Player Pick Over. Drafter
Héctor Neris 1 169 Sullivan
Blake Treinen 2 170 Verougstraete
Michael Fulmer 3 171 Camus
Sean Manaea 4 172 Carrillo
Evan Gattis  5 173 Big Joel
Evan Longoria  6 174 Zach
Ian Kinsler  7 175 DeRocher
Chris Davis  8 176 TonyRP
Garret Richards  9 177 Spaunhorst
Aaron Sanchez 10 178 Mitchell
Jay Bruce 11 179 Wisniewski
Wellington Castillo 12 180 Howtathor

Best round pick: Blake Treinen

High risk/High reward: Aaron Sanchez

Safe pick: Chris Davis

 

Rest of teams:

Sullivan: Michael Brantley, Josh Reddick, Julio Teheran, Mark Trumbo, Scooter Gennett, Tanner Roark, Starling Castro, Alex Reyes, Josh Harrison, David Robertson, Randall Grichuk, Asdrúbal Cabrera, Manny Piña, Mike Montgomery

Verougstraete: Delino DeShields, Mark Melancon, Eugenio Suárez, Mike Clevinger, Michael Wacha, Marcus Semien, José Martinez, Christian Vázquez, Logan Morrison, A.J. Minter, Victor Robles, A.J.Puk, Cameron Maybin, Emilio Pagán

Camus: Taijuan Walker, Chase Anderson, Mike Zunino, Carlos González, Mitch Haniger, David Dahl, Tyler Chatwood, Austin Hedges, Jimmy Nelson, Tim Beckham, Nate Jones, Carlos Gómez, A.J.Ramos, Adalberto Mondesi

Carrillo: Gio González, Danny Salazar, Drew Pomeranz, Dylan Bundy, Alex Cobb, Greg Holland, Chris Iannetta, Matt Wieters, Andrelton Simmons, Yuli Gurriel, Jorge Polanco, Kendrys Morales, Shohei Ohtani (B), Ben Zobrist

Big Joel: Jason Kipnis, Jonathan Lucroy, Todd Frazier, Cole Hamels, Hanley Ramirez, Scott Schebler, Matt Kemp, Stephen Piscotty, Félix Hernández, Zach Britton, Yonder Alonso, Josh Hader, Brad Ziegler, Michael Kopech

Zach: Blake Snell, Archie Bradley, Eric Thames, Lucas Giolito, Jackie Bradley Jr., Yasmani Grandal, Travis d’Arnaud, Shin-soo Choo, Michael A.Taylor, Max Kepler, Mallex Smith, Joakim Soria, Ketel Marte, Carlos Rodón

DeRocher: Odúbel Herrera, Kelvin Herrera, Dexter Fowler, David Peralta, Brian McCann, Zack Cozart, Blake Parker, Russell Martin, Brandon Belt, Willie Calhoun, Ervin Santana, Tyler Glasnow, Dustin Pedroia

TonyRP: Jonathan Villar, Robinson Chirinos, Michael Conforto, Chad Green, Matt Chapman, J.A.Happ, Albert Pujols, Chris Devenski, Miles Mikolas, Jesse Winker, Trevor Cahill, Keone Kela, Jeimer Candelario, Miguel Andújar

Spaunhorst: Kenta Maeda, Charlie Morton, Orlando Arcia, Cam Bedrosian, Aaron Hicks, Maikel Franco, Kyle Barraclough, Dominic Leone, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Eduardo Rodriguez, James McCann, Addison Reed, Luis Perdomo, Sean Newcomb

Mitchell: Patrick Corbin, Justin Bour, Dinelson Lamet, Rick Porcello, Jake Odorizzi, Shane Greene, Lance Lynn, Nick Williams, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Reynaldo López, Lewis Brinson, Tyler Flowers, Jorge Alfaro

Wisniewski: Kevin Kiermaier, Addison Russell, Brad Barch, Jake Faria, César Hernández, Dellin Betances, José Peraza, Ryan McMahon, Brad Peacock, Jedd Gyorko, Jakob Junis, Tommy Kahnle, Chris Owings, Amed Rosario

Howtathor: Josh Bell, Kevin Gausman, Tim Anderson, Fernando Rodney, Jordan Montgomery, Austin Barnes, Corey Dickerson, Luke Gregerson, Aaron Altherr, Álex Cláudio, Hunter Renfroe, Jorge Soler, Ryon Healy, Luiz Gohara

 

You can follow Tony on Twitter.

 
  1. Will says:
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    I’m struggling with my last bench spot. I currently have Jose Martinez, but Yonder and Vogelbach are glowing with 30+HR potential. Which of the three would you roll your dice on?

    • @Will: I choose Jose Martinez, he’s a huge potential, he finished last year with 14 homers and an .897 OPS in 307 plate apparences.

      • JJ says:
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        @Tony RP:
        Sorry to piggyback on this. But I have the same issue. Currently have E.Thames and wonder if any of the above mentioned players or C.Davis are an upgrade.

        • @JJ: I have Chris Davis in a lot of teams, he’s clearly a regression candidate who can hit 40 hr again, a safe bet in late rounds? Others? Well, J. Villar, M.Chapman or be patient with Conformo can pay high dividends.

          • JJ says:
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            @Tony RP:
            Hmm. kind of confused by your comment on Davis. “he’s clearly a regression candidate who can hit 40 again?” Regression candidate? That’ll hit 40?

            • @JJ: Yes, he can hit 40 hr, he’s essentially only a hr source right now, but in late rounds he’s a great add.

              • jj says:
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                @Tony RP:
                So you’d grab davis over thames

              • JJ says:
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                @Tony RP:
                So you’d grab Davis and drop Thames?

            • The Harrow says:
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              @JJ: go look up the definition of regression. you’ll get it then

  2. Brian S says:
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    Nice work , great analysis to have when drafting.

  3. Alex Tramble says:
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    Just inherited a keeper squad, 12 team league.

    Rizzo was drafted last year for $44. Do I keep him for $49?

    My next keeper is Blackmon for $29 and Cain for $6.

      • Alex says:
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        @Alex: Test again.. sorry trying to figure out my avatar and name

    • @Alex Tramble: 49 is too much for Rizzo, but 29 for Blackmon is a stealth.

  4. Nico says:
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    Hey Tony, great write-up! My Yahoo Roto league just switched to ESPN H2H this year, so I’m really unsure about how I’m going to attack this. I wanted to ask, in the past, did you subscribe to the “punt relievers like Grey Albright” strategy, or did you always like getting a solid closer or two early in the draft? Grabbing one of those top RP arms is SO against my draft strategy (based on everything I’ve learned from reading Grey’s stuff), so I’m curious where your approach is coming from. It makes total sense though. I’m struggling btwn pitcher volume vs pitcher quality. Do I want to win QS and K’s or do I want to take ERA/WHIP every time? Tough one to muddle.

    • @Nico: Thanks Nico. Well I’m a contrarian, I made some research this winter, and grabbing great reliever in the rounds 4-5-6, you can obtain great hitter in the firsts rounds, and with these relievers doing a great result in three catogories: saves, Whip and ERA. Maybe I’ll write about this in the near future.

      • Nico says:
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        @Tony RP: Cool. As long as there isn’t some absurd closer run early on, I will probably pull the trigger. In years past, this league crushes SP’s early on, and they forget about the closers, so I can usually get value by a round or two if I’m waiting until the 6th round.

        • @Nico: Yes, that’s great.

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