Yahoo! Roto Arcade invited us back to be a part of their 14-team Head-to-Head ‘Pro-Am’ league.  They were so anxious to get things started that the draft was scheduled for February 23rd.  Something’s wrong when draft day is closer to Groundhog Day than Opening Day.

Our team’s performance in this league last year mirrored our top hitter Justin Morneau’s season – a great start with plenty of 2nd half headaches.

The format of the league is 14-team H2H, 5×5 roto (1 point per category you win for week), weekly changes, auction draft, 2 C /1B/2B/SS/3B/5 OF/CI/MI/UTIL/3 SP/2 RP/4 P/4 Bench.

Grey wrote a recent post on H2H draft strategy. For this specific draft, our two main strategies were:

1) Draft at least 7 quality starting pitchers

H2H teams tend to throw more starts per week than in standard leagues.  So the pitching talent on the free agent wire is weaker (because more SPs on rosters) and the impact of top starters is watered down by all the additional starts.  We wanted at least 7 quality starters so we can take advantage of the pitchers with the best matchups (including 2 start weeks) and avoid having to compete too much with all the other teams over the free agent pitching crumbs.  If that meant losing out on top tier starters, so be it.

2) Focus offense towards high R/HR/RBI.

Grey and I both feel that SBs are streaky where H2H rewards steady.  So we focused our offense on the steadier R/HR/RBI stats with a goal of being just middle of the pack in SB and AVG.  We wanted just enough in SB and AVG that we could break even on these categories while winning the other three the majority of the time.

Below is our roster.  We spread the dollars around to a ridiculous degree – ending up with only two players above $20.  This wasn’t our plan but our competitors went beyond our player values on the top tier players (including a ridiculous $62 bid for Hanley Ramirez).  We felt that the player depth didn’t warrant such high bids and that our stinginess would be rewarded as the draft wore on.

Based on my calculations, we ended up with $306 in value on our roster for our $260 – more than any other team.  That counts the 4 bench players.  My rough estimates on just the top 23 players – based solely on starts and using standard roto – is that we’re a top 3 team that’s very strong in R/HR/RBI (top 3 in each) and weakest in ERA/WHIP (which we hope to improve by maximizing matchups).

Mike Napoli C $13
Kurt Suzuki C $6
Justin Morneau 1B $21
Adam LaRoche 1B $8
Kelly Johnson 2B $13
Ryan Raburn 2B $10
Starlin Castro SS $7
Neil Walker 3B $6
Matt Holliday OF $32
Mike Stanton OF $19
Bobby Abreu OF $9
Nick Swisher OF $9
Jose Tabata OF $7
Denard Span OF $4
Domonic Brown OF $6
Daniel Hudson SP $9
Matt Garza SP $9
John Danks SP $8
Gio Gonzalez SP $8
Edinson Volquez SP $7
Jhoulys Chacin SP $7
Ian Kennedy SP $5
Johan Santana SP $3 (to stash on DL until mid-year)
Heath Bell RP $11
John Axford RP $10
Drew Storen RP $7
Joe Nathan RP $5

NOTE:  We still have about 10 spots available for Fantasy Razzball – the game where you try to manage the worst team possible.  If you’d like to sign up, click here.  If you would like more info on the rules/format, see here.

  1. Nuke LaLoosh says:

    Cross-posted this in the comment boards.

    My keeper league just had their draft – I’d love some feedback from Grey, Rudy, and the gallery; I had a couple of reaches.

    MLB, 12-team, 25-man rosters, 3 DL slots, 7×6 roto scoring (traditional 5×5 categories plus OBP, SLG, and HLD), 11 position players with 1 C, 1 general IF, 1 general OF, and LF/RF/CF, one UTIL (no MI, no CI).

    About 90 players were already kept. Only about half the league trades with any regularity

    Keepers designated with (K); selected players have a (#) indicating the overall selection in the draft:

    C – Mike Napoli (186)
    1B – Adam Dunn (K)
    2B – Chone Figgins (199)
    3B – Evan Longoria (K)
    SS – Stephen Drew (127)
    IF – Mark Reynolds (106)
    LF – Andres Torres (247)*
    (I kind of love this pick this later, but are we sure he plays everyday?)
    RF – Jay Bruce (K)
    CF – Jose Tabata (138) *
    (Too early, I know, but was it way too early?)
    OF – Hunter Pence (96)
    (This was my first pick; next players taken were Lincecum, Verlander, B. Phillips, and Markakis. Did I err?)
    UTIL – Carlos Quentin (113)*
    Early, yes, but a Sox-bias in the room made it such that I had to take him a bit early if I wanted him.

    I have no offensive bench players, but I am thinking about picking up Coco Crisp from the wire after I am able to DL Wainwright.

    SP – (soon to be DL) – Adam Wainwright (K)
    SP – Dan Haren (K)
    SP – Tommy Hanson (K)
    SP – Colby Lewis (151)
    SP – Hiroki Kuroda (175)*
    I kind of love this pick this late, but I missed on Gio and his K’s. Mistake?
    SP – Travis Wood (258)
    SP – Michael Pineda (295) (my final pick)

    RP – John Axford (K)
    RP – Luke Gregerson (167)
    RP – Ryan Franklin (210)
    RP – Brandon League (223)
    RP – Evan Meek (234)
    RP – Darren O’Day (271)*
    Should I cut him based on his recent troubles in Spring Training?
    RP – Koji Uehara (282)

    I’m probably still a bit light on speed, but I feel like I can pick up a speed-only OF type from the wire if absolutely necessary.

    Everybody’s thoughts/tips/suggestions are appreciated.

  2. Nuke LaLoosh says:

    By the way, how do you guys like H2H leagues v. roto for overall fantasy baseballing enjoyment? I’m more of a roto guy, but I’m willing to try H2H.

  3. Charles says:

    Love the numbers-based approach, Rudy! However, won’t your teams always look good to you since you analyze the results based on the same rankings from which you draft? I’m sure other people think their teams are great when they compare them to their own rankings.

    Standard 12-team league: would you give up Josh Johnson/Rasmus for Pence/Billingsley?

    Does anyone know of a site that has up-to-date projected batting orders?

  4. poop says:

    I am in a head 2 head 12 team league that is a weekly line up set.

    I keep reading about quantity over quality for a daily league.

    does playing in a weekly H2H league inflate quality SP ADP?

    and if so do i look to draft my pitchers a bit earlier then in a daily league?

  5. jonnycat says:

    15 team 6X6 (OPS, HD) mixed roto auction dynasty keeper (7). I purchased the team from another owner and inherited his roster (hence, the LaPorta contract I got stuck with). I punted catcher and went for speed at the SS and MI positions.I feel pretty good about the team but would maybe like more RBIs. If N. Morgan doesn’t work out I’ll need steals, too.
    * = Keepers

    What do you think?

    C J. Jaso $4
    C J. Thole $3
    1B A. Gonzalez $59
    2B D. Uggla $20*
    SS C. Pennington $7
    3B M. Young $19
    OF J. Hamilton $28*
    OF C. Rasmus $5*
    OF R. Raburn $9
    OF N. Morgan $2
    OF W. Venable $1
    CI C. Johnson $6
    MI R. Theriot $5
    U M. Laporta $15*
    SP U. Jimmenez $30
    SP M. Scherzer $5*
    SP S. Marcum $19
    SP I. Kennedy $8
    SP A. Zimmermann $3
    RP B. Lidge $8*
    RP C. Perez $1*
    RP J. McGee $2
    RP R. Madson $1
    BN A. Gordon, Y. Betancourt, M.Joyce, C. Richard, J. McDonald, W. Lopez, D. O’Day

  6. Dom says:

    That team looks very solid for a 14-team league. I completed my first draft this weekend. 10 team, AL Only, 4X4, Roto. Thoughts? I think I might have a little trouble getting to 1100 innings. I think my hitting is strong enough to carry some of the dead weight.

    C Arencibia, J.P. 6
    1B Morneau, Justin (keeper) 30
    2B Aaron Hill 18
    3B Beltre, Adrian (keeper) 21
    SS Cabrera, Asdrubal (keeper) 6
    MI Wood, Brandon 2
    CM Laporta, Matt 8
    O1 Cruz, Nelson (keeper) 27
    O2 Choo, Shin-Soo (keeper) 8
    O3 Upton, B.J. (keeper) 19
    O4 Hunter, Torii 20
    O5 Abreu, Bobby 20
    U1 Chrisp, Coco 12
    U2 McAnulty, Paul 1
    P1 Hellickson, Jeremy (keeper) 8
    P2 Buchholz, Clay (keeper) 6
    P3 Gonzalez, Gio (keeper) 1
    P4 Weaver, Jered 27
    P5 Fuentes, Brian 5
    P6 Soriano, Rafael 5
    P7 Dotel, Octavio 1
    P8 Sale, Chris 8
    P9 Hunter, Tommy 1

    B Machado, Manny
    B Reimold, Nolan
    B Turner, Jacob
    B Oliver, Darren
    B Mitre Sergio
    B Wilson, Jack

  7. BryanK says:

    Two questions for whoever wants to help:

    1. Who is better to have on the roster right now, Farnsworth or McGee?
    2. Is it worth holding Fuentes to start the season in hopes that Bailey hits the DL for an extended period?

    Thanks for the help!

  8. Ozzie says:

    Love the pitching staff, looks like you got what you wanted. EXCEPT FOR ZIMMERMAN AND MINOR.

  9. Eddy says:

    Johnny Cueto will be out 7-10 days, effectively missing the start of the season.

  10. Hennessey says:

    @Rudy and/or Grey,

    In a 10 team H2H non-keeper that counts QS and Losses on top of the normal 5 pitching stats, I was hoping you could help me decide who to add/drop (if anyone).

    In case it factors into your decision at all, my opponent week 1 is stocked on closers (Wilson, Bell, Marmol, Bailey, Valverde).

    Available pitchers — Rauch, Fuentes, Romo, McClellan, DLR, Pineda

    My pitchers (8 SP, 4 RP) — Hamels, Scherzer, Billingsley, Anderson, D. Hudson, Volquez, Gio, Minor … Hanrahan, League, Mcgee&Farnsworth

    Should I drop McGee or Farnsworth for Rauch, Fuentes, or Romo…or should I wait to see who gets the closing job in TB and hope Rauch, Fuentes, and Romo are still there?

    Any other suggestions?

    Thanks guys!

  11. grapejelly says:

    Not to pile on with the team comments, but just did a draft last night and wanted to get comments.

    It is a keeper 6×6 roto (OPS and HRA), with 12 teams.

    C – Wieters
    C – Arencibia
    1B – Kendrys Morales
    2B – Pedroia
    3B – Michael Young
    SS – Jose Reyes
    2B/SS – Theriot/Bill Hall
    1B/3B – Konerko/Encarnacion
    OF – Stubbs
    OF – Jay Bruce
    OF – Juan Pierre
    OF – Chris Young
    OF – Dexter Fowler
    Bench – Jesus Montero, Bill Hall, Carlos Gomez, Chris Heisey

    P – Matusz
    P – Nolasco
    P – Scherzer
    P – Oswalt
    P – Luebke
    P- Aroldis Chapman
    P – Heath Bell
    P – Francisco Cordero
    P – Joel Hanrahan

    Bench – James McDonald, Carlos Zambrano, Jake Arrieta, Randy Wells, Kerry Wood, Tanner Scheppers, Mike Gonzalez

    Obviously have too much pitching, but what are the glaring holes on offense?

  12. Salty Balty says:

    When you say that we should not be concerned about spring numbers, does that mean that I should not be concerned when Darren O’day gives up 3 HRs to 3 straight batters and Jason Motte can’t seem to throw a strike (both on my team in a HLDs league)? Thanks for the advice.

    Also, who would win in a battle between Grey’s mustache and Rudy’s fro?

  13. Neidecker says:

    16-team 5 keeper H2H 5X5


    C J.P. Arencibia
    1B Kevin Youkilis*
    2B Robinson Cano*
    SS Alexei Ramirez
    3B David Wright*
    MI Eric Young Jr
    CI Justin Smoak
    OF Justin Upton*
    OF Brett Gardner
    OF Travis Snider
    Util Vlad Guerrero

    Bench Jesus Montero
    Reid Brignac
    Mitch Moreland
    Alex Gordon

    SP Ubaldo Jimenez*
    SP Roy Oswalt
    SP Edinson Volquez
    SP Jeremy Hellickson
    SP Wandy Rodriguez
    SP Jhoulys Chacin
    SP Ian Kennedy

    RP Kevin Gregg
    RP Brandon League

    Missed out on the two closer runs, and am hoping 1-2 of my bench become serviceable. Also, do you think I’m ok on pitching, or should I try go after another K pitcher in trade? Any input is most appreciated! :)

  14. chris says:

    which side do we like in this deal?

    Carlos Lee and Michael Bourn


    Ike Davis and Alex Rios

  15. High Upside says:

    Im in a 12-team keeper league, I took over some guys team and have a couple trades on the table. This team has Votto and Miggy so I put Votto on the trade block and now have 2 offers on the table.

    I get: C. Rasmus/ M. Scherzer/ B. Butler
    I give: J. Votto/ M. Ramirez


    I get: V. Martinez/ D. Pedroia
    I give: J. Votto/ M. Montero

    Already accepted the second offer, but would love some opinions. I took the second offer because I need a 2b (h. kendrick currently) and c needed the upgrade. Rasmus/Butler/Scherzer seemed great for a keeper league, but I went with the positions I needed rather than pure youth/upside.

  16. jonnycat says:

    @ Rudy Gamble: RE: $59 for Adrian Gonzalez. A lot of owners had a lot of money to spend and there weren’t a lot of premium 1B available (Pujols went for $73!). Plus, the league is all Red Sox fans. You’re right; I need to get rid of Nyjer Morgan. Especially in a 6X6 where his lousy AVG and OPS will doubly hurt me. I’ll put him on the Trading Block and see if anyone bites.

  17. High Upside says:

    Thanks Rudy. Yeah no CI/MI spots, 2 utils though. I always get antsy before the season starts and just want to start makin some deals! haha At least the team feels a little more my own now.

  18. Charles says:

    @VinWins: Thanks for the link. The information appears to be relatively updated. The one team that stood out for me was Atlanta:

    Are they really hitting McClouth 2nd, Chipper 3rd, Uggla 5th, and Heyward 6th? I’d rather go:


    What do you guys think?

  19. OaktownSteve

    OaktownSteve says:

    @Rudy: That’s a very solid team. Definitely will be competetive. Some very good bargains on there. Especially like Swisher, Abreu and Kelly Johnson at those prices. Though the waver wire will eventually be pretty bare, it’s amazing the number of useful starting pitchers that surface in the first few months even very deep formats. If you guys manage to snag one or two of them, you’ll be in great shape.

  20. Cincinnasty says:

    This is my 10 team head to head keeper

    c posey
    1 agonz
    2 kelly johnson
    3 longo
    ss ian desmond
    of jay bruce
    of rasmus
    of mccutchin
    util nelson cruz

    b tabata
    b travis snider

    sp gallardo
    sp haren
    sp billingsly
    rp joakim
    rp broxton
    p r romero
    p madbum

    b shields
    b jay z
    b drew storen
    b fransisco rodriguez

    How did I do?

    thanks for the help as always

  21. Amigo Miguel says:

    Hola Rudy, thanks for the info! We’re having a draft on Saturday for a 14-team weekly H2H, so it was nice to see what a reasonable team looks like for this setup. I think I might need to lower my expectations for my own team, because I was thinking I could get a top 1B, 3B, SS, OF, and the highly touted pitchers you guys are always talking about, but I’ll need to not overspend too early.

    My question is, do you have the homepage link for this league that you could share with us? I remember checking in last season and it was fun to track your progress against the Yahoo guys. Thanks!

  22. OaktownSteve

    OaktownSteve says:

    @Rudy: as an A’s fan, I can also say I think Suzuki is due for a serious rebound. He had a lat strain last year and was really never right even when he came off the DL. He’s legit though and I’m hoping (guessing) something closer to 2009 than 2010

  23. royce! says:

    Hey Rudy,

    Would you mind giving me your opinion of my h2h team. Grey dubbed my offense “Figgy and the Thunder Thighs”

    14 team h2h 7×7 (counting traditional 5×5 plus OBP and XBH for batters, K/BB and Holds for pitchers):

    C- Santana
    1B- Cabrera
    2B- Figgins
    3B- Sandoval (lost connection at this point, and autopicked him)
    SS- Drew
    IF- Dunn
    OF- Choo
    OF- Heyward
    OF- McLouth
    UTIL- Smoak
    BN- Nishioka
    BN- Crisp
    BN- Smith (if waiver goes through)

    SP- Liriano
    SP- Anderson
    RP- Street
    RP- Kimbrel
    RP- Storen
    RP- Hanrahan
    P- Zimmermann
    P- Vazquez
    BN- McDonald
    BN- Dotel (if waiver goes through)

  24. royce! says:

    Do you intend on doing more Kitchen Snark articles? That Beatles one was excellent. I’ve been having drunken debates about it for months.

  25. Neidecker says:

    @Rudy: Thanks for the input! You’re time and effort to dish out great advice is awesome!

  26. Shippity says:

    12 team nl-only

    Hamels $10 last year for Belt $10 for 3 years. No brainer?

  27. Nuke LaLoosh says:

    Asking both the gallery and the pros here:

    Assuming a 7×6 keeper league (full MLB, 12 teams, 25-man rosters, 7×6 roto scoring (5×5 categories plus OBP, SLG, HLD), I’m looking for a little BA boost.

    Which of these guys currently on my waiver wire have the BEST CHANCE of EXCEEDING their current AVG projections and perhaps give me a chance at least a little power (.450 SLG or 12+ HR?) or speed (15+ SB) without killing my OBP?

    Lowrie (over/under 525 PA)?
    Sean Rodriguez
    Eric Young, Jr. (over/under 525 PA)?

    Yunel Escobar
    Alicides Escobar


    OF – because of my team setup, I’d prefer to get the help here, if possible.
    Seth Smith
    JD Drew
    Coco Crisp
    H. Matsui
    Matt Joyce
    B. Boesch
    Carlos Gomez

  28. OaktownSteve

    OaktownSteve says:

    @Rudy: he’ll move down in the line up, but said line up will be a much better one.

    I still wanted to have a conversation about point shares with you some time, but not sure it’s worth clogging up this space. Kind of a theory sort of thing.

  29. charlie batch says:

    Is this the same as the Y! friends and family league? im confused

  30. Wilsonian says:

    Rudy, had a question about my Commenter league team. Grey said it was short on power, which could be a big issue, but that was the only glaring hole. Being that you guys disagree on some things, what do you think?

    C – Wieters
    1B – Dunn
    2B – Zobrist
    SS – Hanley
    3B – Young
    1B/3B – Pedro
    2B/SS – Espinosa
    OF – McCutchen
    OF – Rasmus
    OF – Markakis
    OF – Raburn
    OF – Torres
    UTIL – Ibanez
    BN – Brandon Allen

    P – Kershaw
    P – Gallardo
    P – D. Hudson
    P – Vazquez
    P – Zambrano
    P – Axford
    P – Lyon
    P – Rodney
    P – Madson
    BN – Cecil
    BN – Niese

  31. LMack says:

    This is more a theory question than a practice question, but I just want to throw it out there.

    What’s the best way to win shallow leagues?
    I completed a 10 team league draft last night with 10 hitter and 8 pitcher slots. The owners in the league are decent, so all the rosters look like they could be competitive.

    How do I break away from the pack? Do I aggressively try and consolidate depth into elite talent? Do I gamble on a lot of high upside players? How do I get an edge? Other than reading Razzball everyday, of course (emoticon)

  32. MrHappyTime says:

    Who do you think will get the most saves on the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers with both closing jobs in the air at the moment?

  33. Public Enemy #1 says:

    @Grey/Rudy Do you build your offense differently for a H2H league? I like the pitching strategy and this pitching staff specifically. I agree that getting 7 pretty decent pitchers is the way to go for H2H rather than splurge on a couple aces.

  34. Daniel says:

    Hi Rudy,

    I am being offered Marcum and Ian Desmond for Alexei Ramirez in a 12 team 5×6 league. The guy really likes Alexei. Should I accept this? Due to an error during the draft (yahoo) I ended up wasting an early pick and ended up with a pretty weak staff.

    Should I do it? Or is Marcum too risky given the injury.

  35. ModestYahoo says:


    Is the strategy any different for a league that counts L’s as well as W’s in terms of quantity vs. quality? Can I really build a staff without an ace? Also around how many closers do you try to draft in a daily head 2 head league? Thanks

  36. ilikeike says:


    Does it make sense to draft a stronger infield than outfield in a daily H2H league that employs FOUR outfielders because it is much easier to often pick up and drop a couple of outfielders than it is to fill in specific infield positions?

  37. barker says:

    hey rudy this is my team in a 20 h2h with lots of extra stats CS hlds BS TB ( on both sides ) among many others its 15×15
    18th pick what do you think
    1. (18) Prince Fielder 1B
    2. (23) Matt Kemp CF
    3. (58) Justin Verlander SP
    4. (63) Yovani Gallardo SP
    5. (98) Aaron Hill 2B
    6. (103) Adam Lind 1B,LF
    7. (138) Jonathan Broxton RP
    8. (143) Ángel Pagán LF,CF,RF
    9. (178) Michael Cuddyer 1B,3B,RF
    10. (183) Tim Hudson SP
    11. (218) Manny Ramírez LF
    12. (223) Kevin Gregg RP
    13. (258) Reid Brignac 2B,SS
    14. (263)John Buck C
    15. (298) Carl Pavano SP
    16. (303) Mike Minor SP
    17. (338) Dan Johnson 1B,3B
    18. (343) Michael Pineda SP
    19. (378) Danny Espinosa 2B
    20. (383) Kevin Jepsen RP
    21. (418) Peter Moylan RP
    22. (423) Sergio Santos RP
    23. (458) Ryan Perry RP
    24. (463) Brad Penny SP
    25. (498) Matt Domínguez 3B
    26. (503) Andrew Cashner

  38. maddogrusso says:

    Rudy, what do you think of these first 15 picks for a 12 team h2h draft?

    1: Votto
    2: Kemp
    3: McCutchen
    4: Heyward
    5: Verlander
    6: Gallardo
    7: Liriano
    8: Haren
    9: Mcgehee
    10: Anderson
    11: Weiters
    12: Beckham
    13: Storen
    14: C. Perez
    15: J. Sanchez

  39. dexter says:

    @Rudy Gamble
    I want all infield early and as a result ss this team too weak in the outfield or pitching? And was Reyes too early for the 7th pick of the second round (12 team league)?

    C- Brian McCann
    1B- Miguel Cabrera
    2B- Dan Uggla
    3B- Brandon Phillips
    SS- Jose Reyes
    OF- Curtis Granderson
    OF- Austin Jackson
    OF- Dexter Fowler
    Util- Manny Ramirez

    SP- Yovanni Gallardo
    SP- Fransisco Liriano
    P- Max Scherzer
    P- Clay Buchholz
    P- Gio Gonzalez
    P- Daniel Hudson
    RP- John Axford
    RP- Chris Perez

  40. MikeAruzione says:

    Should I completely ignore speed guys like Juan Pierre when filling out my outfield and focus on home run upside guys like Travis Snider in a H2H league if i am supposed to be ignoring steals? Also about how many starts would you look to have in a week. Around 10? The minimum innings in a week for my league is 25 so will some teams be using only around 5 starts a week? Thanks for your help.

  41. Win1forthegifter says:

    RUDY, a few pickems if you don’t mind…

    Josh Hamilton or Matt Kemp
    Dan Uggla or Brandon Phillips
    B.J. Upton or Jacoby Ellsbury
    Brett Anderson or Max Scherzer
    Gio Gonzalez or Shaun Marcum
    Matt Weiters or Geovanny Soto
    Chris Perez or Drew Storen

  42. larrylegend says:

    @Rudy: A bunch of questions for you… do you advise against taking Felix in the second round and/or Kershaw in the third? what do you think of McCutchen in the third round? Lastly, what are your thoughts on Adrian Beltre. I actually like him over Heyward as a fourth rounder, am I nuts? and finally what are your thoughts on Vlad Guerrero. Why isn’t he valued higher, he is ALWAYS good!

  43. BookieBob says:

    Just testing…..

  44. BookieBob says:

    Testing IE8

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