Head-to-Head, or H2H if you’re into abbreviations that look like R&B groups, doesn’t change a lot from our 2011 fantasy baseball rankings. There are 300 billion suns in the Milky Way galaxy. There are 100s of billions of galaxies in the universe. There are at least 256,000 planets exactly like Earth. Yet, there’s one Albert Pujols. He’s still number one. (Though Palbert Ujols on Planet Crimea is pretty good too.) The strategy to play H2H changes. You aren’t hoping Dunn hits 40 homers by October, but whether or not he’ll hit two homers on Sunday or if you should sit him to try and win steals. It’s all about the match-ups, ya’ll! So you want to build a team that can match up well with any other team. (FYI, I’ve gone over this stuff before, but some might need a pine tree refresher hung from their rear view.) Anyway, let’s look at some Head-to-Head fantasy baseball draft strategy:
1. Avoid guys that are prone to nagging injuries.
This is not to say a guy who is DL’d. They go on the DL and that’s fine because then you can replace them. Nagging injuries? Whole different bailiwick. You put Glass Chipper on an H2H team and you wanna strangle someone. Hopefully, not the guy sitting behind you wearing biker shorts and eating an apple. Go ahead, look behind you. Yeah, that’s me. What’s up? Since H2H is played on a week-to-week basis, you can’t afford to take many goose eggs as a player nurses his hammy day-to-day. BTW, I once nursed a hammy and everyone kept asking me why I was breastfeeding a pig.
2. Don’t punt anything, but don’t buy steal-only guys.
What’s Ellsbury or Crawford or Pierre et al going to get you? 2 steals per week? They’re not going to win you steals. So you’re going to get 3 steals from Ellsbury one week, your opponent is going to get 5 steals from his whole team and you’re going to lose steals anyway. Or you’re not going to get anything from the aforementioned et al’s then you’re going to lose that week too. You just lost two weeks and the season hasn’t even started yet. See what those steal-only guys get you? That doesn’t mean to punt these categories. It means draft a balanced team. Guys that will get you speed and power. Then if the weekend rolls around and you’re within breathing distance of winning speed, you pick up some steals off waivers to try and win it. If someone is going against you and you punt steals, then you’re giving them one category. Are they giving you categories? No offense, you seem like a good person, but I wouldn’t give you any categories. There will be weeks when you’ll be out of the running for steals (pun point!) then you can make the decision to punt at that point (punt point!).
3. Starters, Starters, Starters…
If you can’t beat them with quality, you beat them with quantity. Chances are you should be able to win Ks and Wins every week with this drafting strategy. Then if you can win Saves, you’re only dealing with WHIP and ERA. Figure at least once in a while your opponent is going to lose ERA or WHIP on their own doing. Figure a few times you’ll win ERA and WHIP on your own doing. So in roto I say take a late round flier on possible saves or a starter, with H2H, I say always take a starter. Then another starter, then another. Take them until you can’t take anymore. This also means to wait even longer for starters. Pretty self-explanatory, but for those who like self-explanatory things explained. You don’t need a top starter when you’re throwing lots of junk out there anyway.
4. The Waivers are Your Oysters.
Don’t like Juan Rivera’s match-ups this week. As Frida Kahlo used to say, hasta luego, Rivera. I take this approach in roto too, but in H2H it’s even more pronounced. Besides some of your top hitters and pitchers, everyone’s fluid. To mix metaphors and sense, the waiver wire is your own personal Idaho filled with potatoes and you’re an Irishman.