Awwwwwww yeah!! Baseball is on like Donkey Kong! Real talk, I was really pessimistic once we got through May with no plan in place. But here we are, with baseball on the horizon. It’s a summer miracle. Back in the day, before all this nonsense started up, I was focused on winning your head-to-head categories leagues. I promise we’ll get back there, but first I want to discuss logical options of how to alter your head-to-head categories leagues to adjust to the shortened season. With the altered schedule, it looks like we’re going to have 10 weeks of regular season baseball. In most of my head-to-head leagues, the playoffs last between 4-6 weeks, which means we’d have 4-6 weeks for the regular season. That’s not enough weeks to face all of your opponents and certainly not enough time to establish fair records for playoff seeding. So, just like when I tried to fit into my 10-year old suit, alterations need to be made – major alterations. Let’s take a look at a couple of options to keep your head-to-head categories leagues both fun and competitive.
Switch To Roto
Hear me out on this one. Head-to-Head Categories is based in rotisserie leagues as it is, so removing the weekly opponent isn’t as big as a jump as you might think. The downside is that it might remove the weekly trash talk that you have with your opponent. The upside is it’s a pretty minor change and since it keeps the league category-based, the overall strategy remains the same. You’re still looking to have the best counting stats each week. Instead of resetting every Sunday, the stats just continue to accumulate. This also eliminates the need for playoffs and you can crown a “regular-season champion” after the completion of the 60-game season. It’s not perfect, but it is an alternative for this year.
If you want to keep that head-to-head feel, an alternative to switching to roto is an all-play format. All-play is a league type that I’ve explored in fantasy football where you face every opponent in your league and end up with a win-loss record based on the weekly results. In fantasy football the concept is easy, finish with the 3rd most points in the week and you get a 9-2 record. In head-to-head categories baseball, you get a win-loss-tie record based on how you fared against each team for the week. If you wanted to make the all-play format easier to calculate, maybe consider switching to a points league format just for this year.
More Than One Opponent Per Week
An alternative to the all-play format would be to face multiple opponents per week. This helps beef up those win-loss records and keeps us within the spirit of the head-to-head format. This should allow you to keep the same draft strategy that you’ve been planning on for this super-extended research time, although the in-matchup strategy does get a little hairy. If you’re in a daily league, you can still make moves during the week to help catch you up in categories that your opponent(s) has taken the lead in. Facing 3-4 opponents per week will boost your win-loss records to at least give you a somewhat complete picture heading into the playoffs. This slightly takes away the flukiness of the bad beat week. You know what I’m talking about. When you have a monster week, but your opponent is equally as beastly? That’s always a heartbreaker.
Everyone Makes The Playoffs
If you want to stay traditional, with one opponent per week, I’d suggest having extended playoffs where everyone is involved. If you’re in a 12-team league, you can play six weeks of the regular season to establish the playoff rankings. The teams ranked 1-4 get a first-round bye. The remaining eight teams will play in the opening playoff round (5-12, 6-11, 7-10, 8-9). In the next round, the top-ranked team faces the winner of the 8-9 game, while the second-ranked team faces the winner of the 7-10 and so on. Here’s the link to the bracket if you need a visual. To me, this is a fun option that keeps everyone involved for at least 7 of the 10 weeks of baseball. Having the bracket also makes up for not having March Madness (not really).
You Wanna Get Nuts?
Let’s get nuts. Last year I was introduced to the Guillotine League my a colleague of mine, Myles Nelson over at PitcherList, and my god, what a format. The league we were in was a points league format, but you can easily use head-to-head categories as your base. Each week, the team scoring the least points was eliminated from the league. Their players were returned to the player pool, where the remaining teams used FAAB to add the cut team’s players as they wished. The following week the same occurred until we were left with a single team standing. I play in a lot of leagues – roto, points, Scoresheet, best ball, main event, dynasty, league of leagues, etc – but the guillotine league was without a doubt the most fun I’ve ever had. With the season already in flux, now’s the time to have fun with your league.
Have any other fun options for league adjustments? Leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear about them! Next week, we’ll dive back into some short-season draft strategy for head-to-head categories leagues. Once the regular season starts I’ll take a look at emerging players that may be available that could help you win your league! Have a great week.