Rotisserie vs Head-to-Head

The goal of this article is to explain and compare the differences between fantasy baseball’s original format (rotisserie) and the week-to-week matchups that are part of head-to-head (H2H) leagues. We will also talk about the strategies involved in each format.

H2H is like a single-match tournament meaning you have to beat an opponent each week to move up in the rankings. You move up by scoring more points or winning more categories. 

“Small sample size” is looked down upon in baseball, but everyone likes it in H2H leagues where a good pitcher or batter can win your matchup.

Rotisserie Format

Rotisserie is essentially a battle royale where the goal is to last longer than all the other teams over the course of the season. In this format, the issues that come with small sample sizes even out across an entire season. 

Most rotisserie leagues have 5 hitting categories (AVG, R, HR, RBI, SB) and 5 pitching categories (W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP). 

The only problem with rotisserie is that you can fall behind in enough categories early on to the point where you have no chance of coming back and winning your league. This means you need a balanced draft strategy.

You want to draft hitters that can help in more than one category like Starling Marte. As the draft rounds go on, you can start to pick single category players to help you, and they can be used as tradable assets to help you fill in other holes.

You want to prioritize your hitters first because they are a lot more predictable. Next, you want to look at the pitchers. You will be able to find pitchers who rack up strikeouts late in the rounds, and you can get wins by focusing on the second and third starting pitchers on teams expected to win 90 or more games.

Catchers are like a wormhole and suck up all the fantasy stats where they will die. There are only a few catchers that are actual fantasy assets. Although you may want to draft J.T. Realmuto early, you shouldn’t because catchers don’t give you that much of a boost in points. 

You do not want to focus on last year’s totals for pitchers because wins are largely out of the pitcher’s control. Your pitcher’s good performance could be scored a no-decision because the offense is doing what it should be.

You want to draft pitchers with a high amount of strikeouts, a low earned run average, and a low WHIP.

Avoid drafting elite closing pitchers, many say, as they get overdrafted when a better deal is on the board. Let someone else draft a big-time closer while you get your hitting categories done. 

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Head-to-Head Format

Putting together an H2H team together is like grabbing a little bit of this and that and putting it together to make a great team. You want to create a squad that matches up well with any other team.

The best approach is to first focus on the elite hitters who fill the categories, and you want to pair that with pitchers in the top 10-30 range. You want to avoid drafting speed-only guys.

This works in rotisserie because the player can do well in the stolen base category before the All-Star break, and then you can trade them or get rid of them once you have built up a lead in steals.

In H2H categories, a speed-only player might win you steals for the week but will not do well in the rest of the hitting categories costing you a win against that week’s matchup.

You will eventually need to pick up starters, and you are going to want to draft a lot of them. The more arms you have, the more K’s and wins you will as pitchers break easily. 

Closers come last, like in the rotisserie league. You can finish the draft with only two closer, and then in the final months of the season, you might have 6 closer because teams are moving around and switching up their bullpen.

The point of this article is to make sure managers avoid overpaying for a value that can be found later in the draft. You want your main focus to be hitters, and how they do across the board, then you want to focus on value with pitching later on. These strategies should get you the wins you seek.