The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

H2H Draft Strategy for 2024 Fantasy Baseball

When signing up for a head-to-head (H2H) fantasy baseball league, you should keep a few basic things in mind. At first glance, it may seem like any other Points league. If it were, or even if were similar enough to a Best Ball league, I would just advise you to read this. Instead, there are a few key differences that you must consider when playing in an H2H league. I will outline some of them below to help you get a better feel for what you are dealing with.

Ready to make the 2024 MLB season the best yet? Fantrax offers a fantasy baseball league for everyone. Want to get started right away? Then jump into a Best Ball League or a Draft and Hold. Maybe you have an existing league but want the most customizable fantasy baseball platform in existence? Then you definitely need to check out the Fantrax Commissioner! And of course, whether you play roto or points, you can head to the Fantrax Mock Draft Lobby to start your draft prep for the 2024 fantasy baseball season.

H2H Draft Strategy for Fantasy Baseball

Head-to-Head League Basics

In a traditional Roto league, each team accumulates a certain number of standings points in each category throughout the season. In a 12-team league, the team with the most cumulative runs scored at the end of the year earns 12 points. The team with the next highest runs total earns 11, and so on. This is the case for each of the 10 standard Roto categories. In H2H leagues, you are playing in a weekly matchup against a single opponent. Some H2H leagues use the number of category victories to determine their weekly winner. However, since there are a maximum of 10 points to be won, most H2H leagues use total scoring. In these leagues, each active player accumulates points based on his production. The total number of points determines that week’s winner. Make sure you understand which style of H2H league you are competing in.

Know Your Scoring System and Use Projections

I’ve written various fantasy baseball draft strategy articles over the years. My number-one rule in most cases is to have a thorough understanding of your league’s rules. That is rarely more important than in H2H leagues. Because most H2H leagues use point systems, a player’s value can vary widely based on a particular scoring system. This is where projections are a vital part of the drafting process. I do not have a model that spits out projections. I must have missed class that day. But there are plenty of trustworthy projection systems out there that you can use. Find whatever projections you feel comfortable with and use those to determine the value of each player. It can be a tedious process, but it is absolutely necessary. The results will often surprise you.

For example, I ranked Julio Rodriguez third overall in standard Roto formats this season, and he is a consensus top-five pick. However, I recently took part in an H2H draft using total points where stolen bases were devalued. Sure enough, Rodriguez was outside my top 15 overall players after I ran the projected numbers. And if a simple tweak in the scoring system can turn a top-five pick into a second-round pick, imagine what happens the further down the board you go. Based on the numbers I used, Dansby Swanson was projected to outscore CJ Abrams, and Jung Hoo Lee was projected to outscore Adolis Garcia. Even if neither of those “predictions” comes to fruition, you can see how much it affects a player’s draft stock. While I think Abrams and Garcia will still score plenty of points, I was not going to draft either anywhere near their ADP.

Innings Minimums

There has been much debate regarding innings limits over the years in H2H formats. There was a period where fantasy managers in H2H category leagues were simply ignoring starting pitching. The theory was that you could focus on hitting during the early rounds of a draft, and then draft closers and other relievers to keep your ratios low. Some managers would even purposely draft and start inactive players! You would likely lose each week in wins and strikeouts due to a lack of volume. But you would probably win in saves, as well as both pitching ratio categories due to less variance. Having used the early rounds to draft stud hitters, you would most likely win most of your hitting categories as well. However, many felt this strategy was not in line with the spirit of the game and have adjusted accordingly.

If you are playing in a category H2H format, most leagues now utilize weekly innings minimums. These are usually based on the number of active roster spots you have. Your staff must accumulate a certain number of innings to qualify for each pitching category, to avoid manipulating ratios. Especially in today’s game where starters are throwing fewer innings than ever, having innings minimums puts an added emphasis on having active starters in your starting lineup. Most H2H leagues based on total points also now credit points for completing innings, thus increasing a starter’s impact even further. In these leagues, I lean more towards my general credo in Points and Best Ball leagues of ignoring relievers altogether. Make sure you understand your league’s settings before drafting to ensure that you are not left holding the bag.

Weekly Matchups and Splits

Whether your H2H league is based on the number of categories won or total points, each week is a new matchup. That means splits will come into play more often than in traditional season-long Roto leagues. Let’s visit our favorite place for splits and look at Ryan McMahon of the Colorado Rockies. Steamer has McMahon projected for a .245 batting average with 21 home runs, 70 runs scored, and 72 runs batted in. Those are about the most average and generic numbers you can find. You might as well call him “MidMahon”. But over the past two seasons (149 games) at home, McMahon has hit .262 with 28 home runs, 90 runs scored, and 90 RBI. Those are Manny Machado numbers at a fraction of the cost.

Of course, the flip side is that McMahon plays half his games away from Coors Field. In those games, he is a liability. If you can make daily roster moves in your H2H league, a player like McMahon increases in value. That is because you can simply start him at home and bench him on the road. If you can only make moves weekly, then you must consider the schedule before deciding on whether or not to draft him. The same goes for other players with a decided home-field advantage (or disadvantage). If your league uses ratios rather than total points, you might not want to start a pitcher who is facing the Braves, Dodgers, or a similarly potent offense.

Streaming Two-Start Weeks

If ratios are no concern and your H2H league incorporates total points, there are few entities more valuable than starters who pitch twice in a calendar week. They have twice the opportunity to rack up innings, wins, and strikeouts. That is an advantage that is not available in any other aspect of fantasy baseball. All hitters who play every day are going to see a similar number of plate appearances in a given week. Even a bad hitter who hits toward the bottom of the lineup would get at least 25 plate appearances in a full week’s worth of games. An elite hitter at the top of his team’s lineup would likely get no more than 35 plate appearances in a week. But a pitcher who pitches twice has (wait for it) twice as many chances to rack up points.

Under these conditions, I would adjust how I value starting pitchers on draft day. I would very much treat it like a standard Points or Best Ball league in the sense that I would devalue most starters. Sure, it would be nice to have an elite option or two. But I would not force it if there is a hitter on the board who projects to put up huge numbers. Instead, I would play the streaming game, and grab as many two-start pitchers as I could each week. Check to see if your league has restrictions on transactions and roster moves before employing this strategy. Some leagues have put these types of limits in place for “spirit of the game” reasons, similar to the adjustment made regarding relief pitchers mentioned above.

Play It Out

The biggest danger I have encountered in H2H leagues is when managers do not actively compete. Do not be that person. I realize that sometimes real life gets in the way of fantasy baseball. But make sure you set lineups and are actively trying to improve your team throughout the year. There is nothing worse than being in a head-to-head league where multiple fantasy managers decide in early August that baseball season is over and it’s time to focus on football. It’s bad enough when that happens in a Roto league, but even worse in an H2H league. These managers are handing over victories to their opponents on a silver platter. There might as well be collusion going on at that point. As long as managers are actively competing, head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues can add a fun twist to the game we all know and love.

For more of the great fantasy baseball rankings and analysis you’ve come to expect from FantraxHQ, check out our full 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit! We’re here for you all the way up until Opening Day and then on into your championship run.

Fantrax is one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites in the fantasy sports industry, and we’re not stopping any time soon. We are the most customizable, easy-to-use, and feature-rich platform in the industry, offering the greatest fantasy experience for your dynasty, keeper, redraft, and best ball leagues. Fantasy sports doesn’t sleep, and neither does Fantrax, with seasons running 365 days a year. Take your fantasy leagues to the next level now at!
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.