H2H Gameplay Strategy Discussion

All excellent points from another experienced owner in H2H versions of the ottoneu format within the limits of the big box services. I agree with everything except, of course, that balancing the scoring between RP’s isn’t important.

As you point out, it is the very reason why some teams- like yours- choose to roster so many SP’s, and I suggest that the only reason why you’ve been successful at the strategy is probably because, as a veteran of the format, you already knew what to look for from the start. Because of teams (like yours) that are early/better at this very particular strategy, the available depth of SP’s on the market disappears quick, and when other teams try to follow the same strategy they find that they aren’t getting the best ‘bang for their buck’ (in terms of Pts/GS) with those extra GS as they otherwise could get from carrying more bats, and then they get frustrated and blame it on things like the 2 SP limit. That’s not going to change with an actual GS cap; there’s just a natural skew towards SP’s in the market and gameplay, and I don’t agree that this makes for the best format for everyone.

The Bullpen ought to be the hardest part of the roster to manage because RP’s are so volatile, and there ought to be a scoring format for H2H that reflects that; I understand why it would seem counter-intuitive to increase the value of RP’s because of this more random part of the game/season… but (as you acknowledge), that is the state of the MLB game today. And isn’t that what we’re trying to mirror here? I’m a Brewer fan, and I like to draw the comparison to their 2012 season- that year they had a top-of-the-league offense, top-five rotation, but dead-last bullpen and they missed the playoffs. In this format, your bullpen can be crap and you won’t have to pay for it as long as you have a stacked rotation, which only a couple or three teams can really do, and if that’s not true in reality then why should it be here?

Without balancing the scoring, the available player pool will always be out-of-whack. How has the FA market in your league evolved during the season? How do you play your Bullpen? How many other teams tried to follow your lead in over-stocking SP’s without it working as well as with you? Are the other leaders in your league also overstocking in SP’s (e.g, more than 13-ish)? Have you been in an ottoneu-style H2H league in the past that has adjusted for the RP imbalance (and if so, how did it play)? I’m asking this in a vacuum of course, without any economic impacts to your team if such a rule change was made, but if RP scoring was more important, wouldn’t you be forced to spend more of your available resources on your pen… and then not be able to carry so many SP’s, which would work to even-out the SP FA market for everyone and then make it a more challenging format for veteran players like yourself?

You (correctly) point out that you cannot draw comparisons between Total Points and H2H leagues because the play so different. Why, then, shouldn’t the H2H format have its own, separate, balanced scoring format? Playing the natural ‘edges’ in the format, like the one you’ve been able to exploit in your league this year, shouldn’t be the point behind the gameplay.

Also on the Playoff-auction-freeze, I want to again suggest that only the players who are cut after the trading deadline are barred from being re-auctioned; any FA who was available or cut prior to the deadline ought to still be able to be auctioned off by any team. It’s now possible to create a “Restricted Players” list who cannot be auctioned at any time during the season; can’t these post-deadline released players simply be added to such a list automatically after a certain date?

Who do I start? I’m leaning Greinke and Keller…thoughts?

On another strategy that had been previously brought up, that of acquiring starting pitchers from the same team to manage the 2 start rule.

I drafted Verlander and traded for Cole early in the season. i just picked up F. Valdez, and at the trade deadline traded for Keuchel. That’s 4 of the Astro’s starting rotation to head in to the playoffs with. Freaks!


Of course, the strategy can backfire on off-days or when the team with your rotation has a series against an offensive juggernaut or they’re on the road at Coors or something. And if the P formula more realistically represented RP’s, the rotation issue as a whole wouldn’t be as notable as it might be right now.

Does anyone know how the rest of the playoff schedule will work? Are the semi-finals this week, and the championship next week with the last week being a ‘dead’ week? (Which makes sense as nobody wants to lose a championship because their top players are resting the last week). Are transactions still allowed through Sept 30th (eg through the ‘dead’ week)?

Longer term, has it been decided that there will be a hard cap on weekly starts next year in H2H (if yes, how many)? Any other changes (eg to scoring system)?

Finally, I’ll follow-up on one thing mentioned above: Ignore the comparison of global leaders. This is the first year of H2H, so no league had teams set up to do well this year and others in rebuild mode. Better to look at August and see if the scoring was similar between H2H and season points, my guess is that it was higher. Separately, the global leader boards have been messed up for the last week, and those of us with a bye didn’t get credit for our stats but they did count against our annual cap for games start.


The rest of the playoff schedule depends on what your league’s settings are. Wild-Card rounds have semifinals this week and a two week championship game starting next week.

There were three playoff options, and you can see how their scheduled here:

I will change the H2H global leaderboards so they don’t include playoff stats, though you’re right, it is a little meaningless since some H2H leagues don’t have playoffs. Teams who had byes last week shouldn’t have had games put against their cap limits either, so I’ll look into that.

Game mode changes will be announced before arbitration, but there will not be any forced changes. New settings will take the form of league options that each league can choose to adopt as they see fit.

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Championship + Third Place Game scoreboard missing from home page

I’m excited about the weekly SP hard cap for 2019. I haven’t checked this thread in many months but see many have quoted my extreme week this past season where I had 6 SPs all starting on the same day.


I don’t want to beat a dead horse but… actually I’m totally going to beat a dead horse! As a game designer and product manager, I want to quickly breakdown why this was so frustrating (in a ‘not fun frustrating’ way) as an Ottoneu player as I don’t read this fully articulated as I see it:

  1. It’s not like the situation revised itself the following week. I had 4 or 5 SPs going on the same day for many weeks… and at least 3 SPs starting nearly all summer. It ‘felt’ like it wrecked my season and that I needed to double my SP staff from about 7 to 14+.
  2. The rule of 2 SPs a day max doesn’t mimic real baseball because a real MLB manager can start his rotation in any way he pleases. As a fantasy player without control over dictating which SP starts when, I’m left without control – and no control as a player in any game is not fun. Players need meaningful choices, that’s the very heart of game design.
  3. ‘Feel’ is really important to a player and Niv hit on this in a reply. As a player I need to feel like I have options and the autonomy to make a smart decision that affects the outcome.

The ‘weekly hard cap for SPs fix’ gives me the (feel of) control I need to pretend to be the MLB manager and say hey, here’s my SP staff (7?) and I’ll make sure I take advantage of my strengths this week in this manner (ex: 10 starts, leaving 1 or 2 on the bench). I’m no longer forced to simply take the starts that the MLB manager + schedule allows.

Just to reply on this note, as any decent game designer would recommend, let’s playtest it in 2019. I suspect the opposite – I think players will completely grasp the strategy of managing starts over the course of one week… albeit with a small learning curve in April perhaps.

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I understand all that, but you understand how the alternative (as it was this time a year ago) would’ve been worse, right? Because it would’ve allowed a few teams to corner the SP market and completely snuff out over half the league by throwing as many IP’s as possible at every matchup…

As frustrating as the 2 SP rule is (was), the fact is that everyone else in the league was in the same boat. As a game designer/product manager, surely you’re able to appreciate how setting limits like this was meant to keep everyone playing on the same level field…

So then owners like yourself had to find that ‘replacement level’ for SP’s- or at what point it didn’t benefit you to carry more SP’s and instead use your resources elsewhere. This wouldn’t have been the case with additional SP slots- even if there was just one additional slot the entire format would’ve been a joke because of how pitching-heavy every single league would’ve devolved into.

If that “wrecked” your season, well… sorry not sorry, because I’m sure it also helped many more owners who would’ve been on the wrong side of a pitching-dominated format if the alternative was used.

I think choosing which two SP’s to start on any given day IS a “meaningful choice”. If you choose wrong, it affects your matchup. Just like if an MLB MGR chooses the wrong matchup it can affect the game. In fact, I would argue that your choices have MORE meaning in a 2 SP format; any schmuck can start every SP who’s scheduled for that day, but taking the time to evaluate each pitcher/matchup and making your informed decision (nevermind your ability to manage your roster around your SP’s MLB usage) is what makes this a true “fantasy sport”.

OBVIOUSLY there’s differences here between this and real life, but in real life you still can’t just decide to steamroll the other team by having an abundance of pitchers or being able to start your #1 and #2 on the one day for the one game that you really need both pitcher’s production (‘Game 7’s’ notwithstanding.

NONE of us have control over how MLB managers use their players, or how the MLB schedules its games, or when an umpire crew will decide to call a rain delay, etc… And THAT is what’s at the heart of your discontent; not that you didn’t have control over who to start, but that the boundaries of the design kept you from using all of your players according to their MLB usage. I can’t choose to start a player for only one game of a double-header, or choose to swap-out the stats when a SP only gets 2 IP in a game delayed by weather. The 2 SP rule was no different of a limitation than any of those- it’s just maybe more extreme than what you were expecting. But everyone is entirely at the whim of how players are used in the MLB…

I agree, and props to Niv for designing something that better allows for that. But a 2 SP format didn’t keep you from making “smart” decisions relative to your matchups; they were simply decisions that carried more competitive weight.

You missing out on a huge game by the guy you didn’t start doesn’t necessarily mean it would’ve affected the outcome, and that’s because your opponent was playing with the same limitations. Maybe the guy he didn’t start has a bad game, but then if both of you could’ve started all three under different rules then it all would’ve been a wash anyway. So all we’re talking about is how the activity and lineup decisions of each manager affected your matchups… and again, my opinion is that a 2 SP rule encourages more activity and better fantasy matchups.

If we’re talking about “feel”… then, again, how would it ‘feel’ to be the owner who drafted heavy on Hitters and reasonably on Pitchers, only to get hammered by the people who were quick to shed quality Hitters on their bench for a bunch of bottom-end SP’s in order to get the edge in IP?

Heck yea, man- and now ottoneu is the only fantasy format with such an innovative fix to an industry wide problem!

So, thanks a TON to Niv.

But also, realize that before now no one had coded an answer to this problem- and that’s why the 2 SP rule was appropriate last year.

Yes, I agree. My point at the time was more how you can’t please everyone, as my response here was chiefly because of how upset people were over the 2 SP rule in the first couple months last season. But as to “playtesting” 2 SP’s versus more SP’s with H2H leagues using this type of scoring, I’ve personally already done plenty of that… and that’s why I was so emphatic in my defense of the format.

ALL THAT SAID, and because of all my own “playtesting”, I stand by my point that RP’s are STILL dramatically undervalued, relative to MLB’s usage, because of how SV’s/HLD’s are scored. So while Niv has fixed one problem with SP usage, I am still skeptical that you’ll see the sort of Hitting/Pitching balance that’s in Total Points leagues because of the RP scoring issue. Which is to say, hoarding an excess of SP’s will still have some competitive value next season.

Excellent discussion. Per my earlier comments, I don’t think that there is a “right” answer for the format, but think it was a good choice to add the option of a weekly GS cap. These leagues will have different values on different players, just like 4X4 places a very different value on players than 5X5 or 6X6 or Points.

Given these changes, I think there are a couple features that should be added for next year:

  1. Game start cap by position. In its current form, particularly with a bye week option, the GS cap for position players is not achieving its purpose in H2H. As pointed out earlier, it’s easy to stay under the cap as you can bench players on Sat/Sun in weeks where the outcome is relatively clear. But, to the extent it does mean something, then late in the year there is a big disadvantage in how it’s calculated as one team can bench their players during an entire bye week, thus gaining 5-6 extra games; while another team will have to use those. Maybe this is intentional, and a benefit of getting a bye, but this should be clear. An option to “fix” would be making the GS cap only apply to the regular season and then having a weekly cap in the playoffs.

  2. Providing one place for looking at your players’ upcoming schedule, including projected games started. I know a 2-start look was added, but other formats (Yahoo, ESPN) give one quick view of all players on your roster’s upcoming weekly schedule by day, with starters marked. This should be updated daily as starters are moved around, so owners can project ahead to which players they want to start when.

  3. Final week of playoffs. Many other sites provide options for when playoffs end, particularly driven by teams sitting good players the last week. I understand the value of going to the end of the regular season to mimic MLB, but this also sets up challenges at the end, which are unique to H2H vs season-long formats. Regardless, this dynamic, as well as others, is another reason why there should never be a lock on transactions during the playoffs.

  4. Giving a better look at Openers and “Starters” to follow. This is harder to implement, but as baseball evolves to have more Openers, having visibility into this will be increasingly important.

All in all, these are improvements on a game that is already great. And, in my experience it is the community of active owners that continues to make Ottoneu fun.

Currently, the GS cap only applies to the regular season, and there is no cap during the playoffs. I think there’s probably some validity to adding a “no position player GS caps” option for H2H leagues.

A schedule view was added VERY late last season.

I am pretty sure it does not have position starters for games beyond the current day, but I can see if there’s a way to get that data. I prefer sticking with the tried and true method of showing starters once lineups are posted. Extrapolating position starters isn’t super hard, and I’d be worried about posting starters that then change (already a pain point for when SPs are scratched), so that’s my hesitancy here. Worth expanding into a wishlist item, maybe?

There is one playoff option that allows avoiding the last week of the playoffs, but maybe there should be more options. Maybe not making the championship game 2 weeks across all options would be a good first step…

Thanks for the feedback!

Thanks for the reply. I’m not sure that is how the GS cap worked last year in the playoffs. My opponent in the playoffs had his MI reach the cap, and he didn’t get credit for the position. This didn’t impact the outcome, but I do remember it happening. And, if the cap is only going to apply to the regular season, shouldn’t it be pro-rated to that by number of weeks/games?

Honestly, it should be thrown away from season-long and remade as you suggested to actually fit the format. I don’t know if streaming OFs is the same kind of problem as streaming SPs, so I’d be happy to give the option to remove the GS cap, but if any of you with more H2H experience find position player streaming to be a challenge, I can look into a similar weekly GS cap to SPs.

Thanks Niv. Sorry if I wasn’t clear, I don’t think a weekly cap for position players during the whole season makes sense. I was trying to point out the challenge with the position player cap extending through the playoffs and some teams having a bye. If others don’t see this as an issue, then no worries.

Ok, I guess we are talking about separate things.

  1. Playoffs already do not have any GS cap. There may have been a bug related to this last season, but I have confirmed that this is true going forward.

  2. Next regular season for H2H, I am not sure if GS caps make any sense for position players. This seems to be the same point @BrassMonkey is making as well. If there’s a reason for a matchup GS cap for position players, let me know. Otherwise I will focus on adding an option to remove the GS caps for the regular season in H2H leagues

At least in H2H points, if there is a GS cap for pitchers, but not for hitters, it will incentivize owners to load up their rosters to include replacement-level position players just to do as much as possible to squeeze every point out of every week, but I agree that it is probably not necessary in H2H categories leagues.

For those interested, we are starting a H2H Champions League. The league is open to anyone who has won an Ottoneu championship before, and is a great chance to compete against other good, active owners as well as to draft an entire team. Send me a message if you’re interested as we’re actively recruiting people now.

Niv, what was decided with regards to the GS caps for position players for H2H? It will dramatically impact my auction strategy for my last few spots if I need to load up on $1 players to stream for points or if I’m going to instead preference prospects. Thanks.

I let it slide too long so there won’t be any changes for the 2019 season regarding position player game caps.