H2H Gameplay Strategy Discussion

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Take a look at the screenshot posted by @millercharley 25 days ago. A team can lose a lot of its starts this way and be unable to compensate with replacement level starts the rest of the week. All those starts, and resulting points that are forced to the bench, I am assuming is the cause for the delta.

I’d never seen the Global stats page. In the H2H that’s my team the Freak-A-Zoids in 11th place as of today!


Also I wonder if since there is a playoff, and that they are all first year leagues, there are more teams staying in contention and unwilling to trade off big salary point producers to a few top teams in a points league that are going all in.


Good point. I hadn’t read through the whole thread so thanks for the education.


(having been vocal all season about the broken 2 SP slots in h2h, I want to start with the disclaimer that I’m loving my first year in Ottoneu. Same goes for our entire leagues and we plan to renew up from the $10 to the $50… on the assumption the 2 SP rule is changing. Read our league’s comments at Rep Your City!)

With that being said, the idea that adding a 3rd SP slot fixes the underlying issue says, to me, that the underlying issue is misunderstood. Adding a 3rd slot will actually make the problem of stacking a roster full of SP worse: because SPs garner so many points from a decent start, the best strategy is to start as many SPs as possible. Everyone knows this. So with 3 SP slots a day, I’d want a roster of 20 - 25 SPs. A 3rd slot moves the needle further toward SP scoring bias and all smart players will chase further. What’s fun about a “market correction” if it means hitters don’t matter (so they auction low) as people pay premiums to field rosters full of SPs? Personally I’d allocate in the hood of $325 (of $400) for SPs next season. As a fellow game designer always striving toward balance, that’s plain broken.

In the spirit of wanting a balanced game with rosters that feel like a MLB roster, I sure hope the reasonable solution of simply having Pitcher slots (7?) instead of SP vs RP along with a weekly cap of starts allowed (7 max for 7 days a week? 14 max to keep in the spirit of the current game? something in between like 10 max?). Perhaps best is to let each commish set their own cap. Regardless, this introduces interesting strategizing, especially if the cap is low, forcing an owner to determine which starts to use, which to skip. This gets Ottoneu h2h back to quality instead of quantity starts. :pray: :pray: :pray:


I guess my assumption is that there are a finite number of starting pitchers that actually pitch in the MLB, so at some point, they’ll start being evenly distributed. No one who is playing H2H seems to think there is a finite number of starting pitchers, so maybe this is the wrong assumption.

After I wrote my last post, I thought more about the ideal roster construction balance and what it means to ‘manage’ a pitching staff over the course of the year, and I am starting to think the 1500IP soft cap and 5 SP slots is a pretty good answer, even in H2H. I think the exploitable soft cap would be less of an issue in H2H, especially if players could not be nominated for in-season auctions during the championship game. The main concern would be the luck of the schedule week to week, with some teams having more starters going than others on any given week.

A set number of starts per week with full manager flexibility (i.e. no max starts on a given day) seems like a good solution as well, but introducing a new unique system is always risky.

I am unclear about the answer to @Mulligan’s question - if teams are throwing pitchers out there at a higher rate (1900+ IP projected) and the general strategy is “throw as many pitchers as possible”, why aren’t H2H teams scoring the most points? H2H leagues are not all first-year leagues, and all leagues could add playoff options before this season, not just H2H.

Is the answer simply that the quality of H2H team starts on a whole are not as good?


I guess my assumption is that there are a finite number of starting pitchers that actually pitch in the MLB, so at some point, they’ll start being evenly distributed.

:point_up_2: Yeah this assumption assumes that Ottoneu players are as rationale and as efficient as an engineer’s logical mind. People come into Ottoneu with expectation as a fantasy baseball game that one should build a roster that mimics an MLB roster, aiming for roughly the same amount of starts per week (7 give or take). There are 93 MLB games this week, meaning 186 starts by SPs. Divide that across 12 fantasy teams and that’s 15.5 starts per team (more than double an MLB team). So building a roster of 5 or 6 good SPs in Ottoneu actually leaves you with about half of the SPs that you’ll need to compete.

So to me the big question is for h2h: is Ottoneu trying to replicate the feel of an MLB GM and roster or is the game trying to be its own thing, more of a stock market of players that sits on top of MLB where SPs are the bluechips?


There’s a fixed amount of money in the system and a fixed number of starting pitchers - it doesn’t require people being incredibly rational, it should naturally happen over time. Maybe this season only 2 or 3 teams recognized that they needed to have more SPs than other formats, but this conversation and others like it should show everyone that they need to be serious about acquiring SP in order to compete.

I am not sure what the assumption that owners are building teams aiming for 7 starts a week is based on. The standard 1500IP cap requires about 9-11 starts a week to hit if you want to pitch starters to relievers at a equivalent rate to MLB teams, but I don’t think many owners are carrying 7-8 relievers like a regular baseball team. So, teams that come close to the IP cap in non-H2H are generally hitting anywhere from 10-14 starts per week, just like H2H. That was the basis of the original decision:

As an aside, reviewing @ballnglove82’s posts in that thread is really useful in understanding how we got here.

Looking at @Leif’s speculation, he agrees that 11-12 SP should be held by each H2H team.

I think H2H in its current format can be the same kind of Ottoneu GM-ish experience that the other formats have become, but it will require some adapting to from the owners playing the game. If H2H teams are pouring out the most innings, due to no caps and this streaming problem whereby the teams doing the best points-wise and record-wise have all the SPs, I still don’t understand how the best H2H teams have 2k+ points less than the best season-long points teams. They are strongly encouraged by the H2H rules to hit 14 starts a week, which is more than season-long points teams have to hit. So I’m still confused by that delta, and I think that delta indicates that the best formula to winning H2H hasn’t been quite unlocked yet. I very much might be missing something here, so let me know if you have some other ideas as to why this delta exists.

With that aside, I think expanding to 5 SP slots and adding a 1500IP season-long cap in conjunction with no in-season auctions during the playoffs would address the overriding concern, which I read as having to roster too many mediocre SPs at the expense of prospects and bench depth. If I’m missing something here, please let me know.


Re-reading this, I have a couple of further notes:

This very much isn’t a judgment or implying that I see some angle that no one else does. Games take a while to figure out and get good at, and this is the first season of H2H in this format. I am genuinely confused by the ~14% delta between the very top of H2H and the very top of season-long points, but maybe I’m looking too far into nothing.

Let’s be clear: it sounds way less fun to have to roster like 4 AL Central SPs (go Tribe!) instead of 4 fringe prospects or bench depth guys. That’s 10% of your roster space eaten up by guys who you feel obligated to hold for a buck because of the game’s rules. From where I’m standing, that doesn’t sound fun.


Two possible reasons the best FGPts teams are significantly outscoring the best H2H FGPts teams:

  1. Sample size, many more FG points leagues to draw from. I wonder if we looked at average total scoring we would see H2H leagues scoring more

  2. League age. At a glance it looks like the overwhelming majority of H2H leagues are only in their first or second year, my experience has been that in general older leagues have higher scoring teams than younger leagues (with exceptions, for sure)


1500 IP cap seems like a solution everyone can embrace. And agreed stashing minor leaguers is what sets Ottoneu apart so hope I can maintain that while still competing.


I don’t think this is quite right. The value of the best SP in the current H2H format is greatly deflated* for multiple related reasons:

  1. Their innings are swamped by the innings of less capable SP
  2. In the weekly format any great start – or pair of starts – is lost after that week
  3. Manager will maximize hitting points by filling every hitting slot every day until they are well ahead (then bench on Sunday) or well behind (then bench on Sunday). This increases hitter value at the expense of pitchers.
  4. Pitching is much higher variance than hitting. In any given week a top pitcher may be worth $0
  5. A contender should be able to gear up for the playoffs by trading for pitching in August.

I’d love a starts cap algorithm that was smart enough to look at actual start times on Sunday and bump any pitchers that start after the cap is hit. Ottoneu could be a market leader if they put that in. Every H2H format everywhere has to deal with pitcher streaming and all seem to have problems with the gaming of soft caps.

*If all managers run as many pitchers as possible – as they should – then the average value of pitchers should go up. Higher floor, lower ceiling.


Another reason why H2H teams are outscored by FGPTs teams – it is advantageous to bench your hitters if you are well ahead or well behind in any given week. That preserves game limit capacity for the playoffs.


Yeah, fair, I should have said the inflated value of lower-tier SPs. I think this read on higher-tier SPs is on point.

There aren’t game limits in H2H, so be sure to run up the score :slight_smile:

wrong again, Niv. Good point, Henry.


This would be possible if most games didn’t start at similar times. Look at this upcoming Sunday:

3 games at 1:10p, 3 games at 1:35p, 2 games at 2:10p. That’s just one Sunday, and it has 4 exploitable time slots with the right roster or planning. After all, if you are at your max number of starts minus 1 and you start two, three, or four guys who have games starting at the exact same time, what options does the system have? None of the answers are particularly satisfying, which is why all these caps are and should be soft. Then at least the outcomes are deterministic and predictable, which puts everyone on the same footing.


If you have 1 slot and start 4 pitchers at the same time you get none of them.

Or you get one at random.

Or you get the worst.

I think the presumption is that if a managers starts more than one pitcher at the same time on a Sunday when they are near max starts, that manager get penalized.


That’s punitive and assumes the manager is acting maliciously, which is definitely not a fair assumption.

Ottoneu actually has a better mechanism than most leagues for combatting the soft cap exploitation - in-season blind auctions for all free agents! Teams might be able to bleed over the soft cap, but they shouldn’t be able to load up (since multiple teams will likely be trying to do the same thing) and it should cost teams who want to do this a little bit. So at least there is that versus a waiver wire system.


I just had a better idea. Say each manager has 5 SP slots and 7 starts max. Once they have fewer starts left than slots, the appropriate number of slots is disabled. For example, if a manager has used 4 starts through Friday’s games, they will have have 3 slots enabled on Saturday. If they pitch two starts on Saturday, they will only have 1 slot enabled on Sunday.


Yeah, I think that is close to what @astraea.m.k suggested as well:

I’m considering that, though if the 1500IP cap can do the job in H2H then I’d prefer to lean on that instead of building something new. Maybe an option though. It wouldn’t work well in the case of a late scratch, but those are pretty rare.


There’s still going to be manipulation with a season-long cap. Teams will save IP, then stream on weeks against the top teams and in the playoffs. Most importantly, the playoffs are going to be solely focused on SP streaming. In many situations, the playoff winners will be decided by the teams that are able to save the most IP for the playoffs.

I don’t know about the technical aspects of it, but I think the starts/week is pretty clearly the best solution. It keeps every match-up on even ground.


I am very much against a season IP cap, versus a weekly cap. I’ve been playing Fantasy baseball for 10 years or so and almost all of it has been H2H. I recently took over a 4x4 just to get the flavor of a different format. I can tell you now that H2H players are very used to thinking about the weekly matchup over all else. And that is what I love more than anything about fantasy baseball. Sure, dynasty is fun and requires the long view, but there is nothing better than the immediate strategic thinking that goes into planning against one opponent for one week. Therefore I am overwhelmingly in favor of a weekly cap (with a preference for Starts, instead of Innings). Everyone who plays H2H regularly is familiar with the Sunday conundrum when it comes to streaming pitching (and the weekly variations in schedule that can really screw you against an opponent that hits 3 or 4 pitchers on their two-start week). But we accept that as part of the H2H game and there are ways you can try to use that to your advantage and/or plan around. Ottoneu does a great job of mitigating this with cap penalties, auction periods, and limited SP slots. And Start Limits seem less exploitable than a soft IP cap.

More than anything, I want to feel like Pitchers and Hitters are valued roughly the same. High performers are valued over mediocre players. Ottoneu was also meant to be a place to have room to develop prospects over the long term. Right now, it seems like stockpiling SP is most important and far too easy. And I don’t feel like I have to bid up on any particular SP, so cost stays down, because with only 12 teams and 30 MLB teams constantly rotating and calling up starters, there will always be another SP to pick up.