H2H Gameplay Strategy Discussion

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Niv- “I guess my assumption is that there are a finite number of starting pitchers that actually pitch in the MLB”

Real quick search reveals that the 2016 season (for example) had MLB teams averaging around 12 different starters used throughout the year (SO: average of 360 pitchers starting in the MLB). So while not an infinite number, it is a rather large one considering only 12 teams with 23 soft capped slots for SP (ONLY: 276 slots). Not all those SP stick, of course, nor is the average always 12 starters per year, nor are people likely to roster 23 SP. But I think it is still pretty easy to see that there will be a nearly inexhaustible supply of SP to auction. Not sure they will ever be appropriately valued.

YES! This is exactly true.

And Henry.Woodbury is right on here as well. “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.”

When I am far ahead on an opponent I absolutely bench folks to preserve Games Played Limits for the playoffs. I assume this happens in non H2H leagues, but I can’t imagine what would trigger you to do so (other than a day by day determination of match-ups).


In 2017, 238 pitchers had 5 or more starts:

In 2016, 243 pitchers had 5 or more starts:

310 pitchers in total had a start in 2016 and 67 of them had less than 5 starts.

That puts us at… about 11-12 pitchers per team, just like @Leif predicted in his post I quoted earlier.

I’ll grant that it may be more fun if that number could be more like 8-9 while remaining competitive, but let’s at least be on the same page about this.

The goal of adding a 3rd slot is so that teams don’t have to leave pitchers on the bench as much - again, there are about 240 pitchers that start enough to be rostered, and adding a 3rd slot in Ottoneu is not going to increase that number in the MLB. However, adding a 3rd slot will help you not get jammed up on a day you have 3 starters going.

If the system did not allow auctions during the playoffs, how would this be true? Auctions shouldn’t be allowed during the playoffs regardless of an inning cap, now that I’m thinking of it, because that will definitely cause pitcher streaming to decimate the best teams, and that would really stink. I’ll make sure that is implemented and announced separately.

I think this is the fundamental problem. There are 40 roster spots, and carrying Jason Vargas (to pick a random example from this 2016 list) is a less exciting use of a roster spot than picking up Casey Mize. This is the most compelling argument for a rule change that helps reduce the number of pitchers a team has to carry.

I liked @Henry.Woodbury slash @astraea.m.k idea about a weekly starts cap:

I’m happy to spend some portion of November exploring how best to implement this on the lineup page and make it an option for H2H leagues to bring on next year. H2H leagues are naturally going to have a reduction in stashed players because of the urgency of any weekly matchup, but the number of players you are stashing should not have to be 0 in order to compete. That seems contrary to the ethos of Ottoneu Fantasy Baseball.


If you couldn’t auction guys during the playoffs, then it’d just adjust to the playoff teams picking up a ton of SP before the playoffs start. And the playoffs would still be predominantly driven by who had saved the most IP to use during the playoffs. It’d still be a similar problem that plagues the whole season now, where the team with the most SP to start (and most IP available) has a huge advantage and the value of the high-end SP is diminished.

As a side-note, I’m not sure I like the idea of preventing auctions during the playoffs. That could be pretty tough if one of your starters gets hurt and you can’t pick up someone to replace him. Or if a under-the-radar prospect gets called up and starts tearing it up and no one can pick him up before the season ends. But like you said, that’s a different conversation.


Agree. I don’t like losing the option to adjust- if you’ve got cap room.

Although, it occurs to me that eventually, if a team has been even moderately aggressive in streaming all year, the $1 cap penalties should be nearing critical mass by the end of the season.

In the end, I really don’t mind streaming or stashing pitchers. It is kind of the H2H way. However, I can see why the change is merited as Ottoneu should be rewarding a little more balance and should also force each player’s decision on win now or rebuild. Right now it seems too easy to grab pitchers and win regardless of talent level.

Either way a season cap is the key problem here imho, and not in the spirit of H2H. Especially if there are playoffs. Running out of season innings (or, somehow, season starts) at the playoffs should not be a H2H strategy consideration. A weekly starts cap solves it- no reason to carry a ton of mediocre pitchers to waste one of our 14 starts on 15 points. Why change to rules of the game (and strategy) just for final weeks of the payoffs?


During the MLB playoffs, teams cannot add players. Having playoff teams compete with the teams that got them there seems to make the most sense to me - any late-rising prospects can be added in the off-season, and injuries just have to be dealt with - presumably playoff teams are well-positioned to handle that already, or should at least consider that.

A season-long cap is the same kind of thing - it forces owners to think outside their matchup to the season as a whole and manage as they see fit. Teams wouldn’t be able to brute force their way into the playoffs by adding every pitcher in existence, but they would be able to pick and choose their moments to go big, which seems to be an interesting strategy opportunity.

These last two arguments seem to be arguments for simplifying H2H such that owners can go full out on their existing matchup without considering the season as a whole or their team long-term, and that seems against the ethos of Ottoneu.


Are the regular points league teams limited to 2 SP slots? That might also account for some points differences. I often leave 20- 40 points a day on the bench from a 3rd or 4th starter that I sat out of necessity. Today I chose relatively poorly and sat nearly 150 in pitching points.


Throwing in my comments here (thanks for the tag, Niv!)…

Full disclosure: despite fighting for the 2 SP rule, I didn’t join an ottoneu H2H league this year (although I considered it, and I appreciate the folks that reached out to me to join theirs). I was too committed with other leagues, and frankly I saw the SP slots/soft cap issue as only half the battle (more on that below).

To be clear, I pushed for the 2 active SP rule in lieu of some “fantasy product market innovation” option (such as a hard weekly GS cap, or- discussed above, which I also favor- a ‘position lock’ feature that would change as you moved toward your limit… in fact, I think I mentioned a similar SP “depth chart” suggestion at the time). The alternative setting options that were discussed (more active SP slots, soft IP/GS limits)- I argue- would’ve meant more of a skew on SP’s than these leagues are currently seeing, so I believe that this natural limit on the game has actually kept more leagues playable to more teams to this point in the season- despite any ‘frustration’ someone might have being unable to start more than 2 SP’s on the same day.

All that said, I think the biggest reasons for the skew on SP’s that everyone is seeing are due to the following:

  • First, the scoring balance among Pitching roles is already skewed towards SP’s:
    For all that ottoneu strives to mimic the MLB game, where I think it falls short is balancing RP production relative to SP’s. This issue is compensated for with the season IP cap in Total Points leagues, but I don’t think such a limit is good for a H2H style of play (more on that below). The fact of the matter is that RP’s account for (roughly) 1/3 of all Innings Pitched in the MLB, but if you ranked pitchers by a FG Points formula you’d find that there is not a percentage of RP’s among the Top 25-150 scoring Pitchers that is reflective of the MLB game’s usage of RP’s (only in the past two seasons has there been any RP that cracked the Top 50 scoring pitchers; by my count, over the past five years the current scoring formula has resulted in an average of 12.6% RP’s among the Top 100 scoring Pitchers- that number increases to 25.1% RP’s among the Top 150 scoring Pitchers and 33.9%, or the target percentage for RP’s, among the Top 200 scoring Pitchers).
    What it all means for this discussion is simply that building a strong bullpen has a tremendously deflated competitive effect in a H2H ottoneu league. Inflating the value of RP’s to better reflect MLB’s usage would naturally filter out the bottom-rotation SP’s being rostered now (after all, why take a chance on a crummy start when an RP can just as easily have a 30+ point week like any Hitter can)… so, without any other changes, I suggest balancing Pitcher scoring to better reflect the MLB game by raising the floor for RP’s.
    As a comparison, here is the settings page for a league I constructed a couple years ago on Yahoo (20-teams, 25-man rosters = 500 player pool, similar to the 480 pool for ottoneu), and the 2017 Pitcher rankings by Total Points for the league; details about our formula aside, the overall scoring for our league’s player pool works out close to 50/50 Hitters/Pitchers (as it’s built off the SABR pitching formula) as well as 67/33 SP’s/RP’s (roughly, depending on the year). With a service that doesn’t offer a GS or IP limit for H2H leagues (which is where this discussion was at last year), I’ve found a balanced scoring formula in conjunction with our active roster limits to make for a beautiful all-around balance in game-play (and the same is true for the Keeper league I run with similar settings).
    All that said, I knew that I wasn’t going to win a battle with Niv on the scoring formula discussion so I stuck to the 2 SP fight and hoped that things would evolve from there. But the fact is, there is an inherent skew towards SP’s relative to the MLB game that is built-into the scoring formula, and that’s going to have an effect on how rosters are managed.

  • Second, the market will adjust:
    Something that I’ve observed of new players to any ottoneu-derived H2H format is that they are quick to react to the Pitching game and slow to the Hitting game. Thing is, Pitchers are the most volatile scorers- and that’s true not just in a week-to-week sense but in a season-long and multi-year sense as well. Just consider how many more different names you see at the top of the Pitcher leader-boards over the past 5-10 years than you do Hitters. So, apples-to-oranges, Hitters are always the better long-term investment and most consistent source for points… and this dynamic has yet to really play-out in these 4-month young leagues.
    I also think this plays a part in the points discrepancy between Total Points and H2H leagues cited here; at some level, you start to hurt yourself by chasing that 14 GS max when you roster a bottom-rotation SP who might give you a 15- or 20-point start when you could’ve been playing that solid platoon hitter who just had a 30- or 40-point week. That’s especially true if everyone is being “encouraged” to hit the 14 GS limit, and thereby look to roster a ton of SP’s. Ultimately it’ll be up to the market to find that overall balance with respect to a season-long roster management strategy versus a multi-year ‘franchise’ management one when it comes to these bench hitters and bottom-rotation pitchers.
    For all the activity a manager might be making in adding SP’s this year, I predict that manager will be at a disadvantage in future years relative to the person who’s picking up the quality, cost-effective bats that are no-doubt becoming available as team’s hoard SP’s because in the coming years that owner will be better positioned to build an effective rotation around an already solid and consistently producing lineup (rather than building a lineup as a compliment to a stockpile-of-SP’s that is being seen in Year 1). And with a no-doubt knee-jerk reaction coming in the Arbitration and Auction periods, I would expect the market to self-correct relatively quickly in Years 2 and 3 (although, again, this is disregarding the inherent SP edge in the scoring formula).

Also a note on rostering prospects in a H2H league… while I understand that it’s “more fun” to build a ‘farm’ than to roster bottom-level players, the fact is this also isn’t very reflective of the MLB game. No MLB team is going to add their first-round draft pick or AA toolsy hitter to their 40-man roster unless they need to… so is it any real surprise that doing so is harder to do in a H2H league where any team can beat any other team in any given week than in a Total Points league, where you pretty much know by June if you’re going to have a shot? I haven’t surveyed the leagues but my guess is that, by this time in the year, there are more teams in your average H2H league that are staying competitive and vying for playoff spot (and therefore focusing their player transactions in order to win now) than there are teams vying for a Top 3 finish in your average Total Points league (and therefore focusing their transactions with an eye towards next year). So, if the enjoyment of building a farm system is hampered by trying to stay competitive within the format, why not offer a separate Minor League roster system so that managers won’t have to fit their farm into their 40-man roster? That would actually be more reflective of managing an MLB franchise, with separate 40-man and minor league rosters.

On the season-long IP cap… as I mentioned above, I think this misses the point. Not only does a cap limit what a manager can do for any given matchup, but it’s also incredibly hard to predict what a 90 IP week in April is going to mean for you when you’re fighting for a playoff spot/survival in August and September. I think it adds an unnecessary layer of complication in order to address an unrelated problem (which I argue is the pitching skew built-into the scoring formula). Over the long-term, I think ottoneu’s natural roster/salary limits are enough of a check on any SP hoarding/streaming strategy.

Likewise, I also don’t like the ‘no-auctions-during-playoffs’ idea. It not just limits what a playoff team can do with its roster, but it also gives no reason for any non-playoff team to stick around and try to use the rest of the year to re-tool their roster ahead of next season. I think the competition of trying to beat the other team is part of the attraction to any H2H format, and this takes away from that. I don’t agree with the MLB playoffs comparison, particularly since these games are still being played during the MLB’s regular season, but also because as much as we’d like to reflect the MLB game the fact is that managing a fantasy H2H team is still a different ballgame than managing an MLB team. Again, I just don’t see how the roster/salary/48-hr auction limits aren’t enough of a natural check to both prevent going “full out” on any matchup while also still allowing for competitive team management options that a manager can make use of to compete in any matchup.

By preventing/limiting the tools that managers can use to compete, at some point you begin to take the “play” out of the ‘gameplay’ of a H2H setup… and I’m not sure I agree that that is on-par with the ottoneu ethos. But, again, just my two cents… I guess I don’t really have a dog in this fight, other than my pride over the 2 SP rule :open_mouth:


I’ll also add, regarding the “fun”/enjoyment of a 2 SP limit, or the “busting” of the rule…

I challenge anyone to audit their league and find how many matchups (among active teams) would’ve been different if each team was able to start their best 3, 4, 5, however many SP’s on any given day. My assumption is that it wouldn’t really change the league’s results; I’m guessing that most matchups wouldn’t have turned out any differently, and for the ones that did, any W gained would be off-set by an L against a team doing the same thing some other week. Which is to say, adding a 3rd or 4th active SP slot doesn’t fix anything, other than lowering your blood pressure when you realize you need to pick your best two options when you’ve got 3+ going.

A 2 active SP limit both increases the role your lineup decisions play in any given matchup (no differently than if you have two really good 3B and two really good 1B but, with the UTIL slot, can only ever play three) and it also increases the effect your ability to manage your rotation/roster has on your team over time (after all, if your three ACE’s are always starting on the same day, why not trade one for that solid MIF that you really need?).

Which is to say, I believe that this is a more strategic format than if there were 3 or more active SP slots, and I argue that isn’t a weekly strategy focused on lineup-management and matchup-gameplay what a H2H league is all about? Why regress to a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ style of SP play? How much would it really change anyone’s results if there was a 3rd or 4th pitching slot?


They are not, but even with 5 SP slots due to the 1500 IP cap, no season-long points team is on pace to throw 1900 IP. I believe the top H2H teams are on that pace. I don’t think the point difference can be attributed to “missing” points on the bench, because of the sheer number of innings should outweigh missing a good start here or there. As an aside, I’m pretty satisfied with @eamuscatuli’s thoughts on this delta.

This dovetails with what @ballnglove82 mentioned in his last post and I generally agree with - missing starts is anecdotal and not as big of an issue in terms of success or failure in H2H. However, it is undeniably frustrating to lose out on a pitching start because of the 2 SP slots in H2H - it may only happen 2 or 3 times over the course of the year and it may not really affect wins or losses, but it will be what you remember. In conjunction with having to pick up lousy pitchers just to get to 14 starts in a week, navigating your 14 starts per week cap feels bad since you cannot pick on what days to use those starts up and you’re throwing pitchers you don’t want to throw at the expense of throwing pitchers you do want to throw. Again, that probably isn’t actually the case, but I can understand if it does feel that way.

A few other thoughts:

This is a good diagnosis but I don’t agree with the solution. A small percentage of RPs crack the top 200 scoring pitchers because a small percentage of RPs are being used enough. RPs produce a higher P/IP than SPs, they just don’t pitch enough innings. The way to compensate for this is probably along the lines of what @dcrowell brought up pre-season: adding another RP slot to mimic the higher percentage of RP innings compared to SP innings. The goal is to have your RPs in total be able to score 35%-45% of your pitching points, and the best way to do that is to add more room to play RPs.

This is a good counterpoint to what I wrote up-thread, and overall I’m definitely leaning towards implementing a weekly start cap, though I’ll need to dig in to that code before I make any promises.

This may be blasphemy, but I’ve learned a bit about this from Ottoneu Fantasy Football. Freezing player adds for the last month of the season is important because teams that aren’t in the playoffs can cut their high-priced superstars and end up having an outsized effect on the playoffs. So while there are a number of checks in place to help mitigate streaming or huge roster turnover in September, I think it makes more sense to celebrate the playoffs that month and not let the 6-8 teams that didn’t make the playoffs cause upheaval by cutting grossly overpriced guys they have no intention of keeping. Bryce Harper may play that role this season, for example.

Right now, I’m leaning towards not allowing auctions during the playoffs (in all leagues with playoffs) and working on a weekly starts cap for H2H in 2019.


Would it be feasible to just lock the rosters for all non-playoff teams during that period? And lock the rosters of each playoff team after they are eliminated?


If there’s a September call-up or some other player that every team would want a shot at, it doesn’t seem fair to only let that player be available to playoff teams.


Playoff Roster Freeze

“Freezing player adds for the last month of the season is important because teams that aren’t in the playoffs can cut their high-priced superstars and end up having an outsized effect on the playoffs.”

I see your point; would it be possible instead to simply freeze the re-auctioning of any player that was cut after a certain date? That way, teams may still compete on the waiver wire for the rest of the season, being limited instead by the available personnel on the market rather than a full cutoff of all player adds. I think everyone can agree that it’s still important for both playoff and rebuilding teams to have roster movement in the final week; surely there’s another solution to this problem…

Total Points/H2H League Differentials

“I don’t think the point difference can be attributed to “missing” points on the bench, because of the sheer number of innings should outweigh missing a good start here or there. As an aside, I’m pretty satisfied with @eamuscatuli’s thoughts on this delta.”

I didn’t say the entire difference can be attributed to this; I said that I think that it’s part of the difference. I think that most of the difference is because of the nature of the H2H format, particularly with playoffs, where more teams remain in a competitive state deep into the season compared to a Total Points format. More teams making more “win-now” transactions equals a greater distribution of MLB talent among teams (and a lower points output compared to the few teams in Total Points leagues that are consolidating most of the available ROS points that may have been available in the market).

Which isn’t to say I disagree with Justin’s assessment- ultimately I think there are a number of things playing into this dynamic- but it is to say that I think you’re always going to see this difference between these two league types, no matter how people are able to play their Pitchers or what you do to try to “fix” how people manage their rosters.

Rotation Frustrations

“However, it is undeniably frustrating to lose out on a pitching start because of the 2 SP slots in H2H - it may only happen 2 or 3 times over the course of the year and it may not really affect wins or losses, but it will be what you remember. In conjunction with having to pick up lousy pitchers just to get to 14 starts in a week, navigating your 14 starts per week cap feels bad since you cannot pick on what days to use those starts up and you’re throwing pitchers you don’t want to throw at the expense of throwing pitchers you do want to throw. Again, that probably isn’t actually the case, but I can understand if it does feel that way.”

I submit that every game is frustrating until you get used to and better understand the parameters. And I submit that this sort of frustration always subsides as the market plays out (assuming you allow it to, for another year or two). And I submit, more importantly, that the frustration is actually rooted in the imbalance of the scoring formula relative to the MLB game, which undervalues RP’s and the Bullpen as a competitive piece for any team. I also think there’s frustration that stems from the ‘encouragement’ to reach for the 14 GS limit when, competitively, you don’t even need that many GS… maybe without this ‘encouragement’ there might be more people using different strategies with their rosters, and perhaps they wouldn’t feel so “bad” about chasing GS and stockpiling bottom-rotation arms.

I’ve always believed that the fantasy H2H Pitching game should not be focused on chasing GS or IP, and I do think there’s an opportunity to be had in many of these H2H leagues if people trimmed their Pitching down in favor of either long-term Hitting investments or win-now offensive options. But I’m not sure what good “encouraging” people to do something they don’t like or even want to do with their rosters was the way to approach their introduction into the system.

Regardless, you knew last year that there was going to be this frustration with the 2 SP setting- I even predicted as much when pushing for it- and you had to know there would be people threatening to pull their deposit for Year Two because of it. But instead of allowing for the format to play out and fix itself, you’re already pulling the plug before the end of one season… and you’re openly admitting that you’re doing so not because the numbers tell you there’s something wrong with the format, but because people who have yet to fully grasp it are frustrated?

Leaning Towards a Cap

“overall I’m definitely leaning towards implementing a weekly start cap”

In my experience, in the seasons that I ran a H2H league on ESPN (which allows for GS caps), and with a SABR-based formula, an 8-10 GS cap is the range to look at.

But, with a FG formula- which inherently inflates SP’s relative to both Hitters and RP’s- I would lean towards the lower end of that range. I’m not sure a limit toward or above 10 GS makes sense, because (as it’s a soft cap) you wouldn’t really change the environment- teams would still look for the incentive of carrying sub-par pitchers in order to exceed the cap on a weekly basis. On the other hand, setting a lower limit also means the pitchers available on the market to use/stash for streaming purposes will generally be better- and so there’ll still be the incentive to carry more than 10 SP’s.

In other words, teams will still be chasing GS as part of the game- and even though you would be raising the perceived (read: not allowed for market-correction) floor of the SP market, you will start hearing cries about ‘loopholes’ and ‘why have a GS cap if people can cheat it’ which will replace the ‘this 2 active SP thing sucks’ complaints.

I’ll make a suggestion again that I made when this was being debated last year: figure out a reasonable penalty for teams that exceed the cap. For the ESPN league, I multiplied the number of GS over the limit by that team’s highest scoring player for the week and subtracted that total from the team’s Total Points score. This way you’re pairing the two sides of the game with a measurable and reasonable dis-incentive to surpassing the cap without eliminating the opportunity or strategy to do it.

Another idea- which could fix the ‘no room to roster prospects’ problem another person brought up- would be if you could limit the 40-man roster to, say, 37-active players and 3 minor leaguers. Once a player on one of the three Minor League roster spots is called-up, the team becomes illegal and the manager is forced to make a move. In a practicality sense, taking some of those bottom-end roster spots away would easily remove the ability to stockpile SP’s beyond a certain threshold.

All-in-all, though, everything you’ve been working through here as a potential “fix” is something I’ve either tried myself over the years or worked-through the math/done the proof-test to figure out if it’s a change that would mean anything. I settled on two active SP’s with a balanced Pitcher scoring formula for a reason- which is that it works, and it works in that beautiful, natural, self-correcting sense that makes people frustrated only about having to sit a guy who might not even have an affect on his matchup- and not about some ‘loophole’ or what the threshold for some limit should be or how someone is using their roster to skew to some perceived advantage and how we might impose some artificial check to address it.

Points Balance

“This is a good diagnosis but I don’t agree with the solution. A small percentage of RPs crack the top 200 scoring pitchers because a small percentage of RPs are being used enough. RPs produce a higher P/IP than SPs, they just don’t pitch enough innings. The way to compensate for this is probably along the lines of what @dcrowell brought up pre-season: adding another RP slot to mimic the higher percentage of RP innings compared to SP innings. The goal is to have your RPs in total be able to score 35%-45% of your pitching points, and the best way to do that is to add more room to play RPs.”

Why aren’t RP’s being used enough, though? Because they don’t score so well… ergo, increasing their scoring would also increase their usage.

Whether RP’s can reach 35%-45% of a team’s pitching points without changing the formula depends on how teams use their SP’s… or, how SP usage is limited in the game, and how that might allow for any RP usage. I don’t agree that the solution here is adding another RP roster spot… after all, why would I want to add a maybe-20 point/week player whose usage I can’t possibly predict when (again) I can just stash another SP for streaming purposes?

The fact is that good RP’s aren’t able to score any better than many of these lower-tier/mediocre SP’s that are being rounded up… and that’s why they aren’t being used instead, which means the bottom-feeding SP’s aren’t being filtered off people’s teams and that in any given week the Bullpen plays a hugely deflated role in the format relative to how RP’s are actually used in real-life.

I’m not sure why you would shoot me down on this without proof testing what I’m talking about. I joined someone’s public H2H FG points league on ESPN six or so years ago and observed this dynamic pretty quickly- it’s not about ‘forcing’ people to roster RP’s, it’s about raising the production value of relievers so that the “best” RP’s score similarly to the “best” SP’s and Hitters, relative to the MLB game. Only then does the market allow for complete balance among the different roles.

So speaking of blasphemy, why not take a closer look a the points system? Wasn’t the Pitching formula pretty much a curve-fit anyway?

Justin Merry, Re: SABR Formula… “After a combination of theory, intuition, and trial & error, the following system was developed”
and, Re: FG Points Formula… “In an effort to come up with an alternative, I’ve been fiddling with a modified points system that includes point penalties for hits allowed.”

So… why not curve-fit the Pitching formula for H2H purposes? Here’s my proposal*, using stats available from FanGraphs:

IP: 5
Total Batters Faced: -0.1
HR Allowed: -13
BB Allowed: -3
HBP: -3
K: 2
— RP Categories —
Shut-Down: 1
Melt-Down: -1
Saves: 10
Holds: 10
Blown Saves: -6.7
---- Alternatively for RP Categories, using the SABR formula (and no TBF variable)—
Saves: 13
Holds: 13
Blown Saves: -3

*Side note- as the whole entire formula is built around wRC for Hitters, my actual preference is to move the decimal one spot to the left for both Hitters and Pitchers… this way a player score is akin to his fantasy “run value” (I just think it’s more intuitive to look at a player’s line and see that he was worth, say, 2.08 Runs instead of 20.8 Points).

Additional notes:

  • The SABR formula is used to better balance the top-level (Top 100) pitchers for any given season, relative to Hitters, compared to the FG Points formula
  • Total Batters Faced is used instead of Hits Allowed to make for an all-encompassing “TBF/IP” efficiency factor, which includes all situations in which a P would need to face additional Batters; this also further deflates top-tier Pitching output relative to Hitting, but only slightly, and functionally this provides greater incentive to roster a Hitter instead of a Pitcher
  • Saves and Holds are given equal value; functionally, it eliminates the (often futile) need to chase Closers as Setup arms are scored on the same level (after all, a game’s highest leverage situation could well be in the 6th or 7th inning and not necessarily the 9th)
  • Blown Saves is introduced as an off-set to SV’s+HLDs; if you believe in using SV’s and HLD’s, I’m not sure why Blown Saves shouldn’t be used to balance their impact (as opposed to simply deflating their score); in a weekly sense, this “net SV+HLD” dynamic can mean the largest variance in points for RP’s than with any other position- some weeks a player might score over 40 points, but in other weeks that same pitcher could put up a -20 (although the bad performances happen less often, obviously)
  • I think an additional “efficiency”/leverage consideration is important for RP’s to further filter through the “luck” of net SVs+HLDs, as well as to intuitively balance the SP/RP pool; in the Yahoo league I linked to earlier, the best option available is “Inherited Runners Scored” (at negative value, of course); my preference is actually “Inherited Runners Stranded” (positive value, naturally); but using the stats available in FanGraphs, I think a SD/MD (“Shut-Down”/“Melt-Down”) would be both intuitive and effective

Here’s a Google Doc spreadsheet I threw together which compares these different formulas using 2017 season numbers (I would’ve added more years to compare, but I only had the time for one). The first tab is a summary that compares the formulas; the second tab is the raw pitcher data in which I highlighted any P who pitched 50% or more of his IP’s in a relief role with a different color in order to more easily spot the diversification of RP’s among the pitcher pool.


Generally, I’m disappointed that you’re not willing to give this format more of a shot. I think the changes you’re leaning towards are no different than what anyone can do in setting up a ottoneu-style league -for free- on any big box fantasy service, and I think that they only shift around the pieces of a larger problem (which is the scoring imbalance). I think the better, long-term decision here- other than to adjust the scoring formula for P’s- is to chillax and allow the format and market to play-out. At the least, it would afford you the chance to build the H2H format into the sort of game you can’t find on Yahoo, or ESPN, or CBS, or FanTrax, rather than as something that just sucks up your attention every season as to whether you need to make another change or adjustment or addition or tweak or whatever.

Since you brought the ottoneu ethos into this… is it part of the ottoneu ethos to strive for an overall balanced league? Is it part of the ottoneu ethos to better reflect the MLB game in a fantasy format? Is it part of the ottoneu ethos to prefer for the market to correct for any imbalance in a newly formed league/format? Is it part of the ottoneu ethos to let the natural limits of the format be the constraint on a manager’s activity? Is it part of the ottoneu ethos to encourage an active gameplay, rather than a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ approach to roster management? Or is it part of the ottoneu ethos to give-in to a some vocal dissenters who aren’t willing to give the format a chance to work-out any perceived imbalances brought-on by them in their attempt to find some edge to play and which was encouraged by some in a misguided attempt to keep everyone informed of what is ‘possible’ to do, regardless of whether it’s also the correct thing to do, and to appease said dissenters with cookie-cutter artificial band-aids and a design overhaul which doesn’t actually fix the problem of chasing Pitching?

Build it and they will come… or, balance the P scoring problem and your job on this is done.


This is a great response with a lot to dive into, but I’m not sure on one thing:

The only change I am talking about making is in 2019, opening up 5 SP slots and making a max weekly start cap along the lines of 12-14. Is this what you are referring to when you say Ottoneu is not giving this format a shot? These changes don’t seem like game-altering and instead small tweaks, and I’m surprised to see this kind of a response against them.

I was referring to the post by @Dahdscear:

There’s definitely more great stuff to dig into here, and I’ll get to it over the weekend or next week.

Final little bit about the max GS cap:

Based on the suggestions from @astraea.m.k and @Henry.Woodbury, I have some ideas on how to make this a hard cap. I strongly agree that adding a soft weekly cap (either IP or GS) is worthless and should not be pursued.

This was referring to MLB usage: looking at the number of innings pitched by any single reliever versus the number of innings pitched by relief pitchers. The latter has increased, but the former hasn’t. So I’d think an answer would be to make it easier to play more RPs in Ottoneu, just in the same way that MLB teams are playing more RPs.

I am not sure I’ve written about this on the community forums, but I looked into shutdowns and meltdowns in 2011, and at that point I was warned off by FanGraphs because leverage, shutdowns, and meltdowns can be recalculated after the fact - kind of like a scorer changing a hit to an error, but more frequently. I can see if this is still the case or if I’ve retained a warning that no longer is relevant.

I would like to do this, but no one else was advocating for this stance and I am less familiar with H2H than everyone else in this thread, so I was swayed. Don’t hold it against me! :slight_smile:


Yeah, absolutely. We’re back to the discussion from last year. You’re not fixing anything with this; sure, people can throw as many (up to) 5 SP’s at once if they want… but with a 12 GS cap and 5 SP slots, you’re talking about a real GS limit of 16 GS. Most of the time, that number wouldn’t be reached… but there’s enough incentive there to chase the soft cap, and thereby chase Pitchers, and thereby skew the gameplay towards Pitching… which is the problem people are reporting now, without realizing that the 2 SP and no cap rule is already imposing a natural limit that would be completely removed by these changes you’re advocating.

The problem, as I see it right now, is that people are dominating their roster management with SP’s, and unnecessarily so. The problem next year with these settings would be, the few teams that dominate the league by hoarding the kind of SP depth that can steamroll most any matchup by playing and exceeding the soft cap each week. I see the roster management of the current setup as being naturally fixed in the coming seasons by the market, while the lineup management of your proposed setup would have virtually zero natural limits in regards to dominating and cornering the SP market.


Yeah, the misunderstanding is that I would not implement a soft cap for GS. I should have been clearer about that. A soft GS cap does nothing to solve any of the concerns mentioned in this thread.


So you’re talking about a hard cap?

I thought that wasn’t feasible?


Reducing the number of available slots as starts are used is interesting and I’d like to look into this more. If on Sunday you’ve used 10 of your 12 weekly starts, you’d only have 2 SP slots to put SPs into, instead of the normal 5. If you’ve used up all your starts, then you wouldn’t have any SP slots available and your SPs would all be pushed to the bench.

I wrote up-thread that I’m not committing to this, because I need to actually dive into the code, but I should have been more explicit: I am not implementing a soft weekly cap for H2H, I think that would be a mistake, and I’d rather not touch H2H than do something like that.


I’m not understanding this. I don’t see the fix as being at the bottom of the RP pool, which is where you’re going to find such turnover in the MLB game. I see the fix as being at the top-end of the RP pool, and making so the best RP’s score more in-line with the best players at other positions. It’s quality over quantity… like I said, why would I want to roster another bottom-end RP who scores similar to a bottom-end SP when I can at least plan around that SP’s scheduled starts (while I have no idea when that RP will be used).

I suppose an actual GS cap changes some things on this… but, it still doesn’t make for the overall RP usage (that is, RP scoring output) to reflect MLB’s overall Bullpen usage of 1/3 of all innings pitched. Which is to say, the player scoring dynamic is not balanced between Hitters, SP’s, and RP’s in a manner that is reflective of the MLB game.

Maybe where we’re losing each other is that I see RP scoring as the equalizer to MLB’s usage, whereas you’re referring to the actual usage- or IP’s that people play their RP’s- as the equalizer? Except, you’re never going to have a league deep enough to really try to reflect how MLB is using more and more RP’s; you’re better off accepting that only some number of them (~60-70ish) will be used, and so it’s a matter of balancing how those players are going to be scored relative to the other roles in the game.

Well that stinks. I’m not sure I see another reasonably decent RP “efficiency” stat that can be used with FanGraph’s available stats… unless you have access to a database different than what they show for their leaderboards.

Well of course; the customer is always right… and also impatient and demanding and unable to view the perspective from the other side of the counter.


More thoughts on this: I think that a 12 GS Limit is too high.

Assume 25 Fantasy Weeks * 12 GS/Week * 5.5 IP/GS (MLB average; ottoneu leagues should be better than that as we’re only playing with the best 250-ish Pitchers) = 1,650 Total Season IP. So, the baseline target for everyone playing with a 12 GS Limit is to exceed the 1,500 IP mark used in Total Points leagues with their rotation alone… which means the “excessive rostering of starting pitching” thing is still a problem.

I think the 1,500 IP mark is a good one to shoot for. If the idea is also to have roughly 1/3 of that thrown by RP’s, then you want a GS Limit that looks to keep teams at around 1,000 IP from their SP’s. That’s 40 IP per Week from a rotation; assuming the 5.5 IP/GS average, that comes out to about 7.3 GS per Week. At 500 RP IP for the season, you’re also looking to limit teams at around 20 IP per Week from the Bullpen; assuming 5 RP spots, that’s 4 IP/Week (100 IP total season) from each spot.

That might seem a little strict; after all, why have the need for 5 SP spots if you’ll only have an 8 GS/Week Limit… but above that number and it starts to become an SP-dominated format. In a 12-team league with undervalued RP scoring, even a hard 10 GS Limit would probably mean an SP skew in roster management (although much less than it is now, with teams chasing a 14 GS mark). This is why I argue that the market would correct for the 2 active SP slot design; eventually teams would figure out that there are points being left on the board and opportunities being missed by hoarding these SP’s that have little effect on their matchups.

Ideally if the format is split 50/50 Hitters/Pitchers, then we’re working with a 240-player Pitcher pool. You want around one-third of that to be represented by RP’s- or an 80-player RP pool and 160-player SP pool. 160 SP’s/12 teams = 13.3 SP’s/team (6.7 RP’s/team). That’s basically the roster ceiling you’re looking for; so then the setup ought to make teams pay enough in points elsewhere if they carry more than 13 active SP’s. With a 12 GS Limit, not only can you better play matchups but you can also keep other teams from picking up a good SP in FA- which is to say, plenty of incentive to carry more than 13 SP’s. Which is also why RP scoring needs to be increased; if not, then (even with a lower limit) teams will look to “borrow” unproductive points from their Bullpen and corner the SP market.


This has been a great deep dive into the format design to read thru y’all.

as an example: I am currently rostering 13 SP, 8 RP, and 1 “tweener” in D.Hudson. Here’s a link if you want to see the roster I’ve managed my team into this year.


I’m just outside the top ten in total pts scrored in the H@H format, tho I’m now 11-6 on the season, a third place overall in that league.

It’s a challenge to manage 8 RPs into 5 slots daily I’ve found, due to the fac thtat they are the only active roster slot in which one has no definite indication that they will even be playing each day. Position players, SPs, and RPs all have differing factors of rosterability.

Ultimately I think the frustration with the 2 start daily limit si that in a given week, one might only be able to actively roster 7-8 starts (of 10-12 that ones pitchers are throwing that week) that put points on the board and one’s opponent team could get all 10-12. @ 25 pts a start that’s could be around a 100 pt difference, which becomes the 'unfair" advantage on a week to week basis. It presents a need to “stream” an SP off the FA market, just to bridge that gap. I’ve managed this way in order to matchup with an upcoming opponet that I can see will have more starts than I will merely due to the way rotations line-up.

In a design model that had a set start limit each week, this would all but disappear. It would be one team choosing the 10 (or 12, whatever is decided upon) starts they want to roster that week vs. the same amount of starts on the other team. This seems to me to be more equal and “fair” way to match-up each week against an opponent. If the number is 10, then one only needs to roster 10 SPs and the weekly limit is easily met.

I agree with those that point out a season IP limit could allow the top teams to “bank” IP in weeks they have big leads going into the weekend, to be used in playoff weeks. It would and another layer of management that I think would miss the point of a weekly match-up.

Again, kudos for great dialogue all.