Head-to-Head scoring coming to Ottoneu Fantasy Baseball in 2018

I have been designing and running H2H versions of the ottoneu game on both Yahoo and ESPN for going on seven years and have used multiple rules/settings in trial-and-error to find combinations that had a balanced and agreeable game-play.

With more than 2 active SP slots and an IP limit, the incentive to carry an excessive number of SP’s and exceed the weekly limit is too great. It ultimately robs the FA pool of SP depth while Hitters who should be rostered get swapped out in favor of the extra arms; teams will even go with one or two empty Hitting spots on the active roster because the edge in those additional ~5pts/IP x 10-20 IP’s over the limit is greater than the ~5pts/G x 4-6 Games you’d be getting out of the Hitter. Inevitably, owners who are slow to the game or didn’t see this advantage before the draft will feel shorted, and the season will be lost for at least half of the league.

As @dfinan points out, there are other ways to compensate for this with other services- however, Ottoneu is different. For example, the payroll cap functions in lieu of a transaction limit- which actually adds some strategy to the game as you could potentially stream SP’s in an important matchup to try to get the most starts out of your week if you have the budget space to do so and don’t mind being out any player you cut for (at least) 30 days. The one thing that can’t be done, as Niv describes in the links he posted, is a hard limit on the number of IP or GS- and that’s true of every fantasy service.

This is why the natural limit of 2 SP’s is appropriate; more than that and the format will skew heavily toward pitching, regardless of an IP limit. There will be times when more than 2 of your SP’s start on the same day, but as it plays out over the season- because of off-days, rotation differences, weather-postponements, etc.- those three guys that start on Opening Day aren’t going to line-up on the same day every week. With all the variables that go into each matchup, a 2 SP limit does not impact the league half as dramatically as a few teams controlling the SP market and exceeding the IP limit every week does.

So you’ll have to make tough decisions on who to start each day just like any other baseball manager with an excess of talent at one position does- and everyone else in the league is on the same level playing field in doing the same thing. A balanced game centered around strategy is the Ottoneu way; welcome to a better brand of fantasy baseball!


Why are there games played caps? That’s a really weird design decision. Basically, we’re supposed to sit hitters in blow outs so we have enough games left for the playoffs? Hitters, if anything, are less abusable than pitchers. I agree with the decision to not have an innings cap. Why didn’t that philosophy carry over to hitters too?

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There isn’t a huge swath of teams hitting 162 game caps for position players in early September - that cap is far harder to hit than the 1500 IP cap. If the game cap is hit at all, it is hit in the last few days of the season.

However, it makes a small correction towards less roster turnover and less position streaming.

If it turns out to be a huge obstacle, I’m happy to revisit it next season, but I really don’t think it will have an adverse affect on lineup choices in May.

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Apologies if I missed this somewhere more readily available, but does the 162 game positional limit for hitters apply through the playoffs for head to head leagues? Further, for a H2H league with Wildcard playoff settings, when do the playoffs start/end?

Yes, the 162 game limit for positional players is for the entire MLB season. It is not until just September 2.

Playoffs start on September 3, 2018.

There has definitely been ample information explaining the 2 SP roster decision, as well as the IP and GP rules. I’d say 11/12 players in our first year H2H FGPoints draft understood the rules beforehand. I’m a first time player and I found it, despite being old struggling with computers in general…

Ottoneu seems to provide a more realistic baseball experience than some of the other platforms. Anything that provides additional layers of strategy is a positive bonus, and that’s exactly what the 2 SP limit does. No need to gravitate towards the mean.

Here are a few of my initial thoughts on how the 2SP’s will affect things, they probably won’t be very helpful, and will undoubtedly prove inaccurate. The math is rough, at best.

  • It’s going to be really hard to hit 14 GS each matchup.
    • Assuming a 5 man rotation and an average of 6 games a week for a team, a SP should average about 1.2 starts per matchup.
    • It will take 11-12 SP to have any shot reaching 14 GS most weeks.
      • 12 teams x 12 SP =144 needed minimum.
      • Only 150 dudes have rotation spots at any one time…
      • I’m targeting 14-15 SP to try and make sure I hit GS max each week.
  • There will be a lot of value in high IP relievers, just like real life!
    • There are 5 roster spots for RP and no IP caps, it’s the one part of your roster that is open to streaming in this format! I’m targeting 8-9 RP.
  • If everybody rosters a large pitching staff, its going to be very hard to hit 162 games played per offensive position because benches will be thin.
    • This alone adds tons of value to multi-position eligible players.
    • Benches should be thin! MLB teams don’t have backups for every position, the Giants are probably starting the season with only 4 guys on the bench…;(

MLB 25 man rosters are approximately 50% pitching/hitting. I’m thinking these rules will lead to similar roster ratios in H2H leagues.


The season starts tomorrow, which means the official debut of H2H gameplay to Ottoneu Fantasy Baseball. Please be patient if there are any unexpected issues - I’ll be around when the first games start to make sure scoring works as expected, etc.

I also want to give a shoutout to this thread that spanned most of 2016 with ideas and suggestions for how to build a H2H Ottoneu game. I’ve granted a few users from that thread the Genie badge due to their helpful comments and feedback.

Keep giving me your feedback and keep building that wishlist! I’m always looking to improve Ottoneu. I hope 2018 is the best season yet.


A post was split to a new topic: Individual Player Performance on H2H Game Pages

What happened to the 60 IP limit in H2H leagues? Without it the best strategy is to fill a roster of SPs to get 2 starts each night. Quantity over Quality.

Two things:

  1. It is basically impossible to make a hard 60 IP cap work, and a soft cap was considered to exploitable by H2H veterans
  2. It was replaced by having 2 SP slots instead of 5 SP slots.

I don’t know if I necessarily agree that any team can consistently stream 2-start starters through the whole season and ride an inferior team to championship by that strategy. There are a variety of reasons that this won’t necessarily work in Ottoneu, and I think we should see how this season plays out before we make assumptions about how the season will play out one week into the season.


Hi. I’m new to this. Our league is a good case study as to the starting pitcher issue. A couple of us in our league; and I was first; identified the need to have as many starting pitchers as possible. I am leading our league by 200 points (3-0-0 H2H) early in the season I have by far the most IP and least AB. To be fair, my P/G is highest with the low AB but I still think this demonstrates the point. Some limitation should be made on starting pitchers unless you wish to encourage this strategy. As it stands right now, without seriously changing the configurations of their teams, 4 of our teams have literally no chance to compete, and it maybe more like 6 or 7. It doesn’t seem right for things to be so out of balance this early in the season.


FYI: this is league 935. I’m the commissioner here and we’ve been having extensive discussions among the leaders about SP streaming and strategy. It does seem a little out of balance. JP has been thinking pretty deeply about the analytics of pitching streaming and it does seem pretty easy to load up on SP to make it as likely as possible to get 1 or 2 starters everyday (especially if your one of the first 3 or 4 teams to think of it). Hard to see the downside of an occasional negative pitching performance (maybe -15) verses 20-50 points for an ok-good performance; especially as teams rarely keep consistently crappy starters in the rotation.

EDIT: JP’s full thoughts are interesting and on our league board: https://ottoneu.fangraphs.com/935/home


I am also in a head-to-head league, identified the same strategy pre-draft, and currently the 4th lowest scoring team…I think its a good strategy that will work, but with consequences. Personally, I think its to wayyyy to early (and the sample size is to small) to conclusively say this is the best strategy to win.

Ottoneu provides tons of long-term roster building options not present in other more “rigid” formats, it would be really sad to change rules so everyone uses the same strategy, like all other sites…

There are roughly 150 SP’s at any given time in MLB, there are 480 roster spots in a 12 team league. This tells me that pretty much every SP’s should be owned in H2H Ottoneu, which kinda mimics a real-life scenario, since you could probably argue that all SP’s are amongst the 480 most valuable ball-players in real life.

I also don’t actually think there is a H2H scoring change that would “improve” the scenario you are describing, better than what we’ve got (2 SP slots). It was probably the most active discussion thread on this site leading up to the season, I’d say the logic is holding pretty solid.

Can we move this to the H2H strategy thread? This is a really good discussion, lets make it explode!!!


There is the beginnings of a strategy thread here:

The crossover between strategy and game balance is heavy, and I keep an eye on both. This is definitely interesting stuff.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: H2H Gameplay Strategy Discussion

2 posts were split to a new topic: H2H Lineups page showing over IP limit

A post was merged into an existing topic: 2018 Playoff Options

Hey Niv, where have we netted out on the 2019 trade deadline? Our league is moving to H2H playoffs next season (4 teams, 2 weeks apiece), which means the playoffs will begin early Sept. However, if the trade deadline remains August 31, I fear there may be some one-sided trades near the end of the regular season as tanking teams concede defeat and contenders make a late push. Please advise. Thanks!

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I haven’t received much concern regarding the trade deadline in 2018. As a result, there are no plans to change the trade deadline as of right now.

Of course, for those of you who were in playoff leagues, if you have feedback regarding the trade deadline, please let me know through the Wishlist forum.