Ottoneu Head-To-Head?

I think we touched on this topic about a year ago on the podcast interview with @niv (and I’m sure it may come up again in our next interview), but I’ll kick it off again here just to discuss because I heard a good idea from a fellow owner (Mike Dugent) recently that made some sense: the big draw back of H2H leagues is that the randomness really punishes an owner who’s put in the work to built a great fantasy team, but the benefit is that more teams potentially stay engaged throughout a long season, especially in a league with just a few dominant teams. Mike’s idea was to dilute the randomness by increasing the number of matchups weekly from one (traditional) to six or even twelve. The league champion would still be the team with the most H2H victories but increasing the number of weekly matchup would make things more realistic over the season.
Curious if H2H is still in the queue (2017?) because I know it would appeal to a wide range owners.

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I think that you hit the nail on the head when it comes to keeping folks engaged all year. H2H, for the most part, encourages that. At the very least, it would be interesting to try a H2H Ottoneu based league. I wish I could incorporate some of the Ottoneu ideas into my CBS H2H league but CBS, for as good as it is with customization and the player database, is still limited.


My home league (and the only one I play in that’s not on ottoneu) is a CBS H2H league with similar scoring to ottoneu FGPTS, and since I started the league five years ago we have always done two matchups a week. It definitely helps cut down on the luck factor, while still keeping most teams interested deep into the summer.

I have really come around on seeing H2H as a possible offering in Ottoneu (same scoring, etc.) with multiple weekly matchups. Hopefully others will chime in hear so that Niv can see if it’s something that needs a higher priority.

So would that mean no playoffs? I can see that being more fair than a single week at the end deciding your season.

I’m in 3 head to head leagues… in two your record is determined by how many categories you win for that week (for instance 6-4). In the other league I’m in, you get a simple win or a loss (if you win 4 categories and they win 5… you’re 0-1).

I have to say,the second option (the simple win or loss) is a lot more fun and I’m way more engaged in it. Especially as the week gets towards the end every move feels more critical.

I think that’s right: no playoffs. Champion would essentially be the team with the most victories at the end of the season, the same way the team with the most points is crowned in Ottoneu points leagues today. Would love to see the setup with 6 matchups per week probably, to reduce the luck factor.

Six matchups per week would be cool, with approximately 26 weeks in the season it would be a 156 game season.

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I’m not sure, the more I think about it, the more I think I’d lean towards a more standard head to head format.

I think the reason to play head to head instead of rotisserie is because of the luck factor, not despite it. Luck acts as an equalizer for different skill levels. The best player is going to win a game with no luck every time. Adding some luck makes everyone feel like they have a fighting chance.

My oldest league switched from H2H to rotisserie last year. The winner won by 25+ points, had the lead from July on. He had the best team, he should have won, but it was boring. We switched back to H2H this year.

This is something I see discussed about ottoneu too. There’s a clear best team or two in a league, half the league is selling by the end of May, etc. I’m really curious how H2H would affect that.

I have the same thoughts about playoffs. They’re not at all “fair”, and it’s the worst when you lose in the championship because of a rogue homerun or something. But that’s exactly the same as playoffs in the MLB. It’s more exciting at the expense of the best team always winning.

My guess is if you just had to get 6th or better to get a ticket to the playoffs, you’d have far fewer teams selling early and less talent concentrated on teams.

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I play in an H2H ESPN league with FGPTS scoring and the only issue is finding a nice balance on the IP limits on a weekly basis but other than that it’s a blast but I wish it was hosted on the Otto site.

Good point about the IP limits. What do you guys use @DSpracale and how many matchups do you have each week between teams?

We use 60 IP per matchup. It’s not perfect but it gets us to 1500 IP after 25 weeks which includes the playoffs. So far it’s been fun. I ran one a few years ago trying to get one of my home leagues to convert but I couldn’t convince them. Outside of the pitchers the smaller rosters became a fun challenge once we limited pickups to 3 per matchup.

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Three per matchup! Yikes, and I felt limited by having six in a H2H league…

Has there been any update on this? Just wondering.

To my knowledge H2H is not on the drawing board for 2017 for Ottoneu but if enough people are interested I know Niv will take note

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I would love to see a H2H option and I think it would greatly expand the ottoneu experience. I’ve been running H2H versions of FGPTS on both ESPN and Yahoo for the past five seasons, and I have some thoughts on this…

I agree with @DSpracale above that the biggest issue is in limiting Pitching output; the services I use have a “loophole” that allow teams to surpass a matchup’s IP or GS limit by allowing for all of the stats to count on the day that the limit is reached. But a major problem with setting a strict limit instead would be in planning out your rosters- say it’s a Sunday and you only have enough IP’s left to start one player, but your preferred SP is playing later in the day and in a city with rain in the forecast, so then you’re forced to choose between taking a chance with a lesser SP rather than risk coming up short when your ACE’s start gets bumped.

One idea I’ve heard that would be intriguing and very unique for any fantasy service (if it could be developed) is a version of a ‘depth chart’ for your Pitchers, where guys who play earlier in the day on which you meet your limit but are further down your depth chart would have their innings count ‘temporarily’ and potentially replaced at the end of the day by better pitchers at the top of your depth chart who end up pitching later that day.

Another alternative that I’ve found to work well (with Yahoo, which has no options to limit P’s in H2H points leagues) is to dramatically limit the number of SP’s that can be played on any given day (for my leagues, I prefer to have only 2 active SP slots with no P slots)- not only does it make for a natural limit on SP output, but it also forces owners to make tougher gameday decisions as they have to manage an actual rotation of pitchers.

I also like the idea above of having multiple matchups simultaneously; right now I can’t do this with my ESPN/Yahoo leagues, but I’ve seen that FanTrax has an option where you can play all teams in a division at the same time. This could also help to reduce the ‘luck factor’ by allowing for two-week matchups/‘scoring periods’ while still having enough Games Played to have a meaningful record.

On the point of Division play, one thing I’ve started doing recently to help encourage full-year competition/engagement is re-drawing divisions each year based on the prior season’s Total Points standings and then set a schedule so that teams play their divisional opponents 3- or 5-times-to-1 compared to inter-divisional teams. Playoffs are then seeded by overall record, so owners who maybe aren’t as high up on the Points standings can still play deep into the year while the owners who are usually the top scorers each year have a more competitive schedule from start to finish.

I’d also suggest incorporating some sort of ‘reward’ system for Total Points standings- for my pay league, the majority of payouts are according to Total Points with bonuses for the best H2H record and Playoff finishes, but this idea could be transferred over to free leagues as well with something like arbitration coupons/allocation dollars or something along those lines. This way there’s still incentive and meaning to playing out the year regardless of H2H record.

I definitely agree with @DSpracale on limiting the number of FA pickups per matchup. In a H2H league it can just be way too easy to stream players (Hitters and Pitchers alike), even with a salary system like ottoneu- as long as you have the bullets, you can always try to steamroll an opponent in a late-season/playoff matchup (especially if there’s a loophole with P limits).

One other thing I’ll mention is with the balance in Rosters/Scoring between Hitters/Pitchers; if the number of active Hitting spots isn’t in balance with whatever the P limits might be, the league can seem “skewed” toward one side of the game over the other.

Generally I think people approach H2H leagues with the notion that you can build a team to compensate for any shortcomings on one side of the game with extra strength on the opposite side- but if (say) there aren’t enough Hitting spots relative to how much P output you can have in a matchup, then it’s easier for teams to win with sub-par pitchers while better hitters sit on the bench or waiver wire (and vice-versa if there are too many hitting spots relative to pitching). So I try to get my leagues closer to 50/50 in terms of total league Hitting points to Pitching points.

Similarly, I’ve also looked to balance RP output relative to SP’s in order to reflect MLB’s usage (as generally one-third of IP’s are by relievers). This has meant increasing the “leverage factor” for RP’s in my leagues (increasing the value of SV’s and HLD’s, but also including Blown Saves). The result is fewer sub-par (#4/5) SP’s being used in favor of a full 5- or 6-man bullpen, which isn’t a major issue in ottoneu Total Points leagues as the strict IP limit makes Pts/IP the equalizer rather than the ‘leverage’ formula.

Anyway thanks for the eyeballs- just some thoughts I’ve picked up in my experience with this type of setup. I definitely hope H2H is an option for ottoneu in the future!


These are some very helpful insights on H2H. Thanks for posting.

If Ottoneu ever offers H2H, count me in.

Absolutely- no problem. H2H is my favorite format, and I definitely think there’s an opening for ottoneu to offer some of the best H2H options on the fantasy market.

But in the meantime I’m always looking for folks who might be interested in joining one of mine at one of the lesser “big-box” services :grin: