Ottoneu Head To Head Strategies

Ottoneu has historically offered four different formats (two total points linear weights based, one traditional 5×5, and one saber-oriented 4×4), but this year head to head was added as an option for points leagues (think of your typical fantasy football league). You can read more about the format here, but today I wanted to highlight some of the rules that differ between ottoneu head to head and the standard points formats, and some strategy ideas driven by those differences.

1) One catcher slot in the lineup in H2H

In the classic FG points and SABR points leagues there are two catcher slots in the daily lineup, even though there is a 162 games played cap for the catcher position. This is done to allow teams the flexibility to play platoons and easily catch up on missing games during the season, mostly because very few catchers play regularly.

In the new head to head format there is only one catcher slot in the lineup, and my understanding is this change was done to prevent teams from strategically stuffing their lineups with catchers during a particular weekly match up. I’m in favor of there only being one catcher slot in the lineup, but it will mean that owners can’t get away with only carrying one catcher on their roster and trading for a catcher later to make up games, and close attention will need to be paid to which of your catchers are in their team’s lineup that day.

Bottom Line- Carry at least two C in your H2H league

2) There is no weekly games played cap in H2H

Technically, there is no cap on the number of games your offense can accrue in a week (I’ll discuss an important exception to this rule below), so you could conceivably “stuff” your lineup every day in a match up against a high scoring opponent. There’s a cost to doing so (again, see below), but if you’re in a must win match up the benefit could very well outweigh the cost.

Bottom Line- Tactically take advantage of the lack of weekly games cap in difficult matchups by starting as many hitters as you can

3) Like traditional ottoneu points leagues, there is a season long games played cap for offensive positions

Yes, there’s no weekly limits on games played for all offensive positions, but there is a seasonal one. There are two clear takeaways here for me:

  • Similar to 2), in a favorable match up (or one where you find yourself winning handily), you can bench some players in your lineup to “save” their games for later. If I’m beating my opponent by 100+ points heading into Sunday, I will likely bench players at positions where I’m currently tracking to exceed the seasonal games played (you can see how you’re tracking at the bottom of your lineup page)
  • Pay close attention to the positions where you’re tracking to exceed the seasonal caps, or you might not be able to use games at that position during the playoffs!

Bottom Line- Bench hitters in favorable match ups, and be careful to not run out of positional games before the playoffs begin in September

4) There is a two start limit per day for starting pitchers

To avoid a dominant starting pitcher streaming strategy in H2H leagues, there is a two start limit per day. One obvious strategy is to prioritize a quantity of SP over quality, with the assumption that it’s better to throw 14 starts per week with some replacement level innings mixed in than 9 starts without any replacement level innings. It might be tough to find room on your 40 man roster, but I would suggest that every H2H owner try to roster at least nine or ten SP (if not more) to make sure they maximize their 14 weekly SP starts.

The other implication of the two start per day limit occurs when you have three quality SP starting in a single say, as you are forced to “waste” the start from your third SP (something you don’t have to worry about in normal ottoneu points leagues unless you have six SP scheduled to take the hill). There’s not much you can do to avoid this situation, other than not having more than two ace level SP on your team.

Bottom Line- Maximize the number of SP you start each week, and be aware that sometimes you will have to bench a SP you’d like to start

5) There is no weekly, or seasonal, innings pitched cap

Standard ottoneu points leagues have a 1,500 IP soft cap, so the strategy in those leagues is to focus on efficiency (high Pts/IP) to pack as many points into 1,500 IP as possible. In ottoneu H2H, there is no IP cap, so the emphasis should be on throwing as many IP as possible. I already mentioned above that owners should try to hit 14 starts per week from their SP, but the RP slots in your lineup can also be maximized. How? By relying more on total points at RP than Pts/IP. A pitcher like Chris Devenski (or Craig Stammen, as a lesser example) becomes even more valuable, as their Pts/IP may not be as gaudy as some stud RP but their total points are comparable. I wouldn’t necessarily pay more for those bullpen pieces that throw more IP, but I would look to fill out my last few RP spots on my roster with cheap high IP guys like Stammen.

Bottom Line- There is no IP cap in H2H, so focus on total Points over Pts/IP


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Justin is a life long Cubs fan who has been playing fantasy baseball for 20+ years, and an ottoneu addict since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @justinvibber.

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Great advice. I’ve been doing these with the exception of loading up on 14 starts per week. While getting a good number of starts per week are necessary, it can also force bad point totals if you start someone just to get to 14 starts/week. For example, I own Julio Teheran and despite wanting points for a start, it is too risky to depend on him when he could net me negative points. HRA really hamper the ability to stream, which I like.