Did you know I made the ampersand, “&”, an official part of the Cheatsheet Compiler & Draft Buddy name? I did, even if only in my own mind. It saves me two characters, and with a name like Cheatsheet Compiler & Draft Buddy, I need to save all of the characters I can. Don’t even get me started about adding “Baseball Version” or “Football Version” on to the end.
This question has come up a few times this year, and that is, “Where is the option for my head-to-head league in the Cheatsheet Compiler? I only see options for roto or fantasy points.” I think this is confusing some people, so I want to clear the air on why there is no head-to-head option in the Compiler.
Head-to-Head and Rotisserie are not mutually exclusive, meaning any particular fantasy baseball league does not distinguish between a head-to-head format, and roto. It can be both, or it can be neither, or it can be one and not the other.
There are two main questions we need answered to understand how a fantasy baseball league is structured. They are:
1. Does the league use head-to-head matchups (usually weekly) or cumulative points (usually for the season, but it can be split regular season and playoffs) to decide what fantasy team ultimately wins or loses the league?
2. Does the league use a rotisserie format or award fantasy points to teams based on how each team’s real world baseball players perform and accumulate real world stats in the box score?
I like to think of these questions and answers in a small two-by-two matrix.
As you can see, these options give us four possible combinations of fantasy league format.
1. Head-to-head, roto
2. Head-to-head, fantasy points
3. Cumulative, roto
4. Cumulative, fantasy points
This is typically not something that comes up with fantasy football leagues because 99% of them are head-to-head, fantasy points. It is generally accepted when discussing fantasy football it will be that format, so no one even mentions it.
Fantasy baseball is much more diversified. Traditionally, roto was king, coupled with cumulative scoring for the season. None of this luck of the draw, playing a different opponent in your league each week whose players may have an exceptionally good or bad streak determining if you get a win or a loss. It would seem roto and cumulative scoring still account for the majority of leagues, but head-to-head and fantasy points are both increasing in popularity. We can likely thank (or jeer) the fantasy football crowd for that as more of them expand their horizons and take up fantasy baseball through the spring and summer.
Getting back to the Cheatsheet Compiler, does this still beg the question where the head-to-head versus cumulative option is on the setup tab? My opinion on that is we would not radically, if at all, change the way we value and rank the players whether it is a head-to-head or cumulative format league.
The projections that the rankings are based off of are for the season, not broken down weekly. It would be hard to imagine breaking down the projections weekly so they had any predictive statistical value. What I mean is, it would be a lot of work, a lot more complex and have no benefit.
So, the projections are for the season whether we are using a head-to-head (weekly) or cumulative (season) league format or not. The measured contributions by each player to your fantasy results are unable to account for weekly fluctuations in a player’s stats that could be relevant for head-to-head.
It is possible for a player with lower total stats for the season to be more valuable in a head-to-head league than a player with higher total stats, because of those fluctuations. Say Player A, whose stats are up and down like a yo-yo, contributes greatly to a bunch of wins your fantasy team earns that they wouldn’t otherwise get, while similarly not hurting you too much on his low off weeks. Player B on the other hand puts up good overall numbers, but is completely average about it. Just chugging along, earning his stats with no highs or lows. Player A is probably more valuable in head-to-head, while Player B is more valuable in cumulative.
This can happen. However, when ranking players for your draft, we are predicting the future, and we are playing the probabilities about that future – what players will be better or worse than others? What is the risk? What is the upside? Is Chase Utley more likely to play 140 games, or 40? Assessing these questions is weighing the probability of each possible outcome and then projecting and ultimately ranking the player accordingly.
My opinion on ranking players for head-to-head versus cumulative is that, playing the probabilities, drafting the players you expect to perform better overall for the season, will most likely (by a wide margin) give you the players who will be more valuable on a weekly basis for head-to-head. Hence, there is no option in the Compiler for head-to-head versus cumulative. It isn’t going to impact anything with respect to ranking players on the cheatsheets.
Now, I understand there are some small considerations you may make strategy-wise that are unique for head-to-head leagues. You may want to stream pitchers more, if the league allows for that flexibility with your waivers, so can get more two-start pitchers into your lineup on any given week. You may be more apt to punt a category (roto scoring) if you feel it gives you a better shot at building a lineup to win the majority of other categories each week.
These factors are not enough to sway me from the prior thought though. I’m not going to rank players any differently whether a head-to-head or cumulative format, which is why the Compiler doesn’t do it. The Cheatsheet Compiler does rank players for head-to-head leagues (and cumulative format leagues). There just isn’t an explicit option to choose between them, because it isn’t necessary.