Some of my favorite leagues are head-to-head because you don’t have to be the most consistent throughout the year like you do in rotisserie. There really is no huge bonus for having closers, and in any given week if you have a couple of hot players it could make the difference. Head-to-head formats also feature playoffs, which are always interesting as well. What does this mean for you come draft day? Well, the most important thing for you is deciding on the best offensive player in round one to base your team around. And it all comes down to your draft position.
In one of my leagues where we drafted this week there are 10 teams and I drafted third. That means I had my choice of a really good offensive player to anchor my lineup. Luckily for me, the two teams ahead of me chose pitchers (Clayton Kershaw, and Adam Wainwright), so I had my pick of anyone. With that third pick I chose the best offensive player in the league, in my opinion — Mike Trout from the L.A. Angels. I think he will have an MVP year this season, and I have absolutely no regrets on building my team around him. It’s from there that it got tricky. Here is how my first 16 draft rounds went…
|Round 1:||Mike Trout||OUTFIELD|
|Round 2:||Madison Bumgarner||STARTING PITCHER|
|Round 3:||Julio Teheran||STARTING PITCHER|
|Round 4:||Patrick Corbin||STARTING PITCHER|
|Round 5:||Greg Holland||RELIEF PITCHER|
|Round 6:||Sonny Gray||STARTING PITCHER|
|Round 7:||Kris Medlen||STARTING PITCHER|
|Round 8:||Matt Holliday||OUTFIELD|
|Round 9:||Jason Kipnis||SECOND BASE|
|Round 10:||Jason Heyward||OUTFIELD|
|Round 11:||Shane Victorino||OUTFIELD|
|Round 12:||Ryan Zimmerman||THIRD BASE|
|Round 13:||Jean Segura||SHORTSTOP|
|Round 14:||Jose Abreu||FIRST BASE|
|Round 15:||Nate Jones||RELIEF PITCHER|
|Round 16:||Brian McCann||CATCHER|
As you can tell, after setting the tone with the offensive player, my focus shifted majorly to pitching. While pitching is secondary in head-to-head it shouldn’t be overlooked, and in this draft it was imperative to go early and often with pitchers for the simple reason that everyone else in the league was going pitcher-crazy. This is why you make adjustments, and the reason I told you before that live drafts are important vs. automated drafts. This way you can adjust. Since so many first-rate pitchers were flying off the board, I had to grab as many as I could early. That’s the glory of that live draft.
And here is my final team:
|First Base||Jose Abreu||White Sox|
|Second Base||Jason Kipnis||Indians|
|Third Base||Ryan Zimmerman||Nationals|
|Relief Pitcher1||Neftali Feliz||Rangers|
|Relief Pitcher2||Greg Holland||Royals|
Admittedly, I’m taking a chance on Feliz, hoping he returns to form as the closer for the Rangers, but I actually picked him up after the draft so he could be the steal of the season if he pans out and does return to form. I pieced together my infield, too, after solidifying a dynamic outfield, with bits and pieces I found that fit. I really like Zimmerman at third as a sleeper, and I think Segura’s first half last year was the real Segura going forward.
But that’s the glory of head-to-head. I don’t have to have the most complete team from top to bottom. I just need to be able to mix and match when needed, and I think my pitching staff accomplishes that. They’re not all the big names, but they are an eclectic mix that I think will be consistent enough to keep me competitive, if not an outright leader, in this league.
Just keep this in mind when drafting in a head-to-head league: always be able and ready to adjust to get yourself complementary players who give you the best chance to win. Don’t just go for the “name” guys. It can really hurt you in the long run. Happy drafting!
The Fantasy Ace