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Pitchers to Target in Head-to-Head Drafts

Michael Florio RotoExperts Staff Writer February 15, 2017 12:01AM EDT
As you read in my Aces and Upside Head-to-Head points league strategy article, you know the way I like to attack this format is by grabbing two starters in the first five rounds, then waiting and loading up and high-upside arms later in the draft. This allows you to have some breakout candidates, but also gives you streaming options throughout the season. Even after reading that, though, you may still be left wondering who are some pitchers to give you an advantage in head-to-head points leagues? Well, you know I’ve got you covered.

Last season, I wrote an article explaining that the secret to winning this format was to have pitchers that will eat up a ton of innings. The simple logic being that in standard point leagues, a pitcher gets a point for every out. While you still want to target pitchers that can miss bats (plus 0.5 per strikeout) and not give up a lot of hits or runs (negative points), starters that rack up innings will usually finish near the top of the pitcher leaderboard. In 2016, the Top 9 scoring pitchers topped 200 innings, while 18 of the Top 20 starting pitchers topped 190 innings, with the two lone expectations being Clayton Kershaw (149 innings) and Noah Syndergaard (183.2 innings). So as you can see, unless a pitcher has elite talent, they need to throw plenty of innings to finish as a top scorer.

In 2015, there were a number of pitchers that vastly outscored the top hitter. That number greatly shrunk this season, as just Max Scherzer and his 708 Fantasy points outscored the top hitter, Mookie Betts, who finished with 651 Fantasy points in standard head-to-head leagues. If you want to drop down to Mike Trout, the second-highest scoring hitter with 625.5 Fantasy points, then there was an additional four pitchers that matched or topped his point total. Those four are: Rick Porcello (659.5), Justin Verlander (645), Madison Bumgarner (631.5) and Jon Lester (625.5).

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