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A little more than two years ago, my beautiful wife and I had our first child. Once I became a dad, I had to learn how to manage certain situations. Changing diapers, feeding schedules, waking up at all hours of the night were all new to me and I had to develop certain strategies to be successful. 

After developing these tactics to survive being new parents, my wife and I found out we were having twins. That is correct, we were about to have three children under two years old. It is safe to say, we had to become strategic whizzes to manage all these babies. Cut to today, everything is great and I love my girls more than anything in this universe.

Now that I have established that I am a tactical genius, allow me to talk about my strategies for being successful in head-to-head (H2H) points leagues. 

Here are my five keys to success in H2H Points Leagues 

1. Players who stay positive day in and day out are gold.

What players can provide fantasy teams lots and lots of positive point days? The obvious answer is the best players but I’ll zoom in a little more than that. Players with good PlateIQ (low K% metrics, high BB% metrics), solid batting average, and shows the ability to get on base.

Sidebar, nothing drives me crazy more than when a player hits a home run but his point total for the day looks like he had one single. Okay, sidebar over. 

Squeezing points out of every day can prove to be very beneficial when trying to win your head-to-head matchup. Get ready to see the term “squeezing points” more than once in this breakdown. Over the years playing in points leagues, I found that layering your lineup with good on-base metrics and lower K-rates can help stay consistent. Volatility is for the birds. 

Here are three players that are good fits for this kind of strategy:

Name

Team AVG OBP K/BB wRC+

Yuli Gurriel

Houston Astros .319 .383 0.87 134
Adam Frazier Seattle Mariners .305 .368 0.70

114

Michael Brantley Houston Astros .311 .362 0.62

123

2. Do not get attached to any starting pitcher.

Having success in head-to-head points leagues comes down to one fundamental truth. And it seems too obvious to even state but I will anyway. Team builders who consistently score the most points will typically win more matchups and take home more championships. Starting pitchers play a massive role in accruing the most points possible. But the cruel joke is that starting pitchers are also the most volatile asset any points league team builder will hold. 

Injuries, skipped starts, pushed back starts and the fact that they may only get one chance to contribute to your matchup are all reasons why the give and take from starters is a wonderful roller coaster in points leagues.

Even your ace can and should be moved if it means adding to your chance to consistently score more points. An example being your SP1 lands on the IL. Reports surface that upon his return he will be handled delicately as his pitch count returns to normal. You are starting at a stretch of matchups that you have to win. Trade that starting pitcher and tier down to someone’s SP2/3 and get a solid bat. Maybe a guy listed earlier and keep those points totals up. 

3. Embrace closing pitchers.

Attacking high-end closers early and often has become trendy this year. Not in points leagues but in roto leagues. Some saw tremendous success in 2021 having reliable fantasy relievers. In head-to-head points leagues, this can be a great strategy as well. 

This tactic does depend on the league’s scoring but in the systems that award five points for saves (the way it should be) closers can be rockstars. Unlike starters, relief pitchers can make three or maybe even four appearances. The best closers in fantasy can also provide what I call, “super saves.” That is when they go more than one inning and lock down the save.

If you leave your draft with a top-notch closer and stay active (a topic that will come up again in a minute) on players that grow into the role, you may find your lineup producing at high levels. I really like using this strategy in deep leagues. 

The Golden Pony Fantasy Baseball Experience is a 14 team points league and this has worked for me in the past. When the waiver wire is thin and you can’t stream (another topic that will come up soon) as effectively, having multiple relievers will boost your team’s output. 

4. Stream, stream, stream…then stream some more.

Before you jump to conclusions, this is not an attempt to kiss up to the boss. Streaming is a fan-tastic way to squeeze the most points out of your head-to-head matchup. Start streaming immediately too. I like to draft a super low-end Opening Day starter late in drafts that I can immediately release to scoop another starter. Streaming is great and it is one of the only true strategies that the team builder themselves can help win in fantasy baseball.

Steaming comes with tremendous responsibility. Yes, starting pitchers can provide big-time scores but they can also get rocked. Getting rocked is going to leave your team with a big negative number. And what did I say earlier? Minimize the negative days. Listen to those in the fantasy baseball community that have a bevy of knowledge. Cough, cough SPStreamer himself, Michael Simione. 

One method I like to use is weekly mapping. I’ll take some time to look through the week’s matchups and take note of the matchups I would like to exploit. Then I try to map out where I could grab streamers from. If things go the way it was predicted then team builders can maximize their point totals. Squeeze every drop of them weekly points baby.

5. Be active early!

Have faith in your draft process but leave yourself some flexibility to add and drop early. Adding talent early in the season can propel your overall production. Not only in the short term but in some cases that output can continue throughout the season. 

Of course, you’ll have cases like Yermin Mercedes (204 wRC+ in April) that end up being a dud. But if you’re too gun shy then you will miss out on adding an impact player like Cedric Mullens (150 wRC+ in April, 136 wRC+ on the season). Scared money don’t make money.

Leave a roster spot or two open for turnover in the early portion of the season. As long as the players being dropped aren’t top draft selections the high amount of transactions can lead to fantasy goodness. Streamers can become pitchers worth holding, benchwarmers can become consistent starters. Especially in the first couple of months of the campaign. Points leagues are so great because effort from the team builder can lead to a more successful season.

Conclusion

Points leagues are great. In my opinion, they are the most fun representation of fantasy baseball.  But being good does not come easy. There are many tactical and strategic methods that can result in your success. I hope my five keys to success in H2H Points Leagues help you get those chips with the dip. 

Follow me on Twitter: @MattyKiwoom

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Matty Kiwoom

Matty Kiwoom

My name is Matt and I'm a sports-a-holic. *pauses for warm welcome*

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