Fantasy Baseball: Rotisserie vs. Head-to-Head Competition

Two primary forms of competition exist in the world of fantasy baseball. Leagues have the opportunity to use either a rotisserie (roto) or head-to-head format.

Scoring in both roto and head-to-head leagues is based on points earned by a team. These points are scored through player production in specific baseball categories. League standings reflect how well each team is performing.

However, there are some sharp contrasts between the roto and head-to-head styles. One such difference is how earned points are accumulated and credited to teams. Another distinction is the method each type uses for determining a league champion.

When picking one of these formats, leagues should have a solid understanding of each. Failing to do so can lead to quick failure during the season by some team owners. The following paragraphs contain a summary and explanation for both the roto and head-to-head style of fantasy baseball.

Roto Overview
Points are earned based on a team’s season ranking in each statistical category used. Generally there are ten of these categories in a roto league, including feats such as home runs and pitcher victories. The best performance in a category earns all available points for it; each team below that earns one less point than the team above.

For example, an owner with the most home runs in a 12-team league earns 12 points. The team with the next highest home run total earns 11 points and that pattern continues down to 1 point for the lowest amount. This point format is done the same way for each category.

Points earned from these categories are then added up to determine league standings. In the hypothetical situation above, 120 total points could be earned (12 teams x 10 categories). Although reaching 120 would be unlikely, the owner getting closest to it holds first place in that particular league.

The Roto format does not use a playoff system for determining league champions. Once a fantasy baseball season ends, the standings at that moment are considered the final league results. A team owner in first place at that point is the league champion.

Head-to-Head Overview
In the head-to-head format, one team spends a week competing against another. Typically ten categories are used in the head-to-head style as well. The team leading a category at week’s end wins that category and the trailing owner gets a loss for it.

An example of this could be one team finishing the week with six pitcher victories and an opponent only having four. In that case, the six pitcher victories would earn a category win while the four would leave that team with a loss there. The week’s final results are added to each team’s overall season total of wins and losses.

As a new week begins, all category totals are reset and two different teams play, each with a clean point slate. This pattern continues on every week until the designated end of a fantasy season. When the final day of the fantasy season is over, teams with the best overall records finish highest in league standings.

Unlike roto leagues, the head-to-head format utilizes a playoff system to determine a season champion. Generally the best six teams participate in playoffs, but this varies depending upon league size and preferences. The playoffs are usually a bracket style tournament and the last team standing is named league champion.