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Fantrax H2H Points League Primer for Fantasy Baseball Drafts

ian anderson fantasy baseball rankings pitchers draft sleepers MLB injury news

Points-league players are often overlooked in the fantasy baseball draft world. Rankings for roto leagues do not match up and one-size-fits-all points rankings aren't much better since every site has unique scoring settings.

So here I am, taking the baton from RotoBaller's own points league guru, Nicklaus Gaut, and advancing toward new horizons. Those horizons go by the name of Fantrax.

In the fantastic world of Fantrax Points Baseball you must know one and one thing only (maybe some more, but you get where I come from): pitching Ws and Quality Starts are all you care about. That's it. Thank me later.

 

Fantrax H2H Points Standard League Overview

League Size: Maximum of 12 teams per league

Hitting Roster: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, UT

Pitching Roster: Nine Pitchers, open designation

Standard Scoring:

Hitter Event Points Pitcher Event Points
AB 0 IP 1
H 0 W 10
1B 1 L -5
2B 2 SV 7
3B 3 K 1
HR 4 ER -1
R 1 HA 0
RBI 1 BB 0
SB 2 QS 3
CS 0
K 0
BB 1
HBP 1

Hitter Scoring Notes

  • Fantrax doesn't deviate a lot from other platforms when it comes to AB/hits/runs for position players. Only the weirdos over Yahoo do that, so leave them alone.
  • That said, Frantrax (and CBS) puts a premium on Stolen Bases (+2) compared to ESPN (+1). Don't go absolutely crazy chasing Adalberto Mondesi, but keep in mind that he has some higher value here than other platforms. Yes, even CBS: Fantrax does not penalize players for getting Caught Stealing bases, which renders that statistic null and gives you a reprieve in assessing how it'd impact hitters' value.
  • No strikeout penalty for hitters, which is noice for power. Shout out Joey Gallo, who has an average projected rank of 61 among hitters for next year in four platforms combined (ESPN/CBS/Fantrax/NFBC) but is projected to a top-30 in Fantrax purely because of the non-factor Ks.
  • A tiny peripheral bonus in Fantrax and CBS is that both platforms award a full point for every Hit By Pitch. Nothing incredibly remarkable, but still a nice wrinkle knowing studies have proved HBP to be player-driven by their skill sets. I wouldn't advise relying on HBP a lot because of its capped ceiling – nobody is getting rocked 20+ times a year.

If anything is important in point leagues, well, that's not the name of the player but rather his game and how it translates to the scoring system in place. Speedsters in a format that just awards one point per base stolen? Not great. Same player on a 2+ point-per-steal? Fantastic value. And so on.

The most important wrinkle about Fantrax is the non-factor hitter strikeouts. That's correct, no penalties for whiffing in the FTX! Yessir! I already told you above about Gallo's case (from top-60 average projection in all formats to top-30 in Fantrax) but there are a lot more players that benefit a ton from this little thing on Fantrax. To wit: the average K projection in all platforms for top-36 players comes out at 127 K over the year; in Fantrax, the top-36 players overall project to a higher 133 K, because... FREE WHIFFING!

As it happens with CBS scoring system, Fantrax (+2 per every SB) also benefits true speedsters that are ranked a bit higher by ATC projections (translating stats to fantasy points, that is). This thing about stealing bases has the following impact (looking at ATC's latest projections run at the time of this writing): the top-36 players in Fantrax have an average projection of 10.4 SB/3.2 CS; the same cohort in ESPN averages 8.6/2.8, and the CBS averages are at 10.3/3.3. This speaks more about not overvaluing the negative impact of CS in CBS than getting crazy about it not having an impact in Fantrax.

 

Pitcher Scoring Notes

  • As crazy as it sounds, Fantrax awards +10 points per W. That's correct, and no other platform comes even close with Yahoo handing the second-largest mark (+8).
  • Not only does have Fantrax the largest W bonus, but it also has a reasonable/average negative penalty (-5) per L. Saves are similarly average-ish at +7, like in most other platforms. As always, SP > RP in Fantrax.
  • Don't worry a lot about losses. Pitchers need to drop two games to nullify a W in their total FP tally. Chase goodness no matter the L projection, as even if it is up a tick it won't have that large of an impact in your Fantrax squad.
  • Bulky workloads are not going to do it for you in Fantrax, as Innings Pitched are only valued at +1 per, the lowest number among all major fantasy platforms. On the other hand, Fantrax has the softest negative impact on ER/HA/BB taking only one full point (-1) per ER with no subtraction of points at all on the walks/hits fronts.
  • CBS and Fantrax are the only two platforms giving points per Quality Starts (+3). In case you don't know, QS are based more on pitchers' performance than just the whole baseball team putting on an effort (which is something Ws depend on heavily). A QS means a pitcher got to pitch at least six innings with no more than three earned runs. No goodies for RP here, folks, just in case the name of the stat alone didn't make it obvious.
  • Now, for data: 213 pitchers got at least one QS last year. The average tally was 7.5 QS per player, ranging from 27 (most) to 1 (fewest). That's no joke, considering the +3 bonus (in the case of Walker Buehler, the 27 QS gave him a monster 81 extra FP over the year). QS correlate best with K, W, HA, BB, and around 81% of wins went for QS last year.

 

Hitting Strategy for Fantrax H2H Point Leagues

It's all about hunting bargains by taking advantage of your competition improperly valuing players. In Fantrax we have one of the most unique combinations in terms of statistical categories awarding and subtracting points from hitters: +1 per BB and +1 per HBP, but no penalty per K. That's fantastic because it goes against the main strategy in most points leagues: chasing hitters with above-average eye and BB/K rates. So don't hesitate and go get some high-K% players without much concern, as the benefits (hit chasing) are probably going to end benefitting you more than hurting your fantasy tallies.

Also, don't forget those tasty Stolen Bases! We're not talking Yahoo-level bargains (4.2 per SB in Yahoo leagues) but the +2 per SB in Fantrax are good enough by themselves to bump speedsters up a bit in Fantrax leagues. Factor in the fact that CS are not penalized in Fantrax, and you get another great combination of stats to bundle-chase right there.

Let's take a look at some potential bargains and busts for Fantrax considering how the platform is structured in terms of points awarded and subtracted at each category, so things get a bit easier to understand.

 

Hitters Boosted and Penalized in Fantrax H2H Point Leagues

Fantrax Boosted Hitters

Jazz Chisholm Jr., 2B, MIA

I had an internal debate about whether to write about Jazz or Adalberto Mondesi (fourth-largest boost in Fantrax) but ultimately opted to go with the former as he has the absolute-largest boost in the platform (check the CBS primer to read more about Mondesi). That's because Chisholm is the preternatural player for Fantrax fantasy baseball: ATC projects him to 23 SB (eighth-most), 7 CS (second-most) that have no impact on his FP outcome, and a ridiculous 162 K (13th-most) that also don't remove points in Fantrax. Chisholm doesn't project to rank better than a top-115 player in any platform other than Fantrax where he's expected to be a top-90 player. It happens to most BB/K stinkers, so it happens to Jazz (0.27 walk-to-strikeout ratio).

Joey Gallo, OF, NYY

The other clear group of boosted players is that of power hitters and three-true-outcomes baseballers. Enter Joey Gallo, he of the 38 HR projection and 208 (!!!) strikeouts per ATC numbers. I don't think I need to tell you Kallo is clearly the leader in that strikeout column with Matt Chapman clocking in second already 27 below the Yankee. Sheesh. But we're talking Fantrax fantasy scoring, so fear no whiffs! Gallo comes with an extraordinary projection of 97 BB and some 7 HBP to spare – the fourth-highest combination among all position players. Of course, the nonexistent negative impact of K is the only thing making possible a top-30 projection in Fantrax while he doesn't get past the top-55 in all other major platforms (barely a top-100 player in ESPN, just imagine!)

Javier Baez, SS, DET

Baez is pretty much a tweener between Gallo and Chisholm (read above). He's an absolute disaster when it comes to his walk-to-strikeout ratio (0.16) but he can steal some bases here and there (projection of 16 SB through the 2022 campaign). He is expected to hit 27 homers in Detroit's field and away from it, but also to K as many as 176 (!) times... while only walking in 28 of his PA. Jesus Christ. That'd probably have Baez buried down the ADP leaderboards and season-end rank projections of most platforms, but not in Fantrax. Even though BB hand a +1 FP per, the most important thing to consider here, remember, is the fact that Ks are a non-factor for fantasy purposes. That alone makes Baez a viable play and much more than that: he has an average projected finish of top-82 in all major platforms, but that gets boosted to a top-60 finish in Fantrax. Tasty.

Fantrax Penalized Hitters

Keibert Ruiz, C, WAS

The impact Fantrax's scoring system has on Keibert Ruiz's projected ranking is absolutely insane. The Nationals C1 loses 32 (!) positions compared to his average ranking in all platforms, and the reasons are quite clear. Ruiz projects to low home-run totals (15), walks (29), and has no SB in his projected line at all. Ruiz also starts to show why phenomenal real-life eye-hitters are not that valuable in Fantrax fantasy. Ruiz, who has a top-tier 0.60 BB/K ratio (29 walks to just 48 strikeouts) and an OBP of .328 (wOBA at .333), just doesn't get anything substantial from it in this platform. Remember: it's better to be a little bit wild at the plate than conservative and visceral when it comes to hitting – at least in the FTX game.

Anthony Rendon, 3B, LAA

Fading Rendon is just not going to happen. That'd make no sense. Even though he gets bumped 16 spots down in the Fantrax ranking compared to his all-platforms average, you still gotta go and roster Rendon. That said, temper your expectations in the FTX scoring system, as it feels like it was created to hurt Rendon's all-world talents. A-Ren projects to top-of-the-order stats in walks (69), strikeouts (low 87), OBP (.366), and OPS (.842). All things considered, he should finish 2022 with a WAR figure above 4.0. That's a player you want, need, to build around, right? Wrong – you lost track of what we're talking about here, which is Fantrax baseball. In the FTX all of that stuff doesn't add up to a lot of fantasy goodness. The HR aren't bad at 23, but that's pretty much it along with the high walk rate. The 0.79 BB/K ratio? Great for real-lifers, sadly an afterthought for Fantrax GMs.

Ketel Marte, 2B, ARI

The thing about Fantrax is that everything counts for something positive and nothing counts for anything negative, not even striking out. So what do we chase? Whatever counting stat we can, as we lose nothing even if those numbers come at the expense of heavy K figures. That's precisely the opposite of what Marte is expected to do while heavily manning the D-Backs' second base. Marte is one of only 55 players projected to 600+ PA next season, which is great! The problem is that his HR projection is not great at 22 while his BB/K ratio is very good (0.53) thanks to... a low-but-useless 90 K and a good-not-great 48 total walks. Sprinkle in a measly 5 SB and all of the good that you find in the .293/.352/.490 goes down quickly: Marte moves from a top-40 average finish in all platforms to a much lower top-55 in Fantrax.

 

Pitching Strategy for Fantrax H2H Point Leagues

Fantrax comes with an open designation when it comes to pitchers to put in the lineup. GMs rejoice, mostly because Ws come at a premium (+10) compared to Saves (+7). Of course, relievers get more shots at saving games than starters at winning them, but even then I'm pretty pleased not overpaying for those potential saves.

At the end of the day, ATC projects 19 RP to get 20+ saves over the year while there are 33 top-notch SP (11+ Ws). The average fantasy points both groups would get is separated by around 60 FP over the year, and that's not counting the QS that would also count for the starting group of pitchers (an average of 15 as projections have it for that 33-player cohort) and that would pretty much bridge the gap.

The only two viable RP to chase early in Fantrax drafts (and CBS draft too, as they operate on a very similar structure) might be Josh Hader and Liam Hendricks. Outside of them, though, and if they're gone super early, you can flip those names for the ones of Raisel Iglesias and Aroldis Chapman if you want to secure at least one super-RP. Don't throw draft capital around really early on any other RP (Ryan Pressly, Edwin Diaz, and Will Smith should go next, but there is a sizable gap in projected FP between the Hader/Hendriks pair and this group of three).

Let's take a look at some potential bargains and busts for Fantrax considering how the platform is structured in terms of points awarded and subtracted at each category, so things get a bit easier to understand.

 

Pitchers Boosted and Penalized in Fantrax H2H Point Leagues

Fantrax Boosted Pitchers

Ian Anderson, SP, ATL

Similar to what happens with hitters, pitchers get a boost (or rather, don't get penalized) in a bunch of categories without having to pay attention to others that might hurt them – hits and walks allowed are not factored into fantasy point tallies while ER are only worth a  minus-1 point hit. Ian Anderson poses an interesting case, as he has the highest boost among all pitchers (SP and RP) with ADPs of 200 tops. He gets a 10-position bump up in Fantrax compared to all other platforms, helping him break the top-55 pitchers in the FTX. Even though he "only" projects to 11 QS and 10 W through the year, given the low value of IP (+1) he doesn't get hit hard on that front (he projects to 155 IP compared to other studs getting 175+). He also projects to a massive 67 BB (second-most in the group) and to 137 HA; good for him none of those two things factor into his fantasy score! The lower-side L projection (7) wouldn't take a lot of value off him, and the 69 ER projection isn't that bad as to kill his upside. Thus, a bargain still available late.

Framber Valdez, SP, HOU

Valdez is much closer to what you'd picture when you think about the Fantrax scoring system for pitchers. He projects to a ton of IP (171), W (12), and QS (15) while he has a depressed L-projection of just 8 over the full 2022 season. Moving onto a finer level of statistical detail, one thing is clear: Framber Valdez sucks when it comes to his K/BB rate (2.37) but it's not that we care! Not in the FTX! I'd like the strikeouts to be a bit higher but one can't have it all, I guess. The good thing is that even though the HA are mightily high at 154, the ER are kind of under control (70). All things considered, Valdez gets a +8 position bump in the Fantrax projected rank of pitchers clocking in at SP25 while he doesn't get past a top-30 finish (average in all platforms is top-35) in none of the other main points-league platforms.

Fantrax Penalized Pitchers

Giovanny Gallegos, RP, STL

With Fantrax undervaluing Saves compared to Wins (+7 to +10) and K valued at just +1 FP, relievers are clearly the most heavily-hit type of pitcher in the platform unless they steadily put up shutdown SV pretty much striking out every living soul off the plate. That's why among pitchers with an ADP <200, of the top-20 players hit hardest by Fantrax scoring system 18 (!) of them are all RP – just because I love you, the two starters are Shane Baz and Chris Sale.

Our boy Giovanny is one of four RP hit with a penalty that amounts to a 14+ hit in the Fantrax pitcher ranks, going from an average finish of top-60 pitcher (no matter SP or RP) to a much lower top-75 in the FTX. Ugh. That's because Gallegos was born to get murdered in this platform. He has a reasonably good SV projection (22) and an above-average K/BB ratio, but that's not going to help him in this fantasy world of sorts. The 1.04 WHIP can't get much better in real life, but those two cats count for nothing in Fantrax. Cold world, mate.

Chris Sale, SP, BOS

First of all, you must remember he is expected to miss almost a month of play before he comes back from his most recent injury. Even then, though, Sale projects to 19 starts and should be considered the bonafide SP1 of the Sox, and at the end of the day, IP only count for +1 FP in Fantrax so he won't lose much ground because of that. The strikeouts are projected to pile up as Sale is expected to log a great 11.0 K/9, and he's also projected by ATC to an impressive 2.5 BB/9. All in all, that's a 4.41 K/BB ratio that would rank inside the top-10 marks from SP with ADP <200 as I'm writing this. Problem: Sale's projection also includes 41 ER (great!) but a super-low 7 QS (horrid!) over the year. As I have written above in other players' breakdowns, Fantrax is the prime platform to chase goodness and fade badness. In other words, go grab the players with the highest playing time and the wildest/fiercest approach to hitting and pitching without caring that much about negatives.



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