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(Re)Introducing Custom Point Rankings for Head-to-Head Leagues

The greatest trick that rotisserie baseball ever played was convincing the world that point players don't exist. Sounds melodramatic but an overwhelming majority of the quality fantasy baseball content available is geared towards classic roto leagues even though the share of people that play H2H points on ESPN, Yahoo, CBS, and Fantrax is large and continues to grow. And even if and when you do find content, what are the chances that it'll accurately reflect the myriad of scoring options that your league might have and give actionable advice for your specific league settings? I won't say 0% but it's roughly the equivalent of spinning the chamber and shouting, "Whee-eee!"

No longer, friends. You're safe now. I know you're hesitant; you've been hurt so many times before - so have I. But whether you're a new player, old player, or just a janitor who's secretly a mathematical genius, I'm here to tell you that it's not your fault. Took Ronald Acuna Jr. first overall in a league that penalizes strikeouts? It's not your fault. Your dynasty team on Yahoo is wrecked because they've massively changed their standard scoring settings twice in the past three seasons? It's not your fault. None of that stuff is on you and none of it is your fault. Look me in the eyes, fellow pointers... It's not your fault! Now bring it in and just let it all out.

Okay, everyone better? Good. Let's dry our eyes and get to work because therapy is over and those dark days are past. The RotoBaller Custom Rankings Service is here for both Points Leagues and Category Leagues (H2H or Roto) and we won't let them hurt you anymore. For a more in-depth review of our custom rankings, check out our Custom Rankings User Guide. An MLB premium subscription is required to use this service. 

Featured Promo: Get your 2023 MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our preseason Draft Kit, #1 accuracy rankings, #1 ATC projections, Team Sync platform, Live Draft Assistant, 15 in-season lineup tools, customized rankings and much more! Sign Up Now!


Custom Head-To-Head Points League Rankings

The days of relying on basic cheat sheets and rankings that don't align with your league's settings are over. To get the biggest advantage in your H2H Points league, you need values precisely machined to your league. To steal an analogy from Scott "The King" Engel (who, in case you missed it, is currently nominated for the 2021 FSWA Baseball Writer of the Year), does Fernando Tatis Jr. buy a glove and bat off the rack? No, he doesn't and neither should you. Think of these custom point ranks as having a high-end baseball glove or bat designed for you by the very best manufacturers with input from top Major League Baseball players to suit their needs.

This service is free for RotoBaller Premium Season Pass subscribers (enter promo code NOTBURT at checkout for an additional discount).

The easy part is getting your league information to our experts, who will then review all the parameters in detail before getting started on the assembly process. You just have to fill out a simple questionnaire that asks you to include weighted values for all of the key statistical categories in your league and enter in notes on any additional categorical items that may be needed to calculate your ranks. Review and submit your request, and then the RotoBaller team gets to work on constructing the perfect set of rankings for your draft.


The Process: The RotoBaller Team Goes to Work For You

The process is simple for the user because our experts do all of the hard work to provide a tailored set of rankings designed exactly for your league specifications.

There are just three simple steps to Points dominance:

  • Step 1: Fill out our questionnaire in 1 minute with your league settings
  • Step 2: Rewatch "Goodwill Hunting" while waiting to receive your own custom points league rankings
  • Step 3: Profit

Once we have your information, our magical point elves go to work, calculating the total projected points for all players, the replacement levels at each position, and the projected PAR (Points Above Replacement) for every player. Using a z-score based methodology, the PAR is converted to the dollar values that ultimately drive the ranks.

That's all it takes because within 48 hours you'll have custom ranks that are formatted for ease of use and delivered right to your inbox.


Behind the Scenes: The Making of Your Custom Head-to-Head Rankings

We know you may have (understandable!) trust issues, so as the man behind the curtain, allow me to pull it back some and go behind the scenes of the RotoBaller Custom Head-to-Head Rankings Factory so you see some of what goes into the actual, thorough process of creating a set of rankings just for you.

Everything starts with the projections and our H2H rankings machine only runs on premium fuel. This is why our custom ranks in 2022 are powered by the award-winning ATC projections from RotoBaller's own, Ariel Cohen.

Since debuting, Ariel's "Average Total Cost" projections are one of the industry's best, year-in and year-out. And I personally believe that the way they are produced makes them particularly suited for the advantages we're trying to press with the custom ranks. ATC is an aggregated projection system that uses different weighted averages from other projection systems (Steamer, The BATx, etc), setting the weights according to historical performances from the systems used. In other words, it's a "smart" average of the systems, accounting for which system does best projecting each individual statistic and weighting the average accordingly.

Other systems might beat ATC in a given year but I'm a firm believer that Ariel's method is so sound that it's (almost necessarily) always going to be one of the best available. Or, in fantasy terms, ATC's floor is incredibly high. Will Juan Soto be the number-one hitter in 2022? I don't know but I'd be pretty confident in betting on top-five. That's about how I feel about ATC.

ATC's high floor is particularly important for these custom point ranks. Putting projection systems aside, just the act of turning projected points into dollar-based values that account for your league's particular rosters and replacement levels is enough to give you a monster advantage in your valuations compared to someone doing otherwise. I don't care what projection system you use and it can't be overstated; using properly calculated dollar values is an overwhelming difference. Full stop.

With that big of an advantage already, we don't want any of it to get siphoned away because another projection system (say, BAT X, for example) has an off year, for whatever reason. Don't take that as a knock against Derek Carty; his projections are excellent and continue to get better every year - which is exactly why ATC incorporates them! But the "smart-average" underpinnings of ATC will just generally make it really, really hard to have a no-good, rotten year of projections. And this low-risk/high-ceiling profile makes it the perfect pairing for the hammer of our valuation system.


Turning Points Into PAR, Spinning PAR Into Gold

Championship gold, that is. With ATC projections in hand, it's time to turn all of those players into the dollar values that will give you the most comprehensive understanding of how each individual is projected to perform in 2022.

ATC projections are first converted into projected points using the specific score settings from your league but how many points a player will score is only half the story. We also need to know how valuable those points are compared to the rest of the player pool. This is accomplished by finding the player's "points above replacement", or PAR, which is calculated by using your league's size and roster limits to determine which players at each position are projected to be starter-worthy (above-replacement) or waiver-wire fodder (below-replacement). And with PAR in hand, we can then calculate the dollar values that put a player's projected worth into a more familiar form.

To better picture how this concept works, let's imagine a 12-team league in which each team starts two outfielders and two infielders, with no bench. Let's say that under this league's scoring system, both Juan Soto and Trea Turner are projected to score 500 points, which is tied for first in the league.

So, who is more valuable?*

*Sidebar:  Just by asking this question, you're likely already way ahead of many of your opponents, most of whom will be using total points as their primary source of valuation. Again, the edge you'll gain from this cannot be understated.

To answer that question, we need more than the projected points of Soto and Turner, we also need to know how the quality of the rest of the player pool at their respective positions. In our hypothetical league, there are 24 "starting" outfielders (12 teams x 2 OF) and 24 "starting" infielders (12 teams x 2 IF). This means that the 25th-highest scoring outfielder and infielder will function as each position's "replacement-level player" - that is, the best of those players who aren't good enough to be a starter. Continuing the example, let's say that Eddie Rosario and Dansby Swanson are our replacement players, with Rosario being projected for 300 points and Swanson for 100 points.

Now we easily calculate PAR and compare. Soto would have a 200 PAR (his 500 points - 300 points of Rosario), while Turner would have a 400 PAR (his 500 points - 100 points of Swanson). With this extremely large discrepancy in PAR, Trea Turner would be an easy first choice.

The above hypothetical is very limited but these same concepts are expanded and will be applied to your particular league settings, with PAR being calculated for each individual player according to their position (or in case of multiple eligibilities, using their most valuable fantasy position according to the hierarchy of C > 2B > OF > 3B > 1B > SS). And once you have everyone's PAR scores, players can best be evaluated for all your fantasy needs.

But while PAR tells you how valuable a player is compared to his peers, it doesn't do so in a very user-friendly manner. Because PAR is just points and it's kind of hard to instinctively grasp the relative worth of a group of players in specific scoring environments when using just point totals. So, we need one final step. We'll skip the mathematical nitty-gritty but we put things on a more approachable scale, converting PAR into a dollar value structure that will feel more intuitive - once again use your specific league settings to calculate accurate values.

With points, PARs, and dollars calculated, we now have everything needed to build out your custom ranks and help you dominate your poor, unsuspecting league in 2022.


Arrival Day

After your custom rankings are meticulously created and reviewed, they will arrive in your inbox within 48 hours. Let's take a quick look at some of what you will get.

Each custom rankings set comes included with individual tabs for each position, as well as overall tabs for all hitters and pitchers. Along with the ATC projections in a number of categories, each tab includes the projected points for your league settings and the player's dollar value. Note that the values should not be used as straight auction values. These player values are the dollar value representations of projected points that have been adjusted for replacement and league size, not how much you should be bidding.

Also included are scoring rates (pts per PA/IP). These are most useful when comparing hitter to hitter, starter to starter, and reliever to reliever. They are the best way of judging a player's system scoring profile, that is, how a player's projected skill-set fits into your given scoring system. Scoring rates can help you find sleepers and values but also help you avoid landmines. Like knowing when there is a large gap between the public's perception of a popular player and how that player performs under your scoring system.

To help illustrate, here is a sample of the overall hitter ranks with ESPN standard scoring in a 12-team league:

Those ranking may look off if you've never played an ESPN standard league but therein lies the power of crafting values with specificity. Values will always be a result of the scoring system's totality but any quirks will often end up defining them. And ESPN has a couple.

For example, they only give one point per stolen base (most systems give at least two points) while subtracting one point per hitter strikeout. The strikeout rule will obviously change the value of high-K hitters but don't underestimate the passive value that low-K hitters will also accumulate. And only getting one point per stolen base will deflate a player's value not just compared to other systems but also to their perceived value in roto. Remember, many of your opponents will have a hard time separating a player's actual point value from the general reputation that they currently carry in the roto content community. This is something to be leveraged.

Consider the MVP level 2019 season of Ronald Acuna Jr., who slashed .280/.365/.518 with 41 HR - 127 R - 101 RBI - 37 SB. With that line, it was no surprise that he was a near-consensus #1 pick across all formats in 2020. But do you know what that elite line in 2019 got him under ESPN scoring? The 16th-highest point total. 16th! Why?

Because Acuna had a 26.3% K% and his 37 stolen bases were worth half as much as in most other systems, making the ESPN points version a completely different animal than what he was under other formats, whether roto or points. Acuna may have been a top-three pick for many in 2020 but not for anyone no one looking at his total value and per-PA scoring rates from the previous season. If that line didn't even rate him as a top-15 scorer, how could he possibly be worth a top-three pick the next season? Well, for those in the know, he wasn't.

Avoiding big misses is obviously important in any format and if it were easy, everyone would do it. But point-based systems allow you to see when there are more direct (and predictable) lines to these value bombs and with the right tools, you can more easily step around them. Luckily, your new custom ranks will give you those tools.


The Extras

We've also included a few extra ways to help with your preparation. Your  customized rankings now come included with:

Draft Results: Each set of rankings includes a "Draft Results" tab where you can enter draft picks as they happen. Information from the tab will then populate to every other sheet in your rankings set

Keeper Results: Custom rankings also include a "Keeper Results" tab where you can enter any league keepers. Like with the draft results, the keeper information when then populate across your rankings.

What If?: These columns allow you to input new plate-appearance projections and see how it affects overall point totals. This may seem contradictory after preaching above that points must be turned into PAR in order to get accurate values. This is still very true! But turning this product into one which had the ability to recalculate dollar value would require turning it into a whole other animal and one that would be large, complicated, and CPU-intensive.

However, changing projected points is relatively easy and can still be useful, IF used properly. So, along with your custom ranks, you'll also receive an expanded version of this article that goes over how to best use "What If?" as well as some other information of note.

Mystic Secrets: Finally, the aforementioned article included with your custom ranks will also go over the mystic secrets involved with properly valuing pitchers in a points-based system. Okay, so they're not that mystic but what they will do is give you insight into the most overlooked part of player evaluations for H2H points, as well as other tips and tricks for getting the most out of your custom ranks when preparing to draft.


Get Your Custom Rankings

Get your personal custom rankings for 2022 with this exclusive one-of-a-kind service for both Points Leagues and Category Leagues (H2H or Roto). You can sign up for the RotoBaller Fantasy Baseball Season Pass here, using promo code NOTBURT at checkout for an additional discount.

We know you've been long neglected, my point-playing brethren. You're given few tools and the ones that are offered are often the wrong ones, calibrated to doing jobs that don't fit what will actually work in your league. But no more, I say...No more.

Trust the process. Break your points league. Try not to be smug.

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