Head to Head

Fantasy Football Definition of "Head to Head"

A "head to head" schedule is the most common way to pit teams against one another in a fantasy football league, because head-to-head scheduling most closely mirror the NFL weekly schedule. In a head-to-head fantasy football league, each week you play against one other opponent. Whoever wins gets another win in the win column, while the loser gets another loss in the loss column.

There are other ways to set up your fantasy football league and there may be, in fact, fairer ways to determine the champion than head-to-head competition. That's because, unlike real football, you have no control over how much your opponent scores. You can't send your defense out to shut down the other team's offense or knock their quarterback out of the game. All you can do is try to outscore them. That being said, head-to-head showdowns are more dramatic and entertaining than more equitable formats, so h-to-h fantasy football is the most common.

How Head-to-Head Works

Head-to-Head fantasy football usually requires both opponents to field a starting lineup. These lineups are usually broken down into positions, usually mirroring the standard NFL football offensive skill positions. You'll field a team with a quarterback and running backs and receivers and maybe a tight end. Also, you're likely to add in a field goal kicker and a team defense or, less likely, individual defensive players (called by the redundant term "IDP players"). Both squads will be the exact same size, and both squads will try to accumulate fantasy football points by gaining more NFL football stats. Each fantasy football league will have a formula by which fantasy points are gained, called a scoring system. Whoever totals the most points for the week gets the win.

Head-to-Head and the Standings

Like the NFL, head-to-head fantasy leagues determine playoff spots by who has better won-lost records throughout the regular season. There are other ways to determine playoff spots, such as cumulative head-to-head, where you play every single team every week and get a win or loss depending on how you do against each heads-up (therefore, in a 12-team league, playing 11 head-to-head match-ups every week).

Other leagues don't think the versus format is fair, due to the deviations in PA totals, so they prefer to have the fantasy competition be determined by overall points accumulated throughout the year. This definitely shows who built the best team over the course of a year, because you have total control over the outcome each week. At the same time, it's far less compelling, because only a handful of teams are in the running for the league title after a few weeks, because a couple of injuries or a couple of bad weeks affect your overall chances far more. In a head-to-head league, you can start slow, build up your team through free agency and trades, and maybe have one or two of your deep sleepers come on late in the season, eventually fielding the best team by the end of the year, while not having the most consistent production throughout the head-to-head schedule.

That's sort of the way it is in the NFL, which is why fantasy footballers like the head-to-head schedule so much.

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