I think you are right and that is part of the problem. If you have a C rating, it seems to be VERY sticky. If you play only at level, even if you crush it at level. A 3.0 on my 3.5 team had a stellar 2016, played 53 matches, lost only 8 matches total including wins at districts and sectionals ... did not get bumped, but had only played at level. This year, she is only playing "up" and I am certain she will get the 3.5C rating. It makes no sense that if you want to go up to the next level that you seemingly have to play up, thus diluting the entire rating system in the process. To get more favorable pairings ... captain. I think that was a good move on my part. I have a favorite partner, we play like soulmates, it is absolute poetry, otherwise I play with people who are weakest on the team and we have fun and figure out how to win or come close. On TLS, you need at least 3 matches per league for it to calculate anything, and it seems to scrape data weeks before it does an update so a lot of matches just aren't there.