DFS Primer: Injuries and Batting Order
March 31, 2016 | Jason Bales
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Welcome to Spring Training, rookie! This article is intended for novice daily fantasy baseball players. If this does not describe you, this article will probably not be very useful. The information presented throughout this series may be rather obvious for the experienced fantasy player, but, again, this is not the target audience. If you are experienced, feel free to read through this article as a refresher prior to that start of the season, or to hear some opposing opinions regarding previously held game strategy. Now, let’s get you in shape for this fantasy season!
Picture this: Giancarlo Stanton gets hit in the face with a baseball, breaks his face, and is out for the entire season! How unlikely, right? Anyway, how important is it to know who the guy that is going to replace Stanton is? Should he get fantasy consideration? On top of that, how important is it that he hits at the top of the lineup? These are the questions that are going to be tackled today.
How important are injuries and batting order?
Okay, so Giancarlo Stanton is out for the season with a broken face. That is a killer in season long fantasy baseball. However, it is an opportunity in daily fantasy baseball. The great thing about DFS, or daily fantasy sports, is that you don’t have to play Stanton if he gets hurt. Your roster changes every single day. So, should we focus on that minor leaguer that just got called up to replace him? Well, it depends. DraftKings tends to underprice players that get the spot start due to an injury, especially if that injury occurs after pricing is already out (like the day of). If this is the case, yes. Also, if stacking the Miami Marlins is something of interest, make sure to get that spot starter in because he will open up salary cap room for other big name pitchers. Overall, injuries can be very beneficial in DFS. So, when Giancarlo Stanton breaks his hand, you can always play on DraftKings or FanDuel, but what are the odds? As far as batting order goes, it is definitely important. The leadoff hitter, for the most part, is going to see more at-bats per game than the hitters at the bottom of the order. He will also generally have bases open for stealing. He will not, however, get many RBIs. That will come from the three or four spot hitter. The three spot hitter is generally the best overall hitter on the team, while the four spot hitter has the most power. They call the four spot hitter the cleanup hitter. Remember, baseball is very unpredictable. The bottom of the order can hit just as well, or better, than the top of the order on any given day. However, the top of the order will be given more opportunities per game to hit well. All in all, use players toward the top of the lineup more frequently.
Injuries can lead to opportunity, just like in other daily sports. Opportunity, however, doesn’t always directly translate to production the way you could expect it to in basketball. That being said, injuries open up value, so if an injury replacement is in a good situation, he’s worth considering. Lineup spot definitely matters, too. Guys hitting at the top of the lineup will see more at-bats than the end of the lineup. Hitters can’t score points if they don’t get at-bats. You will want to focus on batting order spots 1-4. Generally the first two spots in the order will get you hits, runs scored, and stolen bases, while the 3 and 4 hitters are more likely to supply power numbers.
Injuries and batting order are two of the most important aspects to daily fantasy baseball in my opinion. I absolutely love taking that $2k second baseman who is enjoying a spot start and hitting second in the lineup. That’s just an example, and you can use any cheap guys that are hitting high in the lineup. If they get an extra at-bat, that is extremely valuable, as there is at least a chance that they could hit a home run or at least reach base. Injuries are also very important to watch because that is when some of these $2k priced guys get their opportunity, and you’ll want to jump on that before their price shoots up.