DFS Primer: Punting Is Not Just For Football
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!
Down. Set. Hut! Hut! Hike! No, this article is not about football. Punting in fantasy sports is choosing a low-priced option in order to get some high-priced options. This is generally seen as a risk. The backup catcher for the Minnesota Twins is definitely not the most exciting option on the board, but his price tag is low, and it allows me to get Bryce Harper. I’m going to ‘punt’ on him. Let’s dive a little deeper into the theory of punting.
What is the best position to punt? What is the worst?
Matt, as stated below, hits the nail on the head this time, which is surprising because he generally misses and hits his own finger. Just kidding, Matt! Anyway, the catcher position is the best position to punt without a doubt. This is very similar to the shooting guard position or tight end position in basketball or football. James Harden is the best shooting guard in the league. There are very few shooting guards that can do what we can do. After Harden, it is basically a bunch of moderately priced options that all could outscore one another. This is a generalization, but you get the point. The same is true of the tight end position. Rob Gronkowski is far and away the best. He is priced much higher than all other tight end options, and for good reason. If you are not going to take Gronk, it is wise to punt because the other options are all competing around the same level, disregarding Jordan Reed perhaps. Posey is baseball’s James Harden or Rob Gronkowski. He is by far the best hitting catcher in the league. All the other catchers are basically competing against each other, while Posey kicks back and relaxes as the best bar none (Kyle Schwarber may break that up this season). Point being, punt the catcher position unless you play Buster Posey. The same can be said of second base and shortstop, but it isn’t quite as top-heavy due to steals and such. The worst position to punt is obviously pitcher. When it comes to hitters, outfield isn’t the worst spot to punt because there are so many great hitters in the outfield. The position that is worst to punt would have to be first base. It is riddled with great hitters, but the drop off is tremendous. Spend up there!
It’s commonly accepted that catcher, shortstop, and second base are the safest positions to punt. Traditionally those are defense-first positions and as a result, those are generally the lowest scoring positions in fantasy. Of those three positions, I’m most likely to punt catcher because I feel I can still get good value from the position since catchers don’t play every day. There are usually loads of cheap options, so I’ll just find one with good splits or a backup platoon player. The worst position to punt, outside of pitcher, is first base. There are just so many strong options at the position, so it’s a better idea to find one with the best matchup and pencil him in. I also like to make sure to play at least one really strong outfielder.
I also agree. I generally punt catcher, unless I’m stacking a team like the Giants or Cubs that have elite hitting catchers. I also like to punt second base and shortstop, as they tend to score less fantasy points than some other positions. I find that there are usually a lot of minimum priced outfielders during the season, as well, and I have no problem punting them. While my favorite position to punt is certainly catcher, I will punt any position that has someone for a cheap price tag, who has a good matchup and is hitting high in the lineup.