We are back to a full slate of games, although things could be shortened with a handful of East Coast games dealing with weather issues. Max Scherzer, Carlos Carrasco, Robbie Ray, Walker Buehler, and Charlie Morton are the more notable names on the slate, but there are plenty of other options like Freddy Peralta, Jack Flaherty, Kyle Gibson, and Cole Hamels taking the slate too. Now onto the bad, David Hess is pitching today, putting Cleveland over a six implied total. The left side of the plate is intriguing, and Cleveland has seven lefties they can toss out there. Cincinnati and San Francisco present one of the better games to target with two subpar pitching options in a hitter friendly park. Brandon Belt is back and cheap around the industry. Boston, Washington, and New York all have totals over five, putting them in good spots, but Washington stands out in the best matchup of the three against Dan Straily who has been hit hard by both sides of the plate. Injuries are pretty limited tonight with Ryan Braun being the questionable one, but Ian Kinsler is due back from the DL for Boston.
An essential part of a winning fantasy sports strategy is setting a lineup using only active players. It's common sense that an inactive player, or someone out of today's game, won't earn your team any points. To be successful in weekly fantasy baseball leagues that allow daily roster changes, and daily fantasy sports contests (DFS), you need to know who's playing and who's not. The first winning strategy for MLB fantasy team owners and daily fantasy game enthusiasts is to check the updates every day. Lineups in baseball are an ever-changing landscape. Fickle managers will toy with the batting order, or use a player platoon system to take advantage of statistical match ups. Knowing exactly which players are starters each day in professional baseball is a critical fantasy strategy. Players who are placed on the DL should be immediately replaced. Usually there are starters on other teams who are better additions to your roster than depth chart replacements. The important thing is to know who is going to be active.
Nearly all weekly fantasy leagues have extra roster spots for bench players. However, following the daily lineups can give you a heads-up on sleepers who may get a boost in playing time during the period when the starter is inactive. The best recommendation is to have a few viable replacements. You can stash players with multiple position eligibility to plug in at a moment's notice for players who get a day off. Baseball managers will rest position players, especially catchers, or a periodic schedule. The only way you can be certain to have only active starters is to monitor the active starting lineups. In fantasy leagues, you'll know which potential stars to avoid since they'll be out for the day. Wasting a salary on someone who sits on the pine is a sure way to tally a less than flattering point total, basically a wasted contest. You can also follow injury updates to find inexpensive sleepers for daily fantasy contests. Weekly leagues that do not allow daily roster changes after Monday's first-pitch negate this strategy. However, using MLB daily lineups, to guarantee a 100% active player roster is critical in leagues that permit daily adjustments. This is especially critical in DFS leagues and tournament formats. Playing with a full roster may seem like common sense, but one empty spot can mean the difference between a win and loss.
To be consistently successful in all fantasy baseball formats, you must keep watch on the current MLB starting lineups. You'll know who's active and where they are hitting in the order. This fine detail can help you make up your mind on who to sit and who to start. Many platoon players can also be cost-effective roster fillers in DFS. You can save big on a low cost player who may have a favorable match up, only if you are keen on that day's official manager card. While star position players will take the field on most days, managers will give nearly every player on the roster a scheduled day off. The only way to know when this happens and account for it on your roster is to keep a close eye on the changes throughout the day. If you check just prior to the first pitch, you're going to see a true copy of what the manager hands to the home plate umpire.