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Beginner MLB DFS: Official lineups

We continue our breakdown of the basics for MLB DFS. In this section, we look at official lineups and batting order, with definitions and some basic strategy.

Charlie Blackmon #19 of the Colorado Rockies follows the flight of a sixth inning solo home run against the Miami Marlins at Coors Field on August 18, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

In daily fantasy baseball, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. For DFS, that means knowing who is playing and where they are in the lineup.

Official lineups

Definition

Once you start playing daily fantasy baseball, you will become obsessed with lineup cards. A lineup card is what a team’s manager writes out when making his lineup for the game. It usually comes out a couple hours before first pitch. DraftKings does a great job of designating which players are starting and which aren’t.

Strategy

Scratches

You will have been doing research on the slate you are playing when the lineup comes out, so you will have an expected lineup in mind when the actual lineup is posted. That expected lineup will give you a base to judge the actual lineup. You can see what players didn’t make the lineup. Changes in a lineup made from day to day will impact who you pick, either by a player you wanted being out or a player who doesn’t start that often getting a shot in a favorable position.

Late Swap

Late swap gives you the ability to switch out anyone from your lineup whose game has not started, replacing him with any other eligible player who also hasn’t started playing. This is important in MLB, as there are many teams playing late on the west coast. With a little forethought, you can pick a player before lineups are out as long you are able to check the lineup and swap your player if he’s not available.

Batting order

When the lineup comes out, you may find that your player is in fact starting, but has also been moved in the batting order. A player’s place in the order is important to his projection for that game. First, we want a player in the first half of the order to make sure he gets as many at bats as possible. Then we want to see if our player has protection around him. The better the batter behind him, the better the pitches he will see. The more we can contextualize where a hitter is in the lineup, the better we will be at picking the best DK lineup.