As the rush for the postseason gears up into full swing, how should you alter your daily fantasy baseball rosters? Should you make any changes to your strategy at all? This is a question that applies most strongly to daily fantasy sports (of any type, really), but you can also use it when making adjustments to your season long league rosters, too.
Statistically, there should be no change. But in reality, we all know that this isn’t quite true. Having less time to make the playoffs has an effect upon the psychological makeup of athletes, and this can’t do anything but affect their play, too. Ideally, we should see this happen the most strongly within the teams that are on the bubble for Wild Card spots. We will begin our brief examination by looking at the American League
The three division leaders look like they have solidified their positions. These three teams are the Toronto Blue Jays, the Kansas City Royals, and the Houston Astros. There are three teams–one in each division–that are competing for two open spots. These teams include the New York Yankees, the Minnesota Twins, and the Texas Rangers. It’s in these three teams that we should see the most marked change in play, especially in the Rangers and Twins as they are close to each other in the standings, yet far from the Yankees.
Over the last ten games, the Rangers have gone 7-3. The Twins have done the same. The Yankees, who have recently had their #1 spot atop the AL East taken over by the Blue Jays, have gone 5-5. While 10 games is hardly enough to gauge any sort of momentum, it does look like the Rangers and Twins have put in a nice little surge to try to make their spot more secure. However, the players from these teams are what we are looking at, and not the teams themselves. That’s what helps us with our fantasy play.
Offensively, the Rangers are way ahead of the Twins. Prince Fielder is having one of the best seasons of his career when it comes to consistency. The first baseman is batting .315 and has an on base percentage of .378. The only time he’s ever had a comparable season was in 2012. His power is a bit lower than it has been in the past. He only has 17 homers this season, while he has typically averaged around 30-40 per year in the past. This could be a sign of his age. It has taken away a lot of his fantasy value on DraftKings, but Fielder is still a top choice at FanDuel. Either way, as the season progresses, his consistency should become a little bit better as the Rangers stress the importance of making it to October. Fielder’s numbers are likely to spike, but don’t count on too much power. Mitch Moreland is also having a good season with 18 HRs and a .286 batting average, as is Adrian Beltre.
On the Twins, the emphasis has been on their cohesive team play and their pitching. There have been no real standouts defensively for Minnesota, but Kyle Gibson is having a good year. He’s accumulated a 9-9 record, has 111 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.32. None of these numbers are great in themselves, though. He’s young, and has a lot of room for improvement over the coming years, so watch out for him. There are a few decent hitters on the Twins, but no regulars are batting above .300. Joe Mauer has a .271 average and the rookie Miguel Sano is batting .284.
The difference between the Rangers and the Twins is pretty obvious. If the Wild Card came down to pure stats, the Rangers would definitely win it. That’s not quite how the game works, but the stats are what we focus on for fantasy sports. Eventually, the team that has the better performing players will do better, but until then, we need to look at the teams with the momentum and find the top performers on those teams in order to give ourselves a little boost in our fantasy performance. Picking top players from the Rangers will give you that little edge for the next couple weeks.