Course No. MLB 108
Late swap is something that only comes into play on DraftKings right now. Late swap is the ability to change players in your lineup once the contest has started, but an individual player's game has not begun yet. This is a major talking point in the DFS industry over whether this should become an industry standard or go away entirely. Right now, I really enjoy having the option of playing either game type depending on the site I'm playing on. Only DraftKings offers this feature, which has been a really differentiating factor for them in their growth, as many players prefer to always have this option.
Why is Late Swap beneficial?
Official Lineups and Changes
Knowing your player is in the lineup is the single most important aspect of daily fantasy baseball. It may seem elementary, but taking an unnecessary zero, especially from a higher priced player, is likely going to ruin your night. While most MLB lineups are out well in advance of the lock time of the first game, that's often not true of some of the really late night games on the west coast. Some of these teams, such as the Colorado Rockies, offer some of the highest upside offensive potential due to ballpark factors. Knowing the Rockies and their opponents' lineup prior to those positions locking is a huge advantage over people who are guessing at who will be in the lineup and where they'll be slotted.
Sometimes injuries are not known, or they're not released until closer to game time. This happens in other sports more often than baseball, but pre-game injuries also seem to happen slightly more often in baseball than other sports. Knowing a player is healthy is a huge factor in selecting a lineup. You'll often have to avoid certain players whose injury statuses are more unknown on sites that do not offer late swap. On DraftKings, you can use this feature to your advantage, allowing you to have all of the information needed before settling on a full lineup.
How can we use it to the fullest advantage?
Advanced Pitching Strategy
The advanced strategy of late swap really just expands on the two above points. The more information you have, the better your lineups will be in most cases. Having confirmed knowledge of what batters a pitcher will be facing can be a huge advantage, especially in late night games, where not everyone will be reading and reacting to that information. Say you have a pitcher you really like who is facing the Tigers in a west coast game. Miguel Cabrera has played 13 straight games since his last day off and you're thinking he might get rest due to a nagging injury or just a coach's decision. This isn't a situation where you want to just plug in the pitcher and hope for the best, because the matchup is much, much worse for your pitcher if Cabrera is in the lineup. However, with late swap, you can set yourself up with a backup plan if Cabrera does play, while if he doesn't, your lineup now has a huge advantage that most other lineups won't.
Advanced Hitting Strategy
You can get even more creative with hitting strategy in late swap. To use another classic Rockies example, whatever hitters they are starting on a given night at home, as well as their opponents' hitters, become excellent plays. However, they often play late and sometimes the lineup is not getting released until right at the start of the first game of the slate, which means you have almost no time to adjust on a site like FanDuel. This can become even more troublesome with lineups for games all the way on the west coast like San Francisco or San Diego.
Knowing who is confirmed in the lineup and having the flexibility to utilize them are the two most important parts here. For instance, there are usually two or three games later than the one in Colorado, so this gives you some excellent flexibility. Maybe you want to use their entire outfield and Troy Tulowitzki -- who rarely sits when healthy -- because the team they are playing is starting a borderline pitcher against them. Plug in Tulowitzki at shortstop and the three outfielders you expect to start for the Rockies based on the handedness of the pitcher. When the lineup comes out, you'll still have a ton of flexibility to adjust. You have the full roster of the opponent at Coors Field to choose from, plus the lineups of the other late games to consider if your lineup prediction was not correct.
People who make their lineup based on only confirmed starters and educated guesses at late lineups will be at a huge disadvantage to the lineup you've now constructed in these above scenarios. Every single sliver of edge you can give yourself is vitally important if you're looking to make money playing daily fantasy sports, and let's be honest, we all are.
Reverse Engineering and Pivoting
We would all love to know who our opponents will be playing against us. With late swap on DraftKings, that becomes more of a reality. It's not as easy as that may make it sound, but as the night moves on, you'll be able to see exactly how much salary your opponent has used and therefore, how much there is remaining. This can come in handy for multiple game types, most notably head-to-head and tournaments. In head-to-head games. There are often times you'll be, to use a poker term, drawing dead at the end of the night, despite having a full player remaining. If you can figure out an opponent you are trailing has the same player remaining as you, you can give yourself a chance to win by pivoting to the next best player to create variance in your favor. You may not have a great chance to win by doing that, but playing the same player as an opponent you are already trailing, you have zero chance to win. Giving yourself even a 10% chance is a huge improvement. This strategy can be used in the same way in tournaments for greater rewards. As you progress towards the top of a payout structure, every spot matters vitally. If you have a heavily owned player in a late game, you can find out by reverse engineering lineups, how many teams in front of you have that player. If many do, you can greatly increase your odds for a top finish by pivoting to simply the next best player at the position.