The truth about daily lineup decisions

Updated: June 8, 2011, 6:09 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
Full disclosure: I'm not one of those fantasy owners who constantly makes daily lineup decisions based on the schedules, the ballpark or even the opposing pitcher. In daily leagues, I rarely keep extra active hitters on the bench, instead choosing starting pitchers to move in and out, and I like to keep extra relief pitchers active when the starters are not scheduled to pitch. Occasionally I will sit a starting pitcher if the matchup looks potentially rough -- against the New York Yankees, at Coors Field, etc. -- but in general, if I own a player, I stick with him.

However, like all fantasy analysts, I see a constant bombardment of "Who do you play today?" emails and posts, and I try to answer them the best I can with the information we have, the history we know and my gut feelings. In fantasy football, we have a far better idea which teams could put up 500 total yards on any given Sunday and which defenses are sieves. In baseball, with a game per day for six months, it's not so simple. Crazy things happen, and it's more of a guessing game. It's different these days compared to recent years in which there were more high-scoring games and so few ace-type pitchers. These days, Ryan Vogelsong and Philip Humber can pitch like aces, not just on any given night, but consistently. Run scoring is, in case you haven't noticed, seriously down from just a few years ago.