Strategizing The Utility Position
30 Mar 2016

Strategizing The Utility Position In MLB Fantasy

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What to do with the UTILITY spot on your fantasy baseball team? The politically correct answer is – it depends. There are several variables that you need to be mindful when considering who you will roster. Firstly, you have to regard your league settings – figure out which stats are being counted, and how many UTILITY spots there are. Traditionally there is one – but several leagues have multiple utility spots.  There are going to be offensive run on certain position and you will always be at risk of missing out, especially if you are not prepared.

Your overall draft strategy is likely the biggest factor. Are you a value picker, who simply picks the best available player every time you’re on the clock or are you going to target specific positions at specific times. Either way there are a few things you should know, so are myth busters and some are strategy related, but at the end of the day it’s all about you getting the most out of the UTIL position on your fantasy baseball roster – so here we go.

MYTH: Utility Spots Are Just For Utility Players

This one is self explanatory, so I wanted to get it out of the way. Even David Ortiz qualifies as a 1B this season, but unless you roster a player with a UTIL only designation anything goes. Personally I’ll leave those UTIL designated players for my opponents, as I don’t want to draft a player that has absolutely no versatility.

STRATEGY: Be Conservative With How You Fill Up The Utility Spot

My personal take on the UTILITY spot is that it is for premium players, who are eligible at multiple positions so that I flex them in or out at my convenience. I may also use the UTIL spot to attack a certain position, possibly SBs or HRs, but either way, if I find myself slowed down in a certain stat, I’m recovering using the utility spot. If you are playing in a league with any type of position CAP format make sure you stay conservative with who you put in the UTIL spot. For example, each position will get 162 plays and once you are over, you won’t get credit for stats produced at that position. In this case you can pull your position player down, and stick him the UTIL spot. For example if you have at 3B, Kris Bryant and Pablo Sandoval, there’s a good chance you’ll hit 162 games midway through September. Once I hit that limit, I’m pulling Bryant’s bat and putting in into the UTILITY spot.

MYTH: My UTILITY Spot Can’t have another OF I Already Have Three

This is False and you can put whomever the heck you want there. The key is to put in a player you think is going to perform well that night. There is nothing worse than going “O-fer” at the UTILITY spot. Before opening day I am in a 12 team league with the 2nd overall pick. I’ll likely go Harper or Trout and coming back I’ll be able to snag Chris Davis who is OF/1B eligible. To make matters worse, in the third round I’ll likely be looking at Justin Upton or George Springer right in the face. That’s three OFs already and there could be several more in the later rounds. I have no problem putting a fourth OF on my roster in the late rounds, as I’m not going to skirt around value if it’s right in front of me. Hunter Pence- here I come. You’ll have three OFs already and there’s no shame having a fourth around if he produces better than anyone else. If he’s great stick him in the UTIL spot, and later on you’ll still have a lot of depth should one of your primary OFs get injured. Don’t be afraid to roll with four should the opportunity present itself.

STRATEGY: Top UTIL Candidates At Each position.

Multi eligible positional players make using the UTIL spot that much easier. The flexibility and peace of mind you’ll gain will be great for your psyche.

CATCHER: Kyle Schwarber: OF

Schwarber is great, but I’m not spending big on him, as I don’t know if he’ll even see the field more than 3 times per week. Schwarber is one injury away from securing a full time gig and deploying him at Catcher won’t be an issue.

FIRSTBASE: Chris Davis – OF

Chris Davis having multiple position eligibility could be any better for owners, and allows you take a shot at later round on a player like Brandon Belt. If Belt goes off, you can plug Davis into either OF or Util.

SECOND BASE: Matt Carpenter – 3B

Will Carpenter match last year’s output. I’m skeptical but giving him 3rd base eligibility gives you the opportunity to reach for a late round high upside player.

THIRD BASE: Manny Machado – SS

If Machado played shortstop, he would be in the conversation for being the best player in Majors. Fortunately you could pull a Francisco Lindor or Addison Russell and toy around with Machado position eligibility.

SHORTSTOP: Starlin Castro – 2B

Castro is new, but he gets that short porch in Yankee stadium. With multiple position eligibility, you could really afford to take a shot at Lindor or any prospect for that matter.

OUTFIELD: Ben Zobrist -2B

There’s no one better at obtaining multiple position eligibility then Zobrist. He’s playing in a potent lineup and has been reunited with his old manager. Zobrist is a perfect UTIL spot player and should treat your right this season.