I’m in four leagues this season. Only one of which has weekly lineups. So that leaves me with three teams with daily rosters to manage.
I’m also trying to dip my toes into the strategy of platooning hitters to gain a slight edge on the competition, by employing players like Adam Lind and Seth Smith.
The problem with this strategy is that Lind and Smith are out of the lineup a handful of days each week because their Major League teams are also platooning them.
I usually start my day by setting my lineup, putting anyone without a game on the bench and moving starting pitchers into the lineup. But I don’t really take the time to check if the Blue Jays or Padres are facing a lefty. This leaves me with a problem. The advantage I could get by running a platoon is more than offset if I don’t even have a guy in the lineup on a given night.
I’ve written previously about the very helpful “My Lineup” tool at BaseballPress.com. As far as I know, they’ve still got the earliest and most accurate lineups available. They also provide weather information, recent relief pitcher usage information (look at Betances below), and batting lineup info (Allen Craig is batting 4th today). That information is second to none. I love this tool. But I often leave work at 5:30 PM and don’t get home until 6:30 PM, where I’m greeted by the chaos of my beautiful three and four-year old daughters. So pulling up Baseball Press before the 7:05 starts is not top of mind.
Right around the time the 2014 season started, I received an e-mail from one of the guys that runs FantasyBaseballAlerts.com. They wanted to know if I’d be interested in trying out their service (more about that in a minute) for free.
I get a number of requests from sites wanting to run ads here or that want me to put links to their site, and I don’t usually act. I could probably make a few bucks by running ads, but one of the principles I use in guiding this site is that I’ll only promote or link to services I use, books that I’ve read, or ideas I believe in.
With this in mind, the idea behind FantasyBaseballAlerts.com really seemed beneficial to me. So I signed up to test it out.
What The Service Does
It’s very similar to BaseballPress, but the information comes to you. You don’t have to seek it out.
Simply put, you get an e-mail or text message sent to you when a player on your fantasy team is not in the starting lineup for their Major League team that day.
You can also choose to receive either e-mail or text message alerts containing player news, DL information, and more.
Here’s a full list of the types of alerts you can have sent to you:
Here’s an example notice about Adam Lind being benched. Notice that the alert e-mail was sent at 11:52 AM for a 1:07 PM start time. A pretty solid amount of time to notice the e-mail and make the roster change. Here’s an example player news e-mail. The full e-mail actually included notes about eight different players, but I only show several in the screenshot.
How To Track Players
The site allows you to manually add players to your list of guys you want to track and receive alerts for.
You can also automatically sync in rosters from Yahoo and ESPN leagues. The syncing is a one-time process but it does not automatically re-sync if you subsequently drop or add a player. In that case, you have to log into your account and push a button to have your lineup re-synced.
What Does This Cost?
Here’s the cool part. Signing up for unlimited e-mail notification is 100% free. That’s the option I’m using.
If you’re incessantly checking your phone during the day, like me, there’s really not a difference between getting an e-mail and getting a text.
The current pricing for the text model is that your first 50 text alerts are free in a given month. Or you can register for unlimited text alerts for $4.95 / month.
Sign me up for the free e-mail option. I do like this service a lot, it’s probably helped me put in an accurate lineup 15-20 times in two months. And that adds up!
Things You Should Know (Might Not Like)
If you choose all the notification options, you are signing up to receive a lot of e-mails from this service.
You’re not getting spam. I’ve never once gotten any e-mail from the service that is not 100% what I signed up to received. But if you have several fantasy teams synced into the service, a lot of those players will be benched, hitting the DL, coming off the DL, or will have news articles written about them on any given day.
On a typical day, with three teams synced (one of my teams is on CBS and also has weekly roster changes, so I haven’t added in those players), I have 69 players in my alert tracking list. For those 69 players, I probably get 6-10 e-mail notices a day.
But if you use an e-mail service that groups e-mails together, the messages are not that obtrusive in the inbox. Here’s my g-mail inbox. And it seems like they’re continually improving the service. Earlier in the season it seemed like a lot of the player news items would come in individual e-mails, each player getting their own e-mail. But news items are not so time-sensitive, and many now come with 8-10 player bites in each e-mail (like shown earlier).
If you really only care about benched player notifications, you’ll greatly cut down on the notices you get. That’s probably the best option for many people. But for my schedule, I don’t mind getting all the news updates too.
I would not sign up for the inactive player notifications. Or if you do, check the box to “Turn OFF notifications for players on the DL”. Otherwise you get a reminder every day that “Josh Hamilton is inactive today”, if he’s on the DL.
I Don’t Need This. Yahoo Tells Me When a Player Is Benched.
I don’t do this comparison all the time, but while writing this article I decided to test how timely Yahoo’s roster updates were. I received an e-mail alert from FantasyBaseballAlerts.com at 5:56PM EST (for an 8:15 PM game) that Aaron Hill was benched. At 6:46PM EST on the same day, Yahoo still didn’t show Hill as out of the lineup (a carat symbol “^” means the player is starting, an “x” appears if a player is confirmed as being out of the lineup). I’m not here to criticize Yahoo. But this just isn’t s specialty of theirs. And it is the specialty of Fantasy Baseball Alerts.
I’m really digging this service. The alerts are very valuable and they’ve helped me correct my lineup many times. I also like how they bring the news for my players to me directly. I don’t have to go searching for information.
What fantasy baseball services are you using that I should know about? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.
Thanks for reading. Stay smart.