The term "punt" refers to instances where you forsake a spot in your lineup in order to spend up elsewhere. This might include rostering a regular bench player listed at the minimum salary on a day when that player is in the lineup, or taking a player whose price has been suppressed because the pitching matchup is unfavorable.
Yet, you rarely see a daily fantasy player in position to punt the pitcher spot, given its significance to the overall roster. Pitchers cost the most because they score the most fantasy points - and unless you have a really, really good reason, you should take few chances with the pitcher spot and opt for high-ceiling guys as often as possible.
So under what circumstances might you consider a bottom-salary pitcher? Here are a few to think about:
Underwhelming Pitcher Slate
Sometimes, you scan the pitching options and are mortified: Where are the top-tier guys? Indeed, on shorter slates or getaway days, you might find yourself choosing between mediocre options. And in this case, you might actually be better off digging as deep as possible to find the starting pitcher who will cost you the least.
Without a clear No. 1 choice, selection becomes a game of roulette - just pick a pitcher, any pitcher. And if that guy gets blown up, you're left with no chance of profiting. If you're in a situation where the difference in pitcher quality is minuscule, you can't go wrong by settling for the lowest-priced guy in whatever tier you consider respectable.
Overwhelming Hitter Slate
Sometimes, the decision to go cheap at pitcher will have nothing to do with the quality of hurlers at all. Batters are more modestly priced than in years past, but you'll still run into scenarios where you'll wish you had another thousand or two to spend on your lineup. And in this instance, you might consider looking for a cheaper starter.
Pitcher scoring is so vital to your success, but no matter how many strikeouts your pitcher racks up, you can't win a thing if you don't compliment your roster with hard hitters. So if there's a stack you really like, or if the Rockies are playing at home, and you want to spend more money on your lineup, then by all means, do so - and if it means opting for a low-priced pitcher, then so be it.
If you're playing a slate where Chris Sale, Carlos Carrasco, Lance McCullers Jr. and Clayton Kershaw are all available, it's likely that 80-90 percent of the field will have one of those pitchers in their lineup. And at first glance, you're probably going to want to be one of those players - but by doing so, you actually limit your chances of winning a large-field tournament.
Picking a high-priced, high-owned pitcher means you have to be that much more perfect with the rest of your lineup in order to outscore everyone else who rostered that guy. But if you opt instead for a low-priced hurler - and that guy has a big game - you have that much more money to spend on making up the point difference. It's a bold strategy, but one that has paid off repeatedly.