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RIVAL Best Ball Drafts - Strategy and Lineup Picks for this Week (May 20-26)

matt olson fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers mlb injury news

The 2024 fantasy baseball season is now in full gear and weekly best ball drafts are a great way to get to experience drafts all season long. Fantasy baseball best ball formats are an excellent way to get the real-time experience of drafting without the hassle of in-season management, even from a week-to-week perspective. RIVAL Fantasy is one of the best formats out there for baseball's best ball drafts, and they have weekly best ball drafts every week from Opening Day until the end of the season.

It is very important to know your league settings and scoring depending on where you play best ball. Be sure and pay attention to your league settings as RIVAL scores differently for best ball than many other sites offering a similar product. They also offer a unique perspective on positional alignment with two outfielders, two infielders, two utility hitters, and three pitchers.

Here is the scoring breakdown at RIVAL plus general strategy and picks for Week 9. Join a RIVAL Fantasy draft now by visiting their draft lobby.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:


RIVAL Fantasy Baseball Best Ball Scoring

For this article, we are going to focus on RIVAL Fantasy's best ball scoring, as it is one of the best new popular platforms to play on. The table below shows you how each category is scored for their week-long best ball games.

Scoring Group Category Points
Batter Single 3
Batter Double 5
Batter Triple 8
Batter Home Run 10
Batter Run 2
Batter Runs Batted In 2
Batter Base on Balls 2
Batter Hit By Pitch 2
Batter Stolen Base 5
Pitcher IP 2.25
Pitcher Strikeout 2
Pitcher Earned Run -2
Pitcher Hit Against -0.6
Pitcher BB Against -0.6
Pitcher Hit Batter -0.6
Pitcher Win 4
Pitcher Complete Game 2.5
Pitcher Shutout 2.5
Pitcher No Hitter 5

Week 9 RIVAL Best Ball Drafts Strategy

RIVAL weekly best ball drafts during the baseball season consist of four or six teams, each picking nine players: two IF, two OF, two UTIL, and three PIT. With only 36 or 54 total player picks made in the draft, it's not like you have to go deep into the player pool or be ready to draft the same sleepers you drafted after Round 20 in seasonal leagues. With so few players taken and the talent level of those players so high, we are looking for micro-edges in this game.

For hitters, we want to maximize plate appearances. That means two things. First, players who hit higher in the order are much more valuable. Over a week, even those one or two extra plate appearances can add up. In addition, we want to prioritize hitters whose teams play seven games. Whenever I possibly can, all of my hitter rosters will be filled with players from the eight teams who play seven games this week (BAL, NYY, TOR, CHW, DET, SEA, ATL, SDP). It should be noted that the Atlanta Braves play eight games this week (two against San Diego on Monday), but some regulars might sit one of those games.

For pitchers, we want to find the best possible options who have two starts this week. Even the best pitchers with pristine matchups with one start may not be able to match pitchers in a tier below with two starts. I can not emphasize this enough: Get three pitchers on your roster who will start twice this week. Those eight teams who play seven games should have multiple starters pitching twice in Week 9. Of the teams who play seven times, the Orioles (@STL, @CHW) and Blue Jays (CHW, @DET).


Pitcher Picks for Week 9 RIVAL Fantasy Baseball Best Ball Drafts

Pablo Lopez, Minnesota Twins

Pablo Lopez didn't look quite like himself in his last start (10 hits allowed, just three strikeouts), but he still managed to go 6 1/3 innings and allow only three runs. That start stopped a streak of three games with at least eight punch-outs and he has only two walks in his last four starts. Lopez's matchups this week are both on the positive side with the Twins visiting the Washington Nationals to start the week and then coming home for the Texas Rangers. The Nationals are 29th in the league in team slugging percentage so they don't pose much of a power threat. The Rangers are severely scuffling right now. In the past seven days, the Rangers are 23rd in runs scored (15) and 26th in overall on-base percentage (.276).

Jose Berrios, Toronto Blue Jays

Jose Berrios is one of those ideal two-start pitchers who have elite matchups and is someone you can likely wait to draft until the third or fourth round of RIVAL drafts. He gets the weak Chicago White Sox offense on Monday and the strikeout-prone Detroit Tigers on the road on Saturday. The White Sox are last in the league in team on-base percentage (OBP) as well as overall runs scored. The Tigers strike out 24% of the time, the eighth-highest mark in the league and are 23rd in OBP (.304).

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Los Angeles Dodgers

Yamamoto was originally slated to have a two-start week in Week 8, but his latest start got pushed back to Monday evening, which might be for the best now that he is lined up to start twice this week. He will get the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday and then the Cincinnati Reds next weekend. Both teams offer intriguing opportunities for Yamamoto to reach his massive potential this week. Cincinnati has the fifth-highest strikeout rate in the league at over 25% while Arizona is in the bottom half of the league with a team .242 batting average. Four out of Yamamoto's last five starts have been for six or more innings.


Infielder Picks for Week 9 RIVAL Fantasy Baseball Best Ball Drafts

Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves

If we have to pick an Atlanta batter who will almost certainly play all eight games this week, it will be Matt Olson. He has now played in 500 consecutive games after last night and shows no signs of sitting anytime soon. Olson will see right-handed pitchers in four of the first five games he plays this week, and he has a career .537 slugging percentage against righties. Olson has seven hits in his last four games and is on quite the heater right now.

Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles

After a brief cold stretch, we have Hot Henderson again as Gunnar has hit five home runs in his last nine games after a monster blast on Sunday. Now, he gets a seven-game week against the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox where left-hander Garrett Crochet is the toughest pitcher he will face all week. Henderson has to leave his home park for the entire week, but he has been better on the road this season, hitting .286/.370/.600 with 10 extra-base hits.


Outfielder Picks for Week 9 RIVAL Fantasy Baseball Best Ball Drafts

Michael Harris II, Atlanta Braves

Based on recent performance, I think I would rather have Marcell Ozuna over Michael Harris II in an outfield spot, but Ozuna is UTIL-eligible only for RIVAL and thus is only available for that position. He is certainly viable there, but Michael Harris is the best option if you want a potential eight-game outfielder. Harris has not missed one game this season and even if the unthinkable happens and he only plays once on Monday, we will still get seven games for the week. After a slow start to the season, Harris is hitting .318/.400/.455 over his last six games.

Juan Soto, New York Yankees

It's a simple calculus this week for Juan Soto. Seven games on the schedule plus zero left-handed pitchers scheduled to face the Yankees equals a player we need for our lineups. If you need the numbers justification, here it is: Soto is hitting .318/.433/.581 against righties this year with a 191 wRC+. Nine of his 11 home runs and 26 of his 32 RBI entering Sunday were against right-handed pitchers. I have no problems with picking Juan Soto number one overall this week.

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