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Getting good at Daily Fantasy MLB can be one of the most lucrative decisions you ever make. After all, the season lasts from early April all the way through September and if you really apply yourself, it’s one of the DFS games with the fastest learning curves. Numerous games every single day means you can fine-tune a working strategy in as little as a few weeks.
Speaking of strategy, baseball is the most statistically advanced sport with some of the most important daily variables. Follow this playing guide to understand how to put those stats to use for you. You will also learn how to take into account every single aspect of every single baseball game of the day in order to create your winning lineup.
Daily Fantasy Sports were basically created for baseball. After all, who really has the time to check their rotisserie season-long roster literally every day of the week in order to take advantage of the best matchups? With Daily Fantasy MLB, it’s a new game every day and you don’t sacrifice your 6-month season just because you went on a family vacation or a destination wedding with no Internet access.
Like every other DFS sport, your top priority in winning the day is going to be fielding a roster with the best players – duh! Much like in DFS Football where your most frequent chances for scoring are going to come from the quarterback, the premier position in Daily Fantasy MLB is the pitcher.
It makes sense that pitching should be priority #1. After all, even the best hitters in the game are only going to get 4 plate appearances in a normal game. Can they go 4-4 with 4 grand slams? Sure, but if your strategy is the “hope” game instead of being a steady Eddie, then you’re going to leak your bankroll like a sieve. As for roster composition, you fill it out very similarly to a standard MLB team, which includes a catcher, 1B/DH, 2B, SS, 3B, three OF, and two pitchers.
Pitchers can accrue stats 3 times an inning over the course of up to 9 innings. It’s no joke that a solid performance from your DFS pitchers can single-handedly win you a DFS head-to-head game. Therefore the first stat to consider when selecting your daily pitcher is strikeouts. Not only do you get points for every strikeout, pitchers with the ability to K a batter at will usually give up less runs, can get out of jams to pitch more innings, and often find themselves in line for the win – all which earn points.
Of course success at every DFS position involves analyzing every available variable. Even pitchers who don’t have a solid strikeout rate can be smart daily plays if they are playing with a wind blowing in from the outfield at 25 MPH. Also, larger fields such as AT&T Park in San Francisco and Angel Stadium in Los Angeles are traditionally more pitcher friendly than somewhere like Coors Field. By the way, you’re drinking too much Coors if you start a pitcher taking the mound in the high altitude of the Rocky Mountains.
One last thing to consider for pitchers is their daily opponent matchups. More specifically, look for as many free outs as possible. This is where National League pitchers have a distinct advantage in that they get “free” strikeouts frequently from their pitcher counterparts at the plate. If possible, check out opposing lineups before selecting your pitcher. In the long grind of a baseball season, star players often rest and managers need to keep their bench players sharp so a particular pitcher may be facing a “B” lineup on a certain day.
Home runs are sexy (and the highest scoring event in DFS baseball). But better things happen when your daily players can get hits more consistently. For example, an RBI single /combined with a stolen base / then coming around to score on the next base hit isn’t as eye popping in the box score as a 446 ft. moon shot – but it scores more total points than that solo HR.
On-base percentage is a key stat but with baseball you can go much more in-depth. Analyzing walk-rate, for example, shows you how patient a hitter is as does weighted on-base average and numerous other Sabermetrics statistics. We’ll get into each of them and how they pertain to DFS baseball once you get the hang of the basics of the game.
There are some more simple approaches to drafting your batters for the day. Most of them involve just taking the opposite approach that you did with a pitcher. For example, you’d select a pitcher if he was playing in front of a wind blowing in at 25 MPH. When that wind is blowing out, however, it’s like free steroids for otherwise mediocre hitters. The same thing with stadiums. Guys playing in Coors Field or right-handers at the 328′ left field line at the Rogers Centre in Toronto have daily advantages over other MLB players playing in less hitter friendly stadiums.
Another issue to consider for batters is their daily pitching matchup. You want to avoid the opposing team’s Ace at all costs. Then again, some players just hit a certain pitcher better so make sure to check out the batter v. pitcher stats before picking your Daily Fantasy MLB lineup.
One thing to remember when putting together your lineup for your Daily Fantasy baseball game is that it’s not about finding the best MLB player. Success is had in finding the best MLB player – that day. Baseball really is the only sport where a star can literally do nothing (0-4, 2 strikeouts) and it’s no big deal. That’s like Lebron James scoring 2 points in a game or Tom Brady throwing for 26 yards. These things would make national sports headlines if they were to happen.
Therefore, go over your best matchups to find your premier rosters for that day. Make bookmarks for your resources (baseball-reference, daily baseball data, MLB probable pitching matchups, etc.) and this research can be done in a matter of minutes.
These tips will help you get started in picking your DFS baseball rosters and assist you in fine-tuning your strategy for success. Our future articles will discuss stats a bit more in-depth and delve into how rosters should change for the different types of DFS games available.
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