Differentiating Between Formats
When it comes to fantasy MLB, there are a few different formats of play. The season-long leagues involve deeper considerations than daily contests, due to the consistencies players hold. For example, the season-long player might select an AAA player off waivers if news clears that he is on his way to the show. The season-long mindset is to account for long-term variances and take a flyer on the younger prospects working their way to the major leagues. This creates a common ground between daily fantasy and season-long play: consistency in research. The season-long player isn't going to opt in on a prospect hailing from a winning organization due to the fact the team won't need that player until late-season call ups. Instead, the season-long player will look to organizations that are out of the playoff hunt or teams that are projected to lack depth and a winning record. The same goes for daily fantasy play. You aren't going to take an over-priced catcher on a team that might afford that player 3-4 at-bats when you can select a low-priced guy from a game with a highly projected run total. More at-bats leads to the increased chances that player has to score for your team. Whatever the case may be, there are consistencies and inconsistencies that can be drawn from each playing format.
Positioning Within Lineups
A second important factor in lineup construction is finding where players are positioned. Most teams release their daily lineups hours before that night's contest, affording the user time to do their research. When it comes to playing on DraftKings or FanDuel, there is a monetary value associated with each player. For pitchers, this evaluation is scaled immensely, favoring the all-star players over the spot-start callups. The same goes for a hitter, with the values favoring the player with the higher averages and numbers with more at-bats under their belt. The place where a player is hitting can make a huge difference in terms of their production and at-bats. For example, some teams allot their best hitters to the leadoff position. As a leadoff hitter, this player starts the game with no RBI chances, aside from the homerun ball. When this same player is utilized at the 3 or 4 slot, they have the opportunity to see ducks on the pond when they step to the plate. The positioning a player is handed is something to team with overall salary you have for construction. Finding players in good spots is something that can lead to successful lineup construction.
One of the major advantages fantasy players now possess is the ability to check weather forecasts and wind speeds via applications of website usage. This readily available information can make for a boom or bust lineup. If the forecast looks gloom, a player might be inclined to defer to a different game for player selection. Some prefer the competitive advantage of taking a chance on a game with low player ownership. You also have to take the effects of the weather into consideration. If it is a late pattern, the game might be able to exceed the 5 innings needed to make the contest official. Remember, if a game does not go 5 innings, the postponement with result in nullifying any statistics achieved during that game. This is a useful tool when looking at weather factors.
Ballpark types are also something to take into consideration. For example, Coors Field is known as one of the best hitters' parks and usually favors the long ball. This is due to elevation factors. The major daily fantasy providers also utilize this knowledge when constructing salary numbers for a given day. Stadiums with a short porch in given sections favor the left and right-handed hitters. The design of the field or the depth in certain pockets can favor the game of players within the league. This is a factor that must be considered when selecting your lineup on a daily basis.
Finding the Gems
When players are called up or making their first start on the mound, they usually carry a low price point. This is due to being untested within the league. To get called up, the player would be performing at a high level within the lower leagues. These call-ups are not via fluke or by chance, which is something to take note of. Being that there are usually younger players, pitchers especially hold an advantage. Most of the league's talents have yet to face these players, utilizing game film and historical numbers as the only variants to predict these pitchers. The same goes for pitching the up-and-coming prospects. There is only so much data to go off, giving the user the competitive advantage to selecting matchups that would favor the game of the recent team addition. Players coming off injury or the disabled list are also worth a look in both fantasy formats. Tracking these individuals and their progressions are something the user can do to give them an advantage over the competition.
Using Vegas For Research
Looking at a slate and figuring out who you are going to go with just off your own knowledge should be the first thing you do. Looking at Vegas numbers will help you narrow down what you are looking for. Starting with looking for pitchers, you are going to want to pinpoint teams that are heavy favorites to win. This means the starting pitcher has good odds to get you a win. You are also going to want to look at totals. A low total suggests Vegas believes this is going to be a lower scoring game. Going one step further, you can see implied totals to really breakdown how a game is projected to turn out.
As for using Vegas for hitters, you are going to want to look for higher totals and implied totals. These games can suggest good park factors and/or weaker starting pitching. A lot is baked into Vegas numbers, so it can get some of the research out of the way for you. If a team has an implied total over five runs, Vegas is expecting their offense to put up some points, suggesting they are going to be good tournament plays as well. This is also a good way to see what teams you can stack.
Because this is a heavy method for most users, you can use Vegas to see where ownership is going to go. If a pitcher is a -300 favorite, he might be one of the higher owned arms on the slate. But if a pitcher who is just a -130 favorite and has big strikeout upside, his ownership might be lower and he comes with strong upside as well. Games with high totals will see higher ownership, and if you see some 8-9 totals that are under it, they might go overlooked. This is where you can differ in ownership from the field.
Scoring Differences Between FanDuel & DraftKings
Between the two major sites, there are some ways scoring change things a bit. The on-base stats are slightly different. FanDuel weights that a walk or hit by pitch is equal and are three points. DraftKings has a single as one point more than a walk or hit by pitch. A double is also double the points of a single on FanDuel, where a double is only two more points than a single on DraftKings. Runs and RBI are also worth slightly more on FanDuel.
Pitching is where we see the biggest difference. We also have to note DraftKings is a 2SP lineup format, where FanDuel you pick just one. Wins, strikeouts, and innings pitched are all worth the same. You also get negatives for earned runs allowed. However on DraftKings they go further with negatives for hits, walks, and hit batsman against. You also get points for complete games and no-hitters. On FanDuel the only negative is run against. FanDuel is the only site to reward for a quality start, which helps out if a bullpen blows the win. DraftKings does not offer points for a quality start.
How To Stack In Daily Fantasy Baseball
Stacking is a popular way of building a lineup. It is the idea of correlating your fantasy players as they have a hand in how each other score fantasy points. This is a larger scale of choosing the quarterback and wide receiver on the same team. We want to aim for the top six hitters in a lineup, and choose between them. We can mini stack using three players, or even go as large as five. Finding offenses in good spots against a weak starting pitcher is what we want to look for most. Adding in positive park factors and a weak bullpen behind that starting pitcher is where you can get ahead of the pack for those who don’t dive further.
There are going to be chalky stacks like Coors games and the Yankees or other high profile teams. You can certainly get an edge stacking a middling team in a good spot, or a West coast game because those tend to be lower owned. Taking down tournaments is a mix of upside and being contrarian. Stacking is a way you can do that. A chalky stack can still work in your favor, but just make sure you have some different one-offs or pitchers.
Key Stats To Look For
In a sport that has as a lot of stats for both hitters and pitchers, it can be a bit overwhelming. For hitters, we can look at a few strong stats that combine a lot of what we are looking for anyway. wOBA is a great overall stat to consider for hitters and pitchers. For hitters, wOBA weights each hit differently, because a single is not the same as a triple. The higher the wOBA, the more overall production they have for fantasy. Looking at who they are facing, if a starting pitcher is allowing a .375 wOBA to left-handed hitters, that means we should be looking to see what left-handed hitters are in the lineup. ISO is a power stat that is popular in the DFS world. Power is what we are after, and those big bats will be finding their way into our lineup. Looking at high strikeout bats and lower ones, this can help you pinpoint what players are risky because they don’t make a lot of contact. If you are diving into batted ball stats, fantasy points correlate with how hard hitters hit the ball, but also how they hit it. Heavy groundball hitters do not correlate as well with fantasy points in comparison to hitters who hit line drives and fly balls.
Strikeouts are king for pitchers. They are the easiest thing to project. For one we want to take a pitchers K% into consideration with the opposing team’s strikeout rate against that handedness of pitcher. After this, we can start to look at ERA estimating stats like xFIP, and SIERA to see how they have been pitching. These stats take ERA a step forward where it removes some of the variance out of ERA. We also want to see walk rates for pitcher, which is BB%. Walks are frustrating because they drive up pitch counts and also create chances for earned runs. We want cash game pitchers to have lower walk rates, where in GPPs we can take a little bit more risk. As for batted ball stats, pitchers that get ground balls are a major plus in comparison to fly ball pitchers. They have higher chances for giving up more home run production. Overall we want to find the strikeouts first, and then the rest of the stats will determine who safe a pitcher is for the format you are looking for. Opposing team stats will be telling for the starting pitchers on the slate.
MLB Fantasy Baseball Frequently Asked Questions
Who Are The Best Daily Fantasy Baseball Players?
For hitters, you are going to want guys who get on base but also hit for a high power. Some heavy producers in the game are Ronald Acuna Jr, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and Cody Bellinger. As for pitchers, strikeouts are king. Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer dominate here.
What Are The Scoring Stats in Daily Fantasy Baseball?
For hitters, the popular scoring stats are singles, doubles, triples, and home runs. You will also need hitters to score runs and drive in runs. Stolen bases are another way of scoring. For pitchers, strikeouts and outs recorded are positive scoring stats.
How Do You Play Daily Fantasy Baseball?
Signing up through sites like FanDuel, DraftKings, and Yahoo will give you daily fantasy baseball contests. They consist of different game formats where you draft a team daily instead of having a running season long team that doesn’t change throughout the year.
How Do You Win Daily Fantasy Baseball?
Daily fantasy baseball is one of the higher variant sports, but a general train of thought for building winning lineups is to provide a good strikeout floor from your starting pitcher as your base. Taking low risk bats who get on base will also be a plus.
How Does Daily Fantasy Baseball Work?
A site will give you a pre-determined player pool of players that each have their own specific salaries. You will have a specific amount to spend where you can’t go over. Select players and stay under the salary cap and their night’s results will turn to fantasy points.
What Is A Cash Game?
A cash game refers to double-ups, head-to-head games, and 50/50 formats. These are considered lower risk games where 40% of the field or more will win money in comparison to tournament formats that will pay out less than that.
What Is A GPP?
A GPP is short for Guaranteed Prize Pool. Mostly these are called tournaments, which payout around 15-25% of the field. These are generally large fields with higher prize pools, but come with more risk in comparison to cash games.