Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategies

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Draft Kings

If you are any kind of a baseball fan, then you have surely noticed the trend toward the daily game. Daily Fantasy Sports is popular, immediately gratifying and a lot of fun. The daily game is the future of all Fantasy Sports.

For instance, after nailing down some humungous capital, Draft Kings has now become the official fantasy site of all things MLB. It seems like they have advertised, in one way or another, during each and every game that I’ve seen this year.

When you hear everyone’s baseball grandpa, Vin Scully, put a plug in for “Draft Kings”, you know they’re doing something right. It’s a benchmark for success. The daily game has arrived and it’s not going anywhere.

However, it’s not all fun and games. The participants have quickly become wise to the strategies of the game. You can “bet” this will happen in just about any facet of life when money is on the line.

So, if you’re new to the game, or not winning enough, then you’re going to need an education. Let’s get you to the head of the class.

Back in early March we gave you a good start with some basic key strategies in our post, Daily Fantasy Baseball. We suggest you go over this in detail, as it’s a 101 course that you’ll need before you take this second class. After all, it’s your money. You should invest wisely.

Here are some of the key points of Daily Fantasy Baseball strategies from our original post:

Daily Fantasy Baseball 101
  • Batter vs Pitcher matchup: This most obvious of strategies is one that may have too much focus, but is significant nonetheless: Batter vs. Pitcher matchup includes the history of each matchup, and the lefty/righty aspect. Just be aware of small sample sizes. (e.g. If a certain batter is hitting .750 against a certain pitcher it looks like money, right? Yet a closer look might reveal that he went 3 for 4 back in 2012 when they were both on different teams, and the pitcher was just learning the ropes) Even a 3 for 27 is a fairly small sample size. So, don’t make BvP everything.
  • Starters Take Precedence: If there’s only one pitcher per team, you must nail down a top starter. The deeper a starter goes into a game, the more points you get, as each out counts points-wise. I would like to point once again to the Workhorses post, as these disappearing hurlers should be coveted even more in the daily game. If you have two starters per team your first pick should probably still be an ace, as well. We cannot stress this point enough, no matter how many starters fill your roster.
  • Play the Hot Bats: In weekly leagues playing the hot hitters is sometimes like the proverbial dog chasing its tail. It can be a frustrating tactic at times. In DFB, the chances of a player tailing off after a great day is considerably less. This holds true especially when he happens to be playing against the same team, and in the same stadium as the previous day. pederson_bats_arizona-2014-03-08Joc Pederson is leading off, raking and still comes fairly cheap.
  • Check Forecasts: There is no mercy for rainouts in Daily Fantasy Baseball. April and May seem to be particularly bad for rainouts.
  • Be Sure Your Players are StartingKeep tabs on current lineup status. Sounds simple enough, but things like bereavement, or flu, can mean last minute scratches.
  • Check Odds: These are great measuring sticks for teams (pitchers) that are expected to win, and the over/under section gives you a good gauge of how many runs are anticipated in each game.

 Now let’s add a few more pieces of advice…

Daily Fantasy Baseball 2000
  • Play Hitters in Hitter-friendly Divisions and Leagues: To date, 8 of the top 10 run-scoring teams are members of which league? That’s right, the American League. 4 of top 8 teams are members of which division? That’s right, the A.L. East. (Tampa is the only team not in the top 10. The other 4 teams will be piling up the offensive stats all year long) Here are the top run-scoring teams in the Majors:
    3. KC133266.781
    5. SD131241.695
  • Beware of Aberrations in the numbers: We have included the Rockies in the above table as an example of a big discrepancy in stats. The Rockies have been rained out a couple of times. As their team OPS shows, they are a bigger offensive threat than their 22nd rank belies. They are 4th overall in team OPS. The Rockies will get further mention in “Play the Ballparks”.
  • Play Pitchers in Pitcher-friendly Divisions and Leagues: To date, 6 of the Bottom 10 hitting teams  are members of which League? That’s right, the National League. 3 of those 6 teams are members of which division? If you guessed the N.L. East, that’s incorrect. It’s actually the N.L. Central. Huh? Yup, as of Tuesday, the Pirates, the Brewers and the Reds are actually in the bottom 6 for total hits. Times change, folks.
  • Play Hitters on Hot Teams: I’d like to tack this on to “Play the Hot Bats”, as team momentum is almost as important. It’s kind of an intangible external factor, but the positive energy of a winning team just seems to spread throughout the lineup. (The 11-game winning streak the Astros just enjoyed is a great example.  The Astros are currently 5th in the league in runs scored after a slow start.)   
  • Avoid Pitchers vs Hot Teams: Use the above information to elude questionable starts against these teams that are full of momentum and confidence. They can, and often will, bulldoze their way through good and even elite pitchers.
  • Play the Ballparks: Contrary to what the Pacific Coast League would have you believe about all things baseball on the West Coast, all of the stadiums on the coast are known as “Pitcher’s Ballparks”: Petco and Safeco have been in a league of their own for some time now, but Dodger Stadium, The Big A (LAA), AT&T Park (S.F.) and O.co Coliseum have all been historically pitcher-friendly. However, you should be careful here, as the Dodgers, Padres and the As are high-scoring teams at the moment. Pick on their opponents, but don’t bet against them at home. It’s no secret that Coors Field is the ultimate hitter’s paradise. If a pitcher as good as say Zach Greinke is slated to pitch there, avoid him. Coors catches up to most hurlers.
  • Meteorology 2000:  Okay, so you’ve taken a quick glance at the weatherboard on your favorite site and you see the games with the raindrops. These are the ones to avoid, right? Not necessarily. If you like a pitching matchup, then you might want to delve deeper into the forecast. I know you might think this is getting pretty geeky, but I like to call it due diligence. So yeah, you might want to check out an actual weather site to get the hourly forecast, just in case. Hmm, spot thunderstorms with less than 1mm of precipitation for just one of the hours during game time. The rest of the hours show mainly cloudy without rain. They should have no problem getting this game in. Bingo, you now have a potential edge on your opponents who didn’t geek out on their homework. In addition, you can even do a quick check of wind conditions. For instance, if you’re keen on a certain fly ball type of pitcher and the wind’s blowing in at 28 mph at AT&T Park, then this just adds to the appeal.

Supposedly, one of the appealing factors of Daily Fantasy Sports is that you are not committed for a full year to constantly tweaking your team. Fair enough, but do not believe for a second that this means no work is required to be successful in the Daily game. You need to do your due diligence or you won’t be around very long without more deposits.

Can you remember the learning curve you experienced during your first year of Fantasy Baseball? It was damn steep. So, if you’re currently educated on what’s happening in the world of baseball, then the due diligence required is much less work. So, guess what folks? It’s good to play the yearly leagues to maintain your knowledge for the Daily game.

One more thing: you can spend hours educating yourself on every facet and factor of every game. As you may be able to tell, I’m not against this, but don’t forget your gut instincts. Just like with those tough multiple choice exams, your first choice is often the right one.

Caveball will begin to devote more posts to the daily game, but instead of diluting our advice over the course of 7 days a week, we have decided to focus in on just one day a week. This way we’ll be giving you a few days worth of well-researched and concentrated advice.

EVERY WEDNESDAY we will devote our efforts to the best advice we can offer for the WEDNESDAY NIGHT GAMES. Look for the post next week at 2pm Eastern Time.

Good Luck

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