Daily Fantasy Baseball

Jack MoneyJack MoneyThe Guesthouse, The PulseLeave a Comment

I’ll admit from the get go that some of you readers probably know more about Daily Fantasy than yours truly. I have dabbled in the daily games the past couple of years, but still have much to learn. Even for someone who devotes a good portion of his waking hours to Fantasy sports, there’s only so many teams and leagues one guy can handle. 

The buzz he got was in the pride of beating the system – the buzz of winning.

I have, however, been known to put a few bucks down on the odd game or two. And I know from where this penchant for wagering has come. It has come from my genetic makeup. Just like my father before me, I enjoy the rush of winning. Although there was one difference: dear old dad was good at it.

Whenever the opportunity was safely presented to him, dad would shoulder nudge one of his three sons, and then dip his hand into his shirt pocket. Out came 2 or 3 chits of the games he bet on for the night. The “men” of the house would always be the audience for all his latest ventures. My mother would have undoubtedly disapproved of gambling on any level, and my sister would have had no interest. 

After going through his plays for the night, there would always be a hushed commentary about his picks. 

“Dad, what are you thinking? The A’s have no hitting, and Pedro is pitching tonight.”, one of us would contend. 

“Don’t tell your mother.”
He would rebut, “Oh yeah, but the Red Sox just flew out to the West Coast today, and I know how much that flight always killed me. They won’t be fresh.” 

He would always think about the other factors that escaped us amateurs. 

Once the tempered debate was over, he would always finish up with the same four words: “Don’t tell your mother.”

It was dad’s little escape from a high-stress job. The escape wasn’t about the money. He always had a limit that was well within his means. The buzz he got was in the pride of beating the system – the buzz of winning. And he won often. He had a knack for it.

Dad passed away years ago, near the turn of the century. After his funeral, as we were going through his things, one of my brothers found two tickets acting as a bookmark in his latest paperback. The tickets were recently purchased, and the games occurred after his acute heart attack. He had played three upsets on each ticket. My brother went to check how the games turned out, and returned from the “computer room” a few minutes later.

“Okay, get this.” he said. “Both tickets are winners.”

He had won over $600 on two $20 bets, replete with upsets.

He hadn’t left us with a goodbye note, or any kind of tangible message, but he did leave us with his last rush of victory. It was a great and symbolic way to remember him – as a winner.

This is the same rush that Daily Fantasy Sports can provide, if you play your cards right. So, you, the readers, and I, are going to get in on the ground floor here, and begin to learn the best way to negotiate daily Fantasy Baseball. We all want to focus on how to win this relatively new phenomenon that is taking over a good chunk of the Fantasy market. So, let’s get to it with a few questions:

1. What is Daily Fantasy Baseball? 

Daily Fantasy Baseball is a daily version of its older season-long cousins, except it is played on a daily basis. You pick a new team each day you play, and you go head to head against one or more opponents numbering into the thousands, usually at a cost and with a money prize for the top team(s). There are already many different versions and configurations of the game.

2. What are the best sites to play?

My personal favorite is Draft Kings, which is one of the bigger dynamic sites that has a diverse variety of games for every sport you can imagine. Fan Duel is another big one that offers up much of the same. Many others are trying to catch the wave, and will probably offer all the bells and whistles to attract attention. So, I encourage you to search and research, and maybe let us know what else is out there.

3. Is there an easy way to learn how to play without losing your shirt?

There are a number of ways to ease into Daily Fantasy games. You can play for free on some sites to get the hang of things, or you can enter 50/50 contests where half of the entries win and half lose. The payout is not as good, but your chances of winning are much better, and it’s a great way to practice before you move on to the bigger payout games, or not. You only have to be smarter/luckier than half of the other contestants.

4. What are some strategies to keep in mind with Daily Fantasy Baseball?

  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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 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.

It makes sense in this faster age of instant information, disappearing attention spans and immediate gratification that Daily Fantasy has exploded onto the scene. You don’t need to be committed to managing a team through a full season, and you can play at any time.

For instance, let’s say it’s early August, and your injury-riddled Head-to-Head team has caused you nothing but grief, and lost any chance of making the playoffs. The Daily Fantasy game could provide a nice reprieve for you for the remainder of the season.

I may always be partial to the weekly and yearly competitions, but I can and certainly will make room for Daily Fantasy Baseball. After all, we are still talking about the same pitchers and hitters that we’ve done all this research on already. Why waste it. But don’t lose your shirt. Play within your limits. Enjoy the buzz of victory.

Feel free to add more feedback regarding sites, strategies and tips. We can help each other out as we continue to learn more about this dynamic new format.

OK, We know you guys have your opinions. So, let’s have ’em.
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