Getting Started in Daily Fantasy Baseball Without Losing Your … Shirt
The marketing teams behind FanDuel, DraftKings and other daily fantasy sites have done an incredible job and daily fantasy is expanding exponentially. You can hear their ads on the radio and they’ve even made their way to TV. The ads have hyped the instant gratification that is built into daily fantasy and many people play for just that reason. You build your team early in the day and you know if you succeeded or failed later that night.
What a lot of people found out is that it wasn’t so easy to succeed. Experienced rotisserie players tried their hand at Daily Fantasy Baseball and discovered that it takes an entirely different approach. Just how different? Well, that's why you're here. Read on.
Getting Started In Daily Fantasy Baseball
The goal here is to help you in getting started in Daily Fantasy Baseball and build an approach that will lead to success. And by success, I don’t mean winning the big million dollar tournaments. If it were that easy I wouldn't be here writing this. I'd be on a beach in Dubai laughing at you imbeciles.
There are two prerequisites in getting started in Daily Fantasy Baseball. First you have to enjoy it. You need to get the same level of entertainment and involvement as you have in playing traditional fantasy. The second key to success is directly tied to the first. In order to enjoy daily fantasy you probably want to win more money than you lose. If you can achieve these two things, you’ll at least be able to tread water until you learn the finer points where you may be able to win serious money.
How to approach playing daily fantasy baseball
- Know your opponent – In Daily Fantasy Baseball you have two opponents; the field of players involved in your contest, and the rake. Rake is the term used for the money that every daily site takes out of the entrance fees so that they can stay in business. The rake is generally 10% and a necessary part of the daily game.
- Stick to mainly 50/50 Contests – In 50/50 contests all you have to do is beat half the field to win. You’re looking for the largest 50/50 contests you can find so you can eliminate as many sample size issues as possible. Even many of the top money winners in Daily Fantasy Baseball use 50/50 contests to fund their ventures into the big money tournaments.
- Play a lot - In traditional rotisserie you go through peaks and valleys, but the stats generally even out by the end of the season. In daily fantasy, on a given night you can pick all the best hitters and lose to a team of platoon players who had fluky games. The truth is that even though you get that instant gratification on a daily basis, you still have to measure your success over the long term.
- Only play when you are prepared – Yes, I said play a lot. That doesn’t mean you can just go to your daily site of choice, select a lineup, and expect to succeed. Daily Fantasy Baseball actually takes more preparation than rotisserie. We’ll talk more about that research in a minute, but if you haven’t done research for that day’s matchups or if you don’t feel comfortable with the lineups you’ve built, don’t play. It’s one of the advantages of the daily game.
- Pay Attention to the weather – Nothing guarantees losing like having one or two of your players not even take the field.
- Play in free rolls and beginner contests – Every daily fantasy gaming site offers free rolls and a few offer beginner contests. Play in as many of these as possible. It helps you figure out what works and doesn’t work with limited risk.
- Don’t panic if you lose – Just like in real baseball, you’re going to go through streaks. Don’t worry, things will even out. Just set aside a given amount of money (your bankroll) and use at most 20% on a given night. In the beginning it’s Ok to use even less. You can see the math below, but when you add in the rake, you have to win 56% of your 50/50s to come out ahead. That means even successful players lose close to 40% of the time. Just stay the course.
The Math Behind Succeeding in 50/50 Contests
100 50/50 contests at $10 each entry = $1,000 invested
$1,000 invested minus 10% rake = $900 possible winnings
$10 entry – 10% rake 8 X 2 = $18 per win
56 wins X $18 = $1,008 it takes to come out ahead
Selecting hitters for Daily Fantasy Baseball
- Don’t rely on Batter vs. Pitcher stats – You hear announcers use it all the time, but research has pretty conclusively shown that a batter’s history against a pitcher has little to do with their future production. Undoubtedly some hitters do hit better against specific pitchers, but overall sample size issues make the numbers dangerous to rely on.
- Use platoon splits to your advantage – Salaries on the daily sites are based on overall stats. Whenever you can use batters who have extreme splits between LH and RH pitchers. It’s one way to get more than you pay for.
- Use Ballpark Factors – Don’t get too carried away, but using batters in hitter-friendly parks is a good idea. Yankee Stadium, Great American, U.S. Cellular, and of course Coors Field are great venues. Be wary of using hitters in San Diego, Oakland, and San Francisco.
- Quality of opposing pitcher is very important – It may seem obvious, but too many people just look at the hitters and disregard the pitcher they will be facing. I like to look for fly ball pitchers who have been giving up plenty of homers.
- Use hitters from high scoring offenses – Rather than choose that one great hitter from a bad offense, use solid hitters from a high scoring team. That deep lineup means more opportunities for runs and RBIs.
Selecting pitchers for Daily Fantasy Baseball
- Be safe with your pitchers – In larger tournaments it can pay off to choose a high upside risk. In 50/50 contests though, you want reliability. Your team doesn’t have to dominate to win. Just be a little above average. A blow-up from your starting pitcher(s) can make that nearly impossible.
- Ballpark factors again – Do not use a pitcher in Colorado. Just don’t. Their salaries won’t be marked down, and neither will their ERAs.
- Use pitchers on winning teams – Wins typically have high point totals in daily fantasy baseball. You want pitchers with the best odds of winning.
- Look at opposing pitcher - You want pitchers with the best odds of winning. Didn’t I just say that? In daily fantasy you almost have to chase the big W.
- Strikeouts are good – High K rates can be more reliable than wins and help cover for those games when your pitcher doesn’t get the win. In general look for K/9 rates of over 8.0.
- Use pitchers who pitch deep into games – Making it into the seventh or eighth inning increase the odds of a win and generally means more strikeouts.
Will following these basic guidelines guarantee a winning team on any given night? Of course not. That’s not the way baseball works and that's not the way Daily Fantasy Baseball works. But if you follow these principles, do your research, and stay the course, getting started in Daily Fantasy Baseball will go a lot smoother.
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