If you are like me, you probably spent the past few weeks, or maybe even months, crunching statistics in preparation for your season-long baseball draft.Again, if you are like me, you have also already identified holes in your post-draft line ups, and are trolling the waiver wire, in search of your first waiver claim.
What I am also doing, however, is finalizing how to use the dozens of hours I spent researching for my draft, and how it can be applied to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). This is because while season-long and Daily Fantasy Baseball share some similarities, strategies of how to excel at both can differ in many ways.
Personally, whenever I try and explain Daily Fantasy Baseball to those who are new to the concept, I make the comparison to the online poker evolution of the mid-90’s.
Back then, most players assumed that because they dominated their buddies in home poker games, they could easily parlay their success at online poker.And while I’m sure some did, for most of us, it took a little while to understand the different nuances between online poker and the typical home game.
Similarly, while your draft research can serve you well in Daily Fantasy Baseball, and will lay the foundation for setting your daily lineups, there are several other factors you need to also take into account when playing daily games.
1. Understand the Scoring System
I cannot stress this point enough. Whether you choose to play at Draft Kings, Fanduel or Draft Day, or anywhere else, you must understand that every DFS site is a little different when it comes to their scoring system — especially if you are someone who is used to only playing Rotisserie leagues.
Daily Fantasy Baseball is a points format, so players you value highly in Rotisserie, may not hold the same value in DFS.
2. Daily Fantasy Baseball Valuations
In season-long games, we take a macro approach when evaluating players — we try and predict what their stats will be at the end of the season. With DFS, we have to treat our approach like 162 individual seasons. This means you need to take in account factors like lefty/righty match ups, where a particular is player slotted in the batting order, etc.
One extra at bat in a night, can mean the difference between finishing in the money and not cashing.
3. Consider External Conditions
Everyone knows that playing at Coors Field will usually produce better hitter results, but you should also take the time to learn what other ballparks generate better than average hitter statistics, as well as which parks are more forgiving for pitchers.
Weather for instance, especially in April, can play a huge factor in player performance. For example, Blue Jays hitters and their opponents, playing inside at the Rogers Centre, may offer a better option than Colorado players in April and May.
4. Weigh Streaks Accordingly
While streaks average themselves out over 162 games in season long leagues, make sure you carefully examine both hot and cold streaks before jumping on your favorite player. A cold streak could indicate an undisclosed injury. When you are setting your weekly lineup in season-long games, you are probably willing to include and accept players who are having a tough time at the plate, or even playing with a small injury. This is something you need to avoid completely in DFS.
5. Learn How to Evaluate Player Values
On most nights, Clayton Kershaw or Mike Trout are not going to be the reasons you win your Daily Fantasy Baseball contest. Instead learn how to assess value in the mid-range and bottom end of the player pool.
Earlier this year, I wrote an article that included a strategy of using backup goalies in DFS hockey lineups. A similar theory can be applied with Daily Fantasy Baseball lineups. Remember, very few players are going to play 162 games. When known starters are out, seek out their replacements.
Edwin Encarnacion Photo Credit: Keith Allison
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