Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. It’s your team, and you’re the one who has to live with the lineups you enter. Period.
Don’t be the guy who follows everything some “expert” says and then whine about losing. I’m gonna do my best to present you with solid information and share with you my way of thinking when it comes to Daily Fantasy Baseball. You may agree, but you may not. My job here isn’t to help you win $1,000,000 in Daily Fantasy Baseball.
Instead, I will attempt to present you with information and advice that will help you come out ahead when the day is done. When you can consistently cash out in 50/50s and other similar contests, it allows you the bank to enter the bigger tournaments, where the odds are stacked against you. So keep that in mind as you consider my suggestions and advice. Winning in Daily Fantasy Baseball is all about consistently putting the odds in your favor everything in this article will attempt to do just that.
My Basic FanDuel Strategy
FanDuel’s salary structure is very tight, making it extremely hard to feel completely secure in any lineup you build. Their scoring system awards pitchers plenty, but pitchers are also by far the most expensive players, meaning it can be very hard building a lineup you’re happy with if you go with the top options.
For this reason my FanDuel strategy usual centers around using the cheapest pitcher I’m comfortable with. For me being comfortable with a pitcher means they are on the better team, face a weaker offense, and have at least a K/9 of 7.0.
Once I’ve got my pitcher I then go about building my lineup of hitters. First I look for players who come at an extreme discount due to just returning from an injury or other extenuating circumstances. These players are a lot more rare on FanDuel than on other sites.
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If I don’t find any low priced gems, I then begin the process of looking for platoon splits and weak opposing pitchers to exploit, along with teams heading into Colorado or another offense friendly park. I tend to start looking at the middle infield slots because it’s generally a little harder to find useful bats there. I’ll also try to make sure one of my outfielders is low priced. This lets me afford the big bats at the corners that will hopefully do the big damage I need to cash out in the 50/50s.
That’s pretty much it. I’ll look at home/road splits for pitchers, but for hitters I’m more concerned with the park factors. The important thing is that I’m rostering players at their top value. That means that most of the time I using players on their strong platoon side. Each player’s salary is built around total production, so if I’m only using them from their strong side, I’ll get more production over time.
Enough of the FanDuel strategy let’s get on to the info you came here for.
Top Stacks at FanDuel
This is not a day where I see a stack I really like, but if you’re set on stacking, here are the two top options I see.
- Oakland Athletics vs. Colby Lewis – Being just the second day of the season, Colby Lewis is easily the worst pitcher going today. I’m not a big fan of the new Oakland offense, but I like the left-handed bats of Ben Zobrist, Ike Davis, and Steven Vogt to have good days against Lewis.
- San Francisco Giants vs. Rubby De La Rosa – I’m actually a fan of Rubby long term, but he’s got a lot to prove this year. De La Rosa doesn’t have an extreme platoon split, but it’s the bats of Norichika Aoki, Brandon Belt, and Gregor Blanco that look like values to me.
Top 5 Starting Pitchers
The following rankings take into account skill of pitcher, quality of opposing offense, quality of opposing pitcher, and ballpark factors.
- Jesse Hahn ($7,600) vs. Texas Rangers – He’s not as cheap as I’d have liked, but this matchup is pretty juicy. Hahn is going to love pitching in that ballpark and his offense gets to face Colby Lewis. You may not chase wins in traditional Fantasy, but in Daily Fantasy Baseball you have to take it into account.
- Zack Greinke ($10,000) vs. San Diego Padres – Yeah, the Padres added a lot of bats, but I’m not sure those right-handed bats are ready to deal with what Greinke can throw at them. Greinke is the highest priced pitcher, but still a solid play.
- Jake Arrieta ($8,800) vs. St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinal offense lacks punch and if Arrieta is on his game, I like his chances for seven-plus Ks.
- Tyson Ross ($8,800) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – Yes, he’s facing Greinke, but Ross is still set up for a pretty nice game.
- Alex Wood ($8,500) vs. Miami Marlins – Wood doesn’t get the credit he deserves and the ballpark and a mediocre Marlin offense don’t scare. If the Braves offense were better Wood would be my SP play of the day.
Top Options at Each Position
Here are two choices at each position; one is the best bet for production and the other is a lower priced option with a favorable outlook.
Buster Posey ($4,300) vs. Rubby De La Rosa – Yes, he’s expensive, but I expect the Giants to get plenty of baserunners against De La Rosa and Posey is pretty good at driving them in. The ballpark won’t hurt either.
Rene Rivera ($2,500) vs. Wei-Yin Chen – I’m expecting plenty of regression from Rivera in general, but Rivera hit .280 against lefties in 2014 with six HRs in just 100 at-bats, and that was in Petco. His price tag makes it all the better.
Chris Davis ($3,800) vs. Nathan Karns – Karns has a bit of potential, but I like Davis to start his year with a bang, after sitting out the last game of his suspension on Monday. The price tag also leaves room to roster some other higher priced players.
Ike Davis ($2,600) vs. Colby Lewis – I don’t normally go cheap at first base, but Davis is coming off of a nice spring and all of his power came against right-handed pitching in 2014. Did I mention he’s also facing Colby Lewis?
Ben Zobrist ($3,100) vs. Colby Lewis – Not a big fan of the matchups for the four second priced above Zobrist and of course there’s the Colby Lewis thing again. I also like the way Zobrist can score points for you in many different ways.
Jace Peterson ($2,200) vs. Mat Latos – Latos is still a decent pitcher despite battling a variety of arm issues. His stuff however is not what it used to be, and if Peterson can get on base I would expect him to get the green light if Jarrod Saltalamacchia is behind the plate.
Evan Longoria ($3,800) vs. Wei-Yin Chen – Over the last few years Longoria’s platoon split has increased and Chen represents the type of pitcher he typically does well against. Now about the Rays actually getting runners on in front of him…
Jacob Lamb ($2,200) vs. Ryan Vogelsong – Lamb has some very real power and I’d expect the Diamondbacks to get plenty of baserunners against Vogelsong, who is filling in for Jake Peavy. I really like this matchup and it’s gonna let me spend some money in the outfield.
Troy Tulowitzki ($4,400) vs. Matt Garza – As long as he’s healthy, Tulo is always a nice play, even when he’s not in Coors. The price is not overly prohibitive considering how much he dominates the position.
Everth Cabrera ($2,700) vs. Nathan Karns – Cabrera didn’t get the start on Opening Day, so you’ll need to make sure he’s in the lineup, but if he is, I like his chances to swipe a bag or two.
Nelson Cruz ($4,200) vs. C.J. Wilson – Cruz hit .314 against lefties last year and Wilson allowed right-handed hitters to bat 75 points higher than left-handers. And in case you didn’t notice, Wilson also led the MLB in walks allowed with 85 in 175.2 IP.
Carlos Gonzalez ($3,900) vs. Matt Garza – Much like Tulo, it’s never a bad idea to start Gonzalez when he’s healthy. With just eight games scheduled, Gonzalez has as much upside as any outfielder playing today.
A.J. Pollock ($3,300) vs. Ryan Vogelsong – Though he bats right-handed, Pollock actually hit for a higher average against right-handed pitching in 2014. A right-handed pitcher is also good news since Pollock earns much of his value on the basepaths.
Alejandro De Aza ($2,900) vs. Nathan Karns – I don’t normally put much weight into hot and cold streaks, but De Aza is one player who always seems to be either red hot or about to be benched. I like him against the young righty, and I like that he could do it with his bat or with his legs.
Desmond Jennings ($2,800) vs. Wei-Yin Chen – I’m not totally buying into Jennings’ hot spring, but he does seem to be in a groove right now and he’s always hit lefties better. The conundrum with Jennings is that he hits better against left-handed pitching, but it also negates much of the value he provides in SBs.
My FanDuel Lineup
I wouldn’t be much of a “So-Called Fantasy Expert” if I didn’t put my money where my mouth is. To the right is the only lineup I will be playing on FanDuel for the day. It’s not my favorite lineup I’ve ever put together, but there are days where the matchups just aren’t so cut and dried.
I’ll play this in a bunch of 50/50s and I think I’ve put the odds in my favor to double my money (I’ll pretend you’re not there Mr. Rake).
The key is probably Hahn and how he does. His strong spring and the Rangers’ less than imposing lineup have me feeling pretty good for a day with a less-than-full slate.
Chris Davis image courtesy of Keith Allison
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