How to Build Your Daily Fantasy Baseball Lineup

Rostering great Daily Fantasy Baseball teams is a process which requires equal parts theory and practice. You’ve got to know daily fantasy rules and statistics just as well as the legendary game itself. But it’s easy to get to know the score with a bit of research.

DailyFantasyUK have compiled a list of must-know criteria to get you started in the world of Daily Fantasy Baseball contests. Soon enough you’ll be knowledgeable enough to start racking up those cash wins while watching your favourite games!


What’s different about Daily Fantasy Baseball?

This depends on your experience. Perhaps you’ve never played DFS before, or have dabbled in football, or cricket or basketball, and want to try something new.

Game Format

The main thing to think about playing daily fantasy baseball is the unique game format, because players can take on many positions. Knowing who’s going to bat at what position is as important as choosing good pitchers, bases and fielders. Plus some players could play, say, on a base or as a short-stop during the same season.

Starters

Another big factor for daily fantasy baseball is that starting line-ups are announced only hours before the day’s games begin – and you ideally want to roster starters to get the most fantasy points opportunities! When you’re playing in the UK, this can lead to weird starting times, so prepare for some late night editing in the middle of the action.

DFS site Rotowire release line-ups daily, as soon as they are available.


Know Thy Site

To play Daily Fantasy Baseball, you’ll need to find a website (or app) which offers the sport and is open to UK players. Currently, the best website you can try out as a UK player is DraftKings.

draftkings

DraftKings has its own scoring system for daily fantasy baseball, which is important to familiarise yourself with when rostering a team.

Read more – How To Make The Most Of DraftKings Bonuses?

DraftKings daily fantasy baseball scoring system.

It may be beneficial for you to consider a player’s stats for a specific action when rostering a daily team. Does a hitter have a great history for home runs? Or, as important, do their hits frequently enable runs? DraftKings have their own baseball Playbook with loads of tips.


Know Thy Contest

The type of contest you enter will also have an impact on how you should roster a lineup. There are various contest types available on most DFS platforms, including Guaranteed Prize Pool tournaments, head-to-heads, multipliers and 50/50 cash games.

Check out our guide on Tournaments vs Cash Games to find out more.


Pay for Pitchers

Pitchers, on the whole, are statistically more consistent than batters, so it’s worth paying more for good and dependable pitchers rather than value picks.

These players are often the most expensive on daily fantasy baseball choices, for good reason. The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is a very expensive pick, but his elite and consistent pitching scores are worth every dollar.

Dodger Clayton Kershaw

Three things to consider when picking a pitcher:

  • The opposing team and their match history together.
  • Home or Away – some pitchers are far better playing at home than away, and vice versa. You can check these stats on a player’s Split statistics on their DraftKings profile.
  • Compare a pitcher to the opposing team’s batters, which you can partly do by…

Matching Left and Right

Left and right handedness can make a great deal of difference in your Daily Fantasy Baseball scores. It has been statistically proven time and time again that right-handed batters have an advantage against left-handed pitchers, and vice-versa.

In handedness matching, it’s best to go for opposites. This means you won’t want to roster left-handed batters who are going up against left-handed pitchers, or right-handed pitchers going up against a team with many right-handed batters – if you can avoid it.

Kansas City baseball pitcher Zack Greinke.

This isn’t always clear-cut – some batters, for example, have a very clear individual difference in whether they react better to left or right-handed throws, regardless of their own handedness. Plus some pitchers and batters can use either hand!

As well as looking at handedness statistics, it is also beneficial to use…


Batter vs Pitcher Statistics (BVP)

Batter vs Pitcher Statistics can be loosely defined as the overall, statistically-weighted ‘chemistry’ between a pitcher and opposing batter.

Baseball player Carl Crawford batting.

BVP statistics help when it comes down to picking individual players, particularly batters, for your daily fantasy baseball team.

A great resource for BVP statistics is the Daily Baseball Data website, which updates its data tables and news every day. Also, check out Rotowire’s daily matchup Hot and Cold picks for BVP.

There is a heavy amount of variance in baseball, so statistics should not be taken as law. They can be useful, however, when working out who to roster out of the sea of players available.


Sniff out Strikeouts

Pitchers with a great strikeout record can be golden finds in Daily Fantasy Baseball. Strikeouts (where the batter misses three hits) are worth 2 points each, so a strikeout pitcher can rack up some serious fantasy points and may even achieve the rare No Hitter bonus (+5).

The baseball strikezone in the Red Sox Yankees Game, in Boston July 2012.

Read more – DFS Football Player Stats You Need to Know

It’s good to relate these stats back to the lefties and righties matching tactic, because this will connect to a pitcher’s strikeout probability. You’re likely better off choosing a right-handed pitcher whose opposition batters are mostly right-handed, for example.


Beyond The Players

There’s more to drafting an excellent daily fantasy baseball team than individual players alone. You need to consider external circumstances, which may swing match results one way or another. Look out for…

Park Factors

Some parks are better for pitchers on the whole, like the LA Dodgers Stadium. Others are more batter-friendly, like the Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field. This depends on whether Hit stats are above 1 (batter-friendly) or below 1 (pitcher-friendly), worked out depending on how many hits and runs a team scores at home vs. away.

Coors Field baseball park. Photograph by Max and Dee Bernt.

This also goes hand-in-hand with home vs. away Split statistics. Park location can have an impact on a player’s experience, psychology, and resulting performance that day.

Check ESPN’s 2016 Park Factors Table for more information.

Weather Warnings

Weather can have a huge effect on your daily fantasy baseball scores, as fixtures can be postponed and your players out for that day – scoring you no points. If rain predictions are above 70% for a match, this is probably one to avoid drafting from, or at least watch very closely.

This is why checking your line-ups is crucial, because in general there are a number of reasons why a player will be off the pitch that day – including injuries, rest days, bad weather, postponed matches, and not being a starter player.


Go forth and play

So now hopefully you know a bit more about the world of daily fantasy baseball!

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