There are many parallels and lessons that can be learned for your daily fantasy baseball tournament play based on backgrounds in other games such as tournament poker or thoroughbred handicapping. MLB DFS, like those other two pursuits, is a game where you have multiple opportunities daily to get in on the action in a high-variance event where the correct play is often in contrast to the actual result of the event.
Of the many differences between the two largest DFS sites, none is larger than the late swap versus no late swap feature. FanDuel does not offer late swap, meaning once the first pitch is released in the first game on the slate, all roster positions lock for the night. On the other hand, DraftKings offers a late swap feature, meaning a roster position does not lock until start time of that player’s game.
One of the constant battles a new daily fantasy baseball gamer must face is the balance between conventional wisdom and reality. Very often you will hear even the most respected broadcasters trumpet a hitter’s edge on a particular starter, and the basis for such a proclamation is usually his stats against that hurler.
One of the great debates in the DFS baseball sphere is over the topic of multi-entry versus single-entry GPP play. A single-entry tournament is one where, regardless of your bankroll, you are permitted to enter only one lineup. On the other hand, the standard GPP format is multi-entry, with a gamer being free to enter anywhere from one to the particular sight’s maximum limit based on field size. On DraftKings, a GPP with a few thousand entries will have a limit of 200 per person.
One of the stumbling blocks that new daily fantasy baseball gamers have to overcome is the way in which they’ve been trained to value certain statistics. When a kid is becoming a baseball fan, his interpretation of what is most important will come largely from the way certain events are celebrated by the announcer or on the news. Once that kid grows up a bit and gets into fantasy baseball, his definitions of relative statistical importance will become further molded to value what produces the best results in his given league.
In MLB DFS strategy, much attention is given to ‘handedness,’ which is DFS speak for the lefty versus righty matchup between pitcher and hitter. Handedness is a crucial factor in your MLB research, as many years of statistics have conclusively proven that certain matchups favor hitters, while others strongly favor pitchers.
Of all of the formats of daily fantasy baseball, nothing rivals the popularity of large-field tournaments with guaranteed prize pools known as GPPs. A GPP affords the opportunity for a DFS gamer to land a large prize for a relatively small investment by defeating a field size that could run into the thousands. Typically, the real money is concentrated at the top of the leaderboard, so you will have to have a big game out of just about every roster spot in order to take one down.
MLB heads-up cash games, or H2Hs as they are commonly known, are two-man daily fantasy sports contests in which your goal is to score more points than your lone opponent. The goal of a H2H contest is drastically different than in full-field tournaments (GPPs), where you are attempting to maximize upside at the expense of safe floors. In a H2H, the concern of the masses is removed. You will find that your most logical H2H lineups will roster a lot of the ‘chalk,’ and that is perfectly fine.
In a 50/50 format, whether in daily fantasy baseball or any other sport, your goals are different than in a GPP, so it is wise to examine the type of roster construction that fits this format. In a 50/50, 1st pays the same as 471st, so it is generally counterproductive to be highly contrarian.
The nature of DFS baseball is that it’s high-variance event overall, but in the relative chaos lies one oasis of relative consistency: the starting pitcher. A hitter has maybe five plate appearances in an MLB game in which to control his outcome in some way, and even the best hitter who has ever lived will be an underdog to achieve a positive outcome each time he steps to the plate.