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DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy

Pre – Draft Information

Every team Selected on DraftKings will consist of a 10 Man Roster with a maximum salary cap of $50,000

Each roster must contain players from at least 3 different MLB Teams.

The roster consists of the following positions:

P, P, C, 1B/DH, 2B, 3B,SS, OF, OF, OF

Site Scoring is as follows for batters:

  • Single = +3 PTs
  • Double = +5 PTs
  • Triple = +8 PTs
  • Home Run = +10 PTs
  • RBI = + 2PTs
  • Run = +2 PTs
  • Walk = +2 PTs
  • Hit By Pitch = +2 PTs
  • Stole Base = +5 PTs
  • Caught Stealing = -2 PTs

Site Scoring is as follows for pitchers:

  • Innings Pitched = +2.25 PTs
  • Strike Out = +2 PTs
  • Win = +4 PTs
  • Earned Run Allowed = -2 PTs
  • Hit Against = -0.6 PTs
  • Walk = -0.6 PTs
  • Hit Batter = -0.6 PTs
  • Complete Game = +2.5 PTs
  • Complete Game Shut Out = +2.5 PTs
  • No Hitter = +5 PTs

*Note Hitter Stats for pitcher will not be counted, and pitching stats for Hitters will not be counted

Late – Swap

Late Swap – The ability to remove a player who's game hasn't started from your lineup after the first games of the night have begun.

Example: The clock has struck 10:20 Est. and the Braves versus Mets play in 10 Minutes. Your Starting pitcher is Julio Teheran whose salary is $10,100. News is released that Julio has a sore arm and will sit out. Late Swap allows you to replace Julio with another player of the same eligibility and salary that maintains a $50,000 Salary Cap.

Volatility In Baseball

Before getting involved in any strategy, advanced statistics etc. it must be known that Daily Fantasy Baseball is a volatile game if attempting to project in a similar fashion to DFS NBA.

The best players in baseball history bat .400. That means that your high priced stud of the day over the course of the year will get a hit in 4 out of 10 at bats or 40 out of 100 at bats. This means that receiving a O from your most expensive player is likely and will happen. This does not mean there isn't an edge in baseball. The edge comes in how you approach your research, statistics you use and theories you apply. We will cover these below.

Batter Information

Important Stats - When selecting a hitter you will want to analyze the below stats for both the hitter as well as the opposing pitcher.

wOBA – Weighted on Base Average (wOBA) is a great statistic to understand the overall value of a individual hitter. wOBA measures the hitters overall offensive value based on each distinct event that occurs.

ISO – Isolated Power (ISO) is a measure of a player's ability to hit for extra base hits. This essentially provides you a statistic to compare the power between players. The formula to calculate ISO is Extra Base Hits / At Bats.

BABIP – Batting Average of Balls in Play (BABIP) is a great statistic to analyze how lucky or unlucky a player as gotten with the opposing fielders and placement of hits. A significantly higher BABIP than historical average can mean that a player has been getting “luckier" with the placement of his hits while a lower BABIP may mean that the player is in line to regress and see production.

GB%/LD%/FB% - Ground Ball Percent/Line Drive Percent/ Fly Ball Percent are all great stats to track how your player is hitting the ball. Typically you want players hitting line drives and fly balls opposed to ground balls.

Understanding Splits

Not all matchups are created equal. A pitcher who dominates lefties may be the easiest pitcher for righties to mash and vice versa. When analyzing statistics for opposing pitcher and hitter you will want to correctly access the situation.

Example – Right Handed Pitcher Versus Left Handed Batter

You will want to analyze how well the pitcher throws versus Left Handed Batters as well as how successful the Left Handed Batter Hits versus Right Handed Pitching.

Park Factors

It is no coincidence that little league ballparks are significantly smaller than MLB yet NBA courts have the same size hoop as peewee basketball. The park your player is playing in can greatly impact the effectiveness of that player. Before selecting a batter ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this Park good for Hitters or Pitchers?
  • Does it tend to favor Lefties or Righties?
  • How deep is center Field Fence?
  • What is the size of the foul territory?

For advanced Park Factors please review Daily Fantasy Café MLB Stats.

Batting Order

A key part of DFS Baseball is understanding the synergy created from points in the lineup. The No. 3 hitter is affected by the No. 2 hitter and No. 4 hitter and No. 5 hitter. Also, batters in the top part of the lineup will see more at-bats in a game therefore given more opportunity.

Vegas Odds

This may be the most important part of your research and fundamental in pointing you in the correct direction. Vegas built an industry on accurately predicting game totals and spreads. Use this to your advantage. When targeting hitters you will want to look at the highest spread games of the night and narrow in on the more advanced hitter specific stats for these teams. When targeting pitchers you want to look at games with low totals and a high money line for the team of the pitcher you are selecting.

Weather

Weather? We are playing DFS not planning a Vacation. Actually, in DFS MLB weather can play a significant decision in player selecting. If a game has thunderstorms there is a potential of cancellation effectively giving a zero to all players in that game. On the other hand, if for example, wind is blowing out 20 MPH to center field we may be line for more home runs. Wind blowing in at 20 MPH will lead to more pop outs and less home runs.

*Pro Tip* When you see any extreme weather compare the Vegas opening line to the current line. You can find Vegas Odds on Daily Fantasy Café.

Important Pitcher Stats

xFIP – Expected Field Independent Pitching (xFIP) is a stat that measures a pitchers ERA if all batted balls resulted in outs at a league average rate. This a good in season stat to see how well the pitcher is actually pitching versus how unlucky or lucky is getting.

K/9 – Strikeouts Per 9 Innings (k/9) is a great indicator of expected strikeouts for your pitcher.

wOBA Allowed – Similarly to hitters wOBA allowed is a catch all stat for pitchers and how well the opposing batters hit them.

Vegas Props

Analyzing Vegas Props can indicate how well or poor a pitcher will perform via strikeouts.

Stacking

What is stacking? Stacking is pairing multiple players from a team on your lineup. The reasoning behind this is due to the synergy in baseball. Unlike in basketball, baseball players directly affect each other. If your leadoff and two-hole batter get on base and you have the number-three hitter as well who hits a home run you collect the maximum amount of points for that scoring sequence.

I must warn that stacking can be a high risk, high reward strategy. If you happen to stack a team against a pitcher who pitches a complete game two-hitter you are losing every game you're playing. If, however, you target a team stack that goes off for 10 runs you are going to have a very successful night.

You have the following stacking strategies:

The number below each “Team" will show the max players you can take and still adhere to DraftKings Contest Rules.

Team 1

Team 2

Team 3

6

1

1

5

2

1

4

2

2

4

3

1

3

3

2

Pitching Strategy

One unique aspect pertaining to DraftKings is the necessity of selecting two starting pitchers.

Relative to other sites, selecting pitchers who will go deep in games and gain strikeouts is the most advantageous.

One way to raise your floor on innings pitched in a game is by targeting ground-ball pitchers. Pitchers who tend to have more ground-ball outs than line-drive and fly-ball outs typically last longer into games mainly due to not being in trouble.

Another way to target pitchers is specifically looking at their Vegas Odds. Finding a pitcher who is -150 or better favorite tends to mean they will stay in the game longer than not.

The other key difference between Pitching on DraftKings and its primary competitors is that DraftKings scores by what I like to call “Pitcher Efficiency". What this means is that pitchers will receive negative points for more than just runs allowed – hits, walks & hit batsmen will all negate 0.6 fantasy points from their total. While this does need to be addressed, it is very difficult to project “hits against" for a pitcher. My personal suggestion would be to dive deep into batted ball profiles for both the pitcher and hitter.

See below table for statistics based on batted ball profile.

Type

Average

ISO

wOBA

Groundball

.239

.20

.220

Line Drive

.685

.190

.684

Fly Ball

.207

.378

.335

*Graph data from www.fangraphs.com

As you can see, line drives are the most successful in terms of wOBA and Average. When we target pitchers against teams that hit a high percentage of ground balls or play pitchers who induce ground balls at a high rate, we can decrease our downside tremendously within our “negative impact" factors.

General Strategy Tips

Pitching is King in Daily Fantasy Baseball – from both a hitter perspective and pitcher. SPEND TIME ON PITCHING. When you select pitchers you ultimately know what you are going to receive. Take this example: The difference between a Anibal Sanchez and Clayton Kershaw is going to be very linear. Clayton Kershaw is a better pitcher and more frequently than not will outscore Sanchez. The same cannot be said for batters. Gincarlo Stanton is clearly a better hitter than Jacoby Ellsbury, however, the gap between scoring on a day-to-day basis is going to be much more sporadic. In fact, Ellsbury may outscore Stanton five straight games where the likelihood of that happening with Kershaw versus Sanchez is highly unlikely.





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