FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball
Yearly fantasy sports have always been a popular hobby for sports fans looking to have more skin in the game when it comes to the sporting events that they watch. The issue with yearly options, however, is that injuries or bad seasons from top draft picks can lead to you being out of playoff contention even before the half way point.
Enter daily fantasy sports. With DFS, you have the opportunity to choose new daily fantasy baseball picks every single day. Not only that, but you can also legally wager varying amounts of money each day that you play.
This leads to a level of excitement that can make any sports enthusiast giddy. FanDuel is one of the leading providers of daily fantasy sports in the world. They offer a variety of different DFS baseball games that can add some extra drama to your evening while watching some baseball on the couch or at the bar.
To give you a better idea of how FanDuel’s daily fantasy baseball works, this guide should provide you with the information you need to get started and eventually thrive. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to be on your way to becoming a DFS kingpin:
Pick Your Game
The first thing that you will need to do, even before constructing your lineup, is to pick the type of game that you would like to enter. FanDuel gives you six different options for games that you can enter. The four most popular include:
50/50 Contests – With 50/50 contests, you can double your money simply by placing in the top 50% of players that have entered into the contest. For example, if there are 20 entries for $10 per entry, you would win $18* if you finish in the top 10.
Head-to-Head Contests – With H2H contests, you go up against only one other player. Whoever has the highest amount of points wins the match and receives the other player’s entry fee as winnings (minus the rake).
Tournaments – If you’re looking to win big money on FanDuel, tournaments are one of the few ways to do so. While the payouts for placing on top can be in the hundreds of thousands, or even as much as $1 million, you will be competing against thousands of other entries. Exact payouts vary depending on entry fee and tournament size.
Leagues – The leagues are one of the more intriguing options on FanDuel, as you can either create a league or enter one that has already been put together by another player. When you create your own, you are able to choose the entrée fee and league size. You can also make private leagues if you want to go up against friends and family.
*The fact that it is $18 instead of $20, which would technically be ‘doubling up’, is because of the rake that FanDuel takes for each contest. This is how the site generates a profit.
If you’re just getting started on FanDuel, your best bet is to start off with a low cost entry in a 50/50 or H2H contest. This will give you the opportunity to get used to how your lineup should be setup and allows you to develop a sound strategy before dedicating too much money to your DFS efforts.
In order to enter these contests, you must first make your way to FanDuel’s lobby. The lobby is fairly easy to navigate and looks something like this:
You can use their filters on the top of the menu to narrow down the selection to games that fit what you’re looking for. From there, you simply click on the ENTER icon on the right hand side of the menu for the game you would like to enter and you will be guided to the area where lineup construction takes place.
Constructing Your Lineup
When it comes to constructing your lineup, there are a variety of different strategies that you can utilize. Some players like to load their lineup with top tier, and higher priced players, in the hopes that they will have big days on the mound or at the plate.
Others will try to put together a well-rounded lineup that features an abundance of mid-tier players in the hopes that a few will have big days. In the end, however, the goal is obviously to put together a lineup of daily fantasy baseball picks that can yield you the highest amount of points.
Here is a look at the positions that you will need to fill:
As you can see, you have $35,000 to fill nine positions. Pitchers cost significantly more towards your salary than position players because they also generate the most points.
For example, Jon Lester has a salary of $11,000 and averages 39.7 fantasy points per game. Mike Trout, on the other hand, costs only $4,500 but averages only 13.6 fantasy points per game.
Here is a better look at how the point system works:
As would be expected, HRs are worth the most points for hitters. Not only do you get the 12 points for the HR, however, but you also get the 3.2 points for the run and 3.5 points for each RBI. This means that even a solo shot ends up accumulating 18.7 points.
For pitchers, you can see that strikeouts are worth 3 points each. This makes high strikeout pitchers, such as Kershaw, Fernandez, and Scherzer, extremely valuable.
With the high points potential that pitchers provide, it is generally recommended that you choose your pitcher before you get started with the rest of your lineup. Assuming you choose a top-tier guy like Lester, who costs $11,000, you now have $24,000 left over for the rest of your lineup (AVG $3,000/position player).
Choosing Your Position Players
While most DFS experts would agree that picking a strong pitcher is essential for a winning lineup, the strategy for choosing position players varies from person-to-person. As you play DFS more and more, you will undoubtedly develop your own strategy for choosing both position players and pitchers.
One of the first things you should know before making your daily fantasy baseball picks for position players is that the lowest possible salary is $2,000.
Since you have to fill your entire lineup, even if you load up with as many top-tier players as possible and throw in some lower-tier players to fill your lineup, you still need at least $2,000 left over for each spot.
For example, if I choose Mike Trout ($4,500), Jose Bautista ($4,400), Andrew McCuthen ($4,000), and Anthony Rizzo ($4,400), there is only $6,700 left over for the four remaining slots (AVG $1,675/player). As much as I’d love to have those four superstars in my lineup, it’s not logistically possible.
To prevent this issue, most players will start by placing value players into their lineup first. These value players are often guys that are in the top half of the lineup but, for whatever reason, have salaries that are at or below $2,500.
Two of the best places to find value picks are with catchers and/or outfielders that are getting spot starts due to strong matchups with the opposing pitcher. You can also find a lot of value with OFs that are low priced and have high potential for steals (6 points per steal).
For example, I can plug David Ross ($2,200), Michael Bourn ($2,300), and Nick Markakis ($2,200) into the lineup as value picks since they are all starting and have strong matchups. I now have $17,300 remaining (AVG $3,460/player).
I can then use the rest of that money to load my lineup with top-tier hitters that have a high potential for extra-base hits, and therefore an abundance of points.
My final lineup, with my entire salary used, looks something like this:
Cabrera, Kinsler, Donaldson, Story, and Conforto are all power hitters that have the potential for 20+ point days. If I can get even two HRs out of that group, I have a good chance of winning no matter what game I choose.
Once your lineup is finished, all you have to do is hit Enter and you are ready to go. If you are playing a game that requires an entry fee and have not yet added funds to your account, you will be prompted to do so before you are officially entered into the contest.
It should be noted that you can change your lineup all the way up until the player’s game begins. So, if a player ends up being scratched from the lineup or there is rain in the forecast, you can make a switch to avoid zero points for that particular player.
Resources to Help You Win
FanDuel does a pretty good job by themselves of providing you with plenty of information related to game logs, pitcher/batter matchup history, and injury news.
If you are a stats junkie and want to take a look at more statistics before making your daily fantasy baseball picks, however, Baseball Reference can be a tremendous resource.
For updated lineups, you can utilize Baseball Press. It should once again be noted that you will want to focus on players that are batting in the top half of lineups as they will have more opportunities for at-bats while also being more likely to produce runs.
For information about wind and weather, Daily Baseball Data is probably the best option. It is also recommended that you utilize information related to each game’s over/under lines to get a better idea of which games have the most potential for high run totals.
Learn As You Go
In the end, it is highly unlikely that you will become a FanDuel master overnight. Take the time to develop and improve your own strategy and put in the time necessary to consistently construct strong lineups.
Keep learning as you go and don’t get down on yourself if you have a rough patch to start your DFS career. After all, even the best of the best experience slumps. Good luck!