An explosion in interest in daily fantasy sports a few years ago shows no signs of slowing down. DFS offers typical fantasy baseball action with a much faster payout – rather than competing against a few friends for an entire season; you can go head-to-head against a stranger in a contest based on a single day’s play.
This post isn’t just for DFS newbies – it’s great for anyone to read as a refresher before the season or as a guide to the sport of baseball for DFS players used to other markets. Here are my top DFS baseball tips, in no particular order:
Protect Your Money
The constant action available to DFS players is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the long MLB season means months of literally daily play opportunities.
On the other hand, it’s possible for newcomers or people without a ton of fantasy experience to lose a lot of money in a short amount of time. Establishing and following a budget is probably more important in daily fantasy contests than sports betting or casino gambling, just because of the frequency of the contests.
First, set your timeline. Planning to bet the entire six-month regular season is a good place to start.
I like to play a maximum of two contests a week during the regular season, so I know that as long as I don’t go over that two-contest price, I won’t blow my budget.
Make an Investment in Data
I know I just told you to protect your money and stick to a bankroll. That’s why it’s funny that I’m about to tell you to spend a little money on something that might seem frivolous – DFS tools.
You don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money on things like expert picks (which are usually garbage anyway) or insider information – I’m just suggesting that you find some subscription-only tools that help inform your researching and drafting.
Here’s a few DFS tools that cost a little bit of cash but are worth a consideration if you really want to up your DFS baseball game:
FanGraphs – You can use FanGraphs for free or spend $3 a month to support their work and get rid of ads. I say chipping in the $20 or so per season is worth it, considering what you get. A ridiculous barrage of MLB data available for your manipulation. It’s not just good data, though – analysis available at FanGraphs is among the best in the business.
Rotoballer – Another site with a free/premium model, you can totally take advantage of the free content here, though what’s available at the $30/month price point goes much further. I’d put Rotoballer’s pitcher-vs-batter content up against the best stuff at FanGraphs. Worth a look even if you don’t want to spend money.
The Bat – A season pass to The Bat is $175 for 7 months access, or about $6.25 a week. I’ve not used this content personally, but I’ve read about it all over the place and a couple of my DFS baseball buddies swear by it. It looks to me like a lot of deep mathematical analysis, picks, lineup suggestions, and the like.
Establish a DFS MLB Routine
This is especially important if you’re going to bet multiple times a week. I know guys who bet basically every day during the MLB season, and they’re about the most routine-oriented guys I know.
Next, I pick a contest. Do I want to play multiple entries? Am I looking for a specific prize pool or allocation? Depending on my mood and my thoughts on the games, I may go for a GPP or a cash game or skip betting entirely.
Now I do some basic research. I have a small collection of stats that I focus on, which speeds up the process. I’ve developed this over the years of playing, and I’ve written about most of it in the past. Your own research process will depend on your play philosophy and experience and a million other factors.
After researching, I use a lineup optimizer. I pay a little money for a toolkit that includes an excellent lineup optimizer that helps me make sure I’m setting myself up for success. Basically, this tool eliminates what would be hours and hours of number-crunching and helps me identify potentially advantageous lineups.
Finally, I submit my lineup. I’ve stuck to my budget, research my picks, found a contest I like, and turned in a confident lineup. There’s nothing else to do but wait for the game to start.
Know When (and How) to Stack
DFS bettors often talk about stacking players – what does that mean? Stacking means putting three or more players from the same team into a lineup. Some sites and game situations may allow bettors to stack as many as six players from the same roster.
As for how else to identify good stacking opportunities, DFS tools sites have lots of ways to help you identify potentially good stacks, and many of these tools are totally free. Just know that your opponents have access to the same information you do.
Score with Slumping Bats
Succeeding at DFS contests usually means finding value. Slumping hitters – guys with big bats who have fallen into a bit of a funk – are of then the highest-value players on the board.
It’s common to see guys with cool bats drop a few grand in salary over the short-term. Picking up Mike Trout for $4,800 the day he climbs out of a slump and scores 28 DFS points is a surefire strategy for ending in the money.
You should be playing DFS baseball because it’s fun, because it adds to your enjoyment of the game and provides a spark that keeps baseball fresh and alive.
Remember that the DFS sites all prevent their whales from playing in games below the $5 entry level. Follow your budget and your research routine and think of your DFS bankroll as an entertainment expense.