Have you ever played daily fantasy baseball? It is addicting. It is like jumping in a pool of puppies. The only thing that keeps you from becoming a complete addict is loosing money. I have been playing daily fantasy for 5 years now and have tried lots of different strategies on how to make money. I will go over in this article on what works for me.
There are many different ways to play. You could play in a large tournament. You could play in a 50/50 league. You can play heads up or you can play in a small tournament. Realize that the site you are playing on will take ten percent of the purse. It is tough to make money in head to head match ups. You would have to win 60% of the time to make a little money. That means if you played heads up and bet 5$ 20 times you would have to win 12 of those match ups just to make a little money. If you did play 20 times at 5$ a pop and you won 12 of the match ups you would make a whopping $8 profit. I do not really like the heads up play. You could play 50/50 tournaments. In those you have to finish in the top half of the field to win. Those tournaments are a little easier to win but again just like head to head you would have to do it 60% of the time just to make a little money. Large tournaments give you the potential to make a lot of money but it is very tough to place and make money. I play the occasional large tournament but do not make a habit of it cause it is tough to place in the money. My favorite thing to play is three man tournaments. When you play a three man tournament you have the opportunity to more than double your money and all that you have to do is beat two others. If you bet $5 20 times in a three man tournament you would only have to win 40% of the time to make money. You play the twenty times at 5 dollars and win eight times and you would make $8 dollars profit. I have had good success in the three man tournaments. If you plan on making money in daily fantasy I would suggest to go that route.
Every site is different. Some sites you use two starting pitchers, some you use three and some just one. If you are just starting out with daily fantasy I suggest just going with the one starter simplify things to start. Make sure you know the rules and scoring. That could change your strategy depending on what site you play. Build your team around pitching. Pitching is the most predictable thing in fantasy baseball from night to night. If your pitcher performs well then your team will perform well. Make sure you get a strikeout pitcher. Each strikeout is worth at least a point on every site. That can add up fast let me throw a couple of stat lines at you from the other night. Scott Diamond threw 7 innings with 0 earned runs, 2 strikeouts and got the win. That was worth a total of 14 points on one of the more popular daily sites. That was a great start for Diamond but only having 2 strikeouts does not bolster you score. Now lets look at C.J. Wilson’s numbers from the other night. 6 innings, 2 earned runs, 12 strikeouts and he did not get the win. That was worth a total of 16 points. I would say just make sure you have a pitcher that is capable of getting strikeouts. Wins are worth a lot of points but are very tough to predict. You can predict strikeouts somewhat, whether it be the team a pitcher is facing that strikes out a lot or having a strikeout pitcher.
I want to talk a little bit about large tournaments. If you do play large tournaments you are going to need a huge score to win. With that in mind you better have a pitcher with high upside. Build around your pitcher. I will say it again get a strikeout pitcher that has a good chance at a win. Tournaments are a different beast you have to go with high upside players. In a head to head sometimes you pick a super cheap player at a position and kind of punt the position. In a tournament you can not do that. You have to have upside at every position. Go big or go home when it comes to tournaments.
Now lets talk about winning the big money cash flow. Again I suggest the three man tournaments. You will not get rich quick but you will make the money in due time. Below I have listed things I look into every day to give myself the best chance to win.
- Weather- If a game gets rained out the player will do you no good. If there is a significant chance of weather affecting a game I just stay away from it. There are plenty of options every night. Wind can be a factor too. There are websites that will tell you which way the wind is blowing in a stadium. That is important to as we all know wind blowing out at Wrigley could mean a 275 foot fly ball turning into a home run. I think a lot of daily players forget to look at the wind in ball parks.
- Batter vs. pitcher stats- The history of a batter vs. a certain pitcher rarely lies. Check the stats and players with good splits deserve a spot in your line up. Make sure you check the pitchers too. If a opposing line up has bad splits versus a starting pitcher that would make the pitcher a great play. Remember extra base hits are huge so make sure to check OPS when looking at batter verse pitchers.
- Look for lefty versus righty match ups and vise versa- Some players just kill pitchers that throw from the opposite side. For instance Paul Goldschmidt kills left handers. Whenever he faces lefties he is a good play. Keep your eyes out for match ups like that and exploit them.
- Stick with the hot players- If a player is on a hot streak ride them out. There can be all of the stats in the world saying a player will do good or bad but if they are hot or cold that is the most important stat of all. Ride the hot bats or pitchers and they will pay off and stay away from the cold players.
- Check the line ups before the game- You want to make sure that your players are in the line up and not riding the pine. This is also an opportunity to check to see what back ups are in the line up. They could turn into great value plays for the night if one of the before mentioned strategies applies to them.
- Realize what ball park a player in playing in- Know whether a park is a hitters or pitchers park and play the players accordingly. I would not let this be a huge factor but if you are trying to decide between two players pick the one with the better park.
- Check Vegas over/under- Vegas is hardly ever wrong. Look for high over/unders and play hitters from that game. Also look for low over/unders and play pitchers in that game. Let Vegas help you win money.
I know it is a lot of information to take in. That is why daily fantasy baseball is so tough. Remember you might not win right off the bat. It will take time to learn the trade but follow my strategies, do your research and you will eventually win consistently. Remember if you have any questions hit me up on twitter @Travis_Groth.