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    DFS Baseball: 101 (04/06/16)

    By Mark Dankenbring
    DFS Baseball 101



    ­­When playing daily fantasy baseball for the first time, there are many aspects to take into consideration while creating a lineup. Different DFS sites have their own scoring methods, positional requirements, and salaries for each player. Not to mention taking into account park factors, matchups, weather, and lineup changes for each organization. It's a difficult task to undergo for the first time, so we at Prediction Machine are here to help. Our Predictalator takes into account all of these factors for you, but if you want more autonomy and control over lineups, head over to our optimizer and use the following tips to build an ideal lineup.

    Scoring

    The first thing to take into account when building a lineup is the scoring method of the website you're playing on. DraftKings deals with more volatile scoring, awarding more points for positive statistics and reducing points for negative ones. FanDuel has a more standard scoring system, awarding points for fewer categories, as well as only deducting points when a player makes an out or a pitcher allows an earned run to score. One noticeable aspect of each scoring system is the value of stolen bases. On each platform, adding a stolen base to a single makes it just as valuable as if the player had hit a triple. In order to view scoring differences and develop your own strategy, visit the DraftKings and FanDuel scoring pages.

    Park Factors

    One major aspect in play in daily fantasy is the idea of park factors. Park factors deal with the hitter and pitcher friendliness of each ballpark around the league. For instance, Petco Park in San Diego is a very pitcher friendly park, so it adds a little advantage to starting pitchers, and a disadvantage to hitters. On the other end of the spectrum, hitter friendly parks such as Coors Field provide more upside for hitters. Also, parks like Yankee Stadium favor lefties with its short porch in right, and Minute Maid Park in Houston favors righties with its short box in left field. Looking at strictly home run numbers in each park from last year there is a large disparity. At Camden Yards in Baltimore, there were 222 home runs, compared to only 109 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. As you can see, there were over 100 more long balls hit in Baltimore, showing parks have a large impact on daily fantasy scoring. Follow this link to see 2015 home run numbers for all parks.

    Weather

    Weather turns out to be a major factor when creating a lineup each night. The last thing you want to do is include players in your lineup who have their game postponed, as they won't accumulate any statistics. Therefore, make sure to check forecasts for each game in which you have players participating. If a game isn't scheduled to start until 10pm and the weather looks iffy, you might want to look elsewhere when creating a lineup that locks earlier.

    Lineup Changes, Platoons, and Bargain Plays

    Just like weather, it's really important to keep an eye out for the official lineups posted for teams every night. If a manager decides to rest a certain player, you don't want to have them in your lineup. Also, certain teams like to run a platoon at one or several positions, meaning a left-handed batter will play against a right-handed pitcher, and a right handed hitter will be in the lineup against lefties. This managerial strategy makes it critical for you to check lineups each and every night to know who is starting and getting the majority of plate appearances. Lastly, bargain plays can be the result of lineup changes. Bench players will likely hold a smaller salary than starters, and if they're in the lineup you can expect them to get at least three or four plate appearances. Overall, lineups don't change too frequently, but it's important to catch it when they do because it will offer you an advantage when building your lineup that day.

    Stacking

    Lineup stacking is a popular strategy in daily fantasy baseball. The idea behind stacking is that when teams face off against weaker pitchers, hitters are likely to have more success. Therefore, it would be beneficial to add three or four players from that lineup into yours, or “stacking” your lineup with hitters from one team. Stacking can allow your lineup to score in bunches. For example, if you have Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion in your lineup and Encarnacion hits a home run with those two on base, not only do you get points for the home run and RBIs for Encarnacion, but you also get points for the runs scored by the other two. So if you choose a successful stack on a given night, you're likely to earn some money.

    Overall, there are several strategies and ways to approach daily fantasy baseball, but each of these factors should impact who you choose night in and night out. Following the steps above will make sure you don't have any inactive players in your lineup and will give you the best shot to consistently make money.
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