Daily Fantasy Strategy — March 30 — For Draftstreet

Baseball is here!

Well, okay, baseball was technically “here” last weekend, but for all intents and purposes, today marks the official start of baseball season.

With it comes the start of daily fantasy games…tomorrow. Patience. With a fresh season on our hands, it’s worth going over a few strategic points before we dive in for the first week of daily fantasy.

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Now, some of this is going to seem painfully obvious, but not everyone knows what to look for when setting a daily lineup. Generally speaking, DraftStreet’s pricing algorithm is pretty solid, and with a more complex scoring system than its FanDuel counterpart, finding value is slightly tougher.

Two Formats and Price Per Point
DraftStreet offers “double-up” formats and the more standard, top-XX seeds-take-all formats. The latter is how you make the big money, but the double-up only requires you to finish in the top half of all players. Generally, that means a 40-point minimum, meaning you need to find 2.5 points for every $10,000 of budget. That’s a helpful mental guide line when evaluating a player – if a starter costs $20,000, is there at least a five-point floor there?

Daily fantasy players need to practice patience. That’s the long and short of this point. Baseball has a 162-game season for a reason, because random variance can wreak havoc in small samples. Chris Davis and his .473 wOBA against righties could get four plate appearances against Wade Davis and his .396 wOBA allowed against lefties, and go 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. You’re going to get bad beats, but if you make the right plays day after day, you’ll make money in the long-run.

What to Look At
This stuff should be pretty standard: player platoon splits, opposing pitcher and ballpark are all pretty obvious. But weather has an impact, too, and Brad Johnson’s tool will help us out over here, too. One helpful indicator of expected run environment is the run-lines set by Vegas, so if you’re unsure how a park may play on a given day, have a look at those, too.

From there, you can get a little more specific. Is a speedster facing a battery that is notorious for allowing runners to go wild? Is a fly ball hitter taking on a fly ball pitcher?

You can also mostly throw out hitter-pitcher history. With a few exceptions, the samples are never going to be large enough to tell us anything meaningful. What can help, though, is looking at how players fare against certain pitches (using the Pitch F/X and pitch value leaderboards) – for example, Brandon Moss hits fastballs and changeups well, so if he faces Bronson Arroyo, who throws both but does so poorly, Moss is probably a good play.

The Daily Five
Normally, this is where we make five recommendations, but since there are no fantasy games today, I can’t recommend anyone. In terms of financial strategy, the feeling I get is that most tend to go with “stars and scrubs” – spending on great players with great matchups, and filling in the rest with value plays. It’s been my experience that on full schedule days, finding value in the starting pitching ranks (and be sure to check “RP” for starters, too) is less challenging, because hitters are a little more volatile day-to-day. We can get into all of that once there are actual games and players to discuss.h

This post, covering one of the leading sites for daily fantasy, is sponsored and made possible by the generous support of Draftstreet. FanGraphs maintains complete editorial control of the postings, and brings you these posts in a continued desire to provide the best analytical information on the latest in baseball.

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Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.

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Some good looking values for tomorrow…

C: Hanigan 4464
1B: Belt 6394
2B: Wong 5392
SS: Bogaerts 5859
3B: Middlebrooks 6078
OF: Stanton 7116
OF: Dom Brown 6368
OF: Avisail Garcia 5127
UT: Ortiz 8578

SP: Sale 23032
SP: Wainwright 18158
P: Rosenthal 1836

Probably shouldn’t link Rosenthal and Wainwright in double-up format so I might just go with Liriano 18133 instead, and spend more elsewhere.


Since almost every team is facing an ace tomorrow I decided to focus on the hitters that weren’t going up against the upper echelon type pitchers.

Thought about going with three potentially cheap winning pitchers (Teheran, Lester, Liriano), but it would have required an even bigger sacrifice to the bats.


Ended up winning on double-up through the strength of my pitching alone. Also, I will never allow myself to pick a player that may not play the following day.