Four Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Daily Fantasy Baseball
1. Bring your barometer to the ballpark.
As a fantasy sports enthusiast for most of my childhood and even into adulthood, I have had the fortune of learning several different advanced statistics, projection engines, ballpark factors, match up analysis, and even coaching strategies, but I’ve never factored weather into my decision-making.
It wasn’t until I broke into daily fantasy that weather became such an important difference maker. For those of you that don’t know, a player must play the game in order to accumulate points here at the Daily Joust. So if a game is postponed due to weather, all players involved in that contest will throw up zeros. Avoiding games where severe weather is imminent is crucial to your team’s success.
When selecting a player from the queue, there will be a lightning bolt to the right, next to the breaking news icon. If you hover over the bolt, you will see an indication of what kind of weather could be problematic for the particular player or game. This is a cool feature, but to be true to your squad you must do your due diligence to completely research out all weather problems. If you click the “Research” tab to the far right of the positional tabs in the player selection screen, you’ll find an assortment of helpful links. In this page you’ll see two weather websites:
Both these sites will help you determine more exactly the possibility of a rain out. What I like to do is to visit a national weather service radar. You can easily search for radars at http://www.weather.com. I’m a visual person. I want to see greens and reds headed for Turner Field before I make a decision about using Braves’ players. I’ve heard it said that a 30 percent chance of rain is a good enough threat to avoid the game. I think that’s way too conservative. As long as you’re not reading 70+ percent chance of storms, visit these sites and get a good handle on what they feel the weather is going to do. Once you get some practice in, you’ll feel like you could predict weather patterns better than anybody.
2. If you can throw a wrench, you can throw a ball- “The Dodgeball Effect”
I’ve coined the term “The Dodgeball Effect” to a recent strategy that has seen itself grow in popularity and success in recent days across the daily fantasy platform. “The Dodgeball Effect” occurs when a manager selects a pitcher that is ripe to get hammered then chooses the best players on the opposing team. I call it “The Dodgeball Effect” because I picture myself as the last remaining player on my side of the dodgeball court. The other team is fully loaded with players, and I have the lone ball. It’s my choice as to who is about to get smacked. I scan the other team looking for that knock-kneed, nerdy kid sitting in the back. Once I’ve found him, I unload.
That might be a little silly, but it at least illustrates the point. If you can successfully guess a pitcher who is suspect to getting roughed up that day, you will find points to come in large quantities.
Some indicators that a pitcher might be ready to be primed for a bad outing: established record of failure, facing a hot team, playing a team with an unfavorable match-up, holes in the statistics, a possible injury, or inexperience. With all those variables, you can understand the difficulty in really finding consistent success with this strategy. Personally, I feel like you need to find a happy medium. Outside of large field tournaments, there is far too much risk to justify the reward. (Beside the point, Daily Joust will introduce large field tournaments this weekend in honor of Father’s Day.) I like to reserve heavily investing my line up in “The Dodgeball Effect” to large competitions where the reward is greater. In a one-on-one match-up, I will usually pick two or three players that are facing one of these suspect pitchers. With the rest of my team, I will focus more so on quality, skills, and specific batter/pitcher match-ups.
3. Practice makes perfect.
There is a slight learning curve to playing daily fantasy baseball. For example, I’ve played fantasy baseball of some sort since I was 14 years old. I’ve been writing about fantasy baseball in particular for a little over a year. Currently, you can also find some of my work at http://www.thehardballtimes.com. I play in expert seasonal leagues with some of the top minds in the industry. When I started playing daily fantasy baseball, I realized that I was going to have to adapt and form a whole new way of doing things if I was going to be successful. I struggled, made all the rookie mistakes, and learned my lessons the hard way. The funny thing is that newness and challenge actually drew me in. Today, I’m finding more consistent success especially as a head-to-head player.
I would be willing to say that to be really great at daily fantasy you have to play it with a clear mind, determined focus, a complete understanding of all players, and skilled at seeing value plays. A value play can be the difference in a tight heads up game. The Joust is very thorough with adjusting the monetary value of players to compensate for the performance on the field. Thinking ahead of the house is what separates the great players and the others.
4. Pitching wins championships.
Never underestimate the importance of good pitching. If it’s important in playoff time baseball then it’s crucial here at the Daily Joust. If you don’t choose the right pitcher, then you will be working from behind in the match up. It’s really that simple.
Here are some things I like to look at in selecting my starting pitcher. How much does he cost? If he’s over 300,000 dollars, you will have to adjust your entire lineup to compensate for that high of a price tag. Missing on a pitcher that costs this much will undoubtedly lose your match up for you. This strategy should be more reserved for the veterans. A rookie daily player may find difficulty in filling the positional gaps left behind by a high dollar pitcher.
You should always look at the opposing hitters that your prospective starting pitcher will be facing that night. Target the lower tier teams and teams that are hitting extremely poor especially. Is your pitcher a lefty? Well, if he is, is he playing a team full of left-handed bats? How does he historically fare in that ballpark or against those particular hitters? Look at a pitcher’s splits. Splits do a good job of giving you an idea of how your pitcher will handle just about every situation that arises. If he handles day games against lefties in the month of June with ease, then he might be a good choice for a day game against a team full of left-handed hitters on June 18. That part isn’t rocket science.
I also like to look at the “due” factor. Baseball is a game of statistics. We have probability statistics and mythical statistics like FIP (fielding independent pitching). One thing that a statistic can’t account for is the likelihood of a good or bad game. In this instance, you will need to rely on your gut and have faith in your other preparations.
I leave you with this, daily Jousters. Daily fantasy can be one of the more fun hobbies for sports fans if you learn how to play it properly. Balance yourself and don’t let your ego write checks, your teams can’t deliver. You should enjoy the camaraderie and atmosphere that permeates the Daily Joust. Have fun; it’s a game. Earn your badges and your respect. Remember a top 10 user is good for a reason. These guys have a great mind for this stuff. Be careful when playing people who are obviously better and more experienced than you. I’m hoping to do a couple 5 dollar challenges a week against the readers of this blog. If you see me around, drop me a note or a challenge to Ben Pritchett !
Username = Ben Pritchett