Beginner’s Guide to MLB DFS

With a lot of newcomers in the DFS world for the 2016 MLB season and with the new Fanduel scoring system that has drastically altered the amount of points that people put up, we thought it would be appropriate to share our insight on how to find success in MLB DFS this season.

Below are a list of the 5 biggest things that we factor in to making decisions when we are constructing our lineups throughout the day. Some of them may seem rather obvious, but because of that, they can go overlooked. Others may be less obvious, and some may have a hard time overcoming them, like overthinking your decisions. I know that is something every single person is guilty of.

1. Batter vs. Pitcher Matchup

BvP is one of the aspects that Ben and I both look at the most when constructing our lineups to post to our Twitter page. You can find a lot of statistical sites that have this data (even ESPN) and it comes in extremely useful when differentiating similar players. The BvP stats essentially show you exactly how a batter has performed throughout his career going head-to-head with the pitcher that he is facing that day. When looking at BvP, the biggest categories to pay attention to are batting average, on-base percentage, and the hits/at bat. The averages can be deceiving sometimes. For example, say Mike Trout has a .500 batting average against a pitcher. That looks great, right? Take it with a grain of salt. This is when you need to look at the H/AB. If he has had 20-30 at-bats, we’d consider him a must play because that demonstrates extreme success against that pitcher. If Trout is only 2-4 against the pitcher, yeah that mean he has a .500 average against him, but the sample size may be too small make a definite decision.

The other stat category to pay attention to when looking at BvP is on-base percentage. With Fanduel’s new scoring system, a walk is just as valuable as a single, so the on-base percentage of a player plays an even bigger role than in years past.

2. Stacking

Stacking should be a bit more obvious, but we are going to go over it anyways. Stacking typically refers to rostering multiple players from the same team in your lineup for the night. The most successful stacks typically include the 3/4 hitters or the 1/3 or some other variation at the top of the order due to the fact that most offense is produced at the top of the order. These stacks can occasionally be somewhat difficult to construct because the price of hitter that bat in the 3 or the 4 spot tend to be a bit higher due to their production, but if you can roster them, do it. The best teams to stack would be the teams with a favorable matchup against a pitcher, or if they’re playing at Coors Field. The San Diego Padres failed to score a single run in the first three games of the 2016 season. They traveled to Colorado for a series with the Rockies following that scoreless series and immediately put up 15 runs against the Rockies, proving that Coors Field definitely has an offensive impact. Stack teams with productive offenses, favorable pitching matchups, and any teams playing at Coors Field, including the Rockies.

3. Environment of the Game

We discussed this a bit in our article about what ballparks to target whether you’re looking at a pitcher or a batter, but there is a bit more to it. Obviously the ballpark plays a big role in a game, just take every example of Coors Field that we’ve used. Target players in the ballparks that are dubbed “hitter-friendly” parks, and pitchers in “pitcher-friendly” parks. If you need help with differentiating which ballparks are which, take a look at our list of the best hitter and pitcher parks to target here.

The second aspect of the environment of the game is the weather. We’ve already experienced a whole lot of inclement weather in the 2016 season, from rain and snow, to frigid temperatures. When there is inclement weather expected during the day of a game, it is vital that you monitor the status of it. There are many sources on Twitter to follow that will update you on the weather as we approach first pitch. We typically tend to fade a game that have more than a 50% chance at a thunderstorm and about a 60-70% chance of rain. The thunderstorm potential almost guarantees a delay and potential postponement, while if there is a chance of rain for hours on end, the same result could happen.

4. Pay Attention to Streaks

While streaks are typically not something to pay total attention to in NBA and NFL DFS due to the fact that both of them are such a team game, baseball is much different. In baseball, when a player is hot, you ride them. Take Trevor Story for example. He cranked out 7 home runs in his first 5 career games. Obviously that rate is going to be near impossible to keep up with, but an off day during that stretch was still a 1-4 effort. When a player is in the midst of a hot streak, it gives their floor a slight bump, even though you run the risk of hitting them on the day their streak ends. The other aspect of streaks in baseball is the flip side. If a player has gone 0-3 or 0-4 for their past two games and it continues, that might be a sign of something else going on. Perhaps they have a nagging injury or something going on off the field. That news is obviously likely to break when it is discovered, but nonetheless it is something to keep in mind when looking at a players’ recent performances when constructing a roster.

4. Avoid Overthinking

We come to our final key to succeeding in MLB DFS and it is something that everyone, even the experts, struggle with; Overthinking. The worst feeling in the world is when you put together a lineup, go online and read about the slate, go back and change your lineup only to see your original is going off. We cannot count the number of times that that has happened to us. Over-researching is absolutely pointless, especially because most of the columns are opinionated, including our own. We do everything we can to back up our picks with statistically significant data, but if you ultimately don’t feel comfortable playing someone, then don’t. If you are gung-ho about your lineup you set 3 hours before lock and no injuries or resting players affect your lineup, stick with it. The worst thing you can do is overthink and look back on what could have been, because that is exactly what will make you absolutely HATE DFS, and as a growing community, the last thing we want is for everyone to hate it.

Thank you all for reading these quick tips on how to develop success in MLB DFS and I hop ewe were able to help you out!

 

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