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The Daily Duel: Strategy For Daily Games

Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

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As we began our season-long series about the different aspects of playing daily fantasy games, the time to actually participate is close at hand. Let’s start this week with a quick review from last week’s column:
- Make a new daily lineup based upon who is playing that day
- Games start at free and can be entered for various monetary amounts
- Different games exist based upon your preference including tournaments and head-to-head
- Payouts within 24-48 hours to your Paypal account from FanDuel

Let’s take a closer look at the specific types of games available.

Head-to-Head

This type of game is quite simple: it’s you vs. someone else. Whoever has the most points when all the games are completed is the winner.

Regular Tournaments

FanDuel hosts a variety of tournaments that can be entered with as few as three people up to over a thousand everyday. These tournaments consist of different payouts. The tournaments with fewer participants might pay out only one winner while a 10-man tournament will pay out the top three. Most of the tournaments pay out a small portion of the entrants, roughly around 10-20 percent with the money being rewarded top-heavy to those who finish the highest. Tournaments can be a great way to risk little money in order to get a big payout.

50/50 Tournaments

These tournaments are pretty self-explanatory. A number of participants are selected (usually a multiple of 10) and the top-half of the teams with the higher scores all win the same amount.

Strategies

Let’s start off with the “Golden Rule” of daily fantasy sports: Thou Shalt Not Take a Zero At Any Position. No matter how much you like your lineup, it makes no sense to take a zero at any position. There are two ways this can happen in your lineup without doing it on purpose. First, the game gets rained out. Obviously, this will never be a problem if your players are in the comfort of a dome or stadium with a retractable roof. It’s imperative to check the weather forecast (weather.com, for example) and see what chance there is for each game to get rained out. The other time you take a zero is if you don’t check the starting lineups and a player gets a day off. At times this can be difficult since you might not know the lineups for the later games before the tournaments starts. As a general rule, check the status of your player and if he’s looking iffy, it’s better to look elsewhere to fill the position.

So how do you win and get the highest score possible? Constructing your lineup can consist of taking a few different angles. The key elements are different for hitters and pitchers. For hitters, consider the following questions:

- What park are they playing in?
- Do they have a particular home/away split?
- Are they riding a hot streak or currently in a slump?
- What’s their track record against the opposing pitcher?
- If the sample size against the opposing pitcher is small, how talented is that pitcher?
- What type of skill set does that player have (i.e. power hitter, base stealer, etc.)?

By answering these questions it will help you construct your offensive lineup. Now when evaluating a pitcher, consider the following questions:

- Is the pitcher toeing the rubber in a hitter’s park or pitcher’s park?
- How have they been pitching the last few starts (i.e. hot, cold, decreased velocity, etc.)?
- What team are they pitching against (i.e. the As or Yankees)?
- What type of strikeout rate does he have (since they count for points)?
- What chance does he have of winning the game (a win counts for points)?

After considering all of that information, you’re ready to construct your lineup. The first strategy in constructing a lineup involves a “stars-and-scrubs” approach based on the price of each player against the salary cap. The “scrubs” aren’t necessarily bad players but offer the upside of getting you significant points at a low price tag. The studs in the league are not a surprise and you can bet in a tournament format you won’t be the only team to have Albert Pujols or Clayton Kershaw in your lineup. The key is to surround those players with good values based on the questions above who can produce at a smaller price tag. For example, rookies often provide great values, since their price will not count a lot against the salary cap to begin with. Last season, young players such as Desmond Jennings, Matt Moore and Brett Lawrie offered outstanding value initially due to their immediate impact and low price tag. The combination of studs and players who have solid value is typically the way to a winning formula.

Another strategy utilized at times is bankrolling a team. By bankrolling a team, you load up on all players from a single team. In this situation, you’ll want to target a team playing at home who is going up against an inferior opponent/pitcher. This is a calculated move based on the fact that you think this team will win easily over the other team. In this scenario you’ll collect any and all points from the offensive lineup while banking on the starting pitcher to get you the win. There are variations of theses strategies such as bankrolling the offense of one lineup with a pitcher from another team. On any particular day it’s wise to consider different strategies based upon the slate of games on the schedule.

2012 Daily Fantasy Baseball Championship

This tournament is the ultimate low-risk/high-reward tournament in which you can enter for only $10 and win thousands of dollars. The tournament kicks off on April 6 and runs for 15 straight weeks. The winner of each of the 15 weeks will be flown, all expenses paid, to have a seat at the final table for the DFBC and a guarantee of at least $1,500 and as much as $100,000. That’s right; someone will win $100,000 from one of their initial $10 entries into the contest.

Value Players To Consider For The First Week

(Note – prices can change at any time)

1B – Adam Dunn, $2,800 – It’s not surprising that Dunn comes out of the gate with such a low value considering his terrible 2011 season. However, his bat has shown signs of life and he’ll get to hit in Texas, one of the better hitter’s parks in the game. This is a high risk/high reward type of gamble used best for tournaments.

SS – Zack Cozart, $2,600 – The starting job is all his, he hits in a great lineup and a great ballpark.

3B – Mat Gamel, $2,800 – Sticking with the Brewers, Gamel will get plenty of opportunity to produce this season. The note here is he’s come up as a third baseman, hence the eligibility, but will be playing first base. I don’t see this price lasting this low for long.

OF – Lorenzo Cain, $2,300 – Again, the lowest price for a field player out there. Cain brings to the table a good combination of power and speed and could open the season in the two spot in the Royals lineup.

P – Matt Moore, $6,100 – High strikeout rate, solid defense, good home ballpark for pitchers.


If you're itching to give daily fantasy baseball a try, our friends at FanDuel are offering all Rotowire users the opportunity to try out their site for free with the chance to win a share of a cool $500.

Title – RotoWire.com $500 Free Contest
Date - 04/05/2012
Buyin - $0
Prizepool - $500

1. Simply CLICK HERE to sign up for an account at FanDuel.
2. Pick your team within the $35k salary cap. Consisting of P, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS and three OFs.
3. Watch the live scoring on FanDuel during the games and see how your picks perform.

The contest is live and is open for registration today. CLICK HERE to sign up for your account and register for the freeroll now. Turn your FREE ENTRY into a lot more.

So how is FanDuel different from your regular fantasy baseball league?
-- These are salary cap leagues that last only one day
-- You get instant cash payouts every day
-- You don’t have to rely on your buddies – you can pick new opponents every day
-- You can play for free, but playing for real money – for up to $10,000 in prizes per game – takes the fantasy baseball excitement off the charts!

CLICK HERE to sign up for your account and register for this $500 freeroll on FanDuel.com.

Again, we’d love to hear any feedback about what type of tournaments you’d like to see going forward or material covered for this column. When you get a chance, check out the daily fantasy baseball leagues starting on Opening Day.

Good luck!