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The Daily Duel: Money Mets

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Once all of your baseball drafts are set for the upcoming season, fantasy players often look to find a new team or action throughout the season. This is where daily fantasy baseball games comes into play. This season Rotowire.com is partnering up with Fanduel.com to bring you a weekly column discussing the world of daily fantasy sports. Each week I'll be discussing the different aspects of daily fantasy games from the different types of games to the different strategies involved. The various players and potential values to use in your lineup will be analyzed and some unique tournaments will be offered to Rotowire subscribers on Fanduel for those wanting to see what all of the excitement is about. Fanduel offers other games as well throughout the season include hockey, basketball, football and college sports. Let's take a look at the basics of playing daily fantasy baseball on Fanduel.

Signing Up

Signing up for an account on daily fantasy sites is usually a pain-free process. For example, on Fanduel you'll need to sign up for a free account on their site. This is an easy process that should take less than five minutes. Basic information such as your name, email and creating a username with a password is required before you start playing. To add funds all you need is a credit card or Paypal account to link up to your account. A Paypal account is necessary to receive payouts from most sites. Once money is deposited, you're ready to get started playing.

The Game Itself

The way each game is played consists of selecting your own fantasy team from the players actually playing in that day's games. Each player will be assigned a salary for that day and you'll have to fill a whole team while staying under the required salary cap limit. As you might suspect, the better players at each position that generally earn more fantasy points cost more while weaker players will cost less. The players accrue points for your team based upon what they do statistically during their game that day. The scoring can be found on the site and is similar to the general scoring system in head-to-head leagues. Typically the most important player on your team will be your pitcher, as he has the upside to score the most points for your team. The breakdown of pitching scoring is also available on the website. The key to your team is to find a nice balance of players who are considered good bargains based on their price and match them with studs that may be much more expensive but produce the fantasy points to match their lofty salary. Different ways of selecting players include looking at what matchups each player has and what ballpark they'll be playing in. Strategy on selecting lineups including those factors will be discussed in more detail as the weeks go on.

The Different Types of Games

Fanduel offers a variety of different games at different costs and potential prizes to the owner. You can try out the contests and enter for free to see how you do. The rest of the prizes involve money but start as low as $1 and go up as high as several hundred. There are several different types of games available to the fantasy owner. First, you can start off playing another player head-to-head with only one winner. There are daily tournaments run by the site with different entry costs that pay out to a fraction of the entrants at a high rate for those looking for a high risk/high reward type of game. Smaller tournaments can be entered with the winner taking all out of the group or a few of the top entrants getting paid out. 50/50 tournaments describe just that; half of the entrants in the tournament will win while the other half are out of luck. Each game will give out a very specific description as to how many participants there are, the cost to enter, the payouts and how many people will win with each game. As a player gets more experienced they usually figure out which cup of tea is for them. That may not also be limited to one cup of tea either, often players will engage in head-to-head while entering tournaments as well. There is no limit on the amount of contests you can enter.


Payment

On to the key element of all of this: money. As already mentioned you can deposit money into you account through a major credit card or Paypal. Once credited to your account the money can be used to enter the site's different fantasy games. When you decide to withdraw money from your account, which happen within 48 hours, it is sent back to your Paypal account for use. In case you're wondering, Fanduel is completely legal and is not considered gambling since it is considered a game of skill just as any other fantasy league you participate in.

For Subscribers

Going forward we're looking for plenty of feedback from you, the subscriber about the new partnership and what you're looking for out of this column. That could be anything from discussing specific strategy, types of games, and of course, the players. We're going to offer a lot of specials on Fanduel throughout the season and would love to hear any type of games or tournaments you would like to see run as promotions. Please feel free to use the comments section below.

Players To Consider

Each week this column will discuss players to consider based on either their matchup and/or cost to your fantasy team. Often times there are value players to be considered based on their price from an increase in playing time or if a player is on a hot streak. Here are some players to consider for the first week of baseball. Note that at any time a player's price can change so take advantage while you can.

Pitcher

Jonathon Niese, NYM, $6600 Niese is being pegged by many as a breakout candidate and rightfully so. He finished the season strong last year, posting a 2.61 ERA over six August starts and a 2.49 ERA in four September starts. He'll toe the rubber for the Mets on Opening Day and has a nice home matchup against the Padres. The Padres will be missing slugger Chase Headley and will send Edinson Volquez to the mound. David Wright, Ike Davis and company will look to take advantage of Volquez, who had a whopping 5.60 ERA outside of the friendly confines of Petco Park last season.

1B

Ike Davis, NYM, $3200 I didn't plan on going with a Mets theme here (although I think they're pretty underrated overall as a team), but you can't argue with Davis' production last season once he was over his case of Valley Fever. After the All-Star break, Davis had 20 home runs, 41 RBI and significantly improved his K:BB rate. Considering he had more at-bats in the first half of the season, a 40-home run year could be in the cards.

2B

Danny Espinosa, WAS, $3200 A lot has been made of Espinosa's shoulder injury to the point where his value has plummeted in most season-long drafts. The fact is there aren't any reports out of Washington that the shoulder is currently a problem, and he's hit .348 this spring to back up that sentiment. Espinosa offers a nice speed/power combo and with the Marlins in town to start the season, he'll be in for some good matchups right away.

3B

Mike Moustakas, KC, $3200 It's easy to forget that Moustakas has an excellent pedigree since he hasn't had an OPS over .708 in either of his first two seasons in the majors. However, he's raked at the plate so far this spring (four home runs, .419 BA) and enters only his third season as a 24-year-old. The Kansas City lineup should be the most potent it's been in years and Moustakas should hit in a good spot to drive in a lot of runs. He'll get Chris Sale to start the season but the matchups after that should be much easier.

SS

Alex Gonzalez, MIL, $2400 I wouldn't be talking about Gonzalez if it wasn't for his price and a clear path to playing time. He likely won't have shortstop eligibility too long, as he'll be playing a lot of first base for the injured Corey Hart. While it's hard to get too excited about someone at age 36 and who's coming off a knee injury, there is some power upside with Gonzalez. He hit 38 home runs combined in the 2010-2011 seasons and was on pace to hit 25 last season before the injury. Again, use him at his discounted price if you are spending your budget on the other positions. He'll start off the season facing Colorado, arguably the worst fantasy pitching staff in the league.

OF

Aaron Hicks, MIN, $2500 With Ben Revere and Denard Span both playing for other teams this season, it appears Hicks will open the season as the Twins' everyday center fielder. Hicks hasn't played above Double-A, but he has shown good on-base skills in the minors. He offers a lot of speed (32 stolen bases last season) and has some pop (13 home runs) in his bat as well. He should hit near the top of the lineup, which is a good place with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau hitting behind him. You may want to pass on Hicks for Opening Day, though; he'll be facing that Verlander guy.

Brett Gardner, NYY, $2500 The price for Gardner here has to be a result of all of the time he missed last season. With Derek Jeter opening the season on the DL, Gardner should hit at the top of the lineup, possibly in the leadoff spot. His value will come with his ability to get on base, steal and score runs. Before last season he had two seasons of 47 and 49 steals. His price won't stay this cheap for long, especially if he gets one of those spots at the top of the lineup.

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