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Fantasy 101: How To Win On DraftStreet (Basic Strategy)

Michael Rathburn

Michael Rathburn

Known as “Rath” in the Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) community, he has helped run operations for two prominent daily fantasy sports startups. Michael has taken his insider knowledge and expertise in daily fantasy sports to the content side. He was also nominated by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association for Best Baseball Series in 2011.

How to Win on DraftStreet (Basic Strategy)

The baseball season is underway and there is a lot of excitement about daily fantasy baseball . The expectation is that DraftStreet will be announcing their MLB promotion plans within the next week or so. The last two seasons they have had a 32 man elimination tournament as their flagship promotion and might be the best daily fantasy sports competition final. Look for weekly articles on RotoWire focused on the how to potentially get your seat to play throughout the season. This week I am going to focus on some of the basics with DraftStreet to get you started.

DraftStreet Daily Fantasy Baseball

Salary Cap - $100,000

Roster Composition – P, P, P, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, UTIL (12 players)

Position Eligibility – Fixed, Single

Avg Per Cost Per Position - $8333

Avg Salary Range per Player – Hitters $1825-$9500; Pitchers $5500-$23550

Scoring System

Hitting

1B=1 pt
2B=2 pts
3B=3 pts
BB=.75 pts
HR=4 pts
HBP=.75 pts
R=1.5 pts
RBI=1.5 pts
SB=2 pts
K= -.75 pts
CS= -1 pt

Pitching

IP=1 pt
K=1 pt
L= -1 pt
S=3 pts
W=2 pts
CG=2 pts
BS= -1 pt
ER= -1 pt
BBI= -.25 pt
HA= -.25 pt
HB= -.25 pt

DraftStreet has fixed positions on rosters and single position eligibility, but there is one utility spot. Also, they are the only site that offers three pitching positions with the option of using a relief pitcher as well. The salaries are very tight in that they are updated daily and heavily weighted towards the most recent performance. They also take into consideration "splits", which means when a LHB faces a LHP, the player salary is adjusted down to account for the disadvantage. Also, when a RHB faces a LHP or a LHB faces a RHB, there is a premium placed on those players salaries to account for the advantage. Key thing to note here on DraftStreet – if a starting pitcher is scratched after DraftStreet puts out their salaries, you can take advantage of the salary pricing. For a LHP, you can take a look at LHB, and for a RHP you can look at the RHB.

Also, take note of the scoring differences as there is more emphasis on taking players that make contact, get on base, and do not strike out. Players like Edwin Encarnacion, Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista have a premium. Players like Adam Dunn, Pedro Alvarez, Chris Davis, Giancarlo Stanton, Jay Bruce, Justin Upton, and Josh Hamilton are at a disadvantage under this scoring system.

With three starting pitchers, the need to find at least one value arm is critical because if you take two aces, you will have a very weak hitting lineup. Most of the time, the best strategy is taking an elite pitcher, mid-tier, and value arm for about 30-40 percent of your total cap ($100,000). Taking a look at the scoring system for pitching, you can see there is more of an emphasis on innings pitched at 1 pts per IP and strikeouts. Wins are only worth two points on DraftStreet so it is not as much of a factor.

Factors for Outperforming Salary

One of the biggest keys in Daily Fantasy Baseball is knowing how to extract value from players on a given night. Here are some of the things to consider:

Hitters

1. Opposite handed hitter vs starting pitcher (RHB vs LHP, LHB vs RHP): You gain about a 50 point edge in OPS when taking a RHB vs. LHP or LHB vs RHP instead of a RHB vs RHP, it jumps to almost 100 points when looking at LHB vs LHP.

2. Batting Order: You want to select players batting in the 1-6 spots in the batting order. There is a significant drop off in OPS when they are in the 7-9 hole especially in the National League. Be sure to look for hitters who jump in the order due to favorable platoon splits or an injury to a 1-5 hitter.

3. Facing "Finesse" starting pitcher (defined as in the bottom 1/3 of the league in strikeouts plus walks – low k/high bb rate arm). You gain 90 points on OPS taking a hitter against a finesse pitcher.

4. Facing "Flyball" starting pitcher (defined as in the bottom 1/3 of the league in ratio of fly ball outs to ground ball outs). You gain 15 points on OPS taking a hitter against a flyball pitcher.

5. Favorable hitting environment: Look for OPS situations that are at least .720 or higher based on handedness in the ballpark. Notorious hitting parks like Texas, Toronto, Colorado, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and New York AL. Vegas total on the game is at least 8.5 runs or higher.

Pitchers

1. Heavy favorite to win the game according to the Vegas money line: Anything -150 or higher is a good barometer.

2. Weak opposing lineup with a penchant for striking out at a high clip: Highest K rates versus LHP in 2013 (Astros, Mets, Twins, Braves, Pirates) and highest K rates versus RHP in 2013 (Astros, Twins, Braves, Mariners, Mets)

3. Opposing lineup in the bottom 5 wOBA: Lowest wOBA versus LHP in 2013 (Marlins, Astros, Padres, Mets, White Sox) and lowest wOBA versus RHP in 2013 (Mariners, Marlins, White Sox, Mets, Cardinals)

4. Favorable pitching environment: Look for OPS situations that are at least .720 or less based on the handedness in the ballpark. Notorious pitcher parks are Citi Field (Mets), Miami, SF Giants, Seattle, LA Dodgers, Oakland, Minnesota, San Diego, Tampa Bay. Vegas total on the game is at least 7.5 runs or lower.

5. Pitcher is at home and has at least 8.0 K/9

Target Scores

In order to win on DraftStreet, you need to know what scores are needed when projecting players. Breaking down each position and category gives you the baselines needed to correctly project the players who will outperform their salary.

Tournaments (Guaranteed Prize Pool) – (avg. score to take 1st place in a large field tournament)

Target Score – 80 points; 12 players on roster
Fantasy Points Pitching ($30,000-$40,000 allocation; 30-40% of salary cap)
Fantasy Points Hitting ($60,000-$70,000 allocation; 60-70% of salary cap)

Head to Head / 50-50 Double Up Target Score (50 Points)

Hitters
Value Salary Range = $1800-$3999
Mid Tier Salary Range = $4000-$6999
Top Tier Salary Range = $7000-$9500

Pitchers
Value Salary Range = $18000-$23500
Mid Tier Salary Range = $10000-$17999
Top Tier Salary Range = $1000-$9999

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