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Fantasy 101: Winning Tournaments with Home Runs

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. Rath won the 2016 FSWA "Baseball Article of the Year, Online" award and was a finalist for the FSWA Best Baseball Series in 2011.

Everyone wants to play tournaments and everyone wants to win tournaments. The feeling you get when you win a tournament is incredible because you need everything to break your way. It can come down to one hit or strikeout.

Well, in DFS baseball you need a few things to win a tournament, but the most important thing on the hitting side is home runs, especially on FanDuel.

The way the scoring works on FanDuel, there are no premiums on any outcome (some sites reward more points for runs and RBI), so everything on the hitting side is worth one point. Now even though a home run is technically worth four points, remember that does not include the run and at least one RBI. So a home run is really worth at least six points, and potentially up to nine.

If you have read my articles this season, you know that I’m a huge fan of digging into the data and finding the edge for hitting and pitching splits. So we'll do that here, but also focus on who are the hitters that crush pitching from either hand and who are the pitchers that allow the most home runs to all hitters.

Data is from Fangraphs.com

Top 20 HR/FB differential vs. RHP - 2013-2015 (through Aug. 1, 2015)

Name% HR/FB LHP% HR/FB RHP% Diff
Yasmani Grandal 3.7 18.3 14.6
Pedro Alvarez 12.2 24.7 12.5
Kelly Johnson 4.2 16.1 11.9
Bryce Harper 12.5 24.1 11.6
Alex Avila 6.1 17.6 11.5
Justin Maxwell 5.6 16.9 11.3
Oswaldo Arcia 9.0 20.1 11.1
Neil Walker 2.4 13.5 11.1
Mitch Moreland 7.8 18.6 10.8
Kennys Vargas 11.1 21.6 10.5
Justin Smoak 6.8 17.1 10.3
Shin-Soo Choo 8.4 18.7 10.3
Carlos Gonzalez 14.3 24.0 9.7
Chris Davis 20.0 29.7 9.7
Jonathan Schoop 8.3 17.8 9.5
Christian Yelich 7.7 16.3 8.6
Adrian Gonzalez 7.9 16.3 8.4
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 6.0 13.9 7.9
Wilson Ramos 13.9 21.7 7.8
Edwin Encarnacion 11.2 18.8 7.6

Looking at this data, and even considering last year, how did we miss that Yasmani Grandal was primed for a huge breakout?

Top 20 HR/FB differential vs. LHP - 2013-2015 (through Aug. 1, 2015)

Name% HR/FB LHP% HR/FB RHP% Diff
Kyle Blanks 25.0 5.4 19.6
Jeff Baker 23.8 7.7 16.1
Aaron Hicks 19.5 5.6 13.9
Avisail Garcia 25.0 12.3 12.7
Matt Wieters 20.3 8.8 11.5
Khris Davis 23.7 13.8 9.9
Aramis Ramirez 17.0 7.9 9.1
Mark Trumbo 23.2 14.5 8.7
Caleb Joseph 17.0 8.9 8.1
Howie Kendrick 17.2 9.6 7.6
Cameron Maybin 14.3 6.7 7.6
Justin Upton 23.2 15.7 7.5
Wilin Rosario 20.3 12.8 7.5
Dioner Navarro 16.4 9.0 7.4
Josh Donaldson 21.1 13.9 7.2
Chris Johnson 14.3 7.7 6.6
Ryan Howard 21.6 15.1 6.5
Juan Uribe 15.2 8.7 6.5
Todd Frazier 20.3 13.9 6.4
Joey Votto 22.1 15.8 6.3

The player who sticks out for me here is Aaron Hicks, who I have always been high on but has not done anything until recently. He is starting to look like a huge star primed for a breakout in 2016.

Highest Overall HR/FB Hitters

Name% HR/FB LHP% HR/FB RHP
Jose Abreu 28.9 23.6
George Springer 27.5 24.4
Giancarlo Stanton 25.3 26.3
Chris Davis 20.0 29.7
Paul Goldschmidt 25.3 20.3
Nelson Cruz 21.3 22.1
Alex Rodriguez 18.4 23.7
Miguel Cabrera 23.2 18.5
Chris Carter 21.2 19.9
Mike Trout 21.5 19.5
Justin Upton 23.2 15.7
Mark Teixeira 16.9 22.0
J.D. Martinez 20.7 17.4
Joey Votto 22.1 15.8
Ryan Howard 21.6 15.1
Mike Napoli 20.9 15.5
Troy Tulowitzki 19.8 16.3
Adam Jones 19.6 16.5
Chris Colabello 15.8 20.3
Hanley Ramirez 19.8 15.5

If you are playing in tournaments on FanDuel, you need to have a few of these hitters in your lineups. Use the strategy of paying up for power, and finding that mid-tier starting pitcher with an optimal matchup.

Top 20 HR/FB Rate Starting Pitchers vs. RHB

Name% HR/FB RHB% HR/FB LHB% Diff
Brandon McCarthy 21.3 10.8 10.5
Joe Blanton 20.7 15.2 5.5
Tim Stauffer 20.3 5.0 15.3
Jason Marquis 19.7 17.8 1.9
Rubby De La Rosa 17.9 14.7 3.2
Nate Karns 17.4 8.9 8.5
Ivan Nova 17.1 5.8 11.3
CC Sabathia 17.1 12.5 4.6
Joe Saunders 16.5 8.1 8.4
Kyle Gibson 16.4 6.1 10.3
Roberto Hernandez 15.9 13.8 2.1
Shane Greene 15.8 11.4 4.4
Paul Maholm 15.7 6.7 9
Miguel Gonzalez 15.5 9.9 5.6
Masahiro Tanaka 15.2 16.0 -0.8
Jerome Williams 15.1 11.4 3.7
Felix Hernandez 15.0 7.9 7.1
Erasmo Ramirez 14.8 10.1 4.7
Hisashi Iwakuma 14.8 12.4 2.4
Taijuan Walker 14.4 9.6 4.8
Charlie Morton 14.0 7.6 6.4

A lot of the McCarthy damage was in Arizona, so we can probably discount that. Shane Greene is on his way to becoming the No. 1 pitcher on this list, which is not a good thing.

Top 20 HR/FB Rate vs. LHB

Name% HR/FB RHB% HR/FB LHB% Diff
Jason Marquis 19.7 17.8 1.9
Bronson Arroyo 10.5 16.9 6.4
Dallas Keuchel 12.6 16.4 3.8
Masahiro Tanaka 15.2 16.0 0.8
Joe Blanton 20.7 15.2 5.5
Rubby De La Rosa 17.9 14.7 3.2
Nick Tepesch 7.5 14.6 7.1
Alfredo Simon 6.6 14.4 7.8
Carlos Martinez 5.2 14.1 8.9
Ryan Vogelsong 8.2 14.0 5.8
Yu Darvish 8.7 14.0 5.3
Hector Noesi 10.6 14.0 3.4
Ian Kennedy 11.0 13.9 2.9
Patrick Corbin 10.9 13.8 2.9
Wily Peralta 12.3 13.8 1.5
Roberto Hernandez 15.9 13.8 2.1
Jeremy Guthrie 6.8 13.6 6.8
Mike Leake 11.4 13.6 2.2
Chris Heston 2.0 13.5 11.5
Bud Norris 7.7 13.1 5.4

Highest Overall HR/FB vs. LHB and RHB

Name% HR/FB RHB% HR/FB LHB
Jason Marquis 19.7 17.8
Joe Blanton 20.7 15.2
Rubby De La Rosa 17.9 14.7
Masahiro Tanaka 15.2 16.0
Roberto Hernandez 15.9 13.8
CC Sabathia 17.1 12.5
Dallas Keuchel 12.6 16.4
Shane Greene 15.8 11.4
Hisashi Iwakuma 14.8 12.4
Jerome Williams 15.1 11.4
Wily Peralta 12.3 13.8
Chad Bettis 13.9 11.9
Brad Peacock 13.3 11.9
Rick Porcello 12.6 12.5
Mike Leake 11.4 13.6
Ian Kennedy 11.0 13.9
Stephen Strasburg 12.9 11.4
Justin Masterson 11.7 12.4
David Hale 11.0 13.1
Wade Miley 12.0 12.0
Dan Haren 11.0 13.0
Jason Hammel 11.9 11.7
Mike Fiers 11.0 12.2
R.A. Dickey 11.9 11.2
Samuel Deduno 11.6 11.4
Trevor Cahill 11.0 11.6
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Michael Rathburn plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: burnnotice, DraftKings: burnnotice, Yahoo: burnnotice, Fantasy Aces: burnnotice, FantasyDraft: burnnotice.