DFS Baseball 101: Building a 20-Rule System for DFS
DFS Baseball 101: Building a 20-Rule System for DFS

This article is part of our DFS Baseball 101 series.

During the first week of April, I was on RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio with Jeff Erickson and Chris Liss and mentioned I wanted to develop a daily fantasy baseball system that anyone could use. It would help new players reduce the amount of research needed and also give them more insight in how to play. I have been working on this for a month or so and finally have most of it down. Of course, I am always looking to add in more data, but keeping it simple is also crucial.

Rules/Criteria for Playing Heads Up and 50/50 Contests in Daily Fantasy Baseball

1. Focus on a top-3 pitcher on FanDuel and top-5 pitchers on DraftKings/Fantasy Aces.

  • Highest priced pitchers who are the heaviest favorites have the lowest run total and against the weakest opposing starting pitcher/team.
2. Look for favorites -150 or greater, run total 7.5 or less, National League pitcher, and at home.

  • The added edge here is taking a National League pitcher at home against an American League team as they will lose the designated hitter and have to use the pitcher to hit.

  • On nights when the NL pitcher is not there, look at American League pitchers against weak hitting teams that strike out more than 20 percent and have a wOBA of less than .300
3. Allocate up to 25-30 percent of your salary on pitching for a one-pitcher site (FanDuel) and 35-40 percent on DraftKings/Fantasy Aces.

4. Do not taking two starting pitchers from the same game. The only exception is if you are playing a short slate with limited options. The ideal situation would be where the Vegas line is less than -120 and the run total is seven or less. This means it is expected to be a low scoring close game.

5. Look at the opposing team K% and wOBA vs. that handed pitcher (Fangraphs). Identify teams with the highest K% and lowest wOBA to target their opposing starting pitchers.

6. Identify the highest run total games for the day and look for hitters on those favored teams (eight or higher).

7. Pick a balanced hitting lineup; $2,700-$3,900 on FanDuel; $3,500-$4,700 on DraftKings. It is not worth paying up for hitting in Cash games. Stars-and-scrubs is only for tournaments.

8. Look to spend more at 1B/3B and at least one OF position. Find value at C/2B/SS as those positions score fewer points overall.

9. Your batting order priority should be 3-4-1-2-5. Look for players hitting 3-4 for your power, and 1-2 for your speed/contact.

10. Get a balanced lineup of hitters in the 1-5 lineup spots. You do not want a lineup full of 1-2 hitters or 3-4 hitters. The 1-2 hitters will not have the upside needed, and the 3-4 hitters will not provide the consistency needed.

11. Focus on taking LHB vs. RHP and RHB vs. LHP. LHB offer contact, RHB offer power. If you must take a RHB vs. RHP make sure the hitter is decent vs. RHP (wOBA at least .320)

12. Do NOT take more than two hitters per team and per game. The risk is too high if the game does not go according to plan. You only get eight hitters on FanDuel and DraftKings. Diversifying is critical.

13. If you take two hitters from the same team, try to get them "connected" in the lineup. This means 1-2, 2-3, 3-4 or 4-5. Ideally you want the split edge also, meaning two LHB vs. RHP or two RHB vs. LHP. The importance of this is that you want "correlation" scoring if the 1 hitter gets on base, the 2 hitter can drive them in giving you the run, RBI and basehit points.

14. Do not take hitters who are facing pitchers you have in your lineup. It is counterproductive.

15. Do not play anyone from games in which there is 35 percent chance of rain forecast. Also, stay away from hitters in games where the wind is blowing in at least 15 mph.

16. Double-Up, 50/50 selection. Take the games that are SINGLE ENTRY first and have the largest number of entries. Do not take a bunch of 20- or 40-mans over a 100-man contest.

17. When playing Heads-Up contests, stay away from players who are posting games $25 or higher. Also, look at the number of games that the player posts. Only take games from players who have less than 10 games posted. Do not POST heads-up contests, only take them.

18. Play a variety of opponents in heads-up. Do not take games from the same player more than once. Not only is it bad form, but you limit your opponent diversification.

19. On DraftKings, go to My Account, Preferences, and use the Head-to-Head Settings "Blocked User." Once you block someone, that person can no longer join your public or private Head-to-Head challenges, send you Head-to-Head Challenge requests or be auto-matched with you in Head-to-Head challenges. You are allowed to block up to three players.

20. On FanDuel, click a player's username to get the number of wins he has in each sport. For beginners, look for players with less than 500 wins.

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.
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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.
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