DFS Baseball 101: $2,000 Hitter Strategy
DFS Baseball 101: $2,000 Hitter Strategy

This article is part of our DFS Baseball 101 series.

The last few months I have covered most of the basic and intermediate strategies for DFS baseball along with some monthly hitting, pitching and bullpen reports. I have also covered stacking, tournaments, cash games and contest selection.

One of the few remaining topics I thought about was how to handle the $2,000 hitters on FanDuel or what some refer to as "Min Sal" = Minimum Salary. The minimum salary hitters are tough because most are priced that way for a reason. They are not very good or they lack playing time like a prospect or bench player. But there are some opportunities that you can exploit to open up salary relief for building a better lineup.

The other issue with a $2,000 hitter is that once he has a good game or two, his salary will increase, putting him outside of the "Min Sal" hitter category. There have been some instances, though, in which FanDuel has failed to increase a players' salary in spite of his positive performance. Often, owners make a lineup and have $2,100 left and just take a random $2,000 player and give up the position. I don't think you need to do that, so hopefully I can shed some light on this for you.

Let's look at the numbers on $2,000-priced hitters for FanDuel.

Data is from April to June 2017.

This first chart shows the batting order, average points per game, count and percentage of total. As expected the majority of the $2,000 hitters come from the eighth and ninth spot. You want to look at hitters in the one through six position, but that only accounts for about 20 percent. What that means, is you just need to play this strategy tight. If you can find a hitter in the 1-6 position it warrants consideration, especially in the top two spots.

BATTING ORDERAVG PPGCOUNT% OF TOTAL
1 9.9 33 4
2 11.1 31 4
3 6.2 1 0
4 18.8 7 1
5 10.5 16 2
6 8.1 76 10
7 6.9 159 20
8 6.9 259 33
9 6.3 195 25
Average 7.3 777

This second chart looks at $2,000 hitters by position. Of course, since you start three outfielders, you will have more options at that position. The two corner positions offer a total of eight percent, so you won't find those very often. The next highest percentage is catcher at 28 percent. The problem with catcher is that at 6.4 PPG it is less than the average of 7.3 PPG. Shortstop is the other position you can look at with 17 percent of the total and slighty higher than the average (7.6 vs. 7.3).

POSITIONAVG PPGCOUNT% OF TOTAL
OF 8.4 260 33
3B 8.3 25 3
1B 7.6 38 5
SS 7.6 131 17
C 6.4 219 28
2B 6.1 104 13
Average 7.3 777

The next series of charts will correlate the position with the lineup spot.

POSITION/ORDERAVG PPGCOUNT
1B 7.6 38
5 1.0 3
6 5.0 15
7 9.0 8
8 18.0 4
9 8.6 8

There is a small sample of first baseman who have been $2,000 and the lineup spot has not made much of a difference. If you want to punt the position, it does provide value. However, keep in mind that first basemen are the highest scoring position, so punting here does limit your upside.

Notable Players – Chris Carter, Marwin Gonzalez, Rio Ruiz, Sam Travis

POSITION/ORDERAVG PPGCOUNT
2B 6.1 104
1 3.0 1
2 9.2 5
5 32.9 3
6 7.4 11
7 4.4 31
8 5.2 38
9 5.1 15

Second base has been one of the worst positions to find $2,000 hitters as a whole, but when you look at individual players there have been some huge values.

Notable Players – Scooter Gennett, Eric Sogard, Carlos Sanchez, Devon Travis, Chad Pinder

POSITION/ORDERAVG PPGCOUNT
3B 8.3 25
2 12.6 2
5 3.1 4
6 9.1 3
7 4.2 8
8 19.0 3
9 10.6 5

Third base is much like first base in that while the overall PPG is high, the opportunity is low. When looking at the list of notable players, it is hard to really get value at 3B with a $2,000 hitter.

Notable Players – JaCoby Jones, Christian Arroyo, Ehire Adrianza, Ryan Flaherty, Ronald Torreyes

POSITION/ORDERAVG PPGCOUNT
C 6.4 219
5 11.1 2
6 8.9 15
7 9.2 36
8 5.5 113
9 5.3 53

The catcher position provides some value if you can get hitters in the fifth/sixth/seventh lineup spot.

The problem with the catcher position is that usually you only get one game of a decent hitter at $2,000.

Notable Players – Elias Diaz, Austin Barnes, Francisco Pena

1 game at $2,000 – Robinson Chirinos, Chris Herrmann, Miguel Montero, Caleb Joseph, Mike Zunino, Derek Norris

POSITION/ORDERAVG PPGCOUNT
OF 8.4 260
1 10.1 32
2 11.9 20
3 6.2 1
4 18.8 7
5 19.0 1
6 9.5 28
7 6.8 56
8 8.0 55
9 6.2 60

Notable Players – Patrick Kivlehan, Mallex Smith, Mitch Haniger, Joey Rickard, Andrew Romine, Jared Hoying, Brian Goodwin, Tommy Pham, Jose Martinez

POSITION/ORDERAVG PPGCOUNT
SS 7.6 131
2 9.4 4
5 4.2 3
6 8.5 4
7 7.1 20
8 8.4 46
9 7.0 54

Notable Players – Cliff Pennington, Johan Camargo, Miguel Rojas, Stephen Drew, Wilmer Difo

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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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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