This article is part of our DFS Baseball 101 series.I have spent the last two weeks writing about starting pitching in daily fantasy baseball as it is the most important part of building winning lineups. This week, I delve into the hitting side and determine who are the best and worst values along with the best heads-up and tournament plays. All data is from FanDuel April 5 - May 7.
Top 20 – Best Value Hitters (Minimum 10 games played and at least three points per game)
The measure for finding value is taking the average salary and dividing into the average points per game.
The biggest thing that jumps out is the trio of value catching in A.J. Pierzynski, Stephen Vogt and Russell Martin. These players gave an incredible return on investment the first month of the season. The biggest name on the list is Anthony Rizzo, who a lot of season-long experts were pushing into the first round, and it has paid off so far.
Top 20 – Worst Value Hitters (Average Salary $3,500 or greater)
The names on this list are very meaningful. Of course, you have Jonathan Lucroy and Christian Yelich who are injured now, but look at the next two names on this list. Carlos Gonzalez, who has been injured much of his career, and Andrew McCutchen, who is playing on a bad knee. If a player is playing hurt, do not use him in daily fantasy baseball.
Top 20 Best Hitters for Cash Games (Heads Up and 50/50 Double Ups)
Everyone wants to know what defines a "cash" game player versus a "tournament" player. Well, standard deviation is the best measure because the lower the StdDev, the more predictable a player performance, which is what you should be looking for in heads-up/double-up contests.
This list is only players who average at least three fantasy points per game, so a lot of the lower scoring players are removed.
As an example, let's dig into the No. 1 guy on the board, Matt Holliday.
26 games played
1 game of less than zero
3 games of zero or less
13 games of three points or greater (50 percent)
This is the blueprint of a player you want to use in 50/50 or heads up.
Top 20 Best Hitters for Cash Games (Average Points Per Game 2-2.99)
Here is a second tier of players you can reference for heads-up and 50/50 contests. Most of these players should fall in the $3,000-$4,000 range on FanDuel. Notice that these are mostly hitters that make great contact.
Top 20 Best Hitters for Tournaments (Highest Standard Deviation + Points Per Game)
You notice right away, these are your power hitters and the higher-priced players on FanDuel. In tournaments, you want to save on pitching (I covered this last week), and spend up on hitting and ceiling. Since FanDuel scoring rewards pure power hitters more than any other daily fantasy sports site, obviously target them.
Let's break down the top player on the board, Miguel Cabrera.
28 games played
11 games of 0.25 points or less
10 games of 3.75 points or more
8 games of 5.50 points or more
Cabrera is the epitome of a tournament player so far this year, which has not been his norm. He is usually a player who goes on runs of multi-hit games in stretches.
Hopefully, this article helps you determine the best hitters for each type of contest: In your heads-up and double-up contests, look for the players who make consistent contact and draw walks. In tournaments, it is all about home runs.