DFS Baseball 101: Small-Field Tourney Strategy

DFS Baseball 101: Small-Field Tourney Strategy

This article is part of our DFS Baseball 101 series.

I've covered strategies for cash games and large-field tournaments the last two weeks, so this week I wanted to write about the RotoWire Staff Freeroll that takes place on FanDuel every Friday. This contest usually has about 50 entrants with payouts for the top 12 places. In my GPP article from a couple weeks ago, I suggested playing in single-field tournaments with the smallest number of entrants possible. With that in mind, the RotoWire Freeroll format is the perfect example as a 50-100-person contest with just one entry permitted per entrant.

Last week, my lineup happened to win the RotoWire Staff Freeroll with 210 points. My lineup is below, followed by my analysis of each player and some takeaways that can hopefully help with your daily fantasy baseball pursuits.

P Jose Quintana CHW $8,300 3.9 45 NA
C Yasmani Grandal LAD $3,700 15.4 3 6
1B Anthony Rizzo CHC $4,200 15.4 24 4
2B Logan Forsythe TB $3,300 19.2 21 1
3B Brandon Drury ARI $2,300 3.9 9 2
SS Corey Seager LAD $4,000 34.6 33 2
OF Curtis Granderson NYM $3,200 5.8 48 1
OF Brandon Guyer TB $2,400 5.8 6 2
OF Jason Heyward CHC $3,300 7.7 21 2


Jose Quintana ($8,300) - Quintana was a -180 favorite (8.5 total) at home against the Rangers and the projected score of the game was 4.4 to 3.1 for a differential of 1.3 runs. It was the second highest differential of the slate, but Quintana was priced at just the 10th highest among starting pitchers. Also, Quintana had scored at least 30 points in each of his last eight outings, so his consistency, projected score, and price all added up to a solid play. I hadn't seen many people talking about Quintana either, as most were on Jon Lester, Aaron Sanchez, Matt Harvey, and Aaron Nola. I actually liked Jeff Samardzija, as well, who was priced at $8400 and finished with 47 points. He was a -160 favorite (7.5 total) at home versus the Marlins, but the differential was 1.1 runs.


Yasmani Grandal ($3,700) - I knew I wanted a piece of the Coors game, but I wasn't going to fully stack that contest in a 50-person tournament. So the best approach was to mini-stack the Dodgers and Cubs -- who were the heaviest favorites and highest projected run totals. Grandal was hot coming into the game and had been tearing up right-handed pitching. Plus, it was Jon Gray's first start of the year, so I thought he might be a little shaky and put some runners on base. Grandal only scored three points, but he was chalk at 15-percent ownership (on the high side for daily fantasy baseball), so it didn't make much of an impact.

First Base

Anthony Rizzo ($4,200) - There were a couple other first basemen I knew people would be all over, like Paul Goldschmidt (at home vs. LHP Niese) and Adrian Gonzalez (in Coors vs RHP Gray). Rizzo had gone deep in each of his past two games with a favorable matchup against Jon Moscot -- who was projected to give up five runs. The gamble paid off as Rizzo hit another homer and was able to match Gonzalez.

Second Base

Logan Forsythe ($3,300) - This was a no-brainer, as Forsythe is a known lefty-killer and CC Sabathia doesn't miss the bats of very many righties nowadays (his wOBA last year against them was .370).

Third Base

Brandon Drury ($2,300) - Normally I like to spend up at third base, but this was a unique situation, as Drury was at home in a hitter-friendly environment against a southpaw. In addition, he had just gotten moved up to the two-hole in the batting order, so the value was just too great here at $2,300 to pass on him. At the end of the day, Drury's nine-point output amounted a little over break-even value.


Corey Seager ($4,000) - The second part of my Dodgers-in-Coors stack, Seager provided home-run potential in a game that featured a run total of 11.5, so I made an exception to my rule of trying to save at shortstop. Much to my delight, he ended up going yard.


Curtis Granderson ($3,200) - Granderson hasn't been good this season, but he at least had two homers heading into Friday against Bud Norris, who has been putrid against left-handed hitting recently. In 2015, Norris allowed nine home runs to lefties in just 45.2 innings, and allowed two more to Grandy on Friday as part of a 3-for-5, five-RBI night. That equated to 48 points, making Granderson my highest-scoring player of the contest.

Brandon Guyer ($2,400) -
I have no problem picking on Sabathia with a cheap top-of-the-lineup outfielder, so I selected Guyer as the second part of my Rays mini-stack. He only put up six points against Sabathia, but with such a cheap price tag it wasn't a big deal.

Jason Heyward ($3,300) -
The second half of the Cubs mini-stack along with Rizzo, Heyward was hitting second in the batting order against Moscot, who had the highest projected run total of the day (five). Heyward paid off with 21 points.

Overall, the mini-stacks from the highest projected scoring teams, Rays right-handed hitters against Sabathia, and the value found in Quintana brought me to the promised land and I won the tournament with 210 points.

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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