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DFS Baseball 101: Breaking Down FanDuel Hitting

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.

Last month, I broke down all of FanDuel's pitching for the month of April. Now, with two months of data, I jump into the FanDuel hitting data to identify trends. This week, we take a look at the park factors impact, profiling value plays, and finding players who are consistent daily fantasy baseball performers.

Here is a breakdown of the data:

- number of games (17623)
- Average Salary $2980
- Average Point per game 2.01
- Average Multiplier .67 (ppg/salary)
- Target Multiplier (points/$35,000)
- 40 pts (1.14) Head-to-Head/50-50
- 50 pts (1.43) Tournament Cash
- 60 pts (1.71) Tournament 1st Place
- 70 pts (2.00) Large Field Qualifier

Salary Breakdown

$2200 - $2900 (9481) -54 percent of the player pool has a salary of less than $3000
$3000 - $3900 (6755) – 38 percent of the player pool has a salary of $3000-$3900
$4000 – $4900 (1214) – 7 percent of the player pool has a salary of $4000-$4900
$5000 - $5900 (173) – 1 percent of the player pool has a salary of $5000-$5900

Salary Allocation Breakdown

If you spend $10,000 on your starting pitcher, you have $3100 per hitter left
$9,000 pitcher; $3200 per hitter
$8,000 pitcher; $3300 per hitter
$7000 pitcher; $3500 per hitter
$6000 pitcher; $3600 per hitter

With the majority of the players between $2200-$3900, you can see that if you want to take a player with a salary of $4,000 or higher, you have to find those cheaper options in the $2200-$2900 range. As I was looking at the players who fell in this range and returned value of at least a 1.2x multiplier, I realized there were some trends.

Here are some of the characteristics to look for in a $2200-$2900 player (Value Play):

1) A recently promoted prospect with a high pedigree -- Last year it was Yasiel Puig, this year you have George Springer, Jonathan Singleton, Jackie Bradley, Jonathan Schoop, Mike Zunino, Oswaldo Arcia, Xander Bogaerts, Christian Yelich, Nick Castellanos, CJ Cron, Oscar Tavares and Gregory Polanco

2) A part-time player that has a significant splits advantage -- Jeff Baker, Tyler Colvin, Juan Francisco, Jordy Mercer, Scott Van Slyke, Sean Rodriguez, Scooter Gennett, Dioner Navarro, Gerardo Parra, Nate Schierholtz

3) A player at a prime position (1B or 3B) -- Yonder Alonso, Matt Adams, Matt Dominguez, Garrett Jones, James Loney, Casey McGehee, Francisco

4) A player in hitter-friendly park who takes over due to injury -- Charlie Culberson, Brandon Barnes, Collin Cowgill, Francisco

5) A speedy player who can get points with his legs -- Dee Gordon, Michael Bourn, Everth Cabrera, Jarrod Dyson, Bradley

6) A player who inherits regular playing time in a great lineup -- Andrew Romine, Alberto Callaspo, Michael Choice

7) A player who goes from a pitcher-friendly home park to hitter-friendly road park -- Dustin Ackley, Chris Denorfia

8) A player who recently came back from injury -- David Freese

9) A player who makes contact -- Dustin Ackley, Jose Altuve, Norichika Aoki, David DeJesus, Alcides Escobar, Callaspo, Nick Markakis, Kolten Wong

10) A player who moves up the batting order -- Willie Bloomquist, Brock Holt, Josh Harrison, Danny Santana, Didi Gregorius, Mitch Moreland, Choice

11) A post-hype sleeper -- Gordon Beckham, Chris Carter, Lonnie Chisenhall, Gordon, Dominguez, Marcell Ozuna

12) A player with immense power that goes on hot streaks -- Khris Davis, Lucas Duda, Junior Lake, Carter, Mark Reynolds

13) A proven player in the middle of a prolonged slump -- Allen Craig, Chris Johnson, Billy Butler, Domonic Brown, Alejandro De Aza, Ian Desmond, JJ Hardy, Brad Miller, Brandon Phillips, Martin Prado

14) A player at value position (C, 2B, SS) -– Robinson Chirinos, Eduardo Escobar, Mike Aviles, Wellington Castillo, Adeiny Hechavarria, Chris Owings, Brayan Pena, Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Park Factors

Top 10 Hitters Parks (YTD according to FanDuel PPG):

1 - Colorado 2.77
2 - Toronto 2.41
3 - Minnesota 2.28
4 - Detroit 2.26
5 - Arizona 2.22
6 - NY Yankees 2.22
7 - Boston 2.19
8 - Cleveland 2.19
9 - Texas 2.13
10 - Pittsburgh 2.13

Bottom 10 Hitters Parks:

1 - San Diego 1.63
2 - Seattle 1.63
3 - Atlanta 1.72
4 - SF Giants 1.73
5 - Washington 1.74
6 - NY Mets 1.74
7 - Milwaukee 1.81
8 - Chicago Cubs 1.83
9 - St Louis 1.86
10 - Baltimore 1.89

The majority of the bottom 10 consists of the National League teams with pitcher parks and poor offenses. I was very surprised to see Milwaukee and Baltimore on this list as both parks and teams are known to have homerun hitters, but who I am to go against the numbers.

Identifying Ceiling Plays

Daily fantasy baseball is all about finding the guys who you think are going to hit a home run or score at least six points, which in most cases means racking up homers.

1992/17623 (11 percent) – Only 11 percent of the player pool scored at least six FanDuel points in a given night. You need to find at least three or four of these plays in a given night in order to win tournaments. In cash games, you can get away with two to three, but in some of the large field qualifiers you might even need to land five homers to take home first place.

Identifying Value

This is a list of the players who have returned the highest multiplier for the first two months of the baseball season. Note, this does not mean they're all still value plays, as most of their salaries have been adjusted. But at least you can familiarize yourselves with these players, and if their salary is $3,000 or less, then they're worth roster consideration.

Top Value Plays

Juan Francisco – 1.11
Brock Holt – 1.07
Devin Mesoraco – 1.07
Nelson Cruz – 1.07
Oswaldo Arcia – 1.06
George Springer – 1.03
Brian Dozier – 1.00
Michael Brantley – 1.00
Anthony Rizzo – 0.99
Brandon Moss – 0.98
Adam LaRoche – 0.97
Dee Gordon – 0.97
Russell Martin – 0.97
Alex Gordon – 0.95
Chris Iannetta – 0.95
Charlie Blackmon – 0.94
Mark Reynolds – 0.94
Josh Donaldson – 0.94
Jose Abreu – 0.93
Anthony Rendon – 0.93
Todd Frazier – 0.93
Marcell Ozuna – 0.91
Khris Davis – 0.91
Lonnie Chisenhall – 0.90
AJ Pollock – 0.90
Edwin Encarnacion – 0.90
Carlos Gomez – 0.90

Worst Value Plays

Darwin Barney – 0.41
Dan Uggla – 0.43
Paul Konerko – 0.45
Clint Barmes – 0.46
Chris Johnson – 0.46
Jedd Gyorko – 0.47
Mike Moustakas – 0.47
Raul Ibanez – 0.48
Rickie Weeks – 0.50
Kelly Johnson – 0.50
Zack Cozart – 0.50

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.