Opening Day is finally here! On Monday, we’ll be able to watch the season begin and pennant races form. There will be teams that will be eliminated early on (Astros, Cubs, and Twins I’m looking at you), but for the most part we’ll see competitive baseball for most of the season.
MLB is nothing like the NBA and it’s extremely evident in daily fantasy sports. Mangers in baseball set their lineup and pray (kind of like us DFS players) while NBA coaches can have a more hands-on approach throughout the entire game. This plays a large impact on how we build lineups for each sport.
DFS MLB is easier and tougher than DFS NBA all at the same time. It’s easier in that the hitters we choose are pretty much guaranteed 3-4 at bats and starting pitchers will be given a legitimate shot to pitch at least six innings a game. In the NBA, injuries are more prevalent and there are things like rotations and foul trouble we have to worry about.
How is DFS MLB tougher than the NBA in some ways? Well, hitting a baseball is one of if not the hardest thing to do in all of sports. How are we supposed to predict when these All Stars get their hits when they only get hits 3 out of 10 times? As a former professional baseball player I can tell you there are things that made me feel like I had the advantage while hitting.
While I had this advantage of playing at a high level, it’s no guarantee that what I say will mean hits and wins. Baseball is a fickle game and that’s why it’s important to nail down all the facts and research and go from there. To help you with this I have composed some things to do and some to avoid in DFS MLB that will be most relevant for Opening Day, but also most of them will be useful all season long.
Spring training stats are important. Make sure you have given a good look at how players have done in spring training. Baseball is a game of hot and cold streaks and Opening Day this is all we have to look at. Do not use this research as the only thing to consider though. Pitchers routinely are working on pitches no matter the outcome that will happen. Likewise, hitters will use early at bats to see pitches out of the hand and be patient. Be smart and have these stats in the back of your head when looking at the big picture.
Use last year’s HvP stats wisely. I have looked at how each pitcher has done against their opponent last season I will admit that, but it won’t be the end-all be-all for picking pitchers and hitters. The key with looking at last season’s stats are to look at who was in the lineup (for pitchers) and when these appearances came. Adam Wainwright had terrible numbers against the Reds last season, but that doesn’t mean the Reds are a bad matchup for him this season. The Reds are missing players from the lineup that beat Wainwright up and therefore can’t be relied on 100%. For hitters, the player could have been admist a cold streak or he could have been battling an injury. It’s possible that he had caught five games in a row when he faced the pitcher or it was mid August and the team hadn’t had an off day in two weeks. Keep these things in mind.
The basics still matter. This is a very vague statement, but it holds true. Do not get cute on Opening Day and pick against the best of the best pitchers. With 15 games on tap, there is no reason to pick Anthony Rizzo against Francisco Liriano. There’s also no reason to pay large for a guy like Joe Mauer against a talented Chris Sale. Play the odds and stay away from these lefty/lefty combos especially when they’ll cost you a big chunk of change. Opening Day has plenty of aces throwing, but there are enough pitchers to pick on that aren’t lights out kind of guys. Lastly, it doesn’t get as basic as avoiding games with high chances of rain. Remember, rainouts are a part of DFS MLB, so bookmark a weather website ASAP.
Don’t be afraid to pick Miggy and Trout. With the season being so new, there will be players that are underpriced due to them coming out of no where. There should be plenty of value to be had and with that it allows us to pick the two best hitters in baseball. While these two aren’t guaranteed to go 3 for 4, they are high average hitters with power.
Tune in to LuTV Sunday at 8pm Eastern. The debut of LuTV happens this Sunday with yours truly and two other LuDawgs writers: Matt Bell and Logan Hitchcock. I’m going to be hosting this groundbreaking event, but I won’t be alone. Matt and Logan follow baseball quite intensely and I know for a fact many of my twitter followers loved Matt’s MLB content last year. Logan is the new guy to the scene for most, but he’s not new to LuDawgers. He’s been writing at LD for months now and has been posting in the forums for much longer. Make sure to follow both on twitter @mattbell211 @lhitch09. As for me? I can be found on LD on the regular doing most my damage on LuChat and on twitter @InsiderFantasy1.
I’m more than pleased to say that Opening Day isn’t that far away. Thank God NBA is over right?! … Wait, it’s still going? Tell that to the 76ers… As of 1:05pm on Monday it’ll be officially MLB season!