Daily Fantasy Baseball: An Introduction to Roster Construction
You've felt the sweat of some daily fantasy football, watching your running back pile up yards in the fourth quarter.
You've seen that low-cost shooting guard catch fire in the first half, dropping trey after trey, propelling you up the leaderboards.
It's a fun feeling that you really can't duplicate elsewhere. It makes watching sports more enjoyable, and it doesn't take long to catch the fever.
Now those sports are over, and you've lost your outlet for entertainment.
Fear not, comrades. As much as I enjoy submitting my DFS lineups in the fall, there isn't much that compares to the thrill of daily fantasy baseball.
Maybe it's just because there's less going on in the sports world during the summer, but daily fantasy baseball really seems to fill a major void that gives it an extra level of excitement. Sure, I may be sucking on ice cubes because my air conditioner died, but at least my Chicago Cubs stack pulled through!
Since you're likely just getting your feet wet on this journey, we'll start things off from the ground floor and work our way up. As with any sport in the daily fantasy realm, that trek is one that should begin with roster construction.
Let's take a look at what makes a lineup in daily fantasy baseball so that your first glimpse at a contest isn't quite as daunting.
Most of this discussion will center around FanDuel's rules. All sites are different, so be sure to check out the scoring rules of the site you're looking to play before you try to spin out a quick lineup.
In order to submit your lineup on FanDuel, you'll need to plop together nine players for a total salary of $35,000 or less. This gives you an average salary of roughly $3,888 for each slot.
The price for pitchers is much higher than that of batters here, generally ranging from $4,500 to upwards of $12,000. The minimum price for a batter is typically $2,200, which can give you flexibility to spend up for a top-tier option, who will run you more than $4,000 (with some batters extending beyond that).
When it comes to the actual rosters of players, this is where you'll find the biggest differences between various sites. On FanDuel, you only need to roster one pitcher, while a good majority of other sites will have you roster multiple.
As noted in the section on salary, this is where a good chunk of your money is going. Because you only have one pitcher to bolster the scoring of your roster, it's critical that you pick the right one. That guy is often the difference between winning a large-field tourney and trying to sniff the cash line.
The player pool here is each of the starters for that night's slate. This mean you'll generally have 30 choices on full slates, creating plenty of space for creativity, especially in tournaments. This is unquestionably the most important slot on FanDuel, so be sure to do your research before entering.
The other eight positions on your roster belong to the position players. You have one slot for a catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, and shortstop to go with three outfielders.
As mentioned, the minimum you can spend on these guys is (usually) $2,200. The average per slot is $3,888, but with the high pitcher prices, you're going to need to find some lower-priced guys to fill out the roster.
Here, the player pool will include players who are not in their team's lineup that day. This makes it critical that you check lineups as you're filling out your rosters to make sure your players are going to play that day. Where they hit in that lineup is also crazy important, but we'll save that discussion for another day.
On FanDuel, each player is only eligible for one position, and this position can change as the season progresses. For example, a guy like Ben Zobrist plays about 15 different positions. In season-long leagues, that will give him eligibilty at a bunch of places; on FanDuel, he's only going to be up for one spot at a given time.
Now, with these guidelines in place, it bears mentioning that there are some restrictions to how you fill out your roster.
Because of the prevalence of stacking, FanDuel does have a cap on the number of players you can have from one single team. So, let's say you want to stack the Pittsburgh Pirates when they're in Coors. You can get four Pirates on your roster if you want, but you can't exceed that number. Similar restrictions exist on other sites, too, though the number fluctuates.
In this hypothetical situation in which you roster four Pirates, you would not be able to use their pitcher. The restriction on four players from the same team spans all positions. You wouldn't likely want to use a pitcher at Coors, anyway, but that's beside the point. The cap is four, regardless of position.
The other restriction here with regards to your roster is that you must use players from at least three different teams. The cap of four players from a single team would require you to get there between the nine positions, regardless, but it is at least worth a mention.
See? It's nothing too scary. You put in nine players you think are going to do well, stay beneath the salary cap, and follow two minor rules. That's it.
Given its simplicity, it shouldn't be hard to see why MLB DFS is my favorite to play. Not only does it help fill the sports black hole that is the summer, but you're not going to have to fry your brain trying to grasp the basics. Once you've got the ground floor laid down, the rest will become even more of a thrill.