Daily Fantasy Baseball: An Introduction to Scoring
Because I was a sheltered dweeb when I was a little kid, my non-sports video game exposure came exclusively from The Sims and Harry Potter.
The Sims was easy. You just made sure the idiots didn't pee themselves and start fires in rooms with no doors. Pretty hard to mess that up. Harry Potter was a different animal.
Throughout the game, you were supposed to collect these jelly beans (Bertie Bott's beans, for you fellow degens) and chocolate frog cards. I did not know that. I just DGAF'ed the whole time, trying to fly through challenges without getting jumped by that jerk, Filch. I thought it was a grand ol' time. Until I got to the end.
Apparently (and this is me trying to remember this over a full decade later, so the details are fuzzy) you needed to collect enough of those beans and cards in order to move on to the last challenge. I didn't come close to having that many. I just stood there, in my robe with wand in hand, dumbfounded. How had this happened?
Turns out the directions made this pretty clear. But because I had to act a fool and plow my way through herbology class without a care in the world, I didn't notice. Thus, I was forced to go back and complete the challenges again, including a frightening duel with a ghost that still gives me nightmares.
Long story short: don't be like me. This is great, fruitful advice in general, but I think it is especially applicable here.
Read the instructions. If you don't, you'll end up just some kid with broken glasses and a funky scar on your forehead. Or, in the case of daily fantasy baseball, you'll drain your bank account in a hurry.
Let's help with that last part and go through the scoring rules on FanDuel for MLB DFS. These are specific to FanDuel, but the main message here is universal: learn the scoring rules before you enter. Leggo.
Hitter Scoring Rules
Back in the day (meaning through the 2015 season, which was ever-so long ago), you were deducted points on FanDuel when your batter recorded an out. That's no longer the case. Mediocre lead-off hitters rejoice!
First, let's just take a peak at the scoring rules as a whole. For hitters, they're in the table below. Then we'll go in depth with what exactly this all means and some areas of emphasis.
|Home Run||12 points|
|Run Batted In||3 points|
|Run Scored||3 points|
|Stolen Base||6 points|
|Hit By Pitch||3 points|
Basically, it's total bases multiplied by three; everything else is worth three points, outside of the six points for a stolen base. Not too difficult.
This should show the value of a player who racks up extra-base hits. A home run -- when you add in the run and the RBI -- will net you a grand total of 18 points. That'll help the old leaderboard out a bit.
It also illustrates the importance of finding players who are in good lineups. It's great to have people who individually excel, but when you have easier access to runs and RBI, that's going to provide a major boost. Even in their down games, they have a chance to contribute to your point total. Want to smooth out the variance people associate with MLB DFS? Look no further.
The other thing of note here is that base runners do not lose any points if they are caught stealing. This will prevent aggressive base runners and managers from taking a hit, outside of the potential for fewer runs scored.
Pitcher Scoring Rules
There's not a whole lot of confusion when it comes to the pitchers. You only have to worry about four separate categories, making comprehension a breeze.
Again, let's just thrust the scoring rules at you all at once, then we'll break them down in a second.
|Earned Run||-3 points|
|Inning Pitched||3 points|
The points for an inning pitched increase with each out. So, you get a point for every out the pitcher records. Simple? You bet.
What jumps off the page here is the 12 points for a pitcher win. With the increase in hitter scoring under the new FanDuel scoring rules, its relative impact is less, but this is still the same impact relative to the pitcher scoring. That's significant.
Here, a win is equal to either four innings pitched or four strikeouts. This doesn't mean you should forgo dominant pitchers exclusively in pursuit of a win, but it is something you must consider.
This will make an investigation of Vegas lines even more important for pitchers than it may be for hitters. If you are considering a dominant pitcher but the money line doesn't favor his team, then that should give you some serious pause. Those 12 points are critical, and disregarding that information on a regular basis could end up costing you.
Overall, though, nothing is too difficult here. If you can find pitchers in a spot to rack up some strikeouts and get a win, then you'll be in a good spot. The high point total for wins can be a difficult aspect to navigate, but it's not prohibitive to the cream rising to the top.
The most important point here? Make sure you know the scoring rules for each specific site you plan on playing. These were for FanDuel, and although they are similar to other sites, you had better know those puppies inside and out.
For hitters, total bases are paramount. Given the high point totals associated with extra-base hits, you should be targeting players with high slugging percentages with regularity. If they come in a quality lineup that gives them shots at runs and RBI, that's even better.
Pitching doesn't leave a lot of confusion. You don't need to worry about how many walks or base hits the pitcher allows; if they prevent those runners from scoring and can get deep in the game, then you'll be well on your way to DFS success.
Thankfully, it seems as though you've avoided my anguish from the Harry Potter video games. By taking this small amount of time to look at the scoring rules, you've made things 10 times easier on your future self. Eventually, all of these point totals will be second nature, and you'll be able to allow yourself to broaden your research and make daily fantasy baseball a more enjoyable (and more profitable) endeavor.