One-Day Fantasy Baseball Tips For 50/50s, Head-To-Heads, And GPPs
With the MLB season in full swing, you’re probably already participating in daily fantasy baseball contests. You might even have the beginnings of an effective draft strategy under your belt. But I’m going to share something with you today that will motivate you to reevaluate your approach.
Your process for drafting lineups should reflect the type of contest you’re playing. We talked about the differences between large-field and small-field daily fantasy baseball in the past. In the linked article, I gave you some tips on how to draft pitchers and hitters according to whether you’re competing against just a few players or hundreds of them.
Today, we’re going to break things down even further. We’ll focus on 50/50s, head-to-heads, and guaranteed prize pool tournaments. Each one is a different animal. As such, each one deserves a slightly modified draft strategy.
Recap Of Daily Fantasy Baseball Contest Formats
Let’s start off with a quick recap of the various game types you’ll find at the top daily fantasy baseball sites. If you’ve read this article, the following information should be familiar to you. In that case, just skip down to the section where we deal with the strategy for 50/50s. Otherwise, here are some quick definitions to get you up to speed.
50/50 – This is a contest in which half the players win. If your ending score puts you in the top half of the field, you’ll practically double your entry fee (minus a small percentage for the site’s rake). Sometimes, you’ll compete against as few as a dozen competitors. Other times, there may be few hundred. Depending on the fantasy site, you might see this type of contest listed as a “double up.” Don’t let that confuse you. It’s essentially the same thing as a 50/50.
Head-To-Head – The name is self-explanatory. You’re squaring off against one other person. Think of it like a chess match. One person wins. One person loses. Cash for the former. Tears for the latter.
Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) Contests – GPPs are a ton of fun. You compete against a huge wave of other players – sometimes numbering in the thousands – for the chance to win a large cash prize. The entry fee is often just a $1, which limits your risk. If you finish at the top of the field – even in the top 10% – you stand to win a healthy payout.
Let’s now get to the meat of this article. We’ll start by coming up with a draft strategy for 50/50s.
Daily Fantasy MLB Draft Strategy For 50/50s
When you’re competing in 50/50s, coming in first is the same as finishing last in the top half of the field. For example, suppose you’re playing in a 50/50 with 29 other people. It won’t matter whether you finish first or fifteenth. You’ll get paid the same amount.
Think about that from a draft perspective. You don’t care whether you finish first, second, or third. That means you don’t have to stake your hopes on finding that one amazing player who’ll produce an outrageous number of points that evening. Instead, pick a solid pitcher with a great track record and focus the rest of your budget on building a well-rounded, dependable lineup.
**A quick note: your pitcher is going to generate most of your points. That being the case, put some time into finding the best pitcher you can afford to draft. Don’t spend so much money on him that your offense looks like a third-tier high school team. But bear in mind that now is not the time to be a cheapskate.
***Another quick note: I mentioned that the field for 50/50s can range from a dozen players to a few hundred. As a general rule, the larger-field 50/50s are safer bets. A larger field means that your team will be stacked up against more mediocre teams than would be the case if you were playing against a few skilled competitors.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Tips For Head-To-Heads
Your draft strategy for a head-to-head daily fantasy baseball contest should be similar to the one you use for 50/50s – with a few modifications. Before we jump into things, let me point something out that’s important to remember…
There’s a good chance that you’ll lose in an H2H contest. Why?
- First, you only have one opponent. You can’t count on a large field filled with mediocre lineups. Your team needs to be stellar in order to win.
- The second reason involves the type of players who usually compete in head-to-heads. They tend to know what they’re doing and have the track record to prove it. If you’re a novice, watch out. You’ll be trampling on feeding grounds while occupying the bottom of the food chain.
Let’s say that you still want to compete in head-to-heads despite the risk. If that’s the case, keep the following advice in mind…
First, look for consistency. Some MLB players are phenomenally productive on some nights only to fall apart on other nights. They’re all over the map. Other players turn in a solid performance every night they play. In H2H’s, you want your roster filled with reliable players.
Second, avoid opponents who have won a large sum of money at the fantasy site. Their winnings indicate they’re good at putting together great teams. You don’t want to square off against them.
How do you find out whether a competitor has won a lot of cash? FanDuel makes it easy. Your opponent’s name is listed in the column titled “Contest” in the main Lobby (filter the list so that it displays only head-to-head contests). Click it to see how much he has won. The winnings are categorized by sport.
Playing To Win In Large-Field Fantasy Baseball GPPs
Guaranteed prize pool tournaments are in a class by themselves. Think of these contests in the same way you’d think about rolling a hard eight in craps. Winning requires a bit of luck. You need to fill your roster with players who each put up a significant number of points. Reliability is nice, but it won’t bring you a cash prize in a GPP.
When you’re shopping for a pitcher, don’t blow your entire budget. The key is to maximize the number of points you can buy for each dollar. You’ll need to do a fair amount of research to find pitchers who offer value. Determine which ones are on a hot streak. Find out who has recently come off the injured list. Figure out which ones are scheduled to play in pitcher-friendly ball parks.
How has the pitcher performed against the hitters he’s scheduled to match up against? How has he performed in the type of weather expected for that evening’s game? Are Vegas oddsmakers predicting a low-point game, suggesting that the guys on the mound will successfully keep hitters at bay?
It’s a lot of work. But assuming your opponents won’t put in the same effort, it can pay off.
When shopping for hitters, focus on guys who have performed well against the pitchers they’re scheduled to face that night. Look for those who are scheduled to play in hitter-friendly parks. And of course, check Vegas odds for the over/unders on that night’s games. Big numbers suggest a lot of points are going to be scored.
Here’s the takeaway: your draft strategy should change according to the type of contests you’re competing in. Your approach to 50/50s is going to be a lot different than your approach to GPPs. Stay flexible. The upside is that you’ll stand a much better chance of consistently winning cash prizes. Before long, you may become the type of daily fantasy player other beginners would do well to avoid.