DFS Baseball 101: Beginners' Guide to Daily Fantasy Baseball

DFS Baseball 101: Beginners' Guide to Daily Fantasy Baseball

This article is part of our DFS Baseball 101 series.

MLB Spring Training has just started and fantasy sports players are prepping for their season long drafts, but in addition you can also start your daily fantasy baseball preparation. Throughout the month of March, I will have a series of articles geared towards this mostly for beginner and first time players.

The first installment of this series will focus on how to get started, what to think about, how to go about getting prepared for the season. Most fantasy players jump into DFS without a plan and expect it to go just like season long. You might be a successful season long player, but there is a learning curve with DFS and EVERYONE goes through it.

The first thing you want to ask yourself is - "Why do I want to play"? What is your motivation? It is strictly financial gain, becoming a better overall fantasy sports player, or you are looking to move away from season long and play daily instead? It could also be a combination of all three.

The next decision is how much do you want to invest? For the purpose of this article, I am going to approach it from the new player/smaller stakes angle. You could decide to pay as you play and deposit $10-$25 until it runs out. A lot of people do that and it is the safest way to play especially if you are not working with a large bankroll.

How much are you comfortable losing? If you enter the $350 NFBC RotoWire Online challenge season long league, you know going in that you have a 15-20 percent chance of cashing, which is roughly the same payout in a DFS tournament. So if that is your risk tolerance, you can grind out $350 during the baseball season for daily by either depositing all at once and taking advantage of the deposit bonus, or you can budget $10-$25 per week.

If this is your first deposit on a DFS site, look for a special offer from a content site (RW's offer with FanDuel as an example). Not only will you get a deposit bonus, but you will also get a free six month subscription.

Time is Money

You can start your research today for the upcoming season, but during the season you need to have a routine down. You should limit your research to one hour a day. It can be a combination of the night before along with the day of once lineups come out. But you have to value your time as money. If you are just starting out and playing $10-$25 a night, does it make sense to spend three hours doing research? That is one of the most common mistakes that new players make. They feel the need to overanalyze when playing DFS. In a future article, I will outline how you can narrow down your research to just one hour a day.

As a beginner, you need to make sure that you will have access to a computer or smartphone about one hour before the games start. Between weather issues and lineups being announced, you don't want to end up having players in your lineup that get a zero. The good thing about MLB vs NBA is that managers are required to release the lineups prior to the game starting. You can use our starting lineups page for all of the latest information.

Twitter is also a resource that you want to take advantage of. Following local beat writers can give you some inside information faster than other news outlets. Also, some writers will discuss the weather situation at a ballpark that might be different than the actual forecast (tarp is on the field, etc).

Microsoft Excel should be your best friend when it comes to your daily fantasy baseball research. You can start to look at prior years' statistics and how they correlate to the scoring system on the daily fantasy sports sites. Look at the scoring systems and create a formula that will give you the fantasy points per game for each player. This is how you start to build some rankings. Once the first wave of salaries come out, you can plug those in next to the players name on your rankings.

I will discuss how to use Microsoft Excel in greater detail once we get to the research article, but for now either take some online classes or have someone show you how to use Excel, because it can be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.

Get started this week, by reading over some of the past seasons' articles that I have written for DFS baseball here. Start taking notes either in Microsoft Word or your memo function on your smartphone. You want to have a knowledge base down by the time the season starts. The more you read and learn now, the easier it will be once the season actually starts.

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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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