Stop Thinking Basketball, Start Thinking Baseball
With basketball season winding down, the DFS community will be primarily focused on baseball for the next five months. Baseball season is a long grind, but often the profit potential is best in the first month or two when your opponents haven’t adjusted to the sport yet.
Here is a quick checklist to make sure you are out of the basketball mindset and are ready for baseball!
Small Differences In Player Production Don’t Matter That Much
In basketball, it’s a big deal if a player that is projected to get 40 points scored 55 or misses projections and just scores 25. That 15 point difference is less than a 50% deviation from his projection but can really swing your place in the contest standings.
In baseball, the variance for players, especially hitters, is far greater! A player can easily double or triple his projection or even just score nothing.
In a basketball GPP, the top 1% will rarely have a score that is much more than 50% higher than the median score. In baseball? The top scores can easily be more than double the average. It always depends on the day in each sport, but small differences in scores just doesn’t matter as much in baseball as it does in basketball. What really matters is identifying the top performing players of the day.
A Sharp Player’s Edge In DFS Baseball Can Be Quite Small
In basketball, if a new or casual player makes a really bad choice or two in his lineup, that choice alone could prevent him from cashing even in 50/50s. In baseball, there are much fewer truly dumb plays (unless you choose a guy isn’t in the lineup). Even if a player makes that dumb of a choice, hitters often put up doughnuts in baseball anyways.
While this may ease the stress of worrying too much over every pick, it also limits a sharp player’s upside since there is just a smaller edge one can gain to begin with.
Blowouts Don’t Matter
Remember that thought of “I’m not going to use Golden State players against the Knicks because Golden State will blow them out and sit their starters in the 4th quarter.” That thought doesn’t apply to baseball. So stop thinking that!
Stacking Matters…A Lot
MLB GPPs have been solved to a degree. When it comes to hitters, identify the team (or teams) that will score most of the day and stack players from them. It’s annoying how effective it is, but it’s true. All the players on the team tend to get more hits, runs, RBIs, and more at bats to have the opportunity to accumulate more stats.
Being Contrarian Takes On A Whole New Meaning
Contrarian approaches work extremely well in baseball. Choose a batter that smacks two homers, and he’s owned by 3% or less players in a GPP? That’s a GPP winning play right there.
In basketball, you’ll frequently have players that are 40%+ owned and rarely have smart plays that are 3% or less owned. This is largely due to there being fewer players available in basketball, as well as there being less variance in stat production in basketball. So if no one is choosing a player in basketball, there’s often good reason for it. Not so much the case in baseball.
With more players available and higher variance, taking a contrarian approach in baseball can often be rewarding and is less likely to fall under the category of “just being stupid.”
Be Prepared For A Lot Of Statistical Noise
It will seems like some hitters are guaranteed a home run every day when they are on a hot streak, whereas other players couldn’t get a base hit if they game ran 25 innings. Does that mean to always play hot and cold streaks?
It depends! In basketball, streaks tend to matter more because there’s often a strong reason for it. Another player may be injured, leading to the “streaky” player getting more minutes or usage. If an NBA player is on a cold streak, it may be due to an injury.
While the cold streak/injury matters in baseball sometimes as well, hot streaks can often just be statistical noise. It may be that the batter is in the zone, but it may just be dumb luck.
You Have To Pay Attention To The Weather
Just a friendly reminder. Rainouts are actually fairly rare during the summer, but do occasionally happen in April and May. It’s no fun to play weatherman, but you have to do it. Oh, and apparently you may also need to become an expert on the water main systems of each city (sorry if that brings back bad memories for anyone).