MLB Matrix Contests
The matrix games are one of the newest types of contests in daily fantasy sports, and they provide yet another layer of strategy that you have to peel off in order to be successful at them in the long run. In case you aren’t familiar with matrix games, they are one contests that are essentially comprised of several smaller head-to-head contests.
For example, if a matrix game contains 21 people and is $100 to enter, if you finish first your payout will be just as if you would have played each person once in a head-to-head game and gone 20-0 (with the buy-in of each “head to head” game at $100 divided by 20, or $5). Similarly, the second-place person will be paid as though they had gone 19-1. It’s a way to diversify opponents without picking up several heads-up games, and that’s what makes them all the more popular these days.
Because of their nature, being successful at matrix games requires a similar strategy to that of head-to-head or double-up contests. As I mentioned in my undergrad lesson, head-to-head strategy vs. GPP strategy with baseball is different than with other sports. There is a legitimate point to be made for differentiating your head-to-head lineups from your tournament lineups.
In basketball, a cheap player that finds a lot of minutes is generally going to produce SOMETHING, and that player therefore becomes valuable in all types of contests. Baseball is 100 percent different from this. If a guy comes up from the minors and finds himself hitting second in a team’s lineup in his first MLB start, that gives him some potential to succeed. Chances are also high that he will be at a cheap price on almost every DFS site. It’s no guarantee of success, though, and this is a key foundation to baseball lineup building that differentiates it from other sports.
BEING PLACED IN A PRIME OPPORTUNITY TO SUCCEED IS NOT A GOLDEN INDICATOR OF SUCCESS.
This is what makes daily fantasy baseball frustrating for those that are used to NBA or NFL games. Baseball has more parallels with NHL scoring than it does any other daily fantasy sport. Because a matrix is essentially a giant head-to-head pool, it makes sense to do one thing with your lineups, and that’s to take a conservative approach. Don’t reach for a guy that just got called up from the minors to make his first start. Don’t go fishing for the cheapest hitter on the board. Matrix games are about being consistently above average, and there are a few lineup building keystones that you can use to help yourself out.
1) Spend on pitching
Pitching is the “safest” position for a solid baseline of points in daily fantasy MLB. Hitters are always more unpredictable, so in head-to-head and matrix contests, I love spending on my hurlers.
2) Look for known commodities with the bat
Because you are spending on pitching, you won’t necessarily be able to pay up for a bunch of stud hitters. However, you can look for known players who you know will produce in the long-run, but may be underpriced due to a recent slump or a string of tough matchups. Matrix success is all about the long-run profitability of your game, so just find a strategy you are comfortable with and stick to it.
3) Pick your spots
Matrix games are out there every night. If you have a night where you feel like your lineup is super safe, throw it in some matrix contests. If your team is a bit more risky, maybe do a few more tournaments that day. It’s all about knowing your roster and where you stand.
If you are more inclined to take a lot of risks with your picks, the MLB matrix contest is probably for you. However, if you tend to pick your lineup based on the things I just outlined, it is likely that you will enjoy the matrix format in the long-run. Give it a try if you haven’t already, and good luck!