We're just about set to yell "Play Ball" for the 2013 fantasy baseball season and settle in for the 162-game grind. While fantasy football, in which you set a lineup weekly, might appeal to the masses, nothing engages the hard-core player like daily fantasy baseball. Here are our tips for succeeding at a phenomenon that is a labor of love and an addiction for those who need more stimulation than merely one Sunday a week.
Let's start with the five W's, which you probably learned about in the sixth grade, and which can help simplify this sometimes-perplexing game.
Top 20 daily fantasy baseball tips
"I think a lot of people think [pitcher versus batter] is the most important when choosing hitters," said DraftDay.com's TheTakeOver, an avid daily player who asked that we use his fantasy name. "It can be a really useful tool, but the problem with it is that you don't know if players accumulated these stats one year ago or 10 years ago. Baseball is a game of adjustments, so just because a player may 'own' a pitcher, it doesn't necessarily mean it will continue on that given day."
MLB.com's sortable stats are my favorite place to find these nuggets of splits information.
"For a pitcher, I think it's just important to avoid good lineups in hitter-friendly ballpark," DraftDay.com's TheTakeOver said.
The next few tips are bit less obvious and more general rules of thumb to follow on a daily basis:
"Matchups are everything in this game, but you also want to make sure that you're not taking guys that just aren't seeing it right now, or pitchers that can't find the strike zone," said avid and successful DraftStreet.com player Ryan Keur, who admittedly didn't want to give away his best-kept secrets. "Nick Blackburn is the ultimate slump buster, but if you're not seeing the ball, even he can be tough to hit."
In the survey of the daily fantasy league players at DraftDay.com and DraftStreet.com, here are some of the notes that resonated unanimously:
? Watch a lot of baseball. "I think my edge comes from my enjoyment of the game," DraftDay.com's TheTakeOver said. "I really love the sport and always have. I can enjoy watching any two teams play. By watching a lot of baseball, I think I have a feel for the players more than the typical number-crunchers."
? Don't focus in on one team or set of teams, but keep a holistic view of the league.
? You can reduce (bad) luck by being prepared.
? Have reliable daily resources for stats and, most specifically, lineups.
? Know the favorable pitcher-versus-batter matchups.
? Know the streaks. "For a hitter, streakiness outweighs matchups," TheTakeOver agreed.
? Know how the ballparks play.
So, as baseball tosses out the first pitch Sunday night, let's "play ball" and do it with these daily fantasy baseball tricks of the trade.