MLB Rookie - Lesson 05 - Using Player Cards to Build Lineups

Jonathan Bales is the author of Fantasy Baseball for Smart People—a 197-page book created to help you win playing daily fantasy baseball on DraftKings.

One of the favorable aspects of playing daily fantasy sports on DraftKings is that the site provides plenty of daily fantasy baseball help and gives relevant information to users to help them create lineups. This includes information like recent player news, weather changes, and so on—stuff that all users research, aggregated into a single place to make it easy to fill out a lineup.

If you want to know more about a player in a given game, you can click on his name inside of any contest and you’ll see a player card similar to this one.

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These player cards have all sorts of awesome information on them that I use to help me select players. Here’s a rundown of the useful aspects of these player cards.

Basic Game Information

At the top of the player card, you can see information such as a player’s matchup and the game start time. That start time is useful since DraftKings has a late-swap feature. Knowing when a player’s game begins can help you figure out if he’ll be eligible for late-swap later in the day. The player’s salary for each contest is also listed here.

Latest Player News

In the bottom left corner, you’ll find recent player news. I’m always monitoring news in every sport as much as possible, and this is just a quick way to find that information. If a player has been battling with an injury, for example, that information will be located here. Always be sure to check the date on the latest piece of news to make sure it’s recent.

Around the League

Opposite the player news is an “Around the League” feature that imports relevant tweets about each player. This is particularly useful for very timely updates. If a player gets scratched just before a game, for example, that information might not yet be in the player news area, but it will undoubtedly be on Twitter. One of the overlooked aspects of being a successful daily fantasy player is the ability to quickly react to changing information in an effective way.

Fantasy PPG

There are all kinds of player stats on the player cards, but I like to examine fantasy PPG, as this can be a good piece of daily fantasy baseball help. I do this because it’s a single number that represents how well a particular player has performed from a fantasy perspective, and that number is specific to DraftKings. It’s an easy way to visualize how a player has performed of late.

10-Game Log

If you want more information on recent performance, you can click the 10-Game Log tab within the player card. This will provide more information about each player’s most recent performances.

I use the 10-game log quite a bit in MLB, but I use it differently for pitchers and hitters, but this also provides good daily fantasy baseball help. For pitchers, I want to know how well they’ve been throwing of late, particularly in terms of strikeouts. I also like to look at how their WHIP compares to recent earned runs, which should help explain how lucky/unlucky they’ve been. There’s good evidence to suggest that pitcher performances are less volatile than those for hitters, so we can trust them more when it comes to using recent fantasy production to predict future success.

For batters, I don’t really care too much about recent performance in terms of projecting each player. I still look at it, though, particularly as a way to predict ownership in tournaments. The highest-owned players are typically those who are the hottest, so I actually find myself very often “buying low” on payers who I know are good, but those who have struggled a bit in their past few games. This not only allows me to create a unique tournament lineup, but also usually get discounted rates on players whose salaries have dropped.

Salary History

One of the other pieces of information I examine in conjunction with the 10-game log is a player’s salary history. It’s always important to understand how a player’s salary has shifted, which can often be a reflection of public perception. When a pitcher jumps $1,000 after a recent start, it could be an overreaction. Either way, it’s always interesting to do a simple comparison of actual value (fantasy points) to changes in perceived value (salary).

Splits

Splits are always extremely important in baseball. Lefty/righty splits are crucial to analyze for both hitters and pitchers. DraftKings shows home/away splits, which can also help you understand player value and the effect each team’s ballpark has on fantasy production.

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Take the Rockies, for example. They clearly have the most hitter-friendly park in baseball in Coors Field. Most of the players on the Rockies have far more favorable splits at home as compared to the road. Colorado is an extreme example, but home/away splits are a nice way to visualize how much each batter is helped or hurt by his home ballpark.

I use home/away splits more in the middle and late portions of the season once the variance of a few games evens out.

Matchup

The final piece of the DK Player Card that we can use in terms of daily fantasy baseball help is the matchup. Baseball is unique in that there’s really one matchup that matters—batter versus pitcher—and it’s of incredible importance. Ninety percent of your daily fantasy baseball success is understanding how batters match up with certain pitchers, and vice versa.

At the end of the day, baseball is a true daily game. Each slate of games is really unique with a bunch of different variables to consider. Using the DraftKings player cards is one way—the quickest and most effective—to gather a whole bunch of that information you need to create winning lineups.


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Continue Reading MLB Training Camp

MLB Rookie – Lesson 01 – Welcome to Daily Fantasy Baseball
MLB Rookie – Lesson 02 – Stats to Start for Batters
MLB Rookie – Lesson 03 – Stats to Start for Pitchers
MLB Rookie – Lesson 04 – Scoring Tips and Tricks
MLB Rookie – Lesson 05 – Using Player Cards to Build Lineups

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