For those of you new to Yahoo daily fantasy sports (DFS), the following are some tips to help get you started:
1. Have fun
As someone who’s loved season-long fantasy sports, I was once reluctant to try out DFS, but there are so many advantages: The more constant and immediate action, or the ability to draft any player and fill out your lineup any way you want with a limitless pool that only this format provides. And losing someone to a season-ending injury is no longer catastrophic, as DFS players simply move onto the next contest.
Another DFS aspect I love aside from it mitigating injuries is the ability to use someone I missed out on for my season long teams. I went crazy bat-heavy in my drafts this year, but I ended up not complaining after paying up for Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer in DFS during their Opening Day duel.
2. Tournament/game selection
Identifying the difference between cash games vs. tournaments is key when making lineups and having reasonable expectations on your return. “Cash games” refer to head-to-heads and 50/50s (where the top half of entrants win), whereas tournaments are top heavy in pay scale, which typically requires a different set of strategies.
3. How to set lineups
Now knowing the two main differences in contests, setting your lineup should be far different in both (this isn’t a must but a general strategy most adhere to). In a cash game, floor matters the most, as you’re often just trying to beat about half of the rest of the room (and finishing first is no better than the bottom of the payout cutoff line). Conversely, tournaments are all about ceiling and upside, as you’ll typically want to aim to be more contrarian with a boom-or-bust type strategy.
4. Know what contests to play
The more you play, the more you’ll realize which contests best suit your own specific skill set, and game selection can be crucial. When playing tournaments, there are “multi-entries” allowed, whereas cash is often single entry (or head-to-head). Maybe this changes for you with the sport, as it’s certainly easier building a bunch of lineups for Sunday during NFL season compared to the daily grind that is MLB.
5. Know the details
With lineup changes permitted up to scheduled game times, late swaps can be key, so paying attention to injury statuses (and filling your UTIL spot in NBA last in order to allow roster flexibility) is one way to stay ahead of the competition.
6. Stacking hitters in MLB
This method is more for tournaments and is a common way to construct a baseball lineup that uses multiple batters from the same team, usually those who are hitting in succession in the batting order. Yahoo allows up to six players (but no more) from the same team, so if you see an opposing pitcher you think is going to get crushed, stack your team with his opponents’ lineup that day.
7. More MLB DFS
Stacking Coors Field can be extremely beneficial, but it’s common for obvious reasons, so ownerships are often high during games in Colorado. Other ways to be contrarian with stacks are to wraparound them (bottom of the order through the top) and looking at opposing bullpens can often be just as important as the opposing starter, so remember that when building a stack.
8. Follow the weather
Weather is by far the most important in baseball, as rainouts can cause chaos (it also can greatly affect over/unders). If you’re wanting to set your lineup earlier in the day and forget about it, then avoiding problematic weather (and using as many domes as possible) is still doable (and conversely, using players in dangerous weather situations can be an effective contrarian strategy in tournaments). Rain and snow are often overrated in the NFL, where high winds are by far the most worrisome.
9. Las Vegas
A way to see which players are most likely to be involved in higher scoring games is looking at implied team totals, which can be plenty helpful in all sports. The lines aren’t perfect but are a good measure for what’s the most likely outcome. The lines in MLB are dramatically different based on that day’s starting pitchers, which helps explain their huge price discrepancies in DFS. Moreover, knowing which team is favored (and by how much and with what accompanying over/under total) in football helps paint a picture of the likeliest game script. DFS players can then go from there.
10. More football — and good luck!
Be very careful because DFS can be extremely fun and time consuming. Creating NFL lineups has become a science unto itself, with podcasts and articles across America dispersing advice on whom is underpriced that given week, with matchups getting dissected with a microscope. I like going ugly at QB and paying up to jam in the top RBs, but that’s for another article at a later date, after you all dip your toes into some MLB DFS for the time being. Enjoy!