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Tips to Building a Winning Baseball Lineup on FanDuel

Updated on June 12, 2015

Getting Started

First, you will need an account with FanDuel. Click here to get started.

Once you have an account and have made your first deposit, you are ready to enter contests!

FanDuel provides a number of different contest formats in several different sports. I prefer the larger tournaments with smaller entry fees to give myself the best chance of a huge ROI. Feel free to experiment and try out the different types as there are more conservative options (50/50 leagues and Double Ups), as well as options for big spenders.

Today I will focus on the keys to building a strong FanDuel baseball lineup that can be entered into any of the contest formats.

How to Pick the Right Pitcher

You only get to choose one pitcher in FanDuel Daily Fantasy Baseball, so you need to make it count. Your pitcher will likely be both your most expensive player and your high scorer if chosen correctly.

The scoring in FanDuel for pitchers revolves around three key abilities:

  1. The ability to strike out batters
  2. The ability to pitch deep into games
  3. The ability to not allow earned runs

If a pitcher can do those three things consistently, he is a great pick for Daily Fantasy Sports players whenever he is scheduled to start. Look up a potential pitcher's K/9 ratio. If it is a pitcher with limited big league experience (these guys can be great bargains sometimes), check their minor league stats. Baseball-Reference.com has all the stats you need and more.

Another good thing to check is the opponent's stats. I like to check ESPN.com's team batting stats:

You will want to avoid pitchers facing teams that score a lot of runs or that avoid striking out.

Weigh your options. There will likely be a pitcher or two that fit most of these criteria but cost $10,000 or more. If you have some bargain bats you feel good about, these guys can be good options. If you would rather have more stars in your batting lineup, be sure to pick a pitcher with a lower price tag.

Last but not least, keep an eye out for any injury news, as even a small injury can cause a usually consistent starting pitcher to have an off-day and ruin your fantasy chances.

How to Choose the Right Hitters

This is when your budget really starts coming into play. You have a total of $35K to spend on one pitcher and eight hitters, so depending on how much your pitcher costs, you should have anywhere from $2,800 to $3,800 to spend per hitter. As you research hitters, keep in mind their price tags. I like to try and find one or two guys for close to the minimum ($2,200), so I can field a team with a few big name bats in it. Others prefer to pick mid-level players across the board. Either way can win you cash.

Picking hitters is all about matchups. In general, left-handed hitters hit better against right-handed pitchers and vice versa. You can check career righty/lefty splits on baseball-reference.com to see how much of a difference the pitcher's handedness makes for the hitter you are considering. Don't let this scare you away from picking a same-handed hitter if you feel good about it. Chances are they will get at least one at-bat against a relief pitcher in the game, and just one bit hit can be all you need to turn a bad day into a very respectable one.

Also check the ERA and other stats of the starting pitcher they are scheduled to face, as you will be more likely to score big if the hitters you pick are facing below-average pitchers. The resources below can also come in handy when making your picks.

Avoid games with a high probability of a rainout as you will get no points for players in games that end up being postponed. Batter vs. Pitcher data can be useful, but beware of small sample sizes. Don't be upset if a batter that has gone 3-for-3 in his only 3 ABs vs a particular pitcher strikes out in all three of his next chances. Once a batter has 10-15 ABs vs a pitcher, I start to use the split as a data point. Always base your decisions on a combination of data points as there is no sure formula to get the best hitters.

As you get closer to game time, be sure to check this Daily Lineups link to make sure your hitters are included in their manager's submitted lineups for the day. Even the best hitters can be given days off, so be prepared to adjust your lineup if someone you pick is on the bench.

Don't be afraid to leave a little bit of money unspent if you feel good about the guys you have chosen. It is a good idea to try to spend as much of your budget as you can, but if the guys you find don't add up exactly to $35,000 don't stress.

You may not win your first time playing, but if you do your research and put good lineups out there consistently, chances are you will come out ahead in the end.

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