By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
January 26, 2016, 10:00 AM EST.
As a new addition this year to our coverage, the Philadelphia Baseball Review will offer daily fantasy baseball insight throughout the 2016 baseball season.
This article is the first in a series dealing with winning strategies related to daily fantasy baseball.
The most important player on any daily fantasy lineup is the starting pitcher. The majority of points come from the starting pitcher slot and hurlers are often more predictable than hitters, so this isn't the spot to go cheap on.
Here are some strategies to consider when selecting a starting pitcher:
- Select your starting pitcher before constructing the rest of your lineup. Don't let a high salary be a deterrent. Value can always be found in selecting hitters, but rarely can you find it when selecting starting pitchers.
- Look at the Vegas money lines. A win from your starting pitcher is crucial for success, so targeting starters that are listed as huge favorites in Vegas is a smart way to minimize risk and secure points. Look for favorites -165 and higher.
- Examine the match-ups. Ideally, try and target starting pitchers that are facing the bottom tier offenses in the league. To determine the quality of an offense, I suggest looking at their OPS and where it ranks in comparison to the rest of the league. Also, take note of trends over the last week. You may also want to explore OPS vs. LHP/RHP to gain a further edge.
- Know batter vs. pitcher history. Sometimes a certain pitcher simply owns an offense. Take note of how hurlers have faired against the opposition and use www.dailybaseballdata.com as a resource.
- Understand the ballpark factor. Know what stadiums are more advantageous to pitchers and keep an eye on trends. Some hurlers pitch better at home than on the road, so know who you're selecting.
It's important to look at players beyond the superstars. Mike Trout is an outstanding player, but he isn't necessarily the best value on any given night. You're looking for value on a specific night, not over the span of an entire season.
- Know the weather forecast & the lineups. You may be surprised at how often players draft hitters without looking at the weather and the starting lineups. Know both before adding a player to your roster. Few things are worse than having a player with "0" points in your lineup.
- Know batter vs. pitcher history. Some hitters simply have a hurler's number. If you see success against a certain pitcher over more than 15 at-bats you may want to consider adding the hitter to your lineup.
- Value OPS and high BB%. If a player is getting on base than he's getting you points. Of course you want to add potential deep threats to your lineup, but don't under estimate the value in simply getting on base.
- Play the splits. It's a statistical fact that the majority of hitters fare better against opposite handed pitchers, so take this into account when putting together your lineup. Play the match-up and keep the odds on your side.
- Stack from potent lineups. If you see a favorable match-up for an MLB offense, it may make sense to consider adding a pair of their bats to your lineup.