Daily Fantasy: Step your prep upby Kevin Cearnal
April 13, 2011
I've stressed incessantly since I began writing here at THT that the most crucial element of success in the Daily Fantasy World is preparation. Just as in any other aspect of life it gives you a leg up. A head-start. A decisive advantage.
This week I'm going to show you the various sites you will need to visit, as well as how to integrate what you find at these locales into Daily Fantasy Baseball profit. Many of the top players in the industry are hesitant to give up these web presences, as many view the isolation of this information as integral to their continued success.
But I am a firm believer in an even playing field. Therefore, I will divulge these crucial checkpoints here at THT for two specific reasons. The first is to assist those of you who have already jumped head-first into these scary waters stay afloat in a world filled with sharks. The other is to arm those of you hesitant to join our world with the ammunition you need to stay alive. No matter which category you fit in, the following will be of particular interest to you. And compounding this interest is the fact that all of the following resources, at least in the manner I use them, are totally and completely FREE.
Let me prolong this introduction by adding a three-step process to the mix. We all know the concepts of past, present and future. But in preparation for daily fantasy, you must examine the timeline in reverse in order to be truly successful. Crazy you say? Read on and the fog will clear.
Why start with the future? Well because when you wake up in the morning the first thing you want to get a feel for is the day's upcoming games. Projections for hitters and pitchers are essential. Too many fantasy players make the mistake of picking guys based on misdirected information, or worse yet just a lack of it. So below are the first few stops I like to make on my tour around the Daily Fantasy Baseball preparation world.
SportsGrumblings - What you're going to want to utilize and examine here is its "daily" projections. This is very easy to find as it is usually located centrally within the heart of the baseball homepage. These projections take into account more than 30 separate factors. And the site even gives you the top 10 at each position, for no cost. I've been using said projections for a little over a year now, and I must say that they are usually fairly accurate.
There are two things you are going to want to look out for when analyzing these projections, though. The first is that the system seems to give extra credence to players against bad pitchers. By this I mean that against a lower-tier or new starter, the computer-based projection will recommend almost every player on a specific team. When this occurs you are going to want to take some extra time to examine and infer which players truly are good plays. Secondly, the system does not take into account players that have a low-likelihood of starting. Backups are included in the top 10 quite frequently and you need to watch out for this and make sure they don't end up whimsically ending up in your lineup.
Other than these two factors, the system is what I consider to be a fairly ideal starting point for the day's research.
Weather.com (baseball) - You wouldn't look outside, see it's raining, then walk outside without an umbrella right? The same concept applies for daily fantasy baseball. Check the forecast. And while we all know that meteorology isn't nearly as reliable as death or taxes, it is technically considered a science. So with that being said, check this site out in the morning. Look and see what's going on and where. A good rule of thumb is that if the chances of significant rain are 40 percent or higher for game time, monitoring the developments is worthwhile.
Personal preference, as well as personal experience, are going to have a great deal to do with how much inclement weather will affect your selections, but I speak from experience when I say that it is at least is worth consideration.
ESPN Fantasy Baseball (daily notes) - This is a column that releases every morning as a general basis for pitcher rankings. It is fairly informative, showing recent statistics as well as both a computer ranking and a columnist opinion. Don't use this as a cut and dried way to select your pitcher(s) for the day (seeing as it is the most important decision you will make in a day), but do make sure that you give a good look at these guys and what the 'experts' at ESPN have to say about them.
This is the here and now of your preparation. The true dirt on what's going on as the day progresses. These are the stops you are going to want to make several times during the day. Frequent visits are very, very important because when you're playing for money on a single day, one missed injury or illness has a very good chance of making or breaking you. You want to know about the head colds, the tweaks and the ever-dreaded '"flu-like symptoms." Here are the top three places where this stuff will come across. Quickly.
BaseballPress - This is a fairly new site that not many are visiting yet. But I think it may be the best, cleanest and easiest to navigate of the "present" resources for the Daily Fantasy Baseball player. Here is where you can see lineups as they are released. This can range anywhere from six hours to one hour prior to first pitch for a game. YOU HAVE TO KNOW THESE LINEUPS. If David Ortiz is getting a day off you have to know about it. You just have to. Taking zeroes is a way to lose, consistently. Click the lineups tab on this site and you will have a one-stop, reliable source for the day's starting lineups. Use it.
RotoInfo This site features a scrolling news feature to go along with steadily releasing lineups. This is a good place to check-in on from time to time throughout the day to check for early injury announcements as it is updated with Twitter feeds and beat writer columns. It is a mixed bag of goodies for the daily fantasy player. A good resource to know. It adds crucial variety and information to the other news feeds.
RotoWorld - One of the earliest and slickest sites for the most up-to-date injuries and headlines. I like to visit this place at least once daily simply because it seems to go beyond facts and even feature some news that may be considered opinion. You will find news such as "Mike Stanton seems to be swinging well in warm-ups" or "Alfonso Soriano seems to be favoring his hamstring during batting practice." If you can get the inside edge on news like that, it can be a golden ticket to success for the day.
Oh and did I mention they release daily lineups as well?
Now that you've got the lay of the land for the day at hand, you need to take a look back a prior performance. Some fantasy players select lefties because they are facing righties. Others pick players because they are hitting in Coors Field. But in order to make truly informed decisions, you need to integrate specific past performance statistics into your selection criteria. This may seem like a tough endeavor. But it in fact isn't. And it is actually all contained in one helpful, concise web presence that I have mentioned in previous articles. Lucky you!
DailyBaseballData - Another site I've mentioned previously. But I wholeheartedly, intensely and [insert another strong adjective here] believe that this is the key to the castle. The winning lottery ticket. On this site (run by THT friend Alex Zelvin) you can find ALL the previous batter/hitter data for the day's contests. Want to know how many career homers Vladimir Guerrero has against A.J. Burnett? The answer is two. In 50 at-bats. And I found that out in about 30 seconds. This is such a clutch resource. Look this stuff over and it can be the deciding factor between two players who to the naked eye, make look dead-even.
All-around good fun/above and beyond
Daily Fantasy Baseball is a huge time commitment to begin with. But with it can come with huge rewards. Here is one additional resource you can use if you wish to delve even further into the madness.
Rotogrinders- This is a site dedicated to forming a community for daily fantasy players. It has forums, daily value plays and various other cool features that you should surely check out. If you wish to engage in conversation about this emerging industry, rather than just play, this is the place to be. Many of the top, most successful players spend time writing, discussing and arguing about daily fantasy baseball here. Ever-expanding content and a staff of dedicated, fantasy junkies make this site a fun and creative way to further immerse one's self into the this world. Members can even write their own blogs to earn a little extra cash.
Check it out!
So that's it. Those are the sites you need for success. Do me a favor and spend a day using all of them. Form a lineup, and see if it doesn't put up some pretty big points. Let me offer a disclaimer though. THIS WILL NOT ALWAYS GUARANTEE SUCCESS. What it will guarantee is your best chance at success over the long term. Take the time to visit and carefully review these resources and I promise you, your success rate will increase. Before you know it, you'll be one of the sharks in this growing ocean of ours.
Here's another look at some of the top sites in the industry (most of which offer Deposit Bonuses...):
FanDuel -- DraftStreet -- DraftZone -- Fantasy Sports Live -- SportsGeek
Good luck out there!
Wanna discuss daily fantasy baseball further? Think my jargon is just that? Shoot me a line and I'll debate with you until I'm blue in the face.
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