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Daily Fantasy Sports Strategy And Tips

A Range Of Outcomes

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With the NBA winding down and MLB just around the corner, now feels like a good time to write about Daily Fantasy Sports in a more generic and overarching way. Today, I have range of outcomes on the brain. The term range of outcomes is pretty much like it sounds. For any given player, whether we’re talking NBA, MLB, NFL or any other DFS sport you may play, you should always have an idea in your head about what types of games or stat lines a player you’re looking at will have the majority of the time.

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In the NBA, there are players like Courtney Lee and Harrison Barnes to name a couple who see somewhere near 30 guaranteed minutes every single night. That said, they still make for weak DFS plays because the way they’re used leads to a very narrow and not particularly high-scoring range of outcomes. There will be outliers, but most nights these players just don’t touch the ball enough to contribute much differently than any other game.

Other NBA players may be hugely impactful when they are on the floor, but have trouble with fouls or don’t have a solid role within their team and struggle to stay on the floor for heavy minutes. These players have an extremely wide range of outcomes and are probably best suited to tournament use only unless you have strong reason to believe they will see ample playing time on a given night.

The cream of the crop, whether they’re expensive studs or true top notch value plays, are players that are in a position to see a lot of guaranteed opportunity and are impactful with that opportunity. In the NBA, this is what we’re looking for from each and every spot in our lineup. It’s not always easy, but that’s the goal. MLB is a slightly different beast.

In MLB DFS, every player has significant downside. They can all go 0-4 or 0-5 on any given night, no matter how good of a hitter they are. It’s with that in mind that I always like to think about range of outcomes when playing MLB DFS. If any player I select has the potential of putting up a donut, why would I ever use a player who doesn’t have significant upside? That realization alone is probably one of the most important ideas behind playing MLB DFS.

Identifying upside can be a little tricky, but the best way is to simply look at the scoring and figure out which plays are most impactful (typically home runs and steals) and target those. Every player is going to have his share of singles. That’s great. Frankly, they don’t do a ton for your DFS lineups. The plays that really move the needle are the ones that you should be looking for when setting MLB lineups.

This doesn’t only mean we’re targeting home runs at all costs, as there are some hitters like Chris Carter of the Astros whose results are so skewed toward home run or bust that they don’t necessarily make for good DFS plays. There is a happy medium in there however and that’s what we’re looking for. We want good hitters with the potential to make high scoring DFS plays. Tony Gwynn was one of the best hitters ever, but he wouldn’t have been a stud in MLB DFS.

In addition to targeting the scoring plays, you should also be targeting opportunity. By that, I obviously mean at-bats. It’s easy to convince yourself that at-bats aren’t extremely important in MLB DFS since a hitter from any spot in the lineup can go deep once or twice in any game. While that’s true, if you start to think about at-bats in terms of DFS points, you’ll realize that each at-bat is worth points, in theory. Knowing that we can’t precisely predict the future i.e. who will have a good game, we must put ourselves in the best positions to capitalize on what could happen. In MLB DFS, the best way to do that is to look for a strong range of outcomes and ample opportunity.

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Thanks for reading. Find me on Twitter @IanJ300 with any questions.


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