MLB Daily Fantasy Baseball Guide

Fantasy baseball has an intensely loyal following. Part of its appeal is the variety of ways to play, such as rotisserie and head-to-head-style scoring.

More recently, an entirely new way to play has been introduced to the masses: daily fantasy sports. MLB DFS is one of the most popular games in the industry. As opposed to managing a roster all season long, users can log in and play whenever they want.

Lineups can be built using any of the players scheduled to play that day, but the final product needs to remain under the salary cap. There are a number of different ways to play MLB DFS, and the prize pools are staggering in bigger tournaments.

Contests can be found at varying price points, ranging from small stakes all the way up to high-roller ranges. Getting started is a piece of cake and takes just a couple of minutes. Playing MLB DFS is nowhere near as complex as it may seem at first glance.

We’re going to walk through everything you need to know right here, starting with the best places you can play.

Update: While we await MLB’s plans for the 2020 season, US sportsbooks have posted lines on the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), which resume play on May 5. Check out our guide to KBO betting for details. 

Top MLB Fantasy Baseball Sites in 2020

Rank
DFS Provider
Bonus
Features
Click To Claim
1
$520
Total Bonus Offer
$20 Free Play On First Deposit
Plus 20% deposit match up to $500
#1 in Daily Fantasy Sports.
2
$5 Free
No Deposit Required
$5 Free
$5 More On Deposit
Watch Sports, Play Fantasy, Win Cash!

Best DFS apps/how to download a DFS app

In the world of DFS, two companies dominate. They offer the biggest prize pools and attract the largest numbers of users.

  1. DraftKings DFS – $20 free with first deposit + up to $500 deposit match: The industry leader in terms of users and prize pools, DraftKings is the preferred option for scores of DFS players. If you sign up for a new account by clicking on our exclusive links, you’ll get a $20 bonus with a $5 deposit. New and existing players also receive a 20% deposit match up to $500.
  2. FanDuel DFS – $5 free on sign up + $5 extra on deposit: This is the company that helped to bring DFS into the mainstream conversation. FanDuel’s simple, user-friendly platform attracts tons of players. New users who sign up with our exclusive links get $5 free and another $5 bonus with their first deposit.

DraftKings and FanDuel have apps available for iOS and Android. After you have created your account via our exclusive links, you’ll find instructions for downloading the app for your device right on the main website.

The instructions are clear-cut, so just follow along and you’ll have it downloaded in no time. Afterwards, log in to your newly created account on the app, and you’ll be all set.

Is MLB DFS legal?

It’s legal to play MLB DFS in the vast majority of the US. At the present time, just a few states are outliers.

Washington StateArizonaHawaiiIdaho
LouisianaMontanaNevada

The good news is that Major League Baseball DFS is up and running in the 43 other states. Folks who live in those states are able to open accounts and play without issue.

DFS was once a niche pursuit, and questions have emerged through the years about its overall legality. Those questions have been resolved at the state level for the most part.

DraftKings is recognized as the official DFS partner of the MLB. Meanwhile, FanDuel is considered an official gaming partner of MLB.

How to sign up for an account/ deposit money

How to signup for DFS BaseballSigning up for an account with our recommended MLB DFS operators is a quick and pain-free process. Firstly, click on our links to get started so that you can take advantage of our exclusive bonus offers.

From there, you’ll be redirected to a new page where you’ll be asked to enter a few pieces of information.

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Screen name
  • Password
  • Address
  • Date of birth

There may be a couple of other basic pieces of info depending on the site, but you get the idea. After that’s all taken care of, it’s just a matter of answering security questions where needed and checking off some boxes.

You’ll click “continue,” and your new account will be created right away. You can begin browsing around and checking out all of the different features. Don’t forget to download the fantasy sports apps for DraftKings and FanDuel by following the instructions on the main website.

After the app is downloaded, log in on mobile and you’re good to go for playing MLB DFS wherever you want. As for Monkey Knife Fight, remember that the website is optimized for mobile.

When you’re ready to deposit, credit cards, debit cards and PayPal are the best methods to use on DraftKings or FanDuel.

Deposits are processed right away, and funds will be available immediately. For withdrawals, you’ll need to wait for the operators to process on their end, but it’s generally a pretty quick turnaround.

Daily fantasy baseball vs. season-long fantasy baseball

For those who have enjoyed playing season-long fantasy baseball for years, the transition over to MLB DFS is pretty simple. However, there are some differences between the two that you need to keep in mind.

Single day vs. full season

The biggest point of difference is that MLB DFS contests are played over a single day. You can play whenever you want and skip days if you wish. Traditional fantasy baseball is a season-long competition in which you must manage your roster daily.

Total player pool vs. those you’ve drafted

When building your lineup in season-long fantasy baseball, you’re restricted to using the players that are on your roster. For MLB DFS, you have access to the entire player pool from the slate of games you’re playing.

Salary cap vs. roster management

Season-long fantasy baseball requires roster management all throughout the competition as you work toward improving your squad. For MLB DFS, you can have a new lineup every day of whoever you want, provided you stay under the salary cap.

If you’ve never played season-long fantasy baseball, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it can be to your benefit.

As opposed to changing your thinking and approach, you’ll be able to dive right in and focus on the DFS approach from the get-go.

What kinds of DFS baseball contests can I play?

Draftkings Fantasy BaseballThere are a number of different contest types to consider when you begin playing MLB DFS. Let’s take a closer look at the major ways to play.

  • Head-to-Heads: This is the DFS format that most closely resembles season-long play. It’s user versus user, with the highest scoring lineup deemed the winner.
  • GPPs: These are guaranteed prize pool tournaments that range in size from small to huge. Prize pools for the largest ones are pretty eyebrow-raising.
  • Leagues: A smaller version of tournaments but a similar concept. The highest placing lineups win prizes, while others move on to fight another day.
  • 50/50s and DoubleUps: In these contests, the goal is to score better than up to half of the other entrants in order to win up to double your entry fee.
  • Multipliers: The same concept as 50/50s and DoubleUps, but users win back a multiple of their entry fee such as three times the fee.
  • Qualifiers: These are tournament-style contests in which the prize is a ticket to a bigger event or a seat at a live final.
  • Tiers: This is a pick ’em style contest in which users select players from groups as opposed to building lineups from scratch.
  • Showdowns: These are DFS contests that revolve around a single game as opposed to each contest on the daily schedule.

For each of the different contest types, there are various strategic approaches. As an example, taking a few risks in GPPs can help set your lineup apart from the pack. In 50/50s, you’ll be looking more toward predictable output that you can rely on.

Which MLB DFS contests are best for beginners?

Daily fantasy baseball can be intimidating to newcomers. After all, there are plenty of experienced players who have been doing it for years. Competing with veterans is a daunting challenge right off the bat.

Thankfully, the major operators recognize this. On both DraftKings and FanDuel, you’re considered a beginning player until you have played in 50 paid contests. There are contests that are specifically reserved for beginners in the lobby.

For example, you’ll find beginner 50/50s in which the pool of entrants are all inexperienced folks just like yourself. These contests allow you to understand the ins and outs of daily fantasy MLB while competing against others of a similar skill set.

In addition, players on both platforms are designated by experience level, so you can easily tell what kind of player you’re going up against. If you want to play some head-to-heads, be sure to look for players with a similar experience level.

You can also take some shots at the bigger tournaments whenever you like; just know that they’ll have a mix of all different experience levels. From a bottom line, take full advantage of beginner status at both DraftKings and FanDuel as you build up your skills.

How are points scored in DFS baseball?

Each time a player in your lineup does something significant, you’ll receive points for your MLB DFS team. DraftKings and FanDuel share similarities in scoring, but there are differences to be aware of.

Hitter ScoringFanDuelDraftKings
Single3 points3 points
Double6 points5 points
Triple9 points8 points
Home Run12 points10 points
Run Batted In3.5 points2 points
Run Scored3.2 points2 points
Base on Balls3 points2 points
Stolen Base6 points5 points
Hit by Pitch3 points2 points

As you can see, there are what seem to be minor differences in the two approaches to scoring, but a point here and a point there can add up. There’s even more of a stark contrast in scoring for pitchers on the two sites.

Pitcher ScoringFanDuelDraftKings
Win6 points4 points
Quality Start4 pointsN/A
Earned Run-3 points-2 points
Strikeout3 points2 points
Inning Pitched3 points2.25 points
Hit AgainstN/A-0.6 points
Base on Balls AgainstN/A-0.6 points
Hit BatsmanN/A-0.6 points
Complete GameN/A2.5 points
Complete Game ShutoutN/A2.5 points
No-HitterN/A5 points

FanDuel sticks to the basics and keeps it simple when it comes to pitchers, while DraftKings goes more in-depth. As for which approach is better, it comes down to user preference.

Additionally, there are plenty of users who play on both sites. When doing so, keep in mind that scoring variances between the two can impact which players are the best plays on each site for the day, as can player salaries.

DK vs. FD baseball differences

The major differences between DK and FD are scoring and lineup requirements. We’ve already covered the scoring aspect in depth, so let’s take a closer look at positions you need to fill for lineups on both sites.

  • FanDuel: P, C/1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, OF, OF, Util
  • DraftKings: P, P, C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, OF, OF

That’s nine spots on FanDuel with one pitcher, and 10 spots on DraftKings with two pitchers. DraftKings sticks to the traditional positions, while FanDuel offers a single spot for a C or 1B while adding in a utility spot.

Once again, the different approaches can alter your strategy when playing on both sites. That’s actually not a bad thing, as you’ll gain exposure to more players since some will be great plays on FanDuel while others will be best suited for DraftKings lineups.

On the software front, the two sites are very much in line. They both have slick and user-friendly platforms which are easy to navigate. All of the functions work seamlessly, including lineup entry and cashier.

That being the case, it’s a coin flip as to which one is better. It really comes down to user preference and your feelings on layout and appearance. Playing on both makes plenty of sense, and there are numerous DFS users who do just that.

How to build your first daily fantasy baseball lineup

You’ve created an account by clicking on our exclusive links, deposited funds, and are ready to go. It’s now time to find a contest you like and to build your first lineup.

The number of choices you’ll have at hand can seem overwhelming at first glance, especially for slates that are jam-packed with games. However, you can take a simple approach to sift through the choices in no time.

For starters, zero in on a couple of pitchers that you like for the day. Do any of them look like they have outstanding matchups? Make a mental note of them and consider this to be your shortlist.

Next, do the same exercise in reverse. Do any of the day’s pitchers look as if they have a chance of being shelled? If you come across any in that category, you just found some great leads on hitters.

After completing those two steps, focus on selecting your starting pitcher or pitchers. Next, find the hitters whom you like from the group that has favorable matchups. You should now have the basis of your first MLB DFS lineup.

To fill in the rest of the spots, start by doing some value shopping. Are there any low-priced hitters in the starting lineup for the day’s games? They can make for great salary savers. If you find one or two of them in excellent lineup spots, that’s fantastic.

You can now move on to filling in the rest of your open spots while being mindful of the salary cap. Pay close attention to the hitter matchups and try to focus on those who appear to be in favorable spots.

Your first lineup is now complete. Once you go through the process a couple of times, you’ll find that it doesn’t take much time at all. After you’ve mastered these basic steps, you can work toward improving your skills and adding in other strategic tweaks.

Single entry vs. multiple entry MLB DFS

In addition to the different contest types for MLB DFS, there are also different ways to enter many of them. There are contests that are single-entry, which means that each user submits just a single lineup, as well as multi-entry.

For contests in that category, users can submit multiple lineups, with each contest noting the max amount allowed. In the largest GPPs, the limit is a whopping 150. That takes a lot of time and effort, even for the most advanced DFS players.

Some will lean on lineup optimizers and algorithms to help them navigate having so many lineups going at once. When starting out in MLB DFS, it’s perfectly fine to see how you like multi-entry, but keep it small for starters.

There are contests that cap the number of lineups at three per user. Start there and get a feel for managing several lineups at once. Next, you can move on to contests that have bigger caps, such as up to 20.

By the time you get to this point, you should have a good feel on whether multi-entry is up to you. There are experienced MLB daily fantasy sports players in both camps. Some prefer to build a single optimal lineup, while others like to take multiple swings.

There are users who find multi-entry tough to compete in when users can put in up to 150 lineups, and they stick to single-entry as a result. Find what works best for you and your game style.

You can also mix it up and stick to single-entry at times while playing multi-entry on certain days. In addition, just because you may prefer single-entry doesn’t mean you can’t still play in the bigger tournaments.

After all, a single optimal lineup could turn out to be the best of the night when all is said and done.

DFS Baseball World Championships

Industry giants DraftKings and FanDuel both host in-person live final events for MLB DFS. These are some of the biggest DFS events of the calendar year. Users compete in qualifying tournaments to win tickets to the events. Here’s what they looked like in 2019.

DraftKings Fantasy Baseball World Championships

FanDuel World Fantasy Baseball Championships

Qualifying for these sought-after events is far from easy, but both operators go all out and put on a memorable experience for qualifiers. As a result, qualifying tournaments are some of the most popular contests on days they are held.

Beginner MLB DFS strategy tips

When you’re new to MLB DFS, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed. It seems as if there are tons of different variables to consider, but you can actually keep it really simple. Here are some easy tips you can use to get off on the right foot.

1. Check sports betting odds

A glance at the lines for the day’s games can tell you a whole lot about the slate. There will be games that are projected to be high-scoring affairs with over/unders of 9 or more, and potential pitching duels with totals of 6.5 runs. Get a handle on what the lay of the land looks like as step one of your routine.

2. Find your starting pitcher first

Finding the right pitcher can be the difference between having a night in which you cash and one in which you don’t. As such, a good deal of time should be devoted to analyzing the arms that are throwing on the slate. Narrow it down to the ones in the best spots, and make your choice based on their salary in relation to potential output.

3. Look for good offensive matchups

When you’re combing through the day’s pitchers, make a note of those who look as if they are in tough spots. If they so happen to be playing a good offensive team, you have yourself some batters to consider. Don’t be shy about taking hitters from the same team who look as if they’re in exceptional spots.

4. Pay attention to recent team play

The MLB season is a grind, so teams will naturally hit their peaks and valleys. As part of your research, make note of how they’ve been performing of late. If a team is really struggling at the plate and facing off against a quality starter, you may want to stay away. The same applies in reverse for those who are pounding the ball and facing a gas can.

5. Examine historical pitcher vs. batter matchups

For another way to spot potential juicy hitter matchups of the day, examine how the starting pitchers have done against the hitters they’ll be squaring off with. Some batters hit certain pitchers really well, and that will be reflected in their at-bat history against that arm. This is a simple way to find a hitter or two per day who could be in line to excel.

Building an MLB DFS lineup can easily be made into a streamlined routine like the one up above. Once you go through the steps a few times, it will get quicker and quicker each time you do it.

As more time opens up on your end, you can add additional variables into the equation and tweak as needed. It’s your system after all, so find one that works best for your situation and leads to winning lineups.

Picking MLB DFS pitchers

We told you the pitching position was really important in MLB DFS. Extra time should be spent here each day, but also be careful not to overthink it. An approach that can be really helpful is breaking the day’s pitchers into tiers based on salary.

A set of three tiers works just fine, so you’ll wind up with this: high-priced, mid-priced and low-priced. For each of the three tiers, select a couple that you like. Just like that, you have a shortlist of arms to analyze.

Now that you have that, begin digging in by working through some questions:

  • What are the projected totals for the games these pitchers will be throwing in?
  • Are any of them facing potent offenses? How about weak ones?
  • Which pitchers have been lights out lately? Have any been struggling?

For the first question, you may want to shy away from those in games with high over/unders. Next, use caution for those facing great offenses, but take it on a case-by-case basis depending on the quality of the pitcher.

Last but not least, a pitcher who has been struggling may be one you want to shy away from. It can take time to work kinks out, so lean toward those who have been showing positive consistency lately.

When you get down to just a few pitchers to choose from, start looking for which ones rack up lots of strikeouts and innings pitched. Pitchers who post a lot in these two categories are hot commodities in MLB DFS.

By now, you should have whittled down the list to just a couple of names. From here, it comes down to salary and the offense you want to build around the pitcher. If you feel it’s a good night to go heavy on bats, then go with the cheaper pitcher on your list.

If one of the higher-priced pitchers looks too good to resist, then select him and look to save money elsewhere. As you gain more experience with MLB DFS, you’ll find that your lineup approach will vary based on the slate at hand.

How to win at daily fantasy baseball

There’s no one single way to win at MLB DFS. You’re going to have good days and bad days. That’s just the lay of the land. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t maximize your chances each and every day.

For starters, don’t jump into the deep end of the pool right away. Start off by taking full advantage of the beginner rules on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Use the 50-contest limit on both sites to learn and enhance your skills.

Next, we’ve given you a number of lineup building tips for both hitters and pitchers that have stood the test of time. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. Stick to the basics and worry about getting more advanced once you have mastered these steps.

As far as getting more advanced, don’t feel that you have to devote hours and hours to research. In fact, that can have the opposite effect and lead you to paralysis by analysis, which is also known as information overload.

If you love research, then go for it; just know your limits and stick to the information that really moves the needle. It’s quite easy to get lost in a pile of advanced statistics that don’t amount to all that much. Don’t be that guy or gal.

From a bottom-line perspective, stick to beginner 50/50s as you build up your skills. Master the basic lineup-building strategies, and then look to expand the repertoire as needed.

MLB DFS vs. MLB sports betting

There are lots of correlations between DFS baseball and betting on baseball, so those who have experience with the latter can generally pick up the former pretty quickly. However, there are also some distinct differences to keep in mind.

  • Performance focus: When betting on sports, the goal is to determine which team is going to win or lose. For DFS, the focus is on the individual performance of players.
  • Fees: Both sportsbooks and DFS providers will charge rake or commission. The former is transparent on what it takes, but the latter is less so, with rakes that can run as high as 15%.
  • Playing field: When you play DFS, you’re competing against other users. For sports betting, it’s you versus the oddsmakers, who are generally tough to beat consistently.

Both DFS and sports betting are research-based endeavors in which money is being put at risk in a quest to earn more. The research skills gained in one or the other translate well, as does the understanding of risk and reward.

There will be a learning curve for those looking to become involved in one of these pastimes. For DFS players, prop betting is a great place to start, as many of those wagers revolve around individual player performance.

MLB DFS terms explained

MLB DFS has evolved from what was once a niche pursuit into an incredibly popular game. Along the way, certain terms have emerged and formed the basis of the lingo that you’ll come across during your research. Here’s a few you should become familiar with.

  • PRK: Player rank, as in how the player stacks up in relation to peers.
  • OPRK: Opponent rank. Where the opponent ranks in relation to the competition.
  • AVFP: Average fantasy points scored.
  • PIR: Player innings remaining. Once contests go live, this refers to how many innings are left for players in your lineup.
  • Stud: This is one of the top hitters or pitchers in MLB.
  • Chalk: A reference to a player who is expected to be incredibly popular with DFS users for a slate of games.
  • Fade: This is when you decide to not include a potentially popular play in your lineup.
  • Contrarian: This is an approach in which you go against the grain with a player whom not many others are regarding highly for the slate.

MLB DFS FAQ

When does daily fantasy baseball start?

MLB daily fantasy sports gets underway on Opening Day. In 2020, the date is Thursday, March 26.

What are the most important stats for baseball DFS?

There are a ton of MLB stats to consider while researching. For both hitters and pitchers, some of the all-encompassing stats can help cut down research times. For batters, wOBA (weighted on-base average) or OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) give a good glimpse into overall strength at the plate. When it comes to pitchers, advanced ERA stats such as xFIP and SIERA attempt to further quantify the true success of a starting pitcher.

Whom should you start in MLB DFS?

The answer to this question will vary every day. It’s all about the matchups, so those who are great plays one day may be poor plays the following day, and vice versa.

What is “rotisserie” fantasy baseball?

Rotisserie refers to a scoring system for traditional fantasy baseball that was popularized in the 1980s. It got its name from a highly publicized league that bore the “Rotisserie” name upon founding. As time has moved along, the phrase has been shortened to “roto,” which has essentially become synonymous with fantasy.

What is the best MLB DFS site?

This is going to come down to user preference. DraftKings and FanDuel are both outstanding places to play traditional MLB DFS, while Monkey Knife Fight is an awesome choice for those looking for something different.

What is a utility player in MLB DFS?

A utility player is another lineup spot that is akin to the flex position used in other sports. This lineup spot is for a hitter, and there are no position requirements.

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