I'm a big fan of daily fantasy baseball leagues and write about them each week at FanDuel. Now, you'll have the chance to compete against me in a daily league for the chance to win cash. And the best part is, entrance is 100 percent free! The contest will be held this Friday, June 24th at FanDuel.
We'll be competing in a FanDuel MLB Salary Cap 35k contest where you have $35,000 to spend on any nine players you want at the following positions:
P, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF
The scoring system is points-based:
BaseballProspectus.com MLB $200 Freeroll
Hitters: 1B = 1pt, 2B = 2pts, 3B = 3pts, HR = 4pts, RBI = 1pt, R = 1pt, BB = 1pt, SB = 2pts, Out = -.25pt
Pitchers: W = 7pts, ER = -1pt, SO=1pt, IP = 1pt
Prizes are structured as such:
1st – $70
2nd – $50
3rd – $40
4th – $25
5th – $15
Additionally, anyone who beats me, whether they finish in the top five or not, will receive $5.
So if you've always wanted to try daily leagues and never got around it, or have never heard of daily leagues but are intrigued, now is the perfect time to get started. It's completely free to play this contest (you can play others for more money, at your option) with the chance to win cash! All you have to do is click here, sign up (takes less than a minute), and pick your team! Make sure to sign up before Friday to make sure you get in!
If you haven't already signed up to play FanDuel, use this referral link to receive a free $10 when you sign up and make your first deposit.
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Let's say I throw 6 innings and get the win giving up three earned runs and without getting a strikeout. I'd get 9 points even if I gave up 6 hits and three walks for a 1.5 WHIP. In other words, a pretty bad "quality" start.
To get 9 points as a hitter, if I go 4-4 with four singles, I just get four points. If I went 4-4 with four doubles, I'd get eight points. If I go 2-4 with a home run, I'd get 6.5 points (counting the run and the RBI).
Let's try another extreme. A guy throws 9 shutout innings and gets the win for 15 points, regardless of how many hits he gave up.
A hitter would need something like:
4-4 1 BB, 2 1B, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
4-4 1 BB, 2 1B, 2 2B, 2 SB, 2 R
In other words, a pitcher having a mediocre day generates more points (and has a mediocre day more frequently) than a hitter having a good to great day. In addition, a pitcher having a good day can outweigh the performance of two mediocre batting performances.
Also, while pitchers score more, they also cost more. Remember, you have 35k to spend. Top pitchers got for close to 10k while top hitters go for 4k. Additionally, you only get to pick 1 pitcher, but you need to select 8 hitters.
Still, I picked my team with the hardest part being the catcher's slot. I like my pitcher choice since I felt I could go for cheap quality with anything else being a roll of the dice (just like any other pitcher).
On another note, they sent me an email trying hard to convince me that it's not gambling because it's a skill game... which reminded me a lot of the online poker games I used to play...
Gosh I miss ProTrade.
also free to play and compete against friends, enemies, etc.
It's a shame that there isn't a way to look back and see what salary people on each team were bought at.
I signed up for a few more days so I imagine that Fanduel made their money back on this clever promotion.
I can't speak for everyone but I'm not quitting until I profit. Or lose my $10 outlay.
Also, as I noted earlier, the interface can use a bit of work. I imagine a 2.0 would be pretty neat, but I can't see any history of how I or my opponents used their salary cap or where I ranked in relation to them (besides the overall ranking).
The prize pot seems to be 90% of the total of all the entry fees, or in casino terms, the rake is at 10%. As a comparison, Hold'em rakes run $2 a hand on a 2/4 table for a hand worth an average of $20 a hand for a similar 10% rake and that's considered very expensive. The rake is important to be aware of because it drains money from the table and lessens the return on your initial gambling stake, causing players to retire from the game faster.
And yeah, if you invest money, you are basically gambling. Sure skill helps improve the odds, but with a payout in the top 5 of the players, actually getting money will basically come down to luck and whether Pitcher A's win was blown by the bullpen through no fault of his own. So basically, those who play are hoping to get lucky. Meanwhile, the entry fees are prohibitively high enough to discourage many free players to stick with the system.
Even then, I would find it hard for a very skilled fantasy baseball player to win enough freerolls to get $50 over the course of a season.
And I think FanDuel is seeing a bit of this.. I'm not sure how long they've been around, but here it's midseason and there are about 15 possible games to enter, suggesting the fan base isn't very large. Unfortunately, with few players, that also means fewer tournaments and less chances to win.
I also played in the DFBC Qualifier and got 20th, winning $40. Tim Stauffer had 21 points and I believe he cost about $3000 less than the top pitchers (Felix, Shields).
I've played 9 times at FanDuel this year, starting with a Freeroll promoted at The Hardball Times. It's been fun. So far, I'm ahead.
One thing I did today was check the weather reports and avoided players with games in ugly-looking weather. You have to watch for last-minute lineup changes too.
But Edinson Volquez???? Man I learned my lesson with him earlier this year. Dude can't be far enough away from my fantasy team if he was in the minors.