Once considered a pastime for baseball nerds, MLB fantasy wagering has grown in popularity throughout the years — even with traditional bettors.FanDuel and DraftKings — the leaders in online fantasy sports betting — have made the transition easier with their comprehensive league settings. Both sites offer new customers the option of playing an entire 162-game season against your friends or just competing in weekly contests with the chance of cashing in on big prizes.
Best Online Fantasy Baseball Leagues
Much like any other fantasy sport, several sites offer different scoring types such as head-to-head to rotisserie or the combination of the two, which makes bragging rights against friends even more important throughout the season.
Drafting can be an exhausting task for some — especially if you’re playing in a NL and AL mixed league — but doing your research can pay off in the long run. As far as drafting types, FanDuel and DraftKings as well as other popular fantasy websites, offer different formats. The most common is a standard draft, however others opt for the more complex auction setup, which requires a little more strategy.
Some websites charge customers to use their services, such as Fantrax. However other online sites like Yahoo! and ESPN continue to offer their leagues free of charge.
Almost all of these websites have smartphone applications so you can track your team’s progress and make transactions wherever you are.
How To Win Fantasy Baseball
If you’re new to fantasy baseball betting, the best thing to do is join a free public league to practice before embarking on your wagering journey.
Having a strategy heading into your draft is crucial. Putting too much stock in home runs and other offensive stats while ignoring your starting pitching can be detrimental down the stretch. Balancing your selections with power and speed for offensive categories while also considering strikeouts, saves and wins for your pitchers, is crucial for long-term success in whatever league you’re participating in.
It’s also crucial not to wait too long to start drafting top-notch closers. As the rounds pass by, the game’s top stoppers will fly off the board — including Jeurys Familia of the New York Mets who led the MLB with 51 saves in 2016. Baltimore’s Zach Britton did not blow one save during the 2016 campaign and is another closer to consider taking between rounds 4 and 5.
When you’re putting together your list of batting needs, look no further than Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion — a free agent who is sure to have another big season after hitting 42 home runs in 2016. Stolen bases is a key stat and making sure you have one or two guys that can steal bags throughout the season will put you in a position to win.
Milwaukee Brewers Jonathan Villar stole a staggering 62 bases in 2016 and is a player you should target in the middle stages of your draft.
Another key stat to keep an eye on is OPS — on base plus slugging. Aim for players that not only produce the big hits, but also get on base period as that will increase your chances of leading in stolen bases and runs scored categories.
The MLB season is a long haul and even if you’re at the bottom of the standings, hang in there until the end. With the right waiver wire pickups and even a trade here and there, you could be cashing in big rewards whether you’re playing against friends or the public.