Fantasy baseball has been around for decades now, but the invention of internet and the development of modern technologies has allowed it to move into a completely new dimension. Most recently, the daily fantasy baseball sites have allowed players to compete in daily contests, without the need to wait for a whole season to pass in order to get the final results.
We take a look at fantasy baseball today, examine the top fantasy baseball sites and help you understand the game of fantasy baseball as such. On this page, you can find all the basic information and strategies you will need to enter your first fantasy baseball contest and become a fantasy manager yourself.
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Fantasy Baseball Explained
Fantasy baseball is a game that really appeared in the 1970s along with the development of the first personal computers. The concept of the game was such that virtual baseball players were awarded points based on randomly calculated performances in fake baseball matches, while players could draft a roster of these virtual players beforehand.
As times went by, fantasy baseball changed and real baseball games started being taken into account. Leagues and contests were created among players and statistics were manually input into primitive computers in order to compare them.
Today, fantasy baseball is a completely different game and the amount of stats being taken into account is greater than ever. While millions of people play for fun, many take fantasy baseball just as seriously as MLB managers take their jobs and some actually make good money doing it.
The Legal Situation of Fantasy Baseball in the USA
While playing fantasy football for money may seem like gambling to some, the federal government actually dubbed it a game of skill in a Congressional Act passed in 2006. For this reason, it is legal to play fantasy baseball and other fantasy sports even in many states where online gambling is prohibited.
That said, despite the federal opinion on the matter, some states still consider fantasy sports, especially daily fantasy sports, as too close to gambling, which is why fantasy baseball is not allowed in a number of states.
The list of states that do and don’t allow players to play fantasy baseball online is ever changing and things can even differ from site to site and from app to app. What players need to understand is that it is under no circumstances illegal to compete in a fantasy baseball contest so as long as there is a fantasy site that will accept your business, you can play there 100% legally and within the law.
How to Play Fantasy Baseball
When we mention fantasy baseball, it is important to understand that there are two main types of fantasy baseball competitions. The first and older competitions or leagues are the ones that last for a whole season and these leagues often use a classic draft system in which the competing teams take turns drafting players out of a pool of league players. Commonly, a number of teams will draft among all the MLB players, taking turns in a fashion similar to any professional sports draft.
On the other hand, daily fantasy baseball contests are quite a bit different. These contest often allow hundreds or thousands of players to compete, which clearly means that a fantasy baseball draft system would not work as there are too few players playing in the MLB. Instead, players get to pick any players they want, within a pre-set salary cap. Each player has a cost and players have a budget which they get to spend on their players. This budget is the same regardless of the buyin level one chooses to play at.
In daily fantasy baseball, players need to create a roster of players for a single game or a single round of games in the MLB. Depending on the site one plays at and the particular contest in question, each manager’s lineup will have to contain a certain number of players in certain playing positions.
Once all managers have picked their lineups and the games have begun, it is time to relax, sit back and enjoy the show. Performances of real world baseball players are ranked on the pitch and the stats are compared. The managers whose lineups do well end up sharing the prize money, while others get a good sweat and of course a chance to try again.
Daily Fantasy Baseball vs. Season Long Fantasy Baseball
Fantasy baseball is commonly played in both the daily and the season long format, which is why it is so important to know the difference. The season long contests have been going on for many years and in such contests the managers choose their entire squad, usually of over 25 players, before the season even starts. These players are all awarded points week in and week out and the total score is kept, with a single player usually taking all the money at the end of the league.
Daily fantasy baseball is different and much more rewarding. Managers get to pick new lineups each week and follow the performances of players in single matches. This way, players avoid committing to a season-long competition and get more thrills by entering new contests against hundreds of other managers all the time.
Some of the main advantages of daily fantasy baseball include:
- Pick any player you prefer regardless of other managers’ teams
- Enter a new contest every week or every day
- Play at various buyin levels and for huge prize pools
- Play in massive player pools
Daily fantasy baseball has revolutionized the game completely and given a chance to the truly successful fantasy sports players to actually make a decent profit from the game. While it used to be an issue how to join fantasy baseball league that would actually be worth one’s time, the daily fantasy baseball games available nowadays make that issue obsolete and allow players to compete whenever they choose.
Daily Fantasy Baseball Rosters & Scoring
Choosing the roster is the only job a fantasy baseball manager really has and it is a difficult job indeed. In theory, a manager can simply let the computer pick players for him within the salary budget, which is often set at USD 50.000 (virtual currency). However, this takes all the skill out of the game and computer selected lineups are unlikely to beat real live competition.
In daily fantasy baseball, managers usually need to select fewer players than in season long contests, with 10 players often being the norm. Lineups must include 5 pitchers and all 10 positions on the team must be filled out within the salary cap.
The real question becomes which players to pick in fantasy baseball, and there is never one correct answer to that question. While a superstar player with great averages may sound good, choosing cheap fantasy baseball sleepers may end up proving more valuable as such players can add points that few other teams will have.
The real skill in fantasy football comes from understanding the points structure as well and not just looking at how the player’s team will perform in a match overall. Picking players is all about understanding which stats to look out for and which player may end up with the most points, which is not always the same as which player everyone will notice while watching the match. Remember that points are not only awarded for home runs and wins but also less relevant stats and that pitchers can even lose points for earned runs allowed etc.
Picking the Best Fantasy Baseball Sites
We have already discussed all the reasons to play fantasy baseball and some of the interesting aspects of the game but the question of where to play fantasy baseball remains. Fortunately, there are dozens of fantasy baseball apps available out there but not all of them offer the same kind of service, which is why we want to make sure you make the right pick.
Our list of best fantasy baseball sites contains all the best sites for the game, which you can also find listed in the comparison at the top of this page. While we can’t tell you which site to choose, we can vouch that each site found on our list falls in the category of the very best for fantasy baseball managers and whichever you choose you will get a high level experience.
Choosing the actual fantasy baseball site to play at will be up to each individual player as different things may come into play. Primarily, some of the sites don’t accept players from every state out there, so you will need to make sure to pick a site at which you can play from your home state.
Basic Fantasy Baseball Strategies
We already talked about the fact that fantasy baseball is a game of skill and wits, which means that some kind of strategy must be involved. In fact, there are many different strategies that managers can apply in fantasy baseball and most of them are related to the way they pick their squad and look at the game in general. We bring you some basic fantasy baseball advice and we hope you use it to start building up a fantasy baseball strategy of your own that will yield fantastic results.
#1 Picking the Players
Whether the competition in question is based on a classic draft or the salary cap model, you will need to pick players for your team. Picking players can be a difficult task and one based on many different factors. Our advice is to pick hitters with good discipline, power and speed for all of these factors come into play in fantasy even when they don’t in the real game. When it comes to picking pitchers, look for players able to earn pure strikeouts and a small number of long balls allowed. This kind of combination will likely yield in a great number of points for your team even when your players aren’t running the show.
#2 Managing the Bankroll
When it comes to daily fantasy baseball, it is very important to understand that even if you are selecting very good lineups, you won’t always win money. In fact, you may go on long stretches when your teams are not coming in the top and you are losing to less skilful players in the short run. For this reason, it is important to play in contests which you can afford and to manage your bankroll in such a way that you can keep playing new games even when you lose in many consecutive contests.
#3 Overlays and Promotions
A very important part of being a successful fantasy baseball manager is always looking for extra value. While this is not a strategy related to actual gameplay, finding extra value is the single best way to make money in fantasy baseball. Whatever your skill level, you will always be making more money in competitions where guaranteed prize pools exceed the actual number of entries and those that you get to enter for free or through various promotional offers. Finding the added value is a great way to boost your fantasy baseball winnings.
#4 Play for Fun
If you are mostly looking to have fun with fantasy and don’t really want to spend the kind of time on analysis that some of the other managers are, you can always play fantasy baseball free of charge. There are countless free contests out there and some of them even award real money to the winners. Enter freerolls and free season-long contests and enjoy the show with no added pressure.
Top 5 FAQs Asked by the Players
Fantasy baseball may be one of the most entertaining hobbies for baseball fans out there and is a great way to make every baseball match exhilarating to watch. Unlike sports betting, fantasy sports pit players against one another and give them a chance to capitalize on their knowledge and understanding of the game.
We encourage you to check out all the fantasy baseball sites listed on our site and try them out for free. With so many sites available, we guarantee that you will find at least one site that is worthy of your attention. Start playing today and put your fantasy baseball skills to the test against other managers and baseball aficionados nationwide.