Over the past two years we’ve been listening to people talk about daily fantasy football leagues. We’ve also heard a lot about daily baseball fantasy leagues as well. This is the new thing in sports betting, sort of speak. Although it’s not considered illegal in the United States, it is in some gray area, but that’s not something for us to think about right now. The great thing about these new sites is they offer you daily action in sporting events throughout the year. You can be in one game on one day and another the next day. You’re not committed to a season or long commitment.

How this relates to poker is pretty interesting. In the early days of poker online poker, we watched software programs and different brands develop great places for people to play. We saw how some sites had hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of players on at one time. We are now seeing the same thing with these daily fantasy leagues. Sites like draftkings.com and Fanduel allow you to make these types of bets throughout the week. We’ve also been doing some research on http://www.windailyfantasy.com and noticed how they talk about all the different fantasy sites out there. It will be interesting to see how things develop over the next year or two in the daily fantasy sports leagues. As online poker has slowly lost share of the marketplace, new game such as these daily fantasy games have stepped up.
Playing the Fantasy Game
A lot of people are doing comparisons of the two in a strategic format. People have slated poker to be a game of skill, which we agree on. Fantasy sports, which we can’t control the outcome of, is still a game of skill. To understand the game, situations, players and other factors is just like playing a player on the other side of the poker table. You need to understand how to play fantasy sports just like you need to understand how to play poker before he step to the table. It’s not always about the cards or the players, it’s about making smart decisions when you’re in the game. We took a little excerpt to discuss this in more detail. This write-up shows how to pick the right baseball players.

Here’s a brief writeup of what kind of analysis can be done in Baseball

What’s more important in fantasy baseball: consistency at the plate, or great power? Conventional roto fantasy baseball rewards both, but in one day leagues, the scoring is slightly different. A top tier consistent hitter might get 150 hits in a season. This ends up being less than one per game. The best players in the league usually get a touch more than this, but 150 is a decent number to define the top 5 percent or so in all of MLB.

On the other hand, the top homerun hitters will have 45 or so homers in a season. Based upon the average one day scoring system, though, a homerun is worth four times as much as a single. 45 homeruns in a season is worth the equivalent of 180 singles. So you would assume that a power hitter is more valuable than a consistent hitter over the course of a season. Break this down into 162 chunks, and the power hitter averages out to still be better.

This is not the case, though. It fails to take two things into account. One: no one ever hits just singles. The hitter in the American League right now with the most hits is Jose Altuve with 158. Only 4 of these are homers, 2 are triples, and 32 are doubles. That’s 120 singles, for 120 points, 64 points worths of doubles, 6 of triples, and 16 of homeruns. That’s a total of 206 points just in offensive production.

Now look at Jose Abreu. He’s the league leader in homeruns with 31. 124 of his points come from homers, 3 from triples, 56 from doubles, and 59 from singles. That’s a total of 242 points. In other words, his points per game average is higher on production.

Now, point number two. Remember the strikeout penalty? The power hitter tends to strikeout more than the consistent hitter. Abreu has 97 Ks right now. Altuve has 42. Even if you tone these down to being worth just half a point each, Abreu loses 48.5 points, while Altuve only loses 21.

The final tally: Abreu has 193.5 points over 100 games. Altuve has 185 over 111. Abreu is clearly the stronger fantasy value here at 1.935 points per game, while Altuve has 1.666. It seems slight, but then again, it adds up a lot over the course of a season.

So, which is the better solution? This is just a particular example, as you can see, so you need to evaluate these choices on a case by case basis. The point is, there are many other factors to consider than just singles versus homeruns. The more in depth you go with your analysis, such as in the example above, the better off you will be at finding a superior point producer day after day.

Like Poker, fantasy sports takes a lot of skill. You can break everything down all the way to a little statistic. That stat line could give you the winning hand or winning player. It’s up to you to decide.