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Summer is synonymous with baseball for many sports-loving Americans.
Football is still the most popular sport in the country, but it’s over by early February. Basketball and hockey help bridge the gap between seasons, but their time runs out as the warm weather returns. By June, Major League Baseball is the only thing left, and it’s essentially alone on the stage for three months.
“America’s Pastime” is one of the most popular games for daily fantasy sports players, too.
MLB is heavily reliant on data and statistics, which makes it perfect fodder for DFS. And teams play a 162-game schedule, so it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that there are games running all day, every day during the season. Baseball might be the most labor-intensive sport for fantasy players, but it’s proportionally rewarding in the end.
Here are some questions and answers about daily fantasy baseball:
In the salary-cap format, each MLB player is grouped by position and assigned a salary. Users then construct rosters using combinations of those players.
Requirements for lineup composition vary from site to site, but they typically include one player from each fielding spot, plus one or two pitchers. All three outfield positions are lumped together under the same “OF” notation, and infielders are sometimes combined, too. Some sites also employ flexible utility slots that can be filled by players from more than one position.
Here are the roster requirements for the major sites:
The salary cap is the important distinction in daily fantasy sports. Users can select any valid combination of players they want, as long as the sum of their salaries falls under the designated cap. This model is the primary format for MLB contests, but other game types have rolled out in recent years.
DraftKings has launched capless Pick’em contests for NFL and NBA, and the format will likely transition to the diamond this season. FanDuel’s Mini contests, a similar idea, were already available for MLB last year. Baseball contests are also offered within DraftKings Leagues and FanDuel Friends Mode.
Boom Fantasy bypasses the salary cap altogether and presents users with a series of comparative (or “prop”) selections. Draft also uses a non-traditional DFS format; its snake drafts more-closely resemble season-long fantasy products in roster construction.
Daily fantasy sports operators provide their full lineup of game types to users during baseball season.
Most contests require paying an entry fee to compete for a set amount of prize money. Some contests are also free to enter and may or may not feature a prize. The site takes a percentage of each paid entry as a “rake” to generate revenue.
Contests fall into a handful of categories:
All major DFS operators offer baseball contests. The two biggest providers are DraftKings and FanDuel, of course. They feature the most users, the widest variety of contests, and the most money up for grabs.
As for where you can play, each site takes its own legal approach to differing state laws; check here for a snapshot.
As is the case for sports fans, baseball helps carry DFS operators through the summer lull. The largest baseball GPP contests aren’t quite as big as those in football and basketball, but there’s still some significant money up for grabs. Six-figure top prizes appear regularly throughout the MLB season.
Both DraftKings and FanDuel typically host live baseball events, too, and that’s the expectation again this season. Last year’s championship events awarded millions of dollars in prize money.
Legal Sports Report is not aware of any sites offering DFS for college or minor league baseball.
DraftKings and FanDuel reached an agreement with the NCAA to stop offering college contests after the 2016 NCAA tournament. And some states have passed laws explicitly banning fantasy contests based on college events.