Winning Strategies for MLB DFS

Want to be a pro in your DFS leagues? We've put together our best and tested strategies so you can win it big in MLB DFS.

Matt Brown
By Matt BrownPublished: May 28, 2024
Winning Strategies for MLB DFS

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a newcomer, having a solid DFS strategy for MLB games is the biggest factor in determining success. Platforms like DraftKings, FanDuel, Underdog Fantasy, OwnersBox, and VividPicks each offer unique opportunities, but we find that the core strategies often remain the same.

So, with that, we’ve put together the best strategies that we actually use in our MLB DFS games.

Stacking Players for Correlated Scoring

One of the most effective strategies in MLB DFS is stacking, which involves selecting multiple players from the same team. We think that many pros scoff at this approach, but if done right, it can really bring in the FP on any given day of the week. This approach leverages the correlation in player performances, maximizing your scoring potential.

  • Primary Stack. Your primary stack should consist of a core group of players who are likely to perform well together. On DraftKings, you can stack up to 5 players from the same team, while FanDuel allows up to 4. Look for teams with high Top Stack % and Top Value % to maximize your potential returns.
  • Secondary Stack. Complement your primary stack with a secondary stack from a different team. This is particularly useful if your primary stack is highly owned. A lower-owned secondary stack can differentiate your lineup from the competition. When you’re playing tournaments, you always want to differentiate where you can. More on that in a minute.

Stacking increases the chances of capitalizing on big, run-producing innings where multiple players from the same team contribute to runs scored, RBI, and home runs, leading to higher fantasy points. 

As for pitchers, we don’t see stacking too often, as they’re scoring based on different metrics. However, if a team is swinging the bats and putting on a batting clinic, we sometimes see pitchers get motivated by that as well.

Prioritizing High-Value Pitchers

Pitchers play an important role in DFS lineups due to their ability to accumulate massive fantasy points through strikeouts, innings pitched, and wins. Most of the time, DFS players spend the most on their pitchers, so it’s critical to get it right. Here’s how we pick the best pitchers.

  • High-Projected Pitchers. Always aim to include the highest-projected pitchers within your salary cap. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s one that many tend to overthink. High strikeout rates are particularly valuable because they offer a consistent source of points.
  • Strikeout Rate. Target pitchers with a strikeout rate (K%) of 22% or higher. Strikeouts are a key metric in DFS, and pitchers who can rack them up are like gold. Take Ks over Ws all day long.
  • Weather and Matchups. Pay attention to weather conditions and opposing team strikeout rates. Rain delays or cancellations can ruin a pitcher's start and, at the very least, disrupt their rhythm and flow, and some teams are more prone to strikeouts than others.

Using advanced metrics like FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and xFIP (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching) can also help you identify pitchers who are likely to perform well even if their traditional stats are less impressive. You don’t always see these stats on sites like Underdog Fantasy and OwnersBox, but leverage other sites like Baseball Reference to dig into these numbers.

Balancing Value and Ownership

Balancing player value with ownership levels is essential when playing in DFS tournaments. You want to include high-performing players without duplicating the same lineup as many other participants.

  • Low-Salary One-Offs. If your primary and secondary stacks both have high salaries, you might want to think about including a low-salary one-off batter. Look for players in favorable lineup spots (i.e., 1, 2, 3, or even 4) who have strong projections despite their lower cost. Lineup spots can often mean an additional AB compared to others on the team.
  • Low-Owned Stacks. Especially in large-field tournaments or GPPs (Guaranteed Prize Pools), using low-owned stacks can set your lineup apart from the rest of the DFS crowd. While these stacks might be a bit riskier from time to time, they can offer high rewards if they perform well.

Using tools like ownership projections and leverage scores can help you make more informed decisions about which players to include in your lineup. This strategy doesn’t always pay off as much as picking the right pitchers or even stacking, but it’s nice to have in your arsenal.

Leveraging Advanced Metrics and Stats

Advanced metrics provide deeper insights into player performance and potential. By incorporating these metrics, you can identify undervalued players and favorable matchups that others might overlook. That’s where you strike gold and pull ahead of the competition.

  • ISO and wOBA. For hitters, look for players with an ISO (Isolated Power) split of .170 or higher and/or a wOBA (Weighted On-Base Average) split of .340 or higher. These metrics indicate a player's power and overall offensive contribution. Like some of the other metrics, you won’t find these on most DFS sites, so you’ll have to hunt for them elsewhere.
  • Statcast Data. Utilize Statcast data to find players who have been hitting the ball well recently but maybe under-owned. Metrics like exit velocity and barrel rate can indicate players who are due for positive regression. The data you have at your fingertips can easily put you ahead of the pack.

Smart Contest Selection and Bankroll Management

Choosing the right contests and managing your bankroll effectively are vital components of a successful DFS strategy. Keep in mind that the DFS sites are going to promote the games that give them the most vig, but not necessarily the ones that fit you the best.

  • Smaller Volume Sites. Consider playing on smaller-volume sites like Yahoo, Underdog Fantasy, or VividPicks. These platforms often have less intense competition compared to giants like DraftKings and FanDuel. It’s a lot easier to stand out from the crowd when there are fewer players.
  • Contest Types. Start with lower-risk contests like cash games (50/50s and double-ups), where roughly half the participants win. Focus on building a solid lineup with reliable performers. For higher-risk contests like GPPs, take more chances with your lineup to aim for the top prizes.

Effective bankroll management is essential for every DFS player, but keep in mind that it essentially means not putting all of your eggs in one basket. Spread your entries across multiple contests and types to minimize risk. It might feel counterintuitive, but it’s vitally important for your long-term game.

Embracing Variance and Patience

Baseball is a sport of highs and lows. Even the best players can have off days, and variance plays a significant role in MLB DFS. Embrace this volatility and understand that success comes over time. We’re not talking about a win tonight or even tomorrow, but over the course of the season, we're racking up more in the W column than in the L column.

  • Long-Term View. Understand that repeated failures are part of the process. You will lose. Don’t be discouraged by a few bad nights. Consistency and patience are key to long-term success.
  • Adjust and Learn. Continuously evaluate your strategies and adjust based on what’s working and what isn’t. Learning from your losses is just as important as capitalizing on your wins. The strategies we’ve laid out here are just a starting point for you to craft your own.

Play the long game and adjust over time — that’s the name of the game.

Bonus Offers and Promotions

Don’t forget to take advantage of bonus offers and promotions that these powerhouse DFS platforms offer.

Platforms like DraftKings, FanDuel, Underdog Fantasy, OwnersBox, and VividPicks frequently offer bonuses for new users, deposit matches, and free entries. Many of these platforms also offer for returning customers as well, but you’ll have to keep an eye out for those.

These promotions can provide a significant boost to your bankroll and give you more opportunities to play without additional investment.  We’ve highlighted some of the best bonus offers below to help you get started.

Underdog Fantasy Logo

Special Pick + First Time Deposit Offer

Up to $250 in Bonus Cash

EWD

Must be 18+ (19+ in AL and NE, 21+ in AZ, IA, LA, and MA). Concerned with your play? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit www.ncpgambling.org.
FanDuel Logo

Receive a Free Entry

+ Up To a $100 Deposit Match

Must be 18+ (19+ in AL and NE, 21+ in AZ, IA, LA, and MA). Concerned with your play? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit www.ncpgambling.org.
DraftKings Logo

$500 Deposit Bonus

+ A Free Entry

No Bonus Code Required

Must be 18+ (19+ in AL and NE, 21+ in AZ, IA, LA, and MA). Concerned with your play? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit www.ncpgambling.org.
OwnersBox Logo

100% Deposit Match

Up to $500

EWB

Must be 18+ (19+ in AL and NE, 21+ in AZ, IA, LA, and MA). Concerned with your play? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit www.ncpgambling.org.
Vivid Picks Logo

100% Deposit Bonus up to $100

+ $5 Entry

EWD

Must be 18+ (19+ in AL and NE, 21+ in AZ, IA, LA, and MA). Concerned with your play? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit www.ncpgambling.org.

We Love MLB DFS and Think You Will Too 

By combining these strategies — stacking, prioritizing high-value pitchers, balancing value and ownership, leveraging advanced metrics, selecting the right contests, managing your bankroll, and embracing variance — you can improve your chances of success in MLB DFS. We’re absolutely passionate about the game and have used these strategies and techniques for years and have consistently stayed above .500.

Remember, the key is to stay informed, adaptable, and patient.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Head of DFS

Matt's deep-rooted enthusiasm for sports betting and daily fantasy sports infuses the EatWatchDraft team with valuable expertise in football, hockey, and baseball. His forward-thinking perspectives are grounded in a solid academic foundation, including a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and an M.S. in Project Management. This combination of sports passion and technical knowledge fuels Matt's innovative input to the platform.