A common mistake made by newer and seasoned DFS players alike is to fail to understand the differences and nuances between DFS sites. Strategy can vary significantly based on what platform you are playing on. While the basics remain the same, it is essential to recognize the differences in format between sites and play accordingly. Here I will highlight some of the critical differences between DraftKings and FanDuel as they apply to MLB DFS. This way, we can better understand each site and cater our play for optimal results.
Number Of Pitchers Required
Probably the most significant and notable difference between site formats is that DraftKings makes you roster two pitchers. FanDuel only requires one.
This causes a substantial difference in strategy when it comes to picking your pitcher/pitchers.
Since you have to roster two on DraftKings, you have a little more flexibility and leeway with the pitchers you might consider using. If you want to pay for two expensive stud pitchers, it will leave you with very little money left for bats. So, you’ll often choose one cheap pitcher and then find some more affordable value for your SP2.
On FanDuel, since you are only rostering one pitcher, you really have to make the pitcher count as that is the only pitching score you will get. You’d tend to only play very high-upside pitchers who have a legitimate chance to be the highest or close to the highest-scoring pitcher on the slate.
Traditionally, batter pricing has been pretty soft on FanDuel, making it possible to play an expensive pitcher and still get all the bats you want. This furthered the premium put on ace pitching for the FanDuel format. This has changed a bit in 2021, and batter prices are a bit more efficient on FanDuel. This might lead to more of a tendency to seek out more value pitchers with upside. Still, bonafide aces tend to be king for FanDuel MLB GPPs.
Contrarily, DraftKings pricing has actually gotten softer in 2021. There tend to be a lot of highly affordable decent hitters in the pool. This makes it more possible to go double-ace with your lineups and is making this a more common lineup construction.
You can leverage this to your advantage by seeking alternative pitchers combos and/or avoiding those obviously underpriced chalk hitters.
Pitching Scoring Differences
The way that pitching statistics are scored between sites is considerably different. On DraftKings, pitchers receive negative points for hits, walks, and hit-by-pitches allowed, as well as runs. On FanDuel, negative points are only scored for runs allowed.
For this reason, it is more critical to select hurlers who are less likely to allow traffic on the basepaths on DraftKings. This is in addition to avoiding runs scored against them.
Another critical distinction is that a four-point bonus is awarded for a quality start on FanDuel. This means at least six innings pitched with no more than three earned runs allowed. This makes pitchers that can go length far more desirable. You would be far less advised to roster a pitcher who may have a decent but abbreviated outing.
One other difference is that DraftKings awards bonuses for complete games, complete-game shutouts, and no-hitters. FanDuel does not. Rarely will this come into play in today’s MLB, but it is worth considering. This is especially pertinent when shortened seven-inning games are on DraftKings slates since a pitcher is more likely to go the distance.
Hitting Scoring Differences
The most significant difference between sites in terms of scoring for batters involves home runs. On FanDuel, a premium is placed on home runs. Therefore, it is wise to target power over hitters who score points in various ways. Not only are home runs awarded with higher relative scoring, but so are runs and RBIs, making homers with runners on base even more beneficial on FanDuel.
Between pricing and the premium placed on homers, there are times that you may need a dinger from every batter in your lineup or close to it to win a big GPP on FanDuel.
Max Number Of Hitters Per Team
One of the most significant differences between DraftKings and FanDuel for MLB lies in the max number of hitters allowed per team. DraftKings allows up to five, while FanDuel only allows four. Since baseball is a DFS sport where optimal tournament strategy involves stacking several players from the same team, this is a pretty key distinction between sites.
On both sites, for tournament lineups, you would generally stack at least a primary stack of as many hitters as the site will allow. You might also stack a secondary group of hitters from the same team, which would give you a 5-3 construction on DraftKings or a 4-4 on FanDuel.
Players Per Team Restrictions
On DraftKings, you can play players from only two teams if you choose, as long as you have players from multiple games. On FanDuel, you have to have a player from at least three clubs.
This affects what you are allowed to do with lineup construction. On DraftKings, you could play a primary and secondary stack with the pitchers from each team. On FanDuel, you are not allowed to do this, so a 4-4 construction with the pitcher from one of your stacks and a secondary stack is not possible.
Positional Eligibility Between Sites
Another distinction between DraftKings and FanDuel for MLB DFS lies in positional eligibilities. Different players will sometimes be eligible for different positions between sites based on the designations given to them.
More importantly, a crucial difference is that FanDuel has a “flex” position which enables you to roster a player of any positional designation. Due to this, you could roster, for instance, two first basemen in the same lineup that are only eligible for first base. This would literally be impossible on DraftKings.
Another critical distinction is that DraftKings forces you to roster a catcher, often one of the weaker hitting positions. FanDuel has a catcher/first base position, enabling you to avoid weak-hitting catchers for generally stronger-hitting first basemen.
This also lowers ownership considerably on catchers on FanDuel, and rostering them can be a source of differentiation in your lineups.
Differences In Ownership And Value Between Sites
There are often considerable discrepancies in player pricing between sites. There are also differences in positional eligibility. Both of these factors can affect ownership considerably. It is essential to realize that ownership percentages will be drastically different at times between sites. By that same token, what might be a great value play on one platform may be quite the opposite on the other.
If playing on both DraftKings and FanDuel, it is essential not to get locked into taking the same approach on both sites. What might be a great play on one might be quite different on the other.
When playing MLB DFS tournaments on DraftKings and FanDuel, it is vital to understand the differences between the platforms and construct our lineups accordingly to gain an advantage over the field. Best of luck on both sites!