4/24/2014 4:01 P.M. ET
Fantasy: Find player value by analyzing weather
By Jonathan Bales / Special to MLB.com
If you've ever played baseball in the rain or heavy winds, you know it can have an absolutely monumental effect on the game. That's one reason that many users who are crushing it in the Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com from DraftKings are those who are taking the weather into account before picking players and creating lineups.
There's one primary reason why weather monitoring can be useful in daily fantasy baseball -- it isn't a component of player salaries. The Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com from DraftKings sets player salaries well before knowing whether it will be raining in Cincinnati or if the winds will blowing out to center at Wrigley Field. Because of that, you can often find value by emphasizing weather in your player selection.
The first place to start is with the probability of precipitation. It can be devastating to your lineup's chances if you start players who are in a game that gets rained out. That's why so many players start their daily fantasy baseball research by checking the weather. If there's any significant chance of rain, particularly thunderstorms, it's best to avoid players from that contest.
That's where a lot of players stop their weather research. However, there are numerous other weather-related factors that can play a major role in game outcomes. One such factor is wind speed and direction. When the wind is blowing out toward center field, it can greatly enhance the distance traveled by fly balls. And if one goes far enough, you may end up with a homer. You can also use wind speed to help select pitchers, either forgoing those in games with the wind blowing out or targeting them when the wind is blowing in.
Another important factor in player projections is the temperature. When it's warm, the ball often travels farther than when it's cold. Especially this time of the season, there can be significant differences in the temperature of outdoor games. All other things being equal, you want to target hitters in warm-weather games and pitchers in cold-weather contests.
A final trait to contemplate -- one that's important but rarely considered -- is air pressure. Many believe that the baseball flies out of Coors Field because of the low air pressure. Well, that factor doesn't apply only in Colorado; different teams play in areas with varying air density. Generally, when the air pressure is lower, less friction will be placed upon the baseball, allowing it to travel a greater distance.
A quick glance at pregame air-pressure levels in cities around baseball can give you an idea of where teams might be the most likely to belt a couple of homers and score a bunch of runs.
To reiterate: The immediate reason that studying weather can be useful is that, outside of rain, it's often overlooked by most daily fantasy players. As such, you can use it to acquire an advantage in the Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com. Play today to win tickets to regular-season games, the All-Star Game and the World Series.
Jonathan Bales contributes DraftKings-related content to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.