6/17/2014 1:08 A.M. ET
Beat MLB.com Mini Fantasy Game by targeting offense
By Jonathan Bales / Special to MLB.com
When you're playing the Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com and trying to win your way to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and World Series, there are specific strategies that are going to enhance your chances of taking home some prizes. Since a decent number of entrants compete in the fantasy game each day, you should be seeking a high-variance approach -- one that could result in a huge score, since that's typically what you'll need to come out on top. It's OK if your team struggles, you just want to do everything in your power to finish near the top of the leaderboard.
One of the ways to succeed in the Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com is to pair teammates together. When you have multiple bats from the same offense, you can increase your lineup's ceiling for two reasons. The first reason is that they have a synergistic effect on one another's scoring. The second reason is that they get to hit off of the same pitchers. If those pitchers struggle, your grouping of teammates will be in a great spot to score big.
But which offenses or games should you target? There are a few different traits you should examine when selecting a particular offense to use as the base of your hitter selection.
Pick on a Low-Priced Pitcher
The Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com has an incentive to price players accurately, so its salaries will more or less be an accurate representation of player quality. There are inefficiencies here and there, but typically the salaries are quite precise.
That means that when a pitcher is priced really low, there's a good chance that the Official Mini Fantasy Game of MLB.com -- and the algorithms it uses to help price players -- thinks a particular hurler will struggle in a given matchup. One quick-and-easy way to target offenses is to search for those facing the cheapest pitching options.
Examine the Ballpark
The ballpark has huge ramifications on expected scoring, both in real life and the world of fantasy baseball. Certain stadiums, such as Coors Field, Rogers Centre, and so on, are much more hitter-friendly than others. Some are even set up well for either lefties or righties; Great American Ball Park is one of the best parks for lefties, for example, while righties don't tend to fare as well.
One way to find value is to search for a road team that normally plays in a pitcher-friendly park, such as Pittsburgh or Miami, but is playing in a much more hitter-friendly stadium than its own. Typically, hitters of those clubs will have salaries that are at least partially representative of the struggles that accompany their park -- but they should see better-than-normal production on the road.
You can and should research ballpark factors for your pitchers, too.
Unusual Lineup Cards
A final strategy to consider: Wait for lineup cards to be submitted and look for value at the top of the order. Especially this time of the year, there are inevitably injuries and late scratches that allow typical bottom-of-the-order bats to move to the top of the lineup. Those are players you want to target, and it can be wise to pair such bats with their teammates because it will enhance your upside at a cheap price.
Jonathan Bales contributes DraftKings-related content to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.