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Intermediate MLB DFS: HR/FB

We continue our breakdown of the basics for MLB DFS. In this section, we look at HR/FB rate, with definitions and some basic strategy.

Yu Darvish of the Chicago Cubs pitches during a spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers on February 29, 2020 in Mesa, Arizona. Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

In daily fantasy baseball, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. For DFS, that means understanding how the HR/FB statistic can help you build your lineups.

HR/FB

Definition

HR/FB, or home runs per fly ball, is a statistic that can be used like BABIP, as it can show you how lucky or unlucky a pitcher has been when allowing fly balls.

Strategy

Pitchers and Hitters

If a pitcher has been allowing better or worse HR/FB numbers recently, you can expect him to move toward his career averages, as he’s been lucky or unlucky. The pitchers who are due for worse luck are players to target with your hitters and those that are due for better luck are pitchers you might be able to get at a discount. If a player is allowing a higher HR/FB rate than their average, those fly balls that have been getting out of the park should start to be caught by the outfield more often moving forward.

Finding value based on players underperforming who should get back to their well established averages is a theme you will find throughout these posts. MLB is different than other sports due to its randomness on a daily basis. You know Mike Trout is going to put up numbers near his career averages but on any given day, he could go hitless or just not live up to his big price tag. DFS is very much market-driven, so finding players who should turn things around, are cheap and who won’t be heavily rostered by your competition is the best way to come out ahead longterm, especially in GPPs.

GPP vs. Cash

HR/FB rate is useful across the board, but finding players who have been playing more consistently and closer to their career averages, makes for a safer cash game play. You just don’t need as much as a risk/reward advantage in cash games as you do in GPPs, which means you don’t have to differentiate your lineups as much with higher risk players.

Splits

Checking splits on any statistic is a step you should take in evaluation. As a basic rule, right handed hitters see the ball better against left handed pitchers and end up putting up better statistics against them and vice versa. If the pitcher you are evaluating has a big difference in HR/FB numbers vs lefties or righties, you’ll want to know if he is facing a better right-handed or left-handed hitting lineup, depending on the splits. The same is true for hitters, as you want to match your best hitting side with the pitchers worst side for the HB/FB statistic.