Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rainouts and Double-Headers in Daily Fantasy Baseball

When we launched Salary Cap based Daily Fantasy Baseball in June 2007, it became obvious pretty quickly that daily fantasy baseball could throw a lot of unexpected curves at you due to the issue of rain-outs. Baseball is pretty much the only sport where there is no guarantee that a scheduled game will be played, and has a dynamic daily schedule as a result. So we started putting into place rules, and systems to deal with the fact that baseball games get rained out, and can be rescheduled at anytime. It is not so much of a big deal for season long fantasy baseball, but because we were stepping into uncharted waters with daily fantasy baseball we had to be careful, and react quickly to what can happen. Below are some of the important rules that come into play with rain outs and double headers, and some of the things we do to make things go smoothly.

1) No fantasy points are scored for players in rained out games.
We can't wait all season for a game to be rescheduled, and must settle our fantasy leagues with-in 24 hours. So for rain-outs, your players in that game will not be scored. We do score official statistics however. If a game is suspended due to rain, and the statistics are official we will count them. Early in the season, you can get a little bit more of an edge by favoring west coast stadiums and domes. You can also check weather reports as required. One thing that is important to remember is that the no scoring rule can both help and hurt you. It sucks when your starting pitcher gets rained out, but not so bad when this happens to your opponent. Things will tend to even out over the lenght of a season.

2) We only schedule one game of a double-header.
We want to offer competitive fantasy sports games of skill. We do not like gimmicky loopholes that ruin the game. Doubleheaders are a perfect example. If we were to schedule both games into a league, the smart players would choose players from the double header only, since they can earn 2 games worth of statistics for those players if they play both games. So everyone would pick very similar teams from the double header players, disadvantaging those who were not aware of the double header. Basically the most important skill would be knowledge of the doubleheader. We don't want that to be the deciding factor, and we want a wide variety of possible fantasy teams, so we just try to eliminate the double-header loophole.

3) Double-Headers can be scheduled at anytime
This is very tough issue for daily fantasy baseball. When we schedule fantasy baseball leagues we pick and choose the baseball games to include. If there is a double header on the schedule we will pick the last game. Sometimes the double-header is scheduled after we schedule a days leagues. An example of this was today. Two games were rained out yesterday, and rescheduled for today. They were rescheduled long after we scheduled today's leagues. In this case we would be including the "regularly scheduled" game of the double header. This could be the first or second game, and they sometimes also move the start time of the regularly scheduled game as well. So this is what we do as a result. If the regularly scheduled game's start time does not move there are no issues. If they reschedule the start time of the game already in the league, nothing happens unless they reschedule it to start before the start of the leagues. If this happens we must cancel all fantasy baseball leagues with the moved start time. We can't change the start time of a league once it has been published, and we can't run a league that would allow fantasy points to accumulated before the start time. This usually happens once or twice a season, and it gets pretty ugly when it does. I wish that the MLB would never move up the start time of a regularly scheduled game, but they get to do what they want.

So there is a quick recap of the issues involved with rain-outs and double-headers and how we deal with them. If you have any suggestions for our approach drop us a comment.

17 comments:

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