Daily Fantasy Strategy – 6/19 – For Draftstreet

There’s more than one way to skin a cat is a saying that exists. Why the heck that’s a saying, or how it came to be one, is beyond me, but it’s worth keeping in mind when it comes to daily fantasy leagues.

Case in point: when I first started playing DraftStreet, I wanted the glory and the big gains. Entering the “standard” format pools where only the top few performances are paid out, I was getting a little frustrated that finishing, say, 10th out of 100 people wasn’t upping my bankroll. After all, being consistently near the top is probably more impressive than occasionally being the top performer.

So I lowered my cash out expectations and switched primarily to the “double-up” pay-out format, whereby the top 50% of players get paid out double their entry fee. The gains are much smaller, but in the long run it’s probably a better strategy for me since I’m confident I can continue to beat half the field.

Like with the pay-outs, there are a few ways to gain enough points to double up. Usually you’ll need around 40 points, but to be safe let’s say 48, or four points from each roster position. And since pitchers are generally more expensive than hitters (at least, there are fewer cheap options to exploit), let’s say your three pitcher spots need to get you 15 points, leaving about three points per position player. Below are a few different ways you can get to five points from a starter and should really highlight that you’re aiming for strikeouts and a long start over anything else. Wins are valuable but much tougher to predict reliably.

6 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K, Loss – 4.85 points
7 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 7 K, Loss – 5.2 points (that’s a net gain for an extra inning with a H, BB, ER and K)
6 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 8 K, No Decision – 5.5 points (a net gain despite a worse start thanks to the no decision)
5 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 K, Loss – 5.15 points (in a short outing, a pitcher really has to dominate)

The Daily Five

Kevin Correia – $9,035
Picking Correia borderline makes me sick to my stomach because I don’t believe he’s very good. But despite their being 16 games on the MLB slate today, DraftStreet hasn’t given us many cheap options. Correia has a strong wind blowing inward at Target Field and gets a struggling White Sox line-up that has just a .288 wOBA as a team in June (.290 for the season). They are anemic. Correia doesn’t get many strikeouts but he does average more than six innings per start, so if you dial him up you’re looking for him to go seven strong and keep the ratios in check.

Jake Westbrook – $9,903
Hey, you’re holding Michael Wacha down, you better perform. Like with Correia, this isn’t a slam dunk but between them you’ve kept your starters under $20k, leaving you ample cash on a day that should be quite friendly to hitters. It’s a bit warm in St. Louis but there’s a light wind blowing inwards, and there’s also the relative weakness of the Cubs line-up. Though their isolated slugging indicates a team with some pop, they rarely take a walk and have a team OBP under .300.

Rickie Weeks – $5,085
Erik Bedard loves to give up fly balls. It’s kind of his thing. It’s also a terrible strategy today in Houston, with 85-degree temperatures and a 9MPH wind blowing straight out to centerfield. The Brewers are priced pretty appropriately for the match-up except for Weeks, who slides in cheap because he’s struggled this year. But we know he has pop and he’s actually been hitting lefties really well so far this season, plus has historically put the ball in the air a lot more than he is right now.

Colby Rasmus – $8,442
My Toronto Blue Jays are red hot right now, and Colby Smashmus is right in the thick of that streak. His price has risen in daily leagues as a result, but a meeting with Juan Nicasio, a man who has allowed a .191 isolated slugging against lefties for his career, is too nice to pass up. Sure, Colby whiffs a lot and looks like a wet rat with his current hair and facial hair, but he can also rake.

Seth Smith – $7,627
Justin Grimm’s peripherals are better than his 5.59 ERA, but today isn’t the day that that all corrects. Another hot one in Texas should see balls jumping off the bat and Grimm doesn’t keep the ball down enough to dance around his environment. So we tap noted righty-killer Seth Smith. I’ve also recommended just $40k of your money with these five selections, leaving you plenty to play with for a balanced day or a star-heavy line-up with a few scrubs thrown in.

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This post, covering one of the leading sites for daily fantasy, is sponsored and made possible by the generous support of Draftstreet. FanGraphs maintains complete editorial control of the postings, and brings you these posts in a continued desire to provide the best analytical information on the latest in baseball.




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Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of theScore, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.


6 Responses to “Daily Fantasy Strategy – 6/19 – For Draftstreet”

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  1. thalooch says:

    Good work Blake. All about value.

    Buehrle might be another decent value play today as the Rockies offense has begun to sputter without Tulo and Buehrle looks like he’s settling in nicely to his typical innings eater ways. I think there’s value in these interleague matchups when you have a team that has not seen much of a pitcher, if at all.

    Advantage pitcher I would have to say. Buehrle has been good at home and as you were saying, *should* enjoy some run support.

    Another value play I like is Chris Iannetta. Again, I love saving money at catcher. He’s got the nice platoon split working for him as he gets to face a weak lefty in Joe Saunders who is not only pitching more poorly on the road, but is also getting crushed by righties. Iannetta in his career has a 127 wRC+ vs lefties vs a 94 wRC+ vs righties. Another cheap one is Tim Federowicz. He’s sure to start the night game, and gets a nice matchup in Phil Hughes.

    Agon at 6.5k with that nice short porch in left vs Phil Hughes also looks quite tasty.

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  2. Charles H says:

    Playing 50/50 or Double Up seems awfully boring with little upside like betting show. If you have confidence you can handle half the field you should believe you can conquer all of it. You need to win 60% of the time to make an 8% return. 100 % doesn’t even double your money. It’s Un-American.

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    • Blake Murphy says:

      To each their own. For me, I don’t have a tonne of discretionary income to play with, so being able to play lower-risk / more assured pay-outs is more attractive.

      I’m confident, it’s just more important to me to play a long-game for smaller $. Natural risk aversion + broke-ass student + Canadian = Un-American

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      • SleepNowInTheFire says:

        And there is my philosophy exactly. Minus the Canadian part… I’m from Wisconsin, which I guess is almost as Canadian as Minnesota, which is almost as Canadian as Canada.

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  3. Charles H says:

    Use the Interac and all those toonies.

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