I love to gamble because almost nothing is more fun to me than watching a sporting event and caring about the outcome. I like it when something is at stake. That’s why I play fantasy baseball, and it’s why I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing daily fantasy this season. But I do not like to lose money. This is of course an obvious thing to say. Who does? But I think it bothers me more than most.
I grew up with a very cheap father. Admittedly, we weren’t exactly rolling in dough as he was a high school choir director and my mom worked part-time at a church. But we were much better off than you would presume us to be if you ever saw us out at dinner, which was a very rare occasion. But if we did go out to eat, my dad would blurt out “four waters” before the server had the chance to finish saying, “What can I get you guys to dri…” This was always very embarrassing. I understood that a Dr. Pepper wasn’t an option unless it was my birthday and somewhat respected the reason for that edict. But he could have at least let me order my own water to save a modicum of my dignity.
I think this cheapness of my father is the reason I feel ill when I lose even small amounts of money betting on football games, playing blackjack, or losing daily fantasy contests. I can bet three games for $5 a piece on a football Sunday, lose them all, and actively regret the decision for a couple of days. I’m telling you, I hate losing money.
As I was learning the strategy of daily fantasy earlier this year, I played in small contests. I couldn’t even stand the idea of losing money that websites like Draftstreet credited me with so that I could write about their product. I was playing with house money and still hating myself for losing it. But then I kind of figured things out a little bit and got on a really nice run. I got back to even and then had a hot week or two where I almost doubled my money. And I started playing in more contests and more expensive contests as my confidence grew.
And then I hit a rough patch. I gave back half of the money that I had gained and scaled back my entries and money that I risked each day. Of course I then got back on a little run because I’ve found a process that seems to work. But I doubted that process and failed to make as much money as I could have made. I make this mistake in rotisserie leagues as well. I’ll give up on guys I love a bit too quickly when they struggle. Or I’ll alter my draft strategy too much simply for the purpose of diversification. But I always do better when I trust the process. Find what works, and stick to it.
Just because a decision didn’t work out doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right move. – Matthew Berry
The Daily Five
Cole Hamels, $14,483 – Hamels is the 4th most expensive starter of the day, but he has a better matchup than the three guys that cost more than he does. He’ll face the Mets who have an 82 wRC+ and 22.4%K% vs. LHP. And if you’re concerned about Hamels’ 4.40 ERA, don’t be. His xFIP for the year is down to 3.60. The struggles he had with control early on are gone now. His BB% is 3.3% in his last seven starts.
Roberto Hernandez, $8,413 – It’s a small sample size, but the new and improved Roberto Hernandez has been much, much better against right-handers this year. He has a 2.65 xFIP against them compared to a 4.26 xFIP against left-handers. Robinson Cano and Brett Gardener will be obstacles for Hernandez, but as a team the Yankees are not very good vs. RHP with just an 86 wRC+. For this cheap a price, I’m willing to take a shot.
David Freese, $5,796 – I’ve said this before, but Draftstreet is really good about setting prices daily. They account for platoon splits and the quality of the opposing pitcher better than any other site that I’ve seen. But occasionally one will sort of slip through the cracks. Today that may be Freese. He’s been swinging it fairly well (.404 wOBA in June), and he is facing a left-hander in Derek Holland today. Holland is a good left-hander, but he as a career 4.07 xFIP vs. RHH.
Brian Dozier, $7,089 – This is a great example of how tough Draftstreet pricing is. Guys you might use at 2B like Howie Kendrick, Matt Carpenter, or Jurickson Profar are cheaper than Dozier today but have bad platoon match ups. Logan Forsythe has a lefty-righty match up, but it’s with Kershaw. The next guys above Dozier with good match ups are Brandon Phillips and Jason Kipnis who cost about $1,500 and $2,300 more than Dozier. But Dozier, a righty, has three homers in his last four games and will be facing lefty Scott Kazmir.
Domonic Brown, $7,738 – This seems a touch cheap. Brown has slowed considerably from the torrid pace he was on, but he’s got a good lefty-righty match up with Jeremy Hefner who has had some home rune issues this year. And the game is in Philly, which is is an above average park for home runs for left-handed hitters according to our park factors. It’s also where Brown has hit 12 of his 19 home runs despite having 24 fewer PA at home than on the road.
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