Daily Fantasy Strategy — June 23 — For Draftstreet

After a nice first two months of the season, June is killing me. Much of the gains I made early in the year have been given back over the last three weeks. My double up success rate has deteriorated, and I’ve hardly sniffed a cash in GPPs. I’m frustrated, but I have to fight the urge to mail it in. I’ve still had success on the whole, even if I haven’t been able to continue to multiply my bankroll like I had hoped.

I can’t be the only one feeling like this. If you’re on a bad run, I encourage you to stick with it. I’m hoping things improve as the season drags on and the data I use on a daily basis becomes more reliable. Each year I compete in the FantasyPros.com weekly football ranking contest, and I have performed much better in the second half of the season in each of the last three years. I attribute this to the data I use simply being more reliable as the season goes on. My approach to baseball DFS is almost as dependent on data, and it stands to reason that as it gets more reliable, my performance will improve. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

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The Daily Five

Jeff Samardzija ($17,560) – Of the expensive pitchers today, I had a hard time choosing between Shark and Zack Greinke. I like Felix as well but think Shark and Greinke are much better values. Shark scares me a bit because the wind may be blowing out at Wrigley. But ultimately I like him more than Greinke a) because he’s cheaper and b) because his opponent (Reds) strikes out more than Greinke’s (Royals).

Matt Cain ($15,455) – I was once again left choosing between two starters in the mid-price range, Cain and Gio Gonzalez. Despite the fact that we’re going on a full year and a half now of Cain not being Cain, I went with him simply because he’s got the better matchup in the better ballpark. Nobody has been worse against right-handed pitching than the Padres this year. And AT&T park is still helping Cain out. It’s not like his recent problems have just been on the road; he has been worse at home, too. But he hasn’t been as bad at home. Specifically, his HR/FB at home is 10.6% since the start of 2013 compared to 13.3% on the road.

Marcus Stroman ($11,154) – This time I was choosing between Stroman and Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi has a little better matchup and is in a little better park, but they both have good matchups and are both in bad parks. Don’t let Stroman’s five-plus ERA scare you off because most of the damage done against him came in a couple of relief appearances in mid-May. In his four starts since, he’s got three quality starts and has struck out 19 and walked five in 21.2 innings. Ultimately, I think he’s the better choice because he’s about $1,500 cheaper than Eovaldi.

Cardinals Stack – Coors. Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin hasn’t had a strikeout rate above league average since 2010 and hasn’t had a groundball rate above league average since 2011. In the three years since, he owns a 4.53 ERA at home. Admittedly, he has managed to keep the ball in the park at about a league average rate at home, but he has still allowed plenty of runs. I like stacking the four Cards I expect to be atop their lineup: Matt Carpenter ($6,251), Matt Holliday ($7,208), Matt Adams ($6,958) and Allen Craig ($5,902).

Rays Stack – A lot of jokes are made about the Rays offense (example below courtesy of Jason Collette), but they’re basically league average against right-handed pitching. Today they’re facing a right-handed starter who is decidedly below league average, Edinson Volquez. Over the last three seasons, their four best qualified hitters against RHP have been Matt Joyce ($4,928), Ben Zobrist ($5,305), Evan Longoria ($6,532) and James Loney ($5,898). All four have a wRC+ vs. RHP of 118 or better since 2012. That combo will only cost you a combined $22,663.


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You can find more of Brett's work on TheFantasyFix.com or follow him on Twitter @TheRealTAL.

12 Responses to “Daily Fantasy Strategy — June 23 — For Draftstreet”

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  1. Brian says:

    I definitely think baseball is one of the streakiest daily games to play, and I believe it takes a full season to truly determine how good you are.

    I play only fanduel double ups and I currently have a 55% win rate but I am constantly asking myself if I can trust that number. I had a 12 night win streak in early may and if I take that away I’m a losing player. But why should I take it away if I earned that streak? My average score is 2 points better than the average qualifying double up score so I like to think that is some proof that I’m doing something right.

    Baseball is a sport where sometimes even a full season is not enough data to figure out if a statistic is real. I mean it takes a pitcher 7 seasons to show that he is able to control his babip!I think your daily fantasy win rate is just like any baseball stat in that it takes a while to become meaningful. I don’t know how long that is but I’m gonna let the whole season play out before I decide if I’m any good at this.

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    • steve says:

      It is almost as if they should invent a type of fantasy baseball that lasts more than a day… a whole season even! That might work better, and be more than a crapshoot.

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      • ldavidjm says:

        If you’re at 55% your basically running even with the rake. I think 50/50’s have too many grinders, better off with the higher variance in GPP

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      • Brett Talley says:

        I’m in the minority among writes here, but I agree with maybe being better off with GPP variance.

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  2. ldavidjm says:

    For your football contest are you picking game winners or individual players like you would for fantasy football? I would think that baseball should be more data driven than football projections…

    Also, I like picking Rays stacks and filling in lineups with Rays, they’re all underpriced right now, Kevin Kiermaier is also a great value vs RHP (if you can only stack 4 I’d be tempted to swap out maybe Loney cause Kiermaier’s also been batting top of the order and is probably cheaper and equally or more likely to hit a HR)

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    • Brian says:

      ldavidjm, You are correct that 55% is break even in 50/50s but I’m playing double ups. In the $5 double ups 100 entries double their money out of the 223 that enter so break even is 50%. I agree that these contests are loaded with sharks but I think there are just as many people that don’t know what they’re doing to balance that out.

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      • ldavidjm says:

        Ah, so 55% is pretty good then. Question for you (and Brett) then, 1) do you enter the same lineup into GPP’s or 2) Make separate lineups for the GPPs?

        Also how many double ups do you enter then? (~Average buyin + number of buyins?)

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      • ldavidjm says:

        Sort of random additional comment, one potential leak that I’ve noticed is that when I’m building my lineup is that when there is a 50-50 call, or a decision between a bunch of guys I tend to gravitate towards guys who have gotten it done recently for me and away from guys who have blown it. Especially in baseball this is really easy to do, Matt Cain would be easy to justify avoiding for Gio, but I think that’d be a mistake.

        I think this way of thinking results in making sub-optimal decisions because they’re just intuitive rather than focusing on the numbers. Trust the spreadsheet. Trust the projections.

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    • Brett Talley says:

      For the football contest about 130 experts rank players at each position for each week. For example, I rank about 30 QB and TE and 75 RB and WR each week. Then the accuracy of the ranks is graded.

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      • Brian says:

        I play about $100 total per day in $5,$10, and sometimes $25 double ups. I would play more if I truly had the confidence that I am a profitable player. I decided I’m not gonna make that decision until the end of the season.

        I do enter my cash game lineup into the $1 and $2 GPPs just in case it really goes off I don’t want to miss out on a big payday. Other than that I don’t really play GPPs because I feel the way I build my lineups is better suited for cash games.

        I totally agree with you about gravitating towards guys who have done the job for you and away from those who have screwd you. I think the optimal strategy is to have a short memory but that is easier said than done. I’m a spreadsheet guy tho and luckily the spreadsheet has no feelings. If it tells me to use Jose Bautista I use him; even though he screws me almost every time.

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  3. diamondhoggers says:

    Just stopped by to say great call on Stroman last night. :) One of the better stealth SP calls of the season so far. Great work.

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