The Daily Grind: 4-15-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. Know your strengths
  2. DFS stackables
  3. Wednesday Picks
  4. A Table

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UPDATE: The Yankees game is officially cancelled. No surprise. The game in Detroit was also cancelled, which came completely out of left field. Philadelphia and Baltimore may still cancel too. As Sammy L. says, hold on to your butts.

1. Know your strengths

I’ve mentioned my consultee a few times (he didn’t appreciate being called surly yesterday!). When we started working together, most of our daily entries went to 50/50 formats on Draft Kings. My proven track record of success comes from FanDuel tournaments, so we probably both should have known better than to bulk up on 50/50’s on a foreign platform. Well, we’ve identified those double up games as the biggest drag on our profit and decided to cut them from our repertoire. We have to win over 60% of the time to see any real profit from 50/50’s. Conversely, I can spike one tournament lineup every three weeks and still double my money (and I’ve spiked four in 15 days).

So the moral of the story is simple. I win money playing tournaments. I lose money playing 50/50’s. What the hell am I doing playing 50/50’s? If you prove yourself in one format but hemorrhage money in another, then maybe you should focus on your strength.

2. DFS stackables

No to early games, but yes to rainy games. Watch out for the three being played in the Northeast. In particular, the game at Yankee Stadium is all but guaranteed to be postponed.

I’m not sure if Jake Odorizzi (ill) is confirmed as the starter today. There was some talk of Enny Romero taking over for today. On the other side of this one is Miguel Gonzalez aka Longballs. Yeah, this is one of those rain games, but it’s the most likely to be played. Proceed at your own risk. Maybe do something proactive like monitor the weather.

The Nationals are hitting like it’s 1999. Tom Koehler is a solid pitcher, but he’s not invincible.

Blake Beavan is the guy everyone is going to stack against, but it’s not like Robbie Ross is a world beater with his 4.58 FIP. I might consider stacking Mariners just to be on the other side of the action.

It’s going to be damn cold in Chicago, but Erik Johnson‘s also been quite bad. The most worrying sign – his fastball velocity is down three mph. Get it together Johnson!

Shelby Miller looks broken says Dave Cameron. Ok, let’s stack against him then. Worth noting, I don’t usually like stacking against the Cardinals (and a couple other teams) because their bullpen is friggin ridiculous. There’s nothing worse than spiking a starting pitcher matchup only to get shut down over the final 7.1 innings.

If it wasn’t going to be so damnably damned cold in Minnesota tonight, I’d be all aboard the Jays against Phil Hughes. Screw it, I’m all aboard anyway. Worth pointing out, Brandon Morrow could really benefit from the cold.

Speaking of all aboard, everyone is going to be on the Yordano Ventura train tonight. I usually promote the zig when others zag approach, but the Royals will face the thoroughly hittable Lucas Harrell.

SoftStuff Bronson Arroyo will be flipping his wares in one of the truly good offensive venues tonight.

3. Wednesday picks

Pitchers to Start: I’m going to bet on regression and say that Brandon McCarthy is a viable target for anyone who isn’t worried about strikeouts. I’ll have more to say about McCarthy re: regression at 18:00 today (on FanGraphs).

Is Michael Pineda still on your waiver wire? Well what are you waiting for? He faces the Cubs tomorrow. Travis Wood is a fringier choice just because a win looks out of the question. You never know.

I don’t quite know what to do with Drew Smyly yet. For now, I’ll tentatively recommend him, although the Indians like platooning against lefties.

Pitchers to Exploit: A.J. Burnett is pitching through a hernia, so let’s see if he can actually do it.

Tanner Roark is a fine pitcher, but he’s on the wrong side of a matchup with Jose Fernandez. That doesn’t mean he’ll allow more runs, but it makes it hard for him to record a win.

If the weather improves in Chicago, Clay Buchholz versus John Danks could be a matchup to target.

A Mike Pelfrey sighting! Too bad the game is in Minnesota.

Paul Maholm versus Ryan Vogelsong is a run producing matchup if I ever saw one. The downside is the game will be played in the stingiest park.

Let’s not forget Jorge de la Rosa, even though he’s also in a pitcher friendly park.

Hitters (power): Ryan Raburn has the platoon advantage – always a good thing for him.

Johnny Gomes also benefits from the platoon advantage. He seems to bat leadoff when this happens.

The Royals aren’t reliably playing Danny Valencia against lefties yet, but they should start.

Luis Valbuena, Nate Schierholtz, Ryan Sweeney, and Ryan Kalish are sneaky picks against Pineda. Attack that porch!

Hitters (speed): Ben Revere should be back in the lineup by tomorrow. His matchup isn’t good, but matchup is almost irrelevant for him.

I like Gerardo Parra leading off against Dillon Gee.

4. Table

The table below indicates which stadiums have the best conditions for hitters today. The color coding is a classic stoplight where green equals go for hitters. The weather conditions are from SI Weather’s home run app. A 10/10 means great atmospheric conditions for home runs. A 1/10 means lousy atmospheric conditions.

As I said above, the game at Yankee stadium is going to get postponed if this weather report is remotely accurate. The game in Philadelphia might get off to a late start. In Baltimore, the weather report indicates that the rain will start to clear out around game time, so expect a one hour delay. Oh, and it’s going to be sub 40 degrees at four other stadiums. Eesh.

The Link. You see today’s weather in the SLOW DOWN coloration of the factor grid. The four stadiums to target for hitters are either in Texas, Arizona, or a dome surrounded by frozen wasteland.

This post, covering one of the leading sites for daily fantasy, is sponsored and made possible by the generous support of FanDuel. 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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Brad is a former collegiate player who writes for FanGraphs, MLB Trade Rumors, The Hardball Times, RotoWorld, and The Fake Baseball. He's also the lead MLB editor for RotoBaller. Follow him on Twitter @BaseballATeam or email him here.

10 Responses to “The Daily Grind: 4-15-14 – Presented by FanDuel”

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  1. amoonguss99 says:

    I think Ross could be an interesting play… the active mariners best wOBA vs a lefty is actually a lefty… cano. Almost all of the other hitters are below avg in any metric you look at and while ross has been far from great you have to like his chances at a W.*

    *says the person that touted Archer yesterday

    Really like Tanaka vs the cubs bummer about the rain

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      Yea Tanaka would have been a gem, but unless the weather report changes, I can’t imagine the game gets played.

      Ross isn’t a terrible play. You bring up a good point re:Mariners lefty killers.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. amoonguss99 says:

    Oh btw, when I was browsing prices this morning I felt like FD had made more drastic shifts in previous days… I saw Rasmus was over 4k (he was like 3.3 max before sunday), Merasaco went up by like 600 etc. I had seen the fluctuations before but they just seemed a bit more extreme for this set. Maybe nothing, shrug

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Belle of the League says:

    Your opinion of stacking the flip side of the Shelby Miller matchup?
    Estrada has been known to be a HR magnet at home.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      I’m looking at the Cardinals as filler today more than as a stack. Estrada does give up his share of home runs, but he’s stingy otherwise. So I’d rather use one Cardinal and hope to catch lightning.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. ABSkippers says:

    Brad, I’m sorry to ask you to repeat yourself, but I can’t find where you explained the chart explicitly. What again is the relationship between the colors and the numbers? For instance, Arlington is green but only 3/10; the Angels and Marlins are red and yellow but 8/10. Also, how are we meant to interpret a range, like when you have it from 10/10 to 3/10?
    Thank you.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      The weather column isn’t the only one influencing the color. Texas is green because the park factors heavily favor hitters. Conversely, the Angels and Marlins are red and yellow because the park is a big negative.

      I can’t give you much advice on interpreting the range. 10 is good 0 is bad. Park factors still matter. Whereas I can quantify the park factors, I can’t tell you that a 10/10 weather rating increases expected HR by 10%. However, I would guess that the range is around -10% to 10%.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. benj says:

    Here’s another SP stream option for Wednesday: Dallas Keuchel vs. KC

    Keuchel is generating a lot more whiffs so far this year (SwStr up 2.6% so far!), and hitters are making a lot less contact with his pitches. His K rate is up almost a full point through his first couple starts.

    Add to Keuchel’s apparent improvement the fact that the Royals are currently sporting a team wOBA of .233 against LHP, and it starts to look like a pretty solid stream if you’re looking for cheap Ks and/or a good chance of a QS.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Cybo says:

    Brad, perhaps you’re 50/50 lineups need to be more risk adverse if they’re not paying out for you. For example stacking while a great strategy for tournaments with a lot of players, will increase the overall risk of your lineup as a whole. For 50/50s I have a few different lineup strategies I like to employ depending on the different matchups that day. I’m not gonna share everything on here but if you’d like more explanation send me an e-mail. You’ve certainly helped me enough over the years with all your helpful daily posts.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Madoff Withurmoni says:

      The rake can be a killer in these games too. Consider a $5 50/50 on DK pays out $9. Win 3 out of 5 (60%) and you’ve only profited $2.

      $9*3 = $27
      $5*5 = $25

      Win 4 out of 7 (57%) and you’ve only made $1
      $9*4 = $36
      $5*7 = $35

      55% gets you dead even (5 of 9 = $45 in, $45 out)

      Vote -1 Vote +1