The Daily Grind: 4-29-14 – Presented by FanDuel

Agenda

  1. Advice for a losing streak
  2. DFS for today
  3. Fantasy action for tomorrow
  4. Table Time TM

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1. My advice for a losing streak

Yesterday, commenter Cybo gave some advice related to gambling. Specifically, he suggested you increase your bets the more and more you lose. I quipped that’s how you get a knee cap broken by an Italian guy from Jersey, and well…I wasn’t being facetious. My own advice for a losing streak is simple, and you’re less likely to dip into the kids’ college fund.

We’ve identified DFS is about building a good process and sticking to it. If you’re losing, one of two things is happening: you have bad luck or a bad process. Self-evaluation is a challenge, you have to be honest to yourself, but you also have to be correct in your honesty. It’s just as easy to conclude a good process is bad as it is to mistakenly think a bad process is good. There are three scenarios.

You’ve identified a bad process. Good for you, now reduce your bets and practice a better one.

You think it’s all bad luck. Great, keep betting as you always do, and you should eventually spike a lineup.

You’re unsure. You should probably reduce your bids and research areas to improve your process.

2. Today’s DFS

It’s all late games again; a full slate of 15. Unfortunately, weather threatens to cancel a few. It’s a challenge but also an opportunity.

Boston is merely cold rather than rainy like several other games, so you can still try to stack Red Sox righties against Erik Bedard. The Rays pen has been taxed on this road trip, so they should also give up a few runs.

There is a 50 percent chance of rain in Kansas City, where the Royals are set to face Dustin McGowan. I just wish the Royals had a better offense.

Here you go, an honest-to-goodness game with decent weather, a good park, and an exploitable pitcher. I had small hopes Jarred Cosart would turn the corner this season, but I’m now convinced it’s time to move him to the bullpen. Target Nats, especially the lefties.

Speaking of honesty, goodness, and friendly hitter parks, Arizona hosts Tyler Chatwood against Michael Bolsinger. Load up on them Rockies.

3. Tomorrow’s Fantasies

Pitchers to Start: Brandon Cumpton is a no frills, get-the-job-done kind of guy. With Chris Davis on the disabled list and a tendency towards ground balls, his matchup isn’t terrifying. He’s opposed by Bud Norris, who gives up his share of crooked numbers.

Aaron Harang faces the Marlins in Miami. He may still have an ERA under 1.00 this time on Thursday…

I’ve grown edgy about Drew Hutchison because he passes the stats test but not the eye test. However, a start against Kansas City is not to be poopooed.

Pitchers to Exploit: Hector Noesi pitched in relief the other day and now he’s starting tomorrow. It’s not like it’s short rest or anything, but I doubt he’s stretched out. Even if he were, there’s a reason he’s on his third team of the season.

Felix Doubront‘s whiff and strikeout rates are way down. His walk rate is up. The end result is a pitcher with a 6.00 ERA and matching 4.88 FIP/xFIP.

To me, Carlos Carrasco is showing signs of turning the corner. Despite a 6.95 ERA, his peripherals have produced a respectable 3.68 FIP and xFIP (weird to have two guys with perfect matches). The Angels feature a potent lineup, so I’ll refrain from recommending him today.

Mike Pelfrey has been indescribably terrible. Personally, I think he’s hurt, but it doesn’t even matter. He needs to stop pitching for big league teams.

Hitters (power): Sean Rodriguez and Logan Forsythe aren’t monsters of fantasy, but they’ll play tomorrow against Doubront.

The Dodgists don’t have many freely available guys, but anyone you can pile on against Pelfrey is worth an add. Maybe Andre Ethier or Juan Uribe?

Maybe Bobby Abreu will start against Kyle Kendrick.

You can try Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak, or Brad Miller against Phelps in New York. They’ll be aiming at the short porch.

Hitters (speed): Nate McLouth will face a lefty tomorrow, but he’s worth an add in many leagues since Bryce Harper is out for eight to 10 weeks.

Robbie Ross is left-handed whereas the A’s have some right-handed bats to use against him like Craig Gentry and Alberto Callaspo.

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.

Ugh. These days are the worst. There’s rain everywhere, but more to the point, there’s uncertain rain everywhere. Games in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Minnesota, and St. Louis could all be affected. Only St. Louis is below a 50 percent chance of rain. As if that isn’t enough Boston will be in the low 40′s and Minnesota in the 30′s.

The Link. Today’s factor grid should be giving us a ton of green options, but the uncertainty of rain has temporarily reduced many of them to yellow. Sometimes it’s best to just sit these days out rather than obsessively monitor the weather. Then again, if you avoid any nastiness, you’ll probably have a competitive advantage.

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.


35 Responses to “The Daily Grind: 4-29-14 – Presented by FanDuel”

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  1. Repper says:

    Carrasco has been moved to the pen

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  2. wjylaw says:

    I just started doing DFS about 3 weeks ago and spiked a 2nd place finish in a field of 8400 for $1k. I’ve also won smaller amounts in some other gpp’s and have made some money in 50/50′s and 100 player leagues. I agree with a lot of your advice, especially regarding stacking, but I think there’s too much emphasis on getting guys hitting 1-5 in lineups. Often times the better stacks per dollar are guys hitting in the bottom part of the order, especially if it’s a bunch of rhh’s vs lhp or vice versa. Also, it seems that there is some value in playing guys who are only getting one or two starts a week, like back up catchers, in the bang for the buck theory. Guys like Recker, Rivera, etc. are the kind of boom or bust plays that can really spike your team. Finally, there are some perceived “really good pitchers” with horrible splits against certain teams or handiness that the masses have not caught on to and can be exploited.

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    • amoonguss99 says:

      Rivera was obvi the hero yesterday. Jaso wasn’t a bad play either both at the FD player minimums…

      What are you referring to for those team splits… Like the entire Phillies are lefty and all of the brewers are rightly: (exaggeration)

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Handedness splits are definitely important, but don’t put too much credence into team splits. Gallardo yesterday serves as a good example. Aside from a Matt Holliday bomb on a good pitch, he only gave up runs after he hurt his hand on the bases. Previously, the Cards had destroyed him.

      I consider the down-the-order heroes to be bad process, good result. Certainly, the $/pt output is sometimes worth buying, especially when you have a reasonably powerful hitter costing $2,200. Usually, you’re forfeiting an at bat with a hitter who already sucks. The guys who are actually good platoon bats tend to cost as much as regular starters.

      At the end of the day it comes down to $ per point. If Rivera and Trout get you a better projection than say Werth and Lucroy, you should run with it.

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      • amoonguss99 says:

        I use a numerical approach and I see today under my “model” (lol) that mccann,navaro and lobaton are all close together but obviously all range a lot in price point and upside etc.

        I enter enough lineups tho I’d take a shot on all of them to some degree…

        Shrug. Go lobaton ;)

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      • wjylaw says:

        Brad, I respect what you do and you seem very knowledgeable, but I agree to disagree with you about several things. Often times it seems to me the best potential play at minimum cost is a part-time player, not necessarily part of a stack. In fact with FD’s limits of only 4 players per team, if I like a certain pitcher and a number of his hitters for a stack, it’s impossible to have a 4 hitter stack if I decide to use the pitcher. It’s not bad process at that point, it’s about the only process. Perhaps I value the SP slot more than you.

        With regards to the pitching comment, there’s a certain Nationals pitcher that tends to get lit up by a certain opponent. One of the times he pitched against this opponent somebody who writes one of these columns (but not you) on FG and the guys who do one of the shows on Sirius/XM Fantasy were gushing about the guy and how dominate he was. I had already set my lineup that day and stacked against him. Could not believe the advice I was hearing. In the GPP that night, he was one of the 2 highest owned pitchers (and I think the 3rd costliest) he got destroyed. Simply looking at his numbers against the team he played against showed how bad of a matchup it was. I’m learning things and nuances every day, but there is a ton of shitty information being put out there. I seriously wonder how many of the “experts” who were pumping that guy actually played him for money.

        My two cents.

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      • Brad Johnson says:

        That’s fine, there’s more than one way to skin a mammal. Just because I have data that supports my process doesn’t mean I have the right data or I’m interpreting it correctly.

        I’m extremely confident that pitcher versus team data is a bunch of hooey. Again, extreme confidence is different than being right. I’m sure there are a few cases where the data holds plenty of signal, but identifying when and where that’s the case is nigh impossible.

        At the end of the day, I highly encourage everyone to develop their own process that works for them. There’s plenty of data I don’t use – umpires for example – that can greatly influence a game outcome. I have my factor grid, Landon has a lovely wOBA grid, every writer brings his own little value add. Figure out the best combo for you.

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      • David says:

        I bow down to your greater Gallardo knowledge

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  3. wjylaw says:

    Las Vegas makes a ton of money off of that hooey. You don’t have any more data than the guys who claim to be football touts can claim they have data supporting all of their “guaranteed wins” That’s just plain arrogance.

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    • thalooch says:

      then what are you doing here? You sound like you’re an expert already. Maybe you should be writing your own column. Anytime you want to play heads up let me know, i’m on all the major sites just about every day. Or find me on twitter

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      • Brad Johnson says:

        Easy there Looch, don’t scare off my commenters :)

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      • wjylaw says:

        Sorry thalooch, I was just sharing my opinion/experience. And if you’re on “all the major sites just about every day” you’re either a real pro or a real loser. I have my own opinion on that.

        Finally, if you really think that the “experts” in this industry give you “winners” than you’re just naive.

        Brad, I’ll be here all the time, internet “tough guys” like thedouche don’t scare anyone.

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    • El Brontolone says:

      Guys, wjylaw finished pretty good in a tourney a in his first couple weeks doing this, should we give him a column?

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      • El Brontolone says:

        Haha looch sorry I didn’t see you had responded with that same suggestion. Guess we’ve got something working here.

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      • thalooch says:

        careful what you wish for Brad! Not sure I’d want any commenter’s in today’s internet.

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      • thalooch says:

        who’s trying to scare anyone? I’m just trying to make a buck. You seem like you think you know what you are talking about, I’m giving you an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. You weren’t just sharing your opinion, you were insulting the author by calling him arrogant, claiming he doesn’t have more data than your average vegas “tout”, which could NOT be further from the truth! If anyone on this page comes across as arrogant, it’s you.

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  4. Howdulikethat says:

    Brad,

    Yesterday you gave some of your insight and opinion on bang for your buck in tourneys vs 50/50s. Thanks for that. A large part of success or failure is deciding where to put your lineups to work. Continuing on that theme, what are your thoughts on league play. For example, the multitude of 10 team leagues that pay the top 3 slots etc. I’ve noticed there are certain players (sharks) that play virtually every single one of these on FD. Given that you need to place top 3, is the lineup construction a sort of cross between a GPP and a 50/50? Thoughts?

    As always thanks in advance.

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      You touched on the reason why I avoid the 10 teamers altogether. I’m not arrogant enough to think my process is better than the sharks, though I know my baseball specific knowledge confers some advantage to me whereas most of the sharks are generalists. Still, I don’t want to gamble against 5 guys who do this for a living for 3 spots.

      I would still play them like a GPP except with less emphasis on stacking. I don’t always stack GPPs, maybe about half the time only, so I’d probably only whip out really juicy stacks for a league.

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  5. Connor says:

    Would you start Verlander vs. White Sox today?

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      For regular fantasy, sure. Is there a major constraint in place where you really need to avoid a partial start? At this point, it looks like the game could see a delay or even get cancelled.

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      • Mooseman78 says:

        Brad, in my short time playing DFS, I have heard a lot of different opinions about BvP. Some love it…some hate it….why is this?

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      • FeslenR says:

        One would have to be nuts or desperate to start Pelfrey anywhere, this includes the Twins. Maybe he’s better off in the bullpen?

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      • Brad Johnson says:

        Some people have a working understanding of Statistics and have read The Book. Some have not. If we have discarded BvP and PvTeam data as useless in real baseball analysis, why would they suddenly be useful for DFS?

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  6. Mike Pelfrey's 2 year contract says:

    I’m fine guys! Seriously never felt better!

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  7. Antonio D. says:

    I’m trying my hand at DFS again this season after years of playing standard FF and FB, to mixed results. My bankroll isn’t big, and since I blew through my basketball winnings by getting in too many $25/entry tourneys trying to take down big GPPs, I’m seeing a lot more success with submitting multiple $2 GPP entries for smaller stakes because I’m not trying to be perfect with each entry — only focusing on a couple different pitchers and stacks (with a few randoms I like mixed in) and letting the chips fall where they may. I think my previous failures can safely be attributed to inexperience in DFS risk management and sloppy diligence with regard to weather/rest days and not a general misunderstanding of what makes for a successful strategy. I’m not trying to rive traffic away from Fangraphs, but I’m writing a weekly DFS piece for Baseball America (geared toward Tuesday/Wednesday matchups) this season and hope to get some positive/negative feedback on it. Thanks, guys … and love the column, Brad! It’s always nice to read this after completing my piece to check where we agree and disagree.

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  8. Cybo says:

    “”I quipped that’s how you get a knee cap broken by an Italian guy from Jersey, and well…I wasn’t being facetious.””

    This is very true! But as with any strategy or process (even the methods Brad suggests) when it comes to gambling you always run that kind of risk if you get carried away and continually make poor choices. I did not mean to come across as some kind of high roller (and certainly not a mob boss!) or anything like that. I was simply trying to add to the discussion.

    I’ve personally had success with the strategy I described yesterday. But its worth adding that I always start with small stakes if I decide to employ it, and I always stop if my losing streak continues beyond my budgeted bankroll. I obviously don’t want to “get my knee cap broken”. The majority of the success I’ve had with this has been low stakes blackjack. As in $2-$5/hand. Typically I’ll stake maybe $100 and play until I’m either bored or its gone, knee caps intact.

    Any strategy, method, or process can get you into trouble when it comes to gambling. We have to know and stay within our limits at all times or else you will be in trouble financially. If you ever find yourself in this kind of trouble your method or strategy would not be to blame. That blame would be yours alone for your lack of self control.

    Now if you’ll excuse me I got a lineup to make for the $2000 in 50/50s I’ve gotta win to win back all I’ve lost this week… (joking)

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  9. Cee says:

    Miami 10/10 weather factor but Red. How come? The pitchers are factored in too?

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Stadium sucks for anybody not named Giancarlo. Sucks for him too. Any park that suppresses HR 11% is going to always be red. The weather rating could be a 30 out of 10.

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  10. Chippchipp says:

    Hi Brad, would you take Rafael Soriano or Matt Cain in a points league? Somebody just dropped them in my NL-only league (!!!) and I have the #1 waiver pick. Last year Soriano was worth around 570 points and Cain was around 460, just for reference. Thanks!

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      It depends on the positional replacement levels, but sounds like relievers are more valuable in your format. Or SP have to be very good to accrue points.

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      • Chippchipp says:

        Thanks for the response. Last year, some SP around Soriano were Mike Minor, Corbin, Mat Latos, and Jose Fernandez (mostly due to IP). Does that change anything? I guess the real question is Soriano’s age and diminished Ks last year vs. Cain’s sudden HR problem. Thanks

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      • Brad Johnson says:

        Right, but is someone freely available – let’s say Casey Fien – going to put up a similar point total to Soriano? Comparing a starter to a reliever in a points format is an apples to oranges comparison. You need to compare starters to starters and relievers to relievers. If Soriano is a 50 point upgrade over the available options and Cain is a 100 point upgrade, then Cain is the better pick up, even if Soriano scores more points. Unless there isn’t a constraint preventing you from loading up on relievers.

        There are too many possible variables for me to answer your question. I’d need to internalize your particular league and scoring system and I’m afraid I can’t make a habit of doing that. Do you understand what I mean by evaluating each position’s replacement level?

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  11. Chippchipp says:

    Hi Brad,
    Thanks for your in-depth answer. I see what you mean, sorry, I get that it is too hard to answer. I don’t think Fien would unless he becomes a closer, and that’s why closers are very valuable in our league because there are only 15 of them at a time (NL-only) and 10 teams, so each team might get 1 or 2 of them. There is no limit on SP or RP, so I would probably just go with whoever has more points, which I guess is Soriano.

    As for the positional replacement level, the best available relievers are guys like Clippard and Benoit who might get some saves, and the best SP are guys like Roberto Hernandez and Arrieta.

    I think I’ll go with Soriano. Thanks for your help!

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