The Daily Grind: 4-5-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. Grumbling
  2. The Top Four Things to Optimize in DFS
  3. DFS Stacks (Early, Late)
  4. Sunday Pitchers for the Normal Guys
  5. Sur La Table

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1. Grumbling

Last night’s game in Oakland wasn’t even slightly in question yesterday morning, yet the grounds crew managed to get that thing cancelled. That probably cost me some cash and I assume it also affected some of you. Here’s to hoping there are no more shenanigans tonight.

I shouldn’t gripe too much, I still made money yesterday.

2. Things to optimize when setting your roster

Yesterday, a commenter asked what I focus on when setting my lineup. Here they are, in order.

  • Weather: I hate when most of my team performs well but mother nature intervenes to leave me a few points outside of the money.
  • Lineup position: I usually do some kind of stack, even when I mix up my lineup. Those stacked players need to be close enough to each other that they can actually be double counted. Any solo guys I take are usually going to be in the heart of the lineup.
  • Batter-Pitcher matchup: Is the batter facing a good or bad pitcher? Is there a platoon split in play? Ranking this third is misleading because it’s almost as important as the weather. These first three points must all be carefully balanced for long term success.
  • Park factors: I use this as a tiebreaker, but it’s much less important on a day-to-day basis. The better you can incorporate this data over time, the better your average outcome. Generally, it has very little effect on a single day of competition.

3. Stacks for today

Early: There are eight games in the early category. The most obviously stackable is either side of the White Sox versus Royals affair, featuring Bruce Chen and John Danks.

It’s cold in Detroit, yet I’m still inclined to stack Tigers against Bud Norris. He pitches like a reliever, but the Tigers like fastballs. Someday, Norris will get converted to the pen, but until then he’s a risk to explode on any given day. The bad news with this stack is that he’s capable of turning in really good starts too.

I like any game at the Rogers Centre. Tonight features the knuckleballer versus Michael Pineda. Like the game in Kansas City, both pitchers could get lit up tonight. Unlike that game, both pitchers could also dominate the competition. This is the game to watch in my book.

Late: Tyler Skaggs versus Dallas Keuchel in Houston has a whiff of run scoring about it. We have good conditions for long balls and a couple pitchers who can get dinged on occasion. I still like Skaggs as a possible breakout, but he’s got some work to do.

I don’t know a lick about Nick Martinez – it’s rare that I find myself in that position. I don’t hate the Rays stack against this unknown.

I like Brandon McCarthy. He’s a good guy, he recognizes the value of sabermetrics, he helps us online writing types to refine our topics, and he also was throwing gas last week. Despite that, he’s not the kind of pitcher I trust at Coors Field. With all that said, I like Jorge de la Rosa even less.

4. The Sunday crew

To start: I’ve grown edgy about Drew Hutchison after watching his first start closely. I’m tentatively leaning towards starting him tomorrow and hoping for a sharper outing. I wouldn’t be leaning that way if I had any faith in CC Sabathia, but I’m not sure he knows how to pitch without velocity.

Taylor Jordan has his first outing tomorrow. The Braves are a tough assignment, so we’ll see how it goes.

Erasmo Ramirez looked pretty good in his 2014 debut. He has the repertoire and stuff to succeed in the majors, it just hasn’t worked in his favor yet. Sometimes it never does.

To exploit: Alfredo Simon is not only still in the majors, he’s still virtually anonymous. That’s quite an accomplishment. He’s a lot better as a reliever; I’m not even sure he’ll make five innings. On the other side of the matchup is Jon Niese in his return from the disabled list.

There has to be something exploitable about this Ian Kennedy against Nathan Eovaldi game. I like the Marlins offense just enough, but I’m not sure if the Padres can catch up to gas. I guess we can see how they respond today and adjust accordingly.

Scott Feldman usually works as an exploit. The conditions in Houston don’t help. That is, they don’t help Feldman. They do help us vultures.

5. 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.

Most of today’s games are going to be very cold, but at least the forecast appears to be rain-free.

Remember remember the Blue Jays have a retractable roof. That’s not a catchy slogan (I wasn’t able to work November in there)  but sing it anyway. The other tolerable weather games are in Houston, Miami, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Kansas City.

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.

13 Responses to “The Daily Grind: 4-5-14 – Presented by FanDuel”

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  1. amoonguss99 says:

    Hey thanks for the changes Brad, didn’t mean to sound like a dick in my previous comment yesterday about E/L games

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. daily fb rookie says:

    Thanks for this article today, Brad. This may be an elementary question but when you talk about stacking players and them being close enough to be double-counted, do you mean that say Andrus gets on base with a hit and gets a SB, then Fielder hits a HR…Andres now has a run to go along with the hit and SB? Pretty sure that’s what you mean but wanting to make sure…

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Sort of…the double counted part comes from Andrus scoring a run and Fielder recording an RBI. If you own only one of those players, you get 1 point. If you own both, you get 2 points from that one play.

      It’s a better strategy if you’re trying to win a tournament. You need a lot of luck to place highly on any given day. It exposes you to more risk/reward.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. daily fb rookie says:

    One other question (and one you may not be able to answer) but off the top of your head, what percentage would you say is luck in doing well in daily leagues? (“doing well” meaning placing in the money.) I’m sure luck plays a biggger role in daily than a season long league but I was just wondering about this the other day.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      It’s like poker. Any given hand in poker is largely about luck. You can control betting strategy and position your hand, but that’s it. If you make a bet to protect a strong hand, a donkey can still call with a bad hand and suck out. But when you chain 500 hands together, it’s mostly about skill because the percentages are eventually going to level out.

      With DFS, instead of controlling betting strategy, you’re focusing on maximizing PA with run/RBI opportunities (and usually IP, low ER, and K).

      In either case, you’re playing the percentages.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. j-bones says:



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    • Brad Johnson says:


      This is the hard part about April baseball. ERA’s are down, but we don’t have enough information to predict who the best plays are. We also don’t know who is most adversely affected by cold weather.

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      • j-bones says:

        haha yeah i don’t actually blame you guys. i knew i probably should’ve at least waited one start to see how he looked but the urge to look smart was just too great

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  5. Bill says:

    sigh – want to play DFS but don’t always have time to look within a couple hours of game time. Set a line up early with Tulo – but apparently he has to rest on the 6th game of the season.

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    • SeattleSlew says:

      Yea, I don’t understand why they had to rest Tulo on the 6th game of the season. Is he really so fragile that he requires rest that soon?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

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