The Daily Grind: 4-7-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. One week down
  2. Thin day DFS
  3. Normal fantasy on Tuesday
  4. Look at the colors

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1. One week down

We’re through the first week, which means we have a few more ideas about how playing time is going to shake out, especially for hitters. That said, managers are still being pretty unpredictable with the order of their lineup – several are playing the hot hand game. I continue to believe that it would be irresponsible of me to recommend batter/pitcher matchups one day in advance, so we’ll hold off on adding that feature into this week. As with before, if you have a situation that needs to be addressed, leave a comment.

Week one was pretty good to my bank account. Thanks mostly to two tournaments, I finished the week with a 258 percent rate of return. Remember, the specific players you choose don’t matter, it’s all about refining your process.

2. DFS advice

It’s a thin schedule today, perhaps you should consider taking the day off.

Early: There are four games in the early bin but you’re effectively looking at two of them. The matchup in New York features Ubaldo Jimenez and Hiroki Kuroda. That sounds like a fine day for a Yankees stack. The game in Houston also looks stackable, with Jarred Cosart squaring off against C.J. Wilson. The other two games have inferior conditions and/or better pitchers. That means Michael Wacha, Tony Cingrani, or Scott Kazmir are your pitcher options.

Late: There are four more games late. You can cross the game in Cleveland off your list, there is an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms, and it’s expected to rain before and after the game too. That leaves you with a few sources of offense. Tanner Scheppers imploded in his first outing, and Boston is a much harder matchup than Philadelphia. The other game to target is in Colorado. The White Sox throw Felipe Paulino against Jordan Lyles, which could produce more than a couple runs. If you need to pick a pitcher, it looks like John Lackey or bust. The other game features Matt Moore against Jason Vargas. I expect both pitchers to be blah all season long.

3. Streamables for Tuesday

Tomorrow is a good day for low strikeout, high ground ball rate pitchers. Keep in mind, today’s game in Cleveland could get cancelled.

To Start: Ivan Nova is a scouting and data pick of mine, but he has to put away his four seam fastball to truly breakout. A matchup against the Orioles is not easy, but he could ground ball his way through it.

Kyle Lohse isn’t exciting, but he has a friendly matchup against the Phillies.

Tim Hudson will be home against the Diamondbacks and looking to burn a few worms. What a creep.

Tyson Ross and Zach McAllister are a couple guys I expect to recommend as fringy picks this season. Tomorrow, I’m recommending them as fringy picks. See, it’s happening already.

I love Charlie Morton. In real life more than fantasy, but he’s still great.

Yordano Ventura, James Paxton, and Chris Archer are your strikeout guys for tomorrow. They’re all hot ticket prospects, so don’t be surprised if they’re already owned in your league.

To Exploit: As I’ve been saying, I’ll continue to bet against Kyle Kendrick because his sinker is so hit and miss outing to outing. When he has it, he’s very tough. When he doesn’t, he’s one of the worst pitchers in the majors.

I generally like Lance Lynn, but there a couple left handed bats in the Cincinnati lineup that give me pause tomorrow.

Poor Brett Oberholtzer has to get through Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion multiple times tomorrow.

Hector Alvarez is a decent command/control pitcher, but he was really off last time around.

4. Table Time TM

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.

One game already bit the dust – the Philadelphia Phillies preemptively cancelled their contest against the Brewers. The game in Cleveland is also very much under threat of rain. That effectively leaves you with three games for the late tournaments. That’s going to produce some overlap…

The link. The games in Colorado and New York appear to be the best for long balls. That short porch is in play today, and the Yanks have been fairly disappointing offensively. Watch out for late rain in New York. Houston’s another nice choice.

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: 4-7-14 – Presented by FanDuel”

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  1. aharner says:

    Wow! 258 percent increase. I’m surely doing something wrong in losing half my bankroll…lol

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  2. WormFace says:

    With so few options today, would it do my team good to pick a less than ideal stack? For example, if I like the Yankees and see that their best stack is hitters 2 through 6, should I then modify the stack to use 1 through 5 or 3 through 7? That would differentiate my team a bit from the rest, but not be ideal points wise. Thoughts?

    Is there a specific point in time when we should try a whole new approach to DFS? I feel like I’ve been using an okay process (stacking 3 or 4 man lineups vs. poor pitchers, avoiding rainouts, etc) but my results for week 1 were awful.

    I like the article you wrote the other day about stacking, but I’m still confused. Is using one 4 man stack worse than using two 4 man stacks? Is a viable strategy to use one 4 man stack and fill in the rest of the lineup with value plays?

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    • Brad Johnson says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      Each stack you enter maximizes risk and reward. Let’s put some made up math on it.

      If you’re playing a very deep tournament and you do 2 stacks with a 10% chance of hitting 30 points each, then your chance at 60 points is roughly 5%. A tournament winner generally needs between 65 and 85 points, depending on the day. So hitting two stacks means that you don’t need that much from your SP in order to win, but it’s a low percentage outcome.

      If you do one 10% for 30 points stack and four value plays, you’re hypothetically reducing your risk and reward. Perhaps your value plays are 50% for 20 points, which gives you a good shot at cashing if your stack hits.

      Generally speaking, I do 1 stack and try to do a 2×2 chain, i.e. Dickerson and Cargo or Votto and Ludwick. Usually the positions don’t line up well to do two 4 man stacks. Sometimes I don’t have any 4 player stacks.

      As for these thin days, I do try to get a unique wrinkle in there, but that usually happens without being cut about which part of the lineup I use.

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  3. chri521 says:

    Any weather concern for STL or CLE?
    Also the $1 or $2 buy-ins when do you do them on FD? They fill up fast and a lot of times they are segmented for early or late only.

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    • Brad Johnson says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      Yes actually, there has been a huge change in the weather forecast since a couple hours ago. As I mentioned, Cleveland looks like a candidate for a rain out. Now Kansas City has an off chance at thunderstorms and it looks like St. Louis will be dealing with light rain until mid-game.

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  4. Brian says:

    I’ve only been at this for a week so I’m not sure if you’ve ever covered this, but what are your thoughts on stacking in cash games vs GPP tournaments.

    I get it that in tournaments you need to get a high score so you are basically forced to stack so that all your players score a lot of points together. But in double ups, you don’t need to get the highest score. I hate setting my lineup with guys I like in good matchups, but then feeling like I have to take somebody out so that I can get a stack going.

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    • Brad Johnson says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      For 50/50’s, I still have some kind of stack most days, even if it’s a small one, maybe Cargo-Tulo for example. There’s definitely much more impetus on finding the best values subject to constraints. Similarly, if I find myself using a very fringe player like Dean Anna for payroll reasons, I’ll try to make sure I have Jacoby Ellsbury. But if I’m using a legitimate 2B, I might just use Ellsbury by himself.

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  5. Nat says:

    What’s meant by this comment?

    “Remember, the specific players you choose don’t matter, it’s all about refining your process.”

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    • Brad Johnson says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      If you’re being very precise about building your roster, you’re thinking about each player as a range of possible values with a percentage likelihood of each value occurring. However, the one game sample is so granular that you’ll end up finding that Alexei Ramirez isn’t all that much worse than Ian Desmond and may even be better once you introduce price (I’m just pulling a couple names). If you need to switch from Desmond to Ramirez for some reason, that move by itself barely alters your chances for a given day.

      Put another way, if we ignore cost, my team is going to do a lot better over a full season if I use Desmond every day over Ramirez. But on a given day, we’re probably looking at a small fraction of a point difference in expected value.

      So you should be using a process rather than worrying about the player. In FanDuel, I try to maximize innings pitched, K’s, PA, and HR.

      There are a lot of competing factors to weigh.

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      • Brad Johnson says:
        FanGraphs Supporting Member

        In tournaments especially, you’ll usually find that the winning team got 2 HR from Lucas Duda, Torii Hunter, or some other player who was less than ideal for the given day.

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  6. Nat says:

    Good context, Brad. I thought that’s what you meant. I think the larger issue for aspiring DFS players is the money management, so as it applies to FanDuel, knowing/choosing when to take Ramirez for $3000 vs. Desmond for $3800 is the issue.

    An interesting subject if you ever get around to writing about it would be to talk about probabilities and # of entries in GPP vs. 50/50’s or double-ups.

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