The Daily Grind: 6-10-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. Ideal Lineup Followup
  2. Daily DFS
  3. Wednesday Picks
  4. Table

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1. More Thoughts on Lineups

This is a reaction to last night’s crazy contest. I entered two teams on FanDuel, one of which scored 53 points. There have been days where I’ve made a lot of money with 53 points and days where I’ve missed entirely. More often than not, you’ll finish towards the bottom of the money with a point total over 50. That particular roster only had three good hitters – Victor Martinez, Jose Reyes, and Jason Kipnis. Combined with Charlie Morton, they fueled the point total with multi-hit games and two home runs. If you’ll recall, my target is six home runs.

My other lineup was a doozy, but it only earned a 10x profit because, well, yesterday was crazy. In this case, four players provided most of my offense – Lonnie Chisenhall, Kipnis, Scott Van Slyke, and Adam Eaton. Stephen Strasburg nearly matched Morton’s point total. The end result was a whopping 83.5 points, a total that would win the Squeeze three out of four nights. Last night, I finished a disappointing 92nd.

The moral of the story? It’s not the points total you’re targeting, but rather above average production from all hitters. In a deep GPP, other people are going to have Chisenhall and Van Slyke in the same lineup, so you need to add Reyes, Brantley, Kipnis, and Victor Martinez if you want a shot at the gold. It’s not enough to spike five home runs out of two lineup spots, you have to have production across the board.

Of course, you have very little control over this, it’s just what you’re hoping will happen.

2. Daily DFS

Early: For whatever reason, the Astros and Diamondbacks square off for an afternoon contest. Slash them off your game board for DFS.

Late: The Orioles Chris Tillman isn’t as effective as he was last season. The Red Sox have a chance to go off as a result.

The Pirates have promoted top prospects Gregory Polanco just in time to face fellow lefty Travis Wood. While the Pirates-Wood matchup isn’t the best in DFS (the game is to be played at stingy PNC Park), Pittsburgh does feature the top lefty masher in baseball. Hint: it’s their best player.

The Kevin Correia versus J.A. Happ matchup has the potential for fireworks. Their collective ERA adds up to over 10 (why would you add ERA’s?), and the game will be at the Rogers Centre. The Twins are rather right-handed, which should benefit them a bit against Happ. Meanwhile, the Jays offense is just unfair.

Marco Estrada has been particularly homer prone this season – more than past seasons even. The Mets have enough lefties to do some real damage. On the other side of this one is Daisuke Matsuzaka, who’s actually pitching pretty well. Still, he’s Daisuke so there’s no reason to trust him.

The Texas Rangers got all kinds of pummeled yesterday. I’m sure they’re glad to kick the Indians out of town after the 17 runs they allowed yesterday. They only used four pitchers, so the bullpen isn’t super shorthanded, they’re just poorly positioned to handle another clunker. Colby Lewis hasn’t been on top of his game this season, so the Marlins may benefit.

The Detroit Tigers face a lefty at U.S. Cellular Field. The lefty is not Clayton Kershaw (did you know he’s a Dodger?), so it’s safe to target this matchup. And for the record, it’s Ordinary John Danks who will start for Chicago.

Hector Santiago is back! It seems Tyler Skaggs will need a trip to the disabled list with a gimpy hammy, so Santiago gets another spin at starting. In three Triple-A starts, he was actually worse than he was at the major league level. Expect the Athletics to steamroll him.

Yankee starter Vidal Nuno will pitch in Seattle tonight. I usually target Vidal Sassoon, but I think the Mariners lineup might not be worth the effort. Besides, there are so many better places to go.

3. Wednesday Picks

Pitchers to Start: Marcus Stroman is coming off two swell starts and he’ll face a middling Twins lineup. Stock some tasty Stroman rolls for your fantasy feast.

I’ve been staying clear of Trevor Bauer, but it’s time to dust him off for a game against one of baseball’s worst offenses – the Royals.

Jacob DeGrom is probably good enough to chew through a potent but very right-handed Brewers lineup. There’s plenty of potential for this one to go sideways, so have a care.

I’m still buying on Brandon McCarthy. Either his 3.80 FIP or 2.76 xFIP have to be more indicative of his future performance than his ugly 5.13 ERA. Right? Right?

Pitchers to Exploit: I think I may have pointed out the depleted nature of the Rangers lineup in past columns (ahem, I know I did). They’re still depleted, but I don’t think you need to be Shin-Soo Choo to hit Jacob Turner. Then again, the Rangers still have Choo on the active roster.

The Rockies debut former top prospect Tyler Matzek tomorrow. Unfortunately, the lefty will face the toughest offense against southpaws – the Braves – at the worst park for pitchers. He has serious command and control issues.

Hitters (power): With the Angels rolling at full strength, C.J. Cron is only a down-order bat against lefties. Still, he’s a nice buy for tomorrow against Tommy Milone.

Very few Atlanta hitters are freely available. Chris Johnson and Dan Uggla are two of them. Andrelton Simmons might be another. In Colorado, I’d consider any and all of them.

Jonathan Singleton will face McCarthy. He’s seemingly homer prone with this new approach, which Singleton might enjoy.

Gordon Beckham draws Drew Smyly. I’m tempted to make an artistry pun, but I’ll leave it at that.

Jonny Gomes is go. Go is Gomes.

What the hell, use Adam Lind and Juan Francisco against Phil Hughes tomorrow. He may be quite a bit better this season, but I bet he still has a home run problem outside of Target Field.

Hitters (speed): Leonys Martin is one such Ranger who will face Turner.

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.

We have all kinds of weather warnings at this early point in the day. Games in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, and Chicago all have a 20 to 40 percent chance of rain. The game in Cincinnati is listed as having a 70 percent chance of rain.

The Link. Green and red, green and red. It must be Christmas in June, except we’re getting rain instead snow. ~I’m dreaming, of a graaaaaaaay Christmas.

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.

8 Responses to “The Daily Grind: 6-10-14 – Presented by FanDuel”

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      I had not, thanks.

      Diversification is a great plan in theory, but you have to have the capital to back it up. The difference between DFS and gambling is very minute, it’s easy to lose a ton of money even with a good process.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  1. Allen says:

    Is this industry sustainable if sharks keep hammering the micro buy ins?

    I think regarding the article any news is good for the industry, but with edges as small as they are I worry that this may be as good as it gets.

    Ie when the big fish at the poker table busts the games roi decreases dramatically. Not saying this is happening but I think it’s a concern

    10+ percent on Chisenhall last night already indicates this isn’t your grandpa’s soft poker game…

    I just want as much new blood as possible :)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      There’s always going to be a format that draws more attention from newbies than pros. As more people get involved, we should see the sharks leave the wading pools (Bunt, Squeeze, Single).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • ldavidjm says:

        The problem is that unlike poker, there’s zero extra time commitment to throw that lineup you’re entering in the $200 contest into the $2 contest as well.

        And if there are the most fish in the low money contests there’s no reason not to enter those as well.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Allen says:

        Exactly. The sharks are volume vacuums.

        I’m guilty of game selecting myself… For example, any player from 2012 w less than 100 wins playing a random day, I’m going to take those games

        On the other hand I think coaching a fish up isn’t terribly hard either. That lowers edge too. It’s the pareto principle with 20% of the effort a fish can get 80% of the result using even basic logic like platoons and park factors.

        To go back to poker, if I saw a guy that could only play TAG but not deviate from that strategy I’d destroy him. But he would probably be profitable in lower stakes.

        Either way, I love the DFS challenge but I think I might be a little bearish on the industry as a whole. I know too many players that have lost their 25 or 100 bucks and lost interest. Hope I’m wrong though…

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brad Johnson says:

        I could only play TAG if I had more than 3 tables open. And I usually played 8-12 so…but that’s the value of TAG, it’s a volume strategy.

        I suspect some DFS platform will devise a way to separate the sharks from the minnows if the minnows want to be on their own. DraftKings has a version of that – for your first 100 games, you’re eligible for beginners-only contests. All they’d need to do is set some sort of $/day volume bar instead of games played.

        You also hit upon my approach to DFS. With 1/10th of the effort, I can replicate 90% of the value of a pro. Every once and awhile I start thinking about building an algorithm, but then I remember how much EFFORT is involved.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. ldavidjm says:

    As far as the death of DFS, I think its premature to think anything is on the downswing. There’s a ton of investment (Wall Street and other) going into DFS still, and of all the people I know who play fantasy sports I’m the only one who’s touched DFS…. Anecdotal, but still.

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