The Daily Grind: 6-11-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. Sharks and Minnows
  2. Daily DFS
  3. Thin Thursday
  4. Table

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1. Sharks and Minnows

In the comments section yesterday, we discussed the implications of this article from the Wall Street Journal.

Commenter Allen wondered if the industry is sustainable if sharks keep hammering the micro buy-ins. As we discussed, because the time constraint for entering an additional lineup is small (especially when an algorithm hands you an optimized lineup), there’s nothing keeping the sharks out of our little Bunts and Squeezes. In online poker, the small EV would keep the big fish away, forming a nice safe minnow pond for the players who are good but not great. Since this column is a proponent of the 10 percent effort for 90 percent of the results approach to DFS, I suspect most of us fall into the good-but-not-great bucket.

I know I can win more money if I spend more time per day doing calculations. But I have fun playing DFS my way. Part of the fun is I do occasionally spike a lineup and take home a bunch of money. If more and more sharks keep entering our minnow ponds, it might drive new users away. Nobody wants to play a game they never win. Should the DFS platforms offer a sort of low-roller contest?

For the record, I enter $30-80 per day. Compared to the sharks, it’s a small buy-in. Plenty of DFS players work on less than $10 of entries per day.

2. Daily DFS

Early: Like the last two days, a couple early games won’t be available for DFS. Games in Toronto and Kansas City are off the table – sorry guys. On second thought, why am I apologizing, I didn’t make the schedule.

Late: Wei-Yin Chen can have a bit of trouble against right-handed hitters, so he’s definitely worth thinking about as a target. We know how power and Camden Yards go hand-in-hand.

Jacob Turner has been getting hit around in Miami, so I’m curious to see how he performs in an actual hitters park. He’s been every kind of hittable this season.

John Danks is your typical mid-tier pitcher, albeit one you don’t want on your fantasy squad due to a low strikeout rate. Unfortunately, a matchup in Chicago against the right-handed Tigers spells trouble. M-O-O-N, that’s trouble.

If you want to bet on Brandon McCarthy continuing to allow a ton of home runs, nobody will hold it against you. Personally, I won’t be making that bet.

Lefty Tyler Matzek will make his major league debut for the Rockies today. He’ll face the Braves – the team that mashes lefties best. Matzek is said to have good stuff and terrible control, so don’t expect predictability.

I mention Tommy Milone only because the Angels have several potent lefty killers led by Mike Trout. Milone himself is a better version of Danks.

3. Thin Thursday

Pitchers to Start: I usually bet against Kyle Kendrick, but a matchup against the San Diego Padres makes me think he’s fringe usable. No Kendrick outing has high upside, but if he can work efficiently, he might last deep into the ball game.

Thanks to an improved walk rate and a game against the Cubs, Edinson Volquez is another fringy pick off the waiver wire.

If you want a trendier pick, Chase Whitley will face the Mariners. He’s been quite sharp in his five starts. His 2.8 percent walk rate will probably regress, but he’s also generated a 11.1 percent swinging strike rate and a measly 17 percent strikeout rate. It’s possible he’ll induce more strikeouts going forward.

Pitchers to Exploit: The Braves don’t hit right-handed pitchers worth a lick, but they’re still at Coors Field. Take a look against Jhoulys Chacin.

Kevin Gausman is coming off a strong outing against the Athletics. If he can survive against the Blue Jays tomorrow, he won’t be in this exploit section for awhile. I know we shouldn’t use two games against any team to inform our opinions, but Gausman is kind of a special case. His stuff has always been a lot better than his results. Therefore, it’s easier to believe good results.

Hitters (power): Alfonso Soriano has become increasingly available due to season long struggles. He’ll see lefty Roenis Elias tomorrow.

Rickie Weeks will start against Jon Niese. Not a fantastic matchup, but worth mentioning.

Similarly, Yan Gomes has the platoon advantage versus Jon Lester, but don’t get too excited.

Adam Lind and Juan Francisco: All day, everyday. (Actually that’s a lie, only use them against right-handers. Duh.)

Hitters (speed): I recommended Whitley, but with such a short sample to his name, you may want to try James Jones and Michael Saunders.

Brock Holt is still pulling regular leadoff duties for the Red Sox despite being forced to an unfamiliar position. You can use him against Josh Tomlin.

Tommy La Stella (and Holt) isn’t really a speed guy, but he has some speed and he’s not a power play. Chacin’s control has been less than excellent this season and La Stella is the exact type of patient hitter to exploit it.

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.

It’s been a stormy month. The games in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati are at risk today. The Cubs-Pirates game is the only one with above a 50 percent chance of rain at this time.

The Link. Still a lot of green on the board. It appears as though Texas is the best place for home run friendly weather.

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.

5 Responses to “The Daily Grind: 6-11-14 – Presented by FanDuel”

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  1. Bill says:

    I enter the Bunt 3-4 times per week. Occasionally I’ll play in other small stakes games, but I generally avoid games that allow multiple entries from one account.

    In the Bunt I’m up against 3000-4000 different accounts. Now, I have no idea how many sharks have multiple accounts, but assuming the number isn’t too high I feel like I limit my exposure to the sharks by avoiding the multi entry games.

    I’m in it for the fun too – pick a line up using some rational approach and then cheer for the players while watching as if my watching has some impact on the performance.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      Single Entry is definitely one “counter” to the sharks. However, I get the impression that people put a lot of dud entries into the Squeeze in the name of diversity. Diversification is a good strategy for an individual, but as a separate individual, I have no problem playing against a somebody who enters a bunch of very different lineups. It doesn’t really affect my odds very much in a 10,000 person tournament.

      Vote -1 Vote +1