The Daily Grind: 6-17-14 – Presented by FanDuel


  1. Studs or Duds
  2. Daily DFS
  3. Wednesday Picks
  4. Table

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1. Studs or Duds

Most days, choosing how much to spend on a pitcher has a strong effect on the quality of your lineup. The name of the game is to maximize your expected points per dollar spent, subject to a few constraints. What do you do when two pitchers project to a similar points per dollar ratio but a vastly different points total? Let’s take Yu Darvish and Josh Tomlin. Tomlin costs about 40 percent as much as Darvish and projects to post about seven points. Darvish looks to be worth about 16 points today.

If I determine both pitchers are among the best values, then I’ll usually build a lineup with both and discard the weaker option. Using both lineups is always an option too. Type of contest matters. A GPP requires more luck (i.e. risk) than a 50/50. Against a field of 10,000 lineups, I probably need more budget to mix in a few elite hitters, like today’s Brewers stack.

There is a functional cap on what a pitcher can produce – around 24 points (nine IP, zero runs, 11 strikeouts, and a win). Darvish’s range of likely outcomes is probably about 11-20 points. Tomlin ranges from something like 2 to 15 points. It is possible for Tomlin to single-handedly torpedo your lineup or outperform Darvish. The big guy is more likely to be either useful or very useful, but that certainty costs an extra $6,900.

2. Daily DFS

Early: It is said the cheese stands alone. Also standing alone are the Padres and Mariners. At least they are standing alone together.

Late: It’s been awhile since we last discussed Cleveland’s Progressive Field. It’s a pitcher friendly stadium, except when it comes to left-handed power. Both Matt Shoemaker and Tomlin are right-handed pitchers who allow their share of home runs. Left-handed hitters on either side of the fence are worth a look today.

Brandon Cumpton is a light target. Even though he has a sky high ERA, he’s not really that bad. PNC Park is rarely the place to look for offense, but a couple notable Reds lefties are relatively cheap.

Kyle Kendrick is occasionally good, occasionally bad, and often mediocre. You can bet on the Braves offense if you want to fade a few of the top stacks tonight.

I haven’t seen Anthony DeSclafani pitch. He has decent looking strikeout and walk rates, but it’s unclear if he can hold his own in the majors. The Cubs aren’t a major threat for explosive offense.

The Giants have plenty of right-handed power bats. They (the bats) are sad because they live at AT&T Park. The Giants were nice enough to go on vacation to Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field to break up the monotony of warning track fly outs. They (the Giants) will face southpaw John Danks.

The Milwaukee Brewers are murder on lefties. Their lineup features three of the best lefty mashers in baseball. Wade Miley is a lefty. See where I’m going with this?

3. Wednesday Picks

Pitchers to Start: I don’t know why Aaron Harang has more swinging strikes and strikeouts this season. I just know it makes him a viable starter against teams like the Phillies.

Jake Arrieta has become rather popular, but I’m not quite buying the hype. In fact, I think I’ll take the next five minutes to try to trade him in the one league I own him. Still, a matchup against the Miami Marlins isn’t particularly dangerous.

Chase Anderson is a risky option for tomorrow. His issue has been home runs, and the Brewers can pop a few of them. He also has pretty decent stuff. He’s good enough to become a waiver wire option similar to Zach McAllister.

Pitchers to Exploit: Nick Tepesch has a difficult assignment – the Oakland Athletics. The A’s have flayed him in the past (last season). Tepesch is throwing two mph softer this season, and his 4.99 FIP isn’t confidence inspiring.

Justin Masterson has lost quite a bit of command and control this season. He’s toxic for most fantasy purposes. The stuff is there to shutdown any team, but he can implode at any moment.

Hitters (power): If he starts, Scott Van Slyke is an interesting choice against Jorge de la Rosa.

Give Adam LaRoche a try versus Scott Feldman.

Adam Lind and Juan Francisco will have the platoon advantage in one of the best places for lefty power.

Kole Calhoun was a preseason favorite due to his decent combination of average, power, and speed. He hasn’t done much lately, but he is the leadoff man.

The Mets have a few lefties to use against Lance Lynn like Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda.

Hitters (speed): Scooter Gennett is pulling leadoff reps with the Brewers. Maybe he’ll attempt a few more steals.

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.

The Midwest has a chance for isolated storms, including Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland.

The Link. A whopping nine games have a taste of 10 grade weather today. Expect the home runs to flow.

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, RotoWorld, and Rotoballer. Follow him on Twitter @BaseballATeam or email him here.

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I would beware of taking Lind or Francisco for tonight’s game. Lind is very unlikely to play because of a sore foot and Francisco might play or he might not play. While Francisco is pretty good against righties, he’s not so good against righties who throw bendy stuff, which is what Tanaka throws a lot of.