Daily Fantasy Strategy – 6/11/13 – For Draftstreet

The trouble with daily fantasy baseball is that on some days, everything looks like a bad option.

Sometimes it finally feels like the smart guys who assign value to players hit most everything, at least for a day. There isn’t a glaring value that jumps out at you, and sometimes — even after further inspection — you’re not sure that you can find a hole in the system to exploit. The options may not all be bad, but they’re at least just “okay” or “average,” and that could keep you from being a winner and just falling into the middle of the pack.

Or maybe there’s just too much variation in terms of weather. When it (hypothetically) looks like a 50% of heavy rain could cancel most of the games in the northeast, why put yourself at risk by picking those players? Sure, you could be the guy who’s smart enough to pick only players who’re definitely playing — but someone who doesn’t even eye weather reports could pick great players, and then luck out on the precipitation front. Not cool.

Take it from me, feel free to take a day off every once in a while. Recharge the batteries. Daily fantasy games will still be there for you when you come back tomorrow with clear eyes and better options. If you feel like you have to play, err on the side of low-risk options: bet on guys with low variability, players who are assured of a lineup spot or not getting rained out. Take the guys you feel like you can count on to have a good day, with the option of a great day, rather than boom-or-bust guys who will give you two homers or four strikeouts. Save your riskier picks for a better day.

Or, y’know, just take my advice on these players.

The Daily Five

Gerrit Cole – $9,126

This is kind of a lot of money for a guy making his major league debut, where anything can happen. Nevertheless, Cole brings a lot to the table: top prospect background (check out Marc Hulet’s breakdown of him), a dynamite fastball, and solid command and control for a young pitcher. Today, Cole faces the Giants, a rather ordinary offensive team (wRC+ of 101) that is third-from-last in the majors in home runs — and they’re playing in a park that inhibits big offense. Given today’s other options, I’ll roll the dice.

Mike Trout – $9,828

This is too cheap for one of baseball’s best hitters. He’s worth the money today, against a meh starter in Baltimore’s Miguel Gonzalez. He may not run on Matt Wieters, but he’s Mike Trout so buy him.

Matt Carpenter – $8,258

The new Carpenter of note in St. Louis has been on an absolute tear of late, and shows no signs of slowing down. Pairing that against a very average (at best) starter in the Mets’ Jeremy Hefner — one who’s a righty who doesn’t miss bats — is a good play.

Jason Heyward – $7,697

I’m not in on Jason Heyward because he clubbed two dingers last night, I’m in on him as a lower-risk play. As Ben noted yesterday, Heyward is picking up the pace at the plate, and I trust his batting eye against Andrew Cashner. Cashner hasn’t limited an opposing offense to less than three runs in any of his last four starts.

Alexei Ramirez – $5,141

When in doubt, bet against Chien-Ming Wang. Trust me on this one. And it’s not like J.P. Arencibia and/or Josh Thole are elite at keeping guys from stealing, while Ramirez is always a threat on the basepaths.

One Day FREE Fantasy Contest – $300 in cash prizes
Daily Fantasy is easy — you pick a lineup that’s good for one night only, and then you’re eligible to win cash. FanGraphs readers are hereby invited to enter a FREE one-day fantasy league with $300 in prizes.
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This free contest will be Pick ‘em style drafting. The way Pick ‘Em leagues work is you have eight tiers of players and each tier will have players to choose from. You select one player from each tier. Nothing to lose and it takes five minutes to build a team. You can adjust your roster up until the contest starts on this Friday, at which time your rosters will lock and the Live Scoreboard will be available.

This post, covering one of the leading sites for daily fantasy is sponsored and made possible by the generous support of Draftstreet. FanGraphs will maintain complete editorial control of the postings, and brings you these posts in our continued desire to provide the best analytical information on the latest in baseball.

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Bryan values positional flexibilty and a good 12-6 curveball. He’s the Lead Writer at Beyond the Box Score. Catch him on Twitter at @bgrosnick.

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