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Daily Fantasy Strategy – 8/4/13 – For Draftstreet

Always, always, always know your scoring system. I know the other guys who write in this space have done a fantastic job breaking down some of Draftstreet’s unique scoring rubric (and where you want to chase), but this point can never can be repeated enough.

Example? I have a good friend who just started playing Draftstreet a few weeks ago. Certainly not new to the fantasy baseball scene, but just getting his feet wet in daily games. Friday night we had a GChat conversation that went something like this (cleaned up for a family-friendly audience!).

Friend: I am only a few points out of the cash and I have Jordan Zimmerman, Andrew Cashner, and Shelby Miller. They’re all out of the game, and once they get their W’s, I’ll rocket up the rankings! Top 5, here I come!
Me: Nice job!
(two hours later)
Friend: What?! I still missed the money!
Me: Really? That’s unfortunate. What happened to the wins?
(short pause)
Friend: What, they’re only worth 1.5 points each? I figured they were worth– like– 5.

For those new to Draftstreet, wins and losses are significantly devalued relative to other pitching stats than many players are used to from typical points leagues. With a win being +1.5 and a loss being -0.75, it only takes another 1.2 innings or a couple punchouts from your starter to offset not getting a win. Playing mediocre pitchers at average value because they are going up against a bad team is a recipe for finishing mid-pack. If you read these columns here, I recommend you exploit arbitrage elsewhere (using peripheral stats) and let the underweighted wins/losses fall where they may.

The Daily Five

Alex Wood – $8,392

Surprisingly cheap cost for a guy sporting a 2.46 xFIP in the big leagues this season. Wood’s .337 BABIP has eleveated his ERA a touch and he gets a mid-pack Phillies offense. He’s going up against Cliff Lee, but as I mentioned upthread, chasing wins doesn’t seem like the most cost-effective strategy. I’d roll the dice.

Scott Kazmir – $13,494

Just was able to scoop Kazmir up in another fantasy league. How is he still available in anything that’s not a 10-teamer? 2.16 ERA since the middle of June with a K/BB better than 3/1. He is playing the Marlins, too. They are second-to-last in runs scored in 2013, although haven’t been that bad the last month or so (top 10 in the NL!), so this isn’t the slam dunk “START EVERYONE AGAINST MIAMI” it was earlier this year.

Curtis Granderson – $7,435

The Grandy Man can! Granderson finally returned from a second broken bone in his hand and is ready to help fantasy owners down the stretch. You can’t expect miracles right away, but he’ll be toeing off against the right-handed Ian Kennedy (the same Ian Kennedy the contending Diamondbacks thought so little of their sent him away for a variety of bullpen pieces). Unfortunately, they aren’t at Yankee Stadium, but maybe that’s why his cost isn’t $39,262.

Jose Bautista – $7,987

Bautista has looked back on track; popping dingers at an above-average rate since everyone returned from the all-star break (1 per 14 PA instead of his 1 per 20 mark in the first half), so I’m not too sure why his cost is sub-$8,000. Maybe we’re all just a little worried about outfielders flying into the stands to take points away from us? (Since we all love fantasy sob stories, that catch was the difference between 9th place and 24th place in a “pay top 20” pool a couple nights ago!)

Luke Scott – $7,060

Scott hurts your versatility a bit since he’s only DH-eligible in Draftstreet, but he’s your obligatory “reasonably-priced, lefty-masher taking on an “eh” righty” option for the day.

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.

CLICK HERE to sign up now!

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.