Season long fantasy sports leagues have been around for decades now and have really revolutionized the way both casual and hardcore sports fans look at the game. But a more recent adaptation of fantasy sports is the daily fantasy sports (DFS) approach where you are only committed to a single day’s worth of games at a time and can win some serious cash on a daily basis. I personally have become very involved in DFS in addition to all my season long leagues, and so I hope that I can share some of the knowledge that I have gained and provide some helpful tips in that area from time to time as well.
***The sites that I play on are DraftKings and FantasyAces.
MONDAY JUNE 15, 2015
We have a full 15-game slate on Monday with some nice pitching options, but there could be some thunderstorms in a good portion of these games. If it is just “rain” in the forecast, the chances of serious delay or postponement is much lower, unless it is some crazy heavy rain. Rather, it is the “thunderstorm” listing in the forecast that we really have to be careful with as thunderstorms can cause prolonged delays that will force the starting pitchers from the game if the delay is a couple hours, or worse it can postpone the game completely.
Francisco Liriano – The southpaw Liriano gets a dream matchup versus the White Sox as their overall ineffectiveness versus left-handed pitching is very apparent. The White Sox are the 3rd lowest overall scoring team in the Majors, rank in the bottom third of the league in strikeout rate versus lefties, and are also dead last by large margins in ISO (.078) and wOBA (.241) versus left-handed pitching. Also, the White Sox have the 2nd lowest walk rate (5.5%) versus lefties. With Liriano having control issues at times, the impatience of the White Sox lineup is a big positive for him to keep the runners off the base and runs off the board. Liriano also possesses double digit strikeout upside anytime that he takes the hill with 3 games of 10+ strikeouts this season and a strikeout rate of 10.49 K/9. Start him with confidence in this extremely favorable home start. ***WARNING: The forecast at the writing of this post is calling for thunderstorms.
Dallas Keuchel – We all know that the home/road splits of the Rockies offense shows a large discrepancy, and so far this season one of the most optimal situations for a pitcher is for the pitcher to be left-handed and hosting the Rockies. Well, guess what? Keuchel happens to pitch with his left hand and he gets to pitch in his home park against the Rockies offense. There is no team that strikes out against left-handed pitching more than the Rockies (though that number does get skewed due to having faced Clayton Kershaw four times already this season), and though Keuchel isn’t a huge strikeout artist, he is capable of dominating teams that struggle versus left-handed pitching as evidenced in his CGSO with 11 K versus the White Sox a couple weeks ago. The Rockies also rank towards the bottom of the league in ISO, wOBA, and BB% versus lefties. I imagine the Rockies will employ a right-handed heavy lineup to combat Keuchel, which could limit his strikeout potential, but he should have a high floor for scoring points at the very least.
Masahiro Tanaka – Since returning from the DL, Tanaka has been aces with a 1.33 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, and 21 K/2 BB in 20.1 IP and that included games against two good offenses in the Nationals and Tigers. Tanaka faces the Marlins on Monday and even though they have Giancarlo Stanton, this is one of the weakest offenses in the game against right-handed pitching. The Marlins rank dead last in ISO versus righties and 3rd to last in wOBA versus righties. Their strikeout rate versus righties is only the 11th highest, but that’s probably good enough for Tanaka to exploit given that he is a strikeout per inning type of pitcher and is usually pretty efficient with his pitch counts to work deep into ballgames. Tanaka also will get the added irregular bonus of facing the pitcher possibly twice in this interleague game for an opportunity for some easy strikeouts.
Carlos Rodon – Rodon has shown some nice improvements over his last few starts in the walk department, which is a very welcoming sight for a rookie pitcher who was walking nearly a batter per inning for a bit. So going up against a Pirates offense that is not all that patient (24th in the Majors in BB% versus lefties) will be helpful for him. Also in Rodon’s favor is that the Pirates strike out the 2nd most in the Majors versus lefties at 23.9%. Due to Rodon’s effectively wild pitching style, his pitch count gets pretty high early on and he doesn’t work too deep into games, but he does have the ability to miss a lot of bats and can easily strikeout a batter per inning or better. The negatives for him are that he is pitching on the road and against Liriano who is in the dream matchup, but on a site like DraftKings where the strikeouts are more important than a win, Rodon’s cheap price makes him a very nice play. I would even say that starting both Liriano and Rodon in the same lineup on DraftKings would make for a permissible GPP (guaranteed prize pool) tournament play, and hopefully they both would dominate and one would walk away with a win. ***WARNING: The forecast at the writing of this post is calling for thunderstorms. UPDATE (11:52 AM PST): Due to the Pirates lineup consisting of all right-handed bats, Rodon gets a downgrade to his strikeout upside.
SLEEPERS FOR CHEAPER: For some low-owned cheap pitchers, Trevor May, Jesse Hahn, and Williams Perez could turn in some nice value. May has been rolling hot with a couple of 9 K games in his last 4 starts and the Cardinals strikeout the 3rd most versus righties. Hahn will be visiting his old stomping grounds of Petco Park and the Padres generally have a right-handed heavy lineup that Hahn could potentially whiz through and perhaps the interleague matchup will get his strikeouts back up. Perez is the most playable of the super dirt cheap options, but I wouldn’t be all that comfortable in using him at Fenway Park. He has done decently for the most part, but he has yet to make a start in a stadium that truly favors hitters.
THE NOT SO FAVES: One of my not so favorite pitchers that might look appealing is Jake Arrieta hosting the Indians. With the Indians lineup being left-handed heavy, faring better against righties, and ranking in the top half of the league in applicable categories, I am lukewarm on the Cubs righty. He’s got the strikeout potential in nearly any matchup, but I probably will avoid him here, especially with possible thunderstorms. On the flip side of this matchup is Trevor Bauer who we would think to be in a nice spot with the strikeout prone Cubs lineup, but something that the Cubs are also very good at is taking a walk, and Bauer has really struggled with his control lately with 12 walks in his last 3 starts.
A strategy that has worked since the introduction of DFS is stacking multiple players (3-6) from one offense. However, in certain situations it may be more beneficial not to stack as it is becoming more contrarian not to do full stacks since so many people are doing it now. But for the most part, stacking (mini-stack at the very least) seems to be a component of most winning tournament lineups.
BIG BOY STACKS:
Texas Rangers – With the Rangers at home facing the righty Carlos Frias of the Dodgers who just isn’t very good, especially versus left-handed hitters (.396 wOBA allowed), the Rangers are looking nice, especially if the wind is blowing in from right-center field (this wind direction creates a wind tunnel at this stadium that helps carry the ball out). The Rangers are a left-handed heavy lineup, so Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder (or Mitch Moreland), Joey Gallo, and Leonys Martin make for a nice looking stack. And Rougned Odor, who has been hot at AAA, was recalled and is probably very cheap if available and would make a nice addition to the stack (if starting) or as a cheap plug in for any roster.
Los Angeles Dodgers – On the flip side of the game in Arlington, the Dodgers have been the best hitting team versus right-handed pitching in both ISO and wOBA, and they square off against Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo has surpassed my expectations of him this season so far, but the Dodgers in a hitters park against a righty is always worth taking a shot with, and they get to use a DH in this one. Any Dodgers lefty would be good in this stack, and Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner are also viable options.
Atlanta Braves – The Braves players are usually going to be low owned because of their lack of big names and home run hitters, but they do have the ability to rally against some pitchers. The Braves have scored 8 or more runs in 9 games this season, all of which have come in games started by mediocre righties (most recently on Sunday against Dillon Gee), and their opponent on Monday, Rick Porcello, qualifies as a medicore righty. Porcello is giving up HR at a career high rate this year (1.31 HR/9) and also isn’t extraordinary at limiting base stealers. A full stack of Jace Peterson, Cameron Maybin, Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis, Kelly Johnson, and A.J. Pierzynski would be a very cheap one and would leave room to grab two of the top priced pitchers. If the Braves go on a rampage and the ace pitchers perform as expected, then that’s a moneymaker. Currently this game has “chance of rain” in the forecast, which could steer people away from this game to make this stack even more attractive as a sneaky contrarian play. And an added bonus for visiting team offenses is that they always have the full 9 innings to hit, whereas the home team is only guaranteed 8 innings.
- Tyson Ross is pitching versus the A’s. He has allowed an astounding 21 SB in 13 starts this season. This all but guarantees Billy Burns a stolen base if he reaches first base with nobody on second base. And the rest of the A’s with middling speed but the ability to go yard such as Ben Zobrist, Marcus Semien, Josh Reddick, Brett Lawrie, and Mark Canha all get a boost in this one. So the A’s can also make for a sneaky stack.
- Jered Weaver has been prone to the home run ball and the stolen base. Fire away with an Arizona stack, but the caution here is that Weaver fares much better in his home park that plays more pitcher friendly. But I imagine that the same-handedness of the Diamondbacks best hitters (Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock) will scare people away from using a full Diamondbacks stack in tournaments.