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 primary site that I play on is DraftKings and I am mostly a GPP tournament player (I also play on Fantasy Aces). So for the most part, any recommendations I make are meant to be for GPP tournaments, not cash games, and are specific to DraftKings (though a lot of the same concepts and picks carry over to strategy on other sites).
STRATEGY FOR WEDNESDAY JUNE 24, 2015 (LATE SLATE)
I will keep this mostly short because overall, I don’t like this slate as a whole because of the lack of pitching options that are attractive to me. Because of that, I probably will not play this slate very heavily or confidently.
Wednesday’s 10 game late slate also appears to be free of any weather concerns all across the board. The only minor concern is in the LAD @ CHC game where there is a small chance of storms late in the evening. The OAK @ TEX game has temperatures around 90 degrees again, so it could be a target for hitting. And as if we needed more reason to look at Coors Field hitters, the AZ @ COL game has wind blowing out to center field.
As I said, I really am not a huge fan at all of any pitcher on this slate, but I’ll label one loosely as a “favorite”, and that is Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann’s DraftKings salary has fallen substantially since the beginning of the season, but for good reason. He has been working with diminished velocity all season long, which is costing him in the strikeout department and also has rendered him rather ineffective in several starts this season. However, he gets the fortune of facing a Braves offense on Wednesday that has lost Freddie Freeman to the DL. The lineup without Freeman is really a bleak looking lineup, so Zimmermann could take advantage of it by keeping them off the scoreboard. However, the Braves do not strikeout that much as a team, so I still am not all that confident in Zimmermann in this spot, but I will roll him out in some lineups.
SLEEPERS FOR CHEAPER:
I’ll list a couple cheap sleepers for this slate and that will be Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong is typically known as a gas can, but he has always given better results when he pitches at home in San Francisco (career 3.89 ERA at home, career 4.92 ERA on the road). And a big weakness of his is facing left-handed batters who have a .385 wOBA and 9 HR against him this season. But fortunately for him, he is against a Padres team that doesn’t have many strong left-handed bats. Also, the last time Vogelsong faced the Padres at home, it was his best game of the season as he shut them out for 7 innings on May 5.
I also think that this could be a good spot to use Jimmy Nelson. Like with Mike Fiers yesterday, Nelson is facing a Mets offense that is really scuffling right now and losing Travis d’Arnaud to the DL once again certainly does not help matters. The Mets have now scored just 8 runs in the last 6 games. I have said for a while now how inconsistent Nelson is and how difficult it has been to predict what he will do from start to start. But when he is on, he can absolutely deal. And on a slate like this one, you’re going to have to hit on a at least one cheap sleeper type of pitcher to win big money in a GPP.
THE NOT SO FAVES:
For as good as Gerrit Cole has been this season, the Reds are actually the team that has given him the most problems. Cole has faced the Reds twice already this season and he only lasted 5 innings while giving up 3 earned runs in both games, and both of those starts represent the only two times this season that he has not gone at least 6 innings and the only two times that he has given up more than 2 runs. So as the top-priced option by a large margin, I’m not too keen on using Cole when there is a history of him struggling versus this squad.
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:
With so many ugly looking pitching options, there can be so many viable “big boy stacks” in this slate. Obviously the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies are great plays at Coors Field with the wind blowing out. I also like the Texas Rangers lefties in the hot temperatures versus righty Kendall Graveman.
The sneaky stack play will be the Cincinnati Reds. I don’t necessarily think that they will go off for a bunch of runs, but as mentioned previously, they have been the only team to really rattle Cole this season. So with Cole likely to be super highly owned due to the lack of other strong pitching options, the Reds would be a very contrarian play. Take Michael Pineda against the Phillies on Monday for instance, or Chris Sale versus the Twins in the early slate on Wednesday. Both of them had ownership levels through the roof and both got rocked, which left a large portion of the field in bad position — not so much for Sale though since he logged double digit strikeouts, but you get the gist of it. In DFS, we want to go against the grain in situations where there is good reasoning to why it could be beneficial to do so. We don’t care about scoring a bunch of points in DFS, but rather we care about scoring more points than our opponents. So I will use some combination of Brandon Phillips, Todd Frazier, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Marlon Byrd, and Billy Hamilton for a Reds stack. If they happen to do well against Cole and there aren’t many other standout offenses for the day, then that could put you in good position to win.