Yahoo! Joins the DFS Party (and other notes from 7/8/15)

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In a fantasy world where daily fantasy sports (DFS) games are becoming more and more popular due to the instant gratification and large cash prizes that they can provide, it was only a matter of time before one of the big names of the season long fantasy sports world began to offer the daily games that sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings have popularized over the last few years.  On Wednesday, Yahoo! launched their version of daily fantasy sports offerings beginning with MLB contests.

Yahoo! provided an update to their fantasy sports application that now provides dual access to both the season long leagues and the daily fantasy contests.  With one click on the screen, it’s easy to switch on over from one to the other. Overall, the app could use some work in comparison to DraftKings great piece of work, but I’m sure that it will evolve in time.

It would appear that Yahoo! has made their DFS platform for MLB a bit of a hybrid between FanDuel and DraftKings.  The scoring system overall is much more similar to that of FanDuel in the sense that the wins for pitchers are a big thing.  For an example, a win on Yahoo! is worth four times the amount of a pitcher strikeout.  On DraftKings, a pitcher win is only worth two times the amount of a pitcher strikeout.  However, the scoring system on Yahoo! takes a page out of DraftKings’ book by not having any point penalties to hitters for strikeouts.  And as far as lineup configuration goes on Yahoo!, you must select two pitchers just like on DraftKings, as opposed to only one pitcher like on FanDuel.

Right now, it should pay off in the short term to play DFS guaranteed prize pool tournaments on Yahoo!  There’s going to be some extreme overlay in the early going due to things just starting out.  Overlay is created in GPP’s when the total numbers of entrants multiplied by the entry fee does not equal or exceed the amount that is listed as the “guaranteed” dollar amount to be paid out.

For instance, on Wednesday there was a tournament on Yahoo! that offered a guaranteed $10,000 in prizes and it was a $2 entry.  So there had to be at least 5,000 entrants ($10,000 divided by $2) to ensure that Yahoo! did not have to add money of its own to the guaranteed prize pool of $10,000.  But in this particular tournament there were only 3,163 entries at $2 a piece for a total of $6,326, which meant that Yahoo! had to contribute $3,674 of their own money to equal $10,000. And before the tournament, it was already established that the top 20% of the maximum amount of 5,682 entries would be paid out.  20% of 5,682 is 1,420.  But with only 3,163 total entries, that meant that the top 45% (1,420 divided by 3,163) of the entries would cash in the tournament, and with the chance to win the top prize of $2,000.  So a situation like this provides a lot of value and should be taken advantage of by submitting multiple entries — it gives the ability to win more money with less competition.

So I would recommend giving the Yahoo! DFS games a look, especially in the early going to try and grab some value with the overlay situation.  Also, the competition might be softer since the Yahoo! DFS games should attract a lot of the season long players that Yahoo! has — players who may not have ever played DFS before.  Now let’s take a look at Wednesday’s slate of baseball action.

Brian Dozier – 2 for 5, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 2 SB, 1 K.  Dozier had one heck of a fantasy day on Wednesday to bring his season line to a .260 AVG, 18 HR, 45 RBI, 64 R, and 9 SB.  He’s 2nd in the Majors in runs scored and 1st in extra base hits, yet somehow he’s not an All-Star… yet.  He’s on the final man ballot and is probably the most deserving of them all.  #VoteDozier

Tommy Milone – 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K with the W.  Milone started the year in the rotation with the Twins, but had a 4.76 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in a month of work before being sent down to AAA.  At AAA in 5 starts, he was absolutely brilliant with a 0.70 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, and 47 K/3 BB in 38.2 IP.  Watching the broadcast of his start on Wednesday, the announcers were talking about Milone’s dominance upon his demotion and how when he got sent down he worked on pitching away to hitters because his ineffectiveness in doing so was one of his main issues in the first month.  In 7 starts since being recalled, Milone has a 1.48 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 32 K/11 BB in 44 IP.  Things appear to be clicking for him and he is much more effective in working away to both righties and lefties.  Milone isn’t a huge strikeout artist, despite what he did in his AAA stint, but he can be helpful in ERA and WHIP.  He’s worth a look in fantasy leagues.

Glen Perkins – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the SV.  Perkins is now a perfect 28 for 28 in save opportunities this season with a 1.24 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 35 K/5 BB in 36.1 IP.  Yeah, he’s been pretty good this year and there’s no real reaosn to think that he can’t keep it up.

Manny Machado – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R.  On the Baseball Reference website, they list player nicknames on each player’s page, and apparently Machado has the nicknames of “Hakuna Machado” and “Baby Face Assassin.”  Personally, I like the nickname that I have given him, “The Macho Man” Manny Machado.  And once again, the Macho Man went yard for the 19th time this season.  He’s awesome.

Chris Davis – 3 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R.  The lefty Chris Davis got 3 hits on Wednesday off left-handed pitching, including a his 19th HR of the season, to bring his season line against lefties to a .317 AVG with 5 HR and 15 RBI in 82 AB and a 22.5% strikeout rate.  Not bad for a player who has not hit lefties well at all with a .236 career AVG with a 30.8% strikeout rate against them coming into the day.  These improvements against left-handed pitching this year are a big step for Davis, and if he can begin to hit righties like we know he can then he could really have a big second half.

Chris Parmelee – 0 for 3, 2 K.  Okay, I think the Chris Parmelee experiment might be over and he won’t surprise the baseball world like Chris Colabello has and like I speculated that he might.  Parmelee’s AVG is down to .224 and he’ll probably begin to lose playing time soon.

Ubaldo Jimenez – 5 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K.  Ubaldo was pretty lucky to come away unscathed in the run department on Wednesday, but he did make a pretty impressive over the shoulder grab on a short pop up just past the pitcher’s mound. He now has a 2.81 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in a bounce back season, but he should see some regression over the second half.

Bud Norris – 1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K with the BS and L.  Norris was pushed to the bullpen to make way for the youngster Kevin Gausman.  Gausman, however, got rocked on Tuesday, so Norris had an opportunity to put together a nice relief appearance to give manager Buck Showalter something to think about.  But Norris then got rocked himself, so expect Gausman to be given more looks in the rotation, which is good for the fantasy world since Gausman has way more upside.

Cameron Maybin – 1 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R.  Maybin continued his breakout season on Wednesday with a HR and he is now hitting .295 with 8 HR, 43 RBI, 37 R, and 15 SB.  In his age 28 season, he is finally showing the promise that he once had as a top prospect.  His batting average may come down over the second half, but the blend of power and speed is a great thing.

Julio Teheran – 7 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K.  Teheran turned in his second good game in a row and his ERA is now the lowest that it’s been since May 21.  Unfortunately, his ERA is still ugly at 4.56, but he’s showing signs that he could continue to improve his numbers over the second half.  But as I stated a while ago, it’s going to depend on his control.  At 3.23 BB/9, his walk rate is still well above the marks that he has posted in the last two seasons of 2.08 BB/9 and 2.18 BB/9.

Carlos Gomez – 2 for 3, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  After CarGo hit a grand slam a few days ago, I pondered if that would get him going and it looks like maybe it did as he had a 2 HR game on Wednesday.  He now has 8 HR on the season and will have a chance to reach 20 HR, but his inefficiency on the base paths from 7 for 12 in SB attempts is the big concern for a player whose fantasy value is also predicated on his speed.

Khris Davis – 1 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R.  Davis returned from the DL on Wednesday and promptly hit a HR, but manager Craig Counsell stated that the red hot Gerardo Parra will remain his regular left fielder.  This should come as no surprise given how big of a part of the offense that Parra has been in Davis’ absence, but this all could be a moot point soon since Parra is expected to be traded before the deadline.  Davis has some decent power and will become a full-time starter once again if/when Parra gets traded, so if you need the power then a preemptive strike on Davis wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Mike Fiers – 6 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K.  For the first time all season, Fiers’ strikeout rate has fallen below 9.00 K/9.  While Fiers isn’t one a pitcher who relies on velocity to succeed given that his average fastball sits around 89 MPH, it is still worth noting that his velocity over the last 10 starts has been lower than it was in the first month and a half of the season.  If this is a trend that continues over his next couple of starts and his strikeouts don’t rebound at all, then Fiers could be in some trouble.

Jefry Marte – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R.  Marte hit his 1st Major League HR for the Tigers on Wednesday as he got a start at first base with Miguel Cabrera out.  Until Cabrera returns, it is possible that Marte will be the team’s first baseman against left-handed pitching and he could provide a little pop.  He’s not really season long league material, but could be an option in DFS on the cheap.

Anibal Sanchez – 6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 6 K with the W.  Yet another example of Anibal’s unpredictability.  This was a nice matchup for him against a poor Mariners offense, but his control was lost.  Even though he came away with a win and a quality start, it was surely not a good performance.

Jacob deGrom – 8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K with the W.  DeGrom has really taken his game to a whole new level this season and he bounced back from a poor start last time out to dominate the Giants on Wednesday.  His control has improved greatly (2.76 BB/9 last year to 1.66 BB/9 this year) and his velocity has jumped up too (93.5 MPH fastball last year to 94.6 MPH this year).

Hunter Pence – 2 for 4, 1 RBI.  Pence returned from the DL on Tuesday and is going to make an immediate impact being back in the Giants lineup.  Buster Posey is their best hitter, but Pence is the guy that they need in that lineup to make things work.

Jake Peavy – 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K with the L.  Peavy fared better in his second start back from the DL, but he’s still not someone to trust fully in fantasy.

Jacoby Ellsbury – 1 for 4, 1 K.  Ellsbury made his return from the DL on Wednesday.  It might take him a little bit to get back into the swing of things, but there’s no doubt that he is one of the game’s premiere leadoff men and the Yankees are ecstatic to have him back.  Ellsbury’s return means bad news for Chase Headley as he will move back down in the order after spending a lot of time hitting 2nd.

Mark Teixeira – 2 for 3, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  I said in the DFS strategy for Wednesday that Teixeira had a good chance to go yard on Wednesday and he ended up doing it twice.  In 45 fewer games played, Teixeira has matched his HR total of 22 from last season.  Refer back to “Tex Marks the Spot” for why I think that Teixeira will keep on slugging.  He’s been one of the best draft picks/waiver wire picks of the season.

Andrew Miller – 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K with the SV.  Miller made his return from the DL and manager Joe Girardi thrust him right back into the closer’s role despite the All-Star Dellin Betances having pitched superbly in Miller’s absence (and all season long).  Miller allowed a couple of runs trying to shake off the rust, but should be a great RP option in fantasy leagues once again.  However, Betances owners need to hold on to him just in case, and Betances posts extremely good stats anyway.

Marcus Semien – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R.  Semien started the year nicely, but things haven’t been too great as of late for him.  However, he hit a home run on Wednesday and is posting solid shortstop numbers with a .260 AVG, 8 HR, 22 RBI, 37 R, and 7 SB.  The downside with Semien is that he appears to be stuck at the bottom of the order for the A’s to put a huge damper on his fantasy value.  An A’s trade of Ben Zobrist could open up an opportunity for Semien to move up toward the top of the order, but that’s far from a guarantee.

Scott Kazmir – 3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.  Kazmir left his start with some minor triceps tightness, but the word is that he should be just fine.  At this point, the A’s really need Kazmir to stay healthy to not scare teams away for wanting to trade for him.

Andrew Cashner – 7.2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K with the L.  For a while it looked like it was going to be a strong start for Cashner, but in the 8th inning he lost control of things to leave him with charged with 4 runs.  Cashner had a really bad 5 start run, but his last 3 starts have been better.  He’ll have to continue to deal with the poor defense behind him, but he’s definitely better than what his 3-10 record, 4.10 ERA, and 1.34 WHIP say.

Trevor Bauer – 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K with the W.  Bauer delivered a strong performance to improve to 8-5 with a 3.76 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 102 K/43 BB in 105.1 IP.  It’s been a pretty good season for Bauer, but he’s having some issues developing some consistency.  I would expect him to maintain a similar performance over the second half of the season.

Mike Morse – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R.  Morse hit his 3rd HR of the season for a Marlins team that is in much need of a power boost in the absence of Giancarlo Stanton.  Morse was at one time a big power threat, but that luster has worn off and not a whole lot should be expected of him.

David Ortiz – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 K.  Papi is continuing to hit HR, but the batting average is still not coming up.  He’s got a .230 AVG with 15 HR and 43 RBI.

Matt Harrison – 4 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K with the L.  Harrison made just 6 starts total in the last 2 seasons, but he finally made his return to the mound on Wednesday for his first start of the season.  As expected, he was not sharp at all and should not be considered a fantasy option.

A.J. Pollock – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB.  Pollock was rightfully named to the NL All-Star team this week and he was at it again on Wednesday by knocking his 11th HR of the season.  He is currently a top 5 fantasy outfielder and if he can maintain that status then he might just end up fulfilling my belief of him being “This Year’s Michael Brantley.”

Welington Castillo – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R.  Castillo was traded from the Cubs to the Mariners and then from the Mariners to the Diamondbacks earlier this season, and Arizona is the best spot for him out of those three.  He gets to play his home games in a nice hitters park and has a much clearer path to a decent amount of playing time.  He is sharing time with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and it’s a pretty even timeshare rather than a strict platoon.  Castillo has some decent pop and he has hit lefties well in his career, so for fantasy/DFS purposes he is definitely usable in that situation.  Up against a lefty on Wednesday, he hit his 7th HR of the season.

Jhonny Peralta – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  Peralta had been in a bit of a home run drought, but he got a hold of one on Wednesday that proved to be the game winner in extra innings.  He’s well on his way to another productive season.

Jason Hammel – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.  Hammel left the game after just 1 inning due to left hamstring tightness. The Cubs righty is in the midst of a career season, so hopefully this isn’t an injury that will hamper him or send him to the DL.

John Jaso – 3 for 4, 2 R, 1 BB.  Jaso led off for the Rays again on Wednesday and he delivered another nice game.  I recommended him on Tuesday after he returned from the DL and he should be picked up in deeper leagues.  He’s not flashy and won’t hit a lot of HR, but he should continue to find himself hitting at or near the top of the order, which gives him plenty of value as a fantasy catcher.

Chris Archer – 6 IP, 12 H, 9 ER, 2 BB, 6 K with the L.  It was a night to forget for Archer who saw his ERA rise to 2.74 and his WHIP to 1.02.  He faced a Royals team that can just be pretty pesky by putting the ball in play a lot, but I wouldn’t expect many more games like this from him this season.  Some regression from him was likely, but his overall numbers may not get too much worse than what they are now.

Alex Gordon – 0 for 1, 1 R, 1 BB.  Gordon had to be removed from the game with a groin injury and he’ll undergo an MRI. It doesn’t sound too promising and a DL stint could be in his future.

Lorenzo Cain – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R.  Cain had been out a few days due to a minor injury, but he returned to the lineup on Wednesday and hit a HR.  His season line is now at a .308 AVG with 7 HR, 39 RBI, 50 R, and 16 SB.  It’s been a fine season for the All-Star and his 7th HR ties a career high.  I think it’s fair to expect him to maintain the pace he’s on for the rest of the season, with the exception of maybe a little less HR.

Adam Eaton – 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB.  Eaton hit a walkoff HR on Wednesday for his 6th of the season.  His 6 HR in 312 AB this season matches the number of HR that he had in his career prior to this season in 821 AB.  However, we shouldn’t expect too much more from him in that department.  I would be pretty shocked if he got to 10 HR, and I would much rather see him pick it up in the SB department as he is just 5 for 8 on the season.

Drew Hutchison – 5 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.  Hutchison continued his Jekyll and Hyde home/road splits by getting smacked around again on the road.  The trend has to stop at some point, but for now Hutchison needs to be avoided for any road start and he can be used for any home start against mediocre or poor offenses.

Roberto Osuna – 0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K with the L.  Osuna served up a walkoff shot in extra innings to take his 3rd loss of the season.  I said a few days ago that if Osuna could pitch well over the next couple of weeks that the Blue Jays may halt their search of a proven closer, but this game doesn’t do much for that notion.  We’ll see what happens in his next few appearances.

Mike Trout – 2 for 3, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB.  It would appear that Trout enjoys hitting at Coors Field.  He’s got 24 HR on the season and is hot on his teammate Albert Pujols‘ trail for the AL lead.

Clayton Kershaw – 9 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 13 K with the W.  Perhaps Kershaw took some exception to not making the All-Star team, but whatever it was, let’s hope he keeps doing it.  For the first time all season, his ERA is under 3.00.  It was only a matter of time.

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