DFS Caught Looking Strategy for Wednesday June 17, 2015

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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).


Early Slate – For the early slate, the pitching was not strong.  I had Michael Wacha as my favorite play and he certainly did hold his own to be the 2nd highest scoring pitcher, outscoring the top priced Scott Kazmir.  The 3rd highest priced pitcher was Andrew Cashner who I listed as a “Not So Fave,” and he kept that opinion true as he once again put up a stinker despite the A’s putting out a pretty weak looking lineup.  My cheap sleeper was hot prospect Vincent Velasquez and he came within one pitch of qualifying for the win to fulfill the cheap sleeper status, but he allowed a HR to get yanked from the game for some tough luck.  So overall for pitching, it wasn’t terrible for my selections, but who knew that Wade Miley would be the top scoring pitcher for the early slate?

The “Big Boy Stack” that I listed that I liked the most was the Astros and they definitely poured it on the Rockies, but the problem was it was mostly the wrong hitters.  Left-handed Luis Valbuena surprisingly hit 2 HR off the left-handed pitcher and Hank Conger got in on the action as well.  It was the right idea for sure, but just rough luck for it to be the wrong guys.  The sneaky A’s stack did decently.  I personally did not end up using an A’s stack after I saw their starting lineup, but if I did then I would have gone with the lefty/switch-hitters in Billy BurnsBen ZobristJosh Reddick, and Max Muncy.  The best stack of the early slate ended up being the Red Sox, and I really should have included something on them given how bad Julio Teheran had been this season and on the road in particular.  I did like them as a stack and I did end up using a mini Red Sox Stack that included Brock Holt who hit for the cycle.  So that salvaged a largely unimpressive morning slate for me.

Late Slate – My two favorite late slate pitchers were Jake Arrieta and Garrett Richards, and only one of them panned out and that was Richards.  Arrieta uncharacteristically walked a lot of batters, which was his ultimate downfall, and his stat line actually ended up being what I thought his counterpart, Trevor Bauer, would have.  I labeled Bauer as a “not so fave,” but he ended up being able to work around the walks that I predicted would come from him and was one of the better pitchers of the evening.  Another guy that was on my “not so fave” list was Chi Chi Gonzalez who continues to mystify me and prove me wrong, though I still think he’s getting very lucky.  My cheap sleeper pitchers were Brett Anderson, Chris Young, and Nathan Eovaldi.  Anderson was decently solid for 8 innings but didn’t get the win, Young pitched 7 shutout innings for the win, and Eovaldi…well, I would like a mulligan on him as he couldn’t even make it out of the 1st inning.   

As for the offense, there was a lot going on with the bats.  The Orioles, Nationals, and Marlins all scored at least 12 runs, and the Orioles were one of my “big boy stacks” and the only one out of the three that I mentioned in Tuesday’s strategy piece.  I did have an Orioles stack, despite them missing Adam Jones and Matt Wieters, and I got exposure to some of the Nationals and Marlins players but not in full stacks.  My other “big boy stack” was the Dodgers and I missed badly on that as they couldn’t figure out Gonzalez until the 9th inning.  The sneaky stack that I listed was the Blue Jays, which was good in theory, but just didn’t pan out as Matt Harvey was on top of his game today.  If the situations presented themselves again, I would definitely take the Dodgers and Blue Jays as stacks.

While it was just a so-so (but non-losing) day on DraftKings, I actually placed 1st out of 236 entrants on Tuesday in a GPP tournament on Fantasy Aces.  Here’s a look at the lineup:  (P) Garrett Richards, (P) Jake Arrieta, (C) Caleb Joseph, (1B/3B) Chris Davis, (1B/3B) Manny Machado, (2B/SS) Sean Rodriguez, (2B/SS) Derek Dietrich, (OF) Bryce Harper, (OF) Mike Trout, (OF) Clint Robinson, (UTIL) Justin Bour

So for pitching, I took my top two picks, and even though Arrieta was not good, he was the highest owned pitcher at 46% so mostly everyone suffered the same fate with him.  I knew that I wanted Machado and Davis in their excellent matchup against Jerome Williams and the Phillies, so I picked them and then two high priced superstars in Harper and Trout.  Surprisingly, Harper was only owned in 9% of the leagues at his maximum price.  Then from there I surrounded that core of players with a lot of cheap options that I thought had excellent chances to exceed their expected value.  So it all ended up working very well for me obviously, and I hope to keep on taking down tournaments like this and sharing my thought process. Continue reading