What kind of daily fantasy player are you? Are you a grinder who likes to play head-to-heads and 50/50s? Are you someone who doesn’t like to deal with variance and potential bankroll swings? Do you embrace and even harness randomness to make money? Do you like playing qualifiers and just want a shot at a big cash?
The consensus opinion is that you should play all sorts of leagues, putting the majority of your money in cash games and then putting maybe 10 to 20 percent in GPPs and qualifiers. You should play one cash game lineup and multiple tournament lineups. This is what we’re told.
I do think it’s smart to play all sorts of games when you’re first starting off as a DFS player, but I’m not sure you need to continue that strategy as you evolve. Some people are truly great players in both cash games and tournaments, but the two require totally different ways of thinking. There’s nothing wrong with specializing. I play cash games in NFL, but almost never in MLB. I think the variance in the sport allows me to gain an edge in GPPs, but I don’t think I have one in cash.
My bankroll management, then, is completely different than if I were playing the majority of my money in head-to-head and 50/50 leagues. And that bankroll management might be completely different than what’s right for you.
Think about which type of player you are and where you have an edge. Are you better at spotting value and building an optimal lineup, or being contrarian and exploiting public opinion to gain an advantage over the field? My thought is you should focus exclusively on where you have the largest edge before expanding to other league types. If you’re a cash-game grinder, then work your way up to playing more and more money in cash and just because the best you can at that. If you’re better in tournaments, focus on beating those to the best of your ability. You can certainly do both, but in daily fantasy sports, I believe there’s more value in being a master of one very specific thing than decent at a lot.
Note: Today’s plays are for the late slate of games.
Philadelphia Phillies (vs Kyle Lohse)
The Phils struggle badly against lefties, but they have some pretty decent value plays against righties at their current prices. The majority of their lineup is left-handed, and their most expensive player—Maikel Franco—is a righty who has hit righties better than southpaws anyway. Vegas likes the Phils a bit, projecting them at 4.0 runs, and there’s good weather for their lefty bats to go deep tonight at Citizen’s Bank.
St. Louis Cardinals (vs Jose Quintana)
The Cardinals aren’t the most obvious play on paper, playing at Busch Stadium versus Jose Quintana in a game that could see rain. However, all of those things—along with the Vegas projection of 3.6 implied runs—will draw down the Cardinals’ ownership to what I believe will be only a few percent on most players. They have some righties who can crush left-handed pitching, and a bunch of other small predictors of success: quality weather for hitting as long as the game doesn’t get postponed, which seems unlikely, wind blowing from right to left, and a plethora of cheap players who will allow you to go big at pitcher.
1B Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs (vs Bartolo Colon) – $4600
Paul Goldschmidt faces a lefty at home tonight, which means his ownership is going to be very high. He’s arguably the top southpaw hitter in the game right now. Rizzo faces a quality pitcher in a poor park, but everything else—including his splits, the umpire, and most important, his salary—are going his way. Big upside, cheap price, hopefully reduced ownership.
3B Alex Rodriguez, NY Yankees (vs Matt Shoemaker) – $4000
Again, I like to look for positions than have an obvious play—like Goldy at first—and then get away from that in tournaments. You can sometimes get situations in which any decent value is +EV in tournaments because one player is eating up all the ownership. I think Manny Machado and Jimmy Paredes are the top values at third base tonight. Rodriguez might not be popular given that he’s facing a decent right-handed arm, but he hits righties well. The fact that Chase Headley is on his team always draws down A-Rod’s ownership since you can’t roster both of them together.
SS Carlos Correa, Houston (vs Edison Volquez) – $4700
The top shortstop tonight, by far, is Jhonny Peralta. I won’t be fading him because he’s in such a good spot against a lefty with a plus ump behind the plate. He’s also only $3800. If you want to be contrarian, though, you can roster pretty much any other shortstop. Correa is maybe overpriced, but has huge upside against any handedness of pitcher at Minute Maid Park.
P Vincent Velasquez, Houston (vs Kansas City Royals) – $5200
I’m not normally one to punt a pitcher spot, but tonight might be the night. I have Velasquez as the top value at the position, by far. He has a 9.3 K/9. Although he’s facing a Kansas City team that puts the ball in play, I think he’s unusually safe (with decent upside) for a pitcher who costs this much. Kansas City’s wOBA is mediocre and Vegas has them at only 3.6 implied runs. Vegas is often more accurate with teams that don’t hit a lot of home runs because they’re less volatile on a nightly basis. In my opinion, you’re taking a risk here on a player who should cost probably $7000 or more. Carlos Carrasco is my favorite expensive pitcher, and you can pair Velasquez with him and still fit big bats into your lineup.