This rain is driving me nuts. And not just because I loaded up on the Rockies last night to try to be contrarian, only to find out the game was postponed about 30 seconds before lineup lock.
In reality, though, the weather is a massive potential edge if you handle it correctly. Yes, it makes your job more challenging—you need to be part DFS player and part meteorologist—but it makes everyone’s job equally difficult. I think this is an overlooked aspect of daily fantasy sports that extends to a lot of other aspects of the game. What you should care about isn’t solely the quality of the lineups you create or how easy it is for you to build them, but how much better your lineup can be over other lineups.
When you’re forced to avoid (or take chances on) players in games with a high probability of rain, you’re probably reducing your overall projected points. But the best daily fantasy players are those who can quickly react to new information, and juggling a bunch of lineups as you’re trying to figure out if a thunderstorm with a 30% chance of hitting a city is going to miss traveling over a stadium is one such situation.
Tonight, it looks like there’s a slight chance of rain in St. Louis and Kansas City (20%), moderate probability of a storm in Pittsburgh (33%), and a significant chance of storms in Minnesota (75%). There’s also a moderate chance of rain in Houston, which isn’t irrelevant information even though they have a stadium with a retractable roof since that roof might be closed, which affects offensive production.
These are all situations you need to monitor as lineups lock just after 7pm ET.
Oakland Athletics (vs K. Gibson)
We need to monitor the weather in this game, but the reason that I like it (as of now) is that there’s a significant chance of rain to start the contest, but then it tails off. If things stand as they are now, I’d guess that the game will be delayed, then played without interruption. That’s always subject to change, of course, but my hunch is that there’s a low probability of it getting cancelled.
Nonetheless, many players will be scared away by the rain, leading to reduced ownership on both teams. The A’s are projected well at 4.2 runs and they have a number of individual players I like, including Billy Burns, Josh Reddick, Ike Davis, and Stephen Vogt.
Los Angeles Angels (vs Roenis Elias)
I love playing the Angels in general because, outside of Mike Trout, they’re pretty cheap across the board. You can stack them and still fit two quality arms into your lineup. I especially like them versus lefties, with Kole Calhoun being really the only player who is much better versus right-handed pitching. I suspect most players will be on other high-upside offenses like the Astros and Blue Jays. This is the only game that starts after 8:15pm ET, too, which could lead to reduced ownership by itself if lineup cards aren’t out or are released just prior to lineup lock.
OF Josh Reddick, Oakland (vs K. Gibson) – $4300
Reddick’s salary recently dropped $800, which is always a good sign. Yes, it often means a player is struggling, but so much of short-term results are due to nothing other than randomness. There’s a positive correlation between salary movement (downward) and value; that is, when a batter’s price drops, he’s more likely to offer value. For the most part, I like targeting these players who others perceive as struggling.
Like I said, I like the idea of stacking the A’s tonight if you think this game is going to be played, and Reddick is my favorite player on the offense.
1B Joey Votto, Cincinnati (vs G. Cole) – $4100
I think Adrian Gonzalez is going to end up being the chalk first base play tonight versus Peralta in Milwaukee. That makes sense since he has a .397 wOBA and .242 ISO versus righties over the past year. His salary is $4900.
For $800 cheaper, though, you can have Votto and his .378 wOBA and .206 ISO splits—a slight reduction in numbers but a cheaper price and almost guaranteed lower ownership versus Gerrit Cole. Also, like Reddick, Votto has underperformed lately. Subsequently, his salary has dropped $900 over the past nine days.
2B Neil Walker, Pittsburgh (vs M. Leake) – $4100
Walker has underwhelmed this year with just one home run to date. I think he has more upside than what he’s displayed and what’s shown in his recent GPP ownership. He has historically struggled versus lefties and mashed righties (including a .216 running 12-month ISO). Also note that home plate umpire Chris Conroy has historically added 1.1 points extra per batter to players’ DraftKings scores above what you’d expect based on their salaries. That’s a big deal.
P Jacob deGrom, NY Mets (vs. Baltimore) – $8500
I’m working on a new site that searches for positive trends on players that have historically led to value on DraftKings. Those player trends have proven to lead to quality player selections when backtested, particularly for pitchers.
Tonight, deGrom leads all DraftKings pitchers in these trends, some of which include favorable Vegas lines, the ballpark, plus weather for pitchers, and the home plate ump. Actually, umpire Brian O’Nora has been one of the top pitcher’s umps in the league, adding 2.4 additional DraftKings points to pitchers scores above what we’d expect based on their salaries.