Daily fantasy baseball is fundamentally a game about obtaining and processing information as accurately and efficiently as possible. The better the information you can obtain and the more you can do with it – i.e. the better you can translate that information into profitable lineups – the more you’ll win.
Of course, daily fantasy is zero-sum, so there are a whole bunch of people just like you trying to do the same thing. We aren’t all going to make money.
One of the ways I like to try to gain an edge on the field is to look for pieces of information that change throughout the day, especially right before lineup lock. This could come in a variety of forms: line movement, umpire information, an injury, an unexpected lineup card, a shift in the weather, and so on.
The idea is that changing information represents an opportunity – an opportunity to gain an edge over the public by either 1) getting a hold of more information than anyone else or 2) more astutely leveraging that information into a profit.
NOTE: Today’s plays for for the late slate of games.
Chicago Cubs (vs Matt Garza)
Projected by Vegas at 4.3 implied runs, the Cubbies have a bunch of high-upside bats that can crush righties. The top of their order – Fowler, Schwarber, Coghlan, Rizzo, Bryant, and Soler – offer about as high of a ceiling as you can get. For whatever reason, a lot of those batters have cost a lot on DraftKings this year, so they don’t always represent the best value. That does draw down ownership, however, so it’s just a matter of if the upside and low usage outweigh the lack of value.
LA Dodgers (vs Jordan Zimmermann)
The Dodgers’ lineup always changes, and it’s often not released until just before lineup lock. I do think you could be profitable by solely exploiting potential stacks like this on the West Coast, and the Dodgers have enough upside to warrant consideration tonight; it’s the perfect example of reacting to new information in a timely manner to gain an edge. Zimmermann is one of those middle-ground pitchers who is good enough that people typically won’t stack against him, but not really that good as to warrant that kind of low offensive ownership.
C Brian McCann, NY Yankees (vs Danny Salazar) – $4000
I’m pretty sure the majority of lineups tonight will have either Schwarber or Martin in them at catcher. McCann is going to be low-owned given the matchup, but he has power versus righties (.228 running 12-month ISO) and a batter’s ump behind the plate. This is the sort of play you might use if you want to stack a chalk offense like Toronto.
2B Brian Dozier, Minnesota (vs Nick Martinez) – $4500
It’s tough to predict Dozier’s ownership tonight. There’s a strong correlation between ownership and the Vegas lines, and Vegas has Minnesota projected at 4.8 implied runs right now. Dozier also is a scarce resource at the second base position.
However, his price tag is probably a tad high, and there also seems to be lower ownership on players when they face a pitcher of the same handedness, regardless of whether or not it’s warranted or not. Dozier hits lefties and righties about the same, and Target field has actually historically led to more player value on DraftKings than all but a handful of parks.
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Tampa Bay (vs Matt Wisler) – $3400
Cabrera is on fire right now, having doubled his salary-based expected DraftKings point total in four of the past 10 games and 23 percent of games over the past month. I’m not normally bullish on players who are “hot,” but part of that is because they often see a jump in price. Cabrera is still underpriced at $3400. It would be a big boost to his value if he can sneak up into the top five in the batting order tonight.
P Edinson Volquez, Kansas City (vs Detroit) – $7600
Jacob deGrom and Clayton Kershaw are my top values and I wouldn’t fade them in tournaments. I do like Volquez quite a bit, however. He’s facing a Detroit team that Vegas has projected at only 3.2 implied runs. I don’t love his 7.1 K/9, but that’s what you’re giving up to save some money. He still has decent strikeout upside against Detroit, and the Royals are currently -178 to win the game, so it’s a fair amount of safety for the price tag.