I was at the DraftKings Fantasy Baseball World Championship this past weekend. As usual with these live events, it was freakin’ awesome, both in terms of all the free food and the ability to converse with some great DFS players. But mostly the food.
I had the chance to talk with a lot of other players about their approach to the tournament, and most of them harped on the same thing: process. Any player can win in any single day, but the thing that makes the best players so profitable is not focusing on the results from a single contest and instead perfecting the type of decision-making process that will lead to the best long-term results.
BeepImaJeep is one of my favorite players, and he said something to the tune of, “I just don’t want to make a mistake in predicting what other people are going to do. I’ll be disappointed if I underestimate ownership, I’ll be disappointed if I overestimate ownership, but I won’t be disappointed if I predict it properly, even if I don’t win.”
It was something like that. I didn’t have a tape recorder in the guy’s mouth and I was a few beers in. Maybe he didn’t even say it. Maybe I was talking to a Wynn employee. I don’t know. But if he said that, great quote.
I thought that was interesting, and I do actually believe him that he wouldn’t be upset if he had perfectly predicted what others would do and just didn’t have a big day because of variance. In a sport like baseball, I think that’s a really important and valuable mindset to have. There’s so much volatility in the sport on a nightly basis that you’ll go crazy overreacting to results from a single day or even a week of action. Just work on perfecting your process, doing proper research, and making +EV decisions, and the rest will sort itself over the long run.
Many of you know I’m a fan of utilizing the weather in daily fantasy baseball. Not just the chance of rain, but also the air density and how it will affect the flight of the baseball. Ideally, you want bats that are going to put the ball into the air and hitting conditions that will allow for it to fly out of the park.
We have those conditions tonight in Arlington, as is often the case this time of year. Consequently, there’s a projected total of nine runs in the game, with Seattle at 4.8. I think there will be moderate usage on both teams, but not a ton on the two together. I like a Marte/Seager/Cruz/Cano combination paired with DeShields/Choo/Moreland and a value bat.
LA Angels (vs John Danks)
Yesterday’s Angels lineup had just one lefty (Calhoun) and the team faces a southpaw tonight. Vegas has them at a decent 4.3 implied runs, but they likely won’t be that popular due to the timing of the game. Remember, offenses on the West Coast see reduced ownership since their lineup cards usually don’t come up until just a little bit before lineup lock on DraftKings. There’s enough upside here with Calhoun, Trout, Pujols, and Cron for a potentially profitable low-ownership stack.
C John Jaso, Tampa Bay (vs Scott Feldman) – $3200
Jaso has a lot going for him tonight in Houston: a quality matchup (.404 wOBA versus righties), a cheap price tag, and a park shift in favor of Tampa batters. I don’t really like Tampa as an offense in this game, which could potentially limits Jaso’s upside since individual production is so correlated to team production in baseball, but he’s worth the risk at this price.
3B Kyle Seager, Seattle (vs Chi Chi Gonzalez) – $4300
I like Seager a lot in Texas—another player with a big park shift—and I do think he will look attractive to some others. But one of the things I like to look at with a game at Coors is which positions in the game might be heavily utilized, and third base is one of them. Another option I like here is Derek Dietrich in Milwaukee.
1B/OF Logan Morrison, Seattle (vs Chi Chi Gonzalez) – $3400
Like I mentioned, team production in baseball correlates very well with each individual’s production because the game isn’t timed; there’s unlimited upside for every offense, so each good thing one batter does helps all his teammates. So we’re always trying to balance seeking players on highly projected teams with finding under-the-radar values who might have lower ownership.
The other way to approach that balance is to look for players who hit late in the order on top-projected offenses. Hitting late in the batting order certainly isn’t ideal in terms of maximizing projected points, but it does help create a unique lineup. I really don’t suggest using more than one such player because that’s really all you need. I like Morrison and his .205 ISO split over the past 12 months.
P James Shields, San Diego (vs Atlanta) – $8600
Shields’ K/9 of 9.0 over the past year is good. So is the fact that he’s playing at home tonight, as well as the fact that Atlanta is projected at just 2.9 implied runs. At that number, I think we’re looking at about as much safety as you can get for the price. The Padres are also currently (-182) to get the win and still getting over 70 percent of public betting money. Home plate umpire Chris Guccione has historically added 1.1 points above expectation to pitchers’ DraftKings scores.
In short, I might use Shields in every lineup.