One of the toughest aspects of playing daily fantasy sports, for me, has been becoming okay with losing nights. I wouldn’t say that I’m risk-averse by any means, but I think it’s a challenge for anyone who is new to the game to understand and accept variance. You might be the best player in the world and you’re still going to have losing nights. Lots of them. Over the course of even a week, it might be difficult to separate a long-term profitable player from a losing one in terms of ROI.
The swings are the biggest in baseball. I’m primarily a GPP player, so I actually end up losing more nights than I win. That’s not unusual—actually, if you show me a GPP-only player who says he profits more often then he loses money, I’ll show you a liar—and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I’ve structured my style of play such that I can sustain small, regular losses in exchange for occasional large cashes. As long as I’m not putting myself in a spot in which I can go busto, then I’m not too concerned with the swings. The percentage of nights you profit doesn’t really make too much of a difference if you’re ultimately making money.
However, that wasn’t always the case and I think mastering the psychological components of DFS is really underrated and an absolutely crucial part of long-term success. That goes in both directions. I had one of my best weeks ever to start the daily fantasy baseball season, followed by two weeks of pure hell. In the first week, I was careful to not let myself think things were going to continue; I think I’m a profitable player, but that success was never going to keep up.
The same games for the following two weeks. Those dark times can be pretty tough for some people and I think it’s natural to question what you’re doing. I was using the exact same process I employed during the first week of the season, yet I was getting crushed.
I think you should question and test everything you can and always try to improve as a DFS player. You’re never even close to being as good as you can be. However, you also need to recognize you’re going to lose, even if your process rocks. If you want to stick around for the long haul, you need to prepare yourself for streaks of poor results—both in terms of bankroll management and your psyche.
The numbers always win out in the end, but that can only come to fruition if you’re around to see the end.
Boston Red Sox (vs CC Sabathia)
As I’ve explained in the past, I don’t think there’s as much of a need to be contrarian in large slates as short ones. There are so many options available that player ownership rarely gets out of hand, sans the Rockies playing at home. There are a number of teams in great spots tonight, and the Rockies are on the road, so I think pretty much any stack is in play from an ownership standpoint.
I like the Red Sox because I think they’re in a better spot versus the left-handed Sabathia than most might assume. For one, they have a handful of extreme splits right-handed bats who crush southpaws. Vegas agrees, too, listing Boston as a slight favorite right now, even with Justin Masterson on the mound, and projecting them at 4.4 runs.
I love to play high-upside offenses versus second-tier pitching, and I think that’s exactly what you have tonight in Boston.
Oakland A’s (vs Colby Lewis)
The A’s are one of my favorite offenses to stack right now, particularly when they’re on the road. In a park like Globe Life, they often see a big boost in numbers as compared to playing in Oakland. They’re also one of the cheaper available stacks, which is something I think sometimes people can overlook. I’d prefer the fourth or fifth-best option if it allows me to fit two aces into my lineup over a slightly better offense accompanied by a massive opportunity cost as it relates to pitching.
1B Ike Davis, Oakland (vs Colby Lewis) – $2700
Over the past 12 months, Davis has a .350 wOBA versus right-handed pitching. There are all sorts of other signs pointing to value here, too; Davis’s salary has dropped, which has historically provided value on DraftKings. The A’s are also getting 80 percent of public betting money right now, which has also been linked to individual player value in DFS.
SS Alcides Escobar, Kansas City (vs Kyle Lobstein) – $3800
The shortstop position has given me nightmares the past few days—seriously, I woke up my girlfriend because I was muttering nonsense about Jordy Mercer in my sleep—but I love Escobar when he faces a lefty. Escobar gives you virtually no home run upside, but he can steal a bag—yes, even against a lefty—especially considering his wOBA is nearly 60 points higher versus southpaws, meaning he gets on base more frequently.
OF Alex Gordon, Kansas City (vs Kyle Lobstein) – $4500
I think Kansas City might make for a sneaky good play tonight since they have a bunch of righties who can crush left-handed pitching. Lorenzo Cain is one of those players, as is Alex Gordon. The latter outfielder has a 12-month rolling wOBA of .371 and ISO of .223 versus lefties. Plus, I think he’s perhaps slightly overpriced at $4500—enough so that I don’t think there will be very many Gordon value plays outside of Kansas City stacks, which shouldn’t be that popular.
P Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland (vs Toronto) – $7900
You’re probably going to have a tough time replicating Carrasco’s upside per dollar spent. He has the highest K/9 of the night at 10.4 and he’s facing a righty-dominant offense that, although potent, strikes out 0.24 times per at-bat. This has all the makings of a great GPP play if you’re willing to take on a bit of risk.