It’s always interesting to discuss tournament strategy with different types of daily fantasy players. I love GPPs because I think there’s some really cool gameplay elements that don’t exist in cash games, most dealing with public psychology and game theory. I’ve said many times that if you aren’t at least considering what others are going to do in tournaments, you’re leaving money on the table.

That means that I think your tournament approach should be dictated by the buy-in level. There’s no doubt that a $1 GPP is going to have a different type of average user than, say, tonight’s $300 Mega Perfect Game. That doesn’t mean you can’t profit in the latter by any means, but yes, there’s going to be stiffer competition at higher stakes.

And most quality DFS players, for the most part, can properly identify value. They aren’t going to miss on Josh Donaldson at home versus a weak left-hander, for example. Thus, I typically see higher ownership rates on players who offer more value as the buy-ins increase.

We always talk about being contrarian in tournaments, but the extent to which you go against the grain depends on what the field is going to do. Being contrarian itself makes no sense without knowledge of what others plan to do. Because of the more cash game, value-based approach to tournament teams in higher buy-in GPPs, I think there’s actually more value in, ironically, forgoing player value in those leagues. Whereas there’s still meat left on the bone to seek pure value in cheap tournaments, that’s probably not the case as the stakes increase.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be seeking value, but just that in the balance of value and ownership, I tend to lean toward value at small stakes and more ownership emphasis as the buy-ins increase.

 

The Teams

Philadelphia Phillies (vs Chad Bettis)

Even though the Phillies are in a good spot—as good of a spot as the Phillies can be—against Chad Bettis, I still think they’ll have fairly low tournament ownership because there are so many games and so many other options to stack. I’ve mentioned that I’m using full stacks less often with chalk and using more five and six-man stacks when being contrarian, and ownership here should be low enough that you can go with a full stack.

The Phils are a lefty-dominant lineup and there should be some really nice weather for the ball to carry out of Citizen’s Bank tonight.

 

Minnesota Twins (vs Mark Buehrle)

The Twins are one of the top projected teams in Vegas tonight with 4.6 implied runs at the moment. Part of that is probably due to their mostly right-handed lineup facing Buehrle. I typically don’t like to stack offenses that don’t go deep with consistency, but when I do it, they need to be projected well and be low ownership, which I think will be the case tonight with Minnesota.

 

The Players

OF Joc Pederson, LA Dodgers (vs John Lackey) – $3800

Pederson is too cheap at $3800. He’s facing a decent arm, but Pederson has a ridiculous .281 ISO versus righties this season. That’s Mike Trout territory. I don’t think Pederson is going to be a really contrarian choice, but I certainly believe his ownership is once again going to be lower than it should be. I will make sure that I have more exposure than the field.

 

OF George Springer, Houston (vs Carlos Rodon) – $4900

The Astros are so interesting because you could make a case for both stacking them and using the opposing pitcher pretty much every night; they’re just a really high-variance offense with how often they whiff and go deep. Jose Altuve is the obvious play tonight against a lefty, but Springer is another player who mashes southpaws; over the past 12 months, he has a .259 ISO against lefties. The Astros are projected well and Springer’s price is high enough that I don’t think he’s an immediately obvious value, and thus usage should be limited outside of Houston stacks.

 

OF Khris Davis, Milwaukee (vs Rubby De La Rosa) – $4100

There, I just gave you your entire outfield. Davis has been a reverse splits guy with more power against righties than lefties over the past year. I actually kind of like Milwaukee against De La Rosa as a potential stack, even though the Brewers have some bats that can struggle against right-handed pitching. I think Davis is a nice gamble on a player with good upside who isn’t typically in a lot of lineups.

 

Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh (vs San Diego) – $9200

Liriano is going to be popular, but there are a handful of reasons I think his ownership won’t be as high as you might initially expect. First, his price jumped $1200 from his last start. That’s significant. Second, he’s facing off against James Shields. This game is basically a coin flip and many users place too much emphasis on the importance of getting a win out of their pitcher. And third, there are a buttload of studs throwing tonight—guys like Harvey, Strasburg, Gray, Shields, Hamels, and others—so it’s not like Liriano is a “must play.”