Man vs. THE BAT '17: Week 1 (Slates 1-6)

Welcome to Man (that’s me) vs. THE BAT, Derek Carty’s projection system!

The basics of the blog series are pretty cut-and-dried: (1) A GPP lineup from yours truly, just your average micro-grinder, ranked #1 in the goocher-getting-by category; and (2) An optimal lineup from data generated by THE BAT (utilizing THE BAT projections and the RotoGrinders lineup builder).

For as many slates as I can muster, I’ll enter each lineup in the same FanDuel large-field GPP (ranges from Sac Fly to Grand Slam, but most days it’s just me and my main Squeeze). My process calls for me to enter the Man lineup late the night before or early in the morning, after doing my daily research, and then I run the optimal lineup for THE BAT as close to lock as I can muster given time constraints with work/kids/life. Although I do not have time to replicate this series with DraftKings and FantasyDraft, I’ll try and reflect from time to time on my experiences with those sites with a mix of THE BAT and my own GPP prowess (or lack thereof).

Disclaimer: Please do not interpret this series as necessarily being representative of either the success or failure of THE BAT. I have predominantly chosen to use the optimized lineup builder in order to take my own “goocherism” out of play and create a more representative Man vs. Machine type of scenario (“predominantly” due to having to make the call with injuries and weather). It’s a fun experiment that I hope you will enjoy following. I enjoy writing it, and I enjoy being more reflective about my GPP process. Plus, I also hope to give you a glimpse into what I believe is a really good projection system that Derek has developed in THE BAT. I’m pulling for both of us; I just keep it at my house.

Let’s start with a quick thanks to RotoGrinders for encouraging me to write the series again and to Derek Carty for being open and willing to have THE BAT “tested” in this way. I hope folks appreciate that aspect, as Derek could absolutely have taken a different approach entirely with this series. I am appreciative of his support, and I therefore place “test” in quotation marks due to that disclaimer that I posted above.

If you are curious about the 2016 season and how we fared, check here. Or, if you prefer the Cliff Notes version, THE BAT kicked Man’s THE BUTT 73-56 in head-to-head battles! I ended up salvaging the season from a financial standpoint with a decent cash in my only Grand Slam of the season on the final day of the series (a walk-off, if you will). As far as THE BAT goes, I’ve encountered folks who won a boatload of money last year using THE BAT. I only won a small amount, but I am excited to get back on the train and win more this year.

I am really excited to be back blogging weekly here on the RotoGrinders platform. As a former catcher and one lucky enough to have learned the finer points of the game under a fabulous mentor in my high school coach Steve Coats, in being a sport management professor, and in entering my 27th season playing fantasy baseball, I fancy myself ahead of the curve in terms of knowledge of the game. Yet, I must confess that I haven’t really won jack-squat in terms of daily fantasy baseball over the last two seasons of playing. Sure, I’ve had a few sweats and won a few lower-entry GPPs, but I’ve always come up short of the big cash. And, as a squatty former backstop, I am a bit sensitive about coming up short, dadgummit (shout out to ole Roy and my Tar Heels who definitely did not come up short!).

Those who read the blog series last year know that I am not a cash game player, but this MLB season, I’ll add at least one cash/multiplier game daily (using THE BAT’s lineup) to add more value for those who are cash game players. I also feel like this aspect will be a better representation of THE BAT, as Derek has talked a lot about how he is mainly a cash game player. Obviously, the head-to-head nature of the contest provides some of that angle as well.

I am confident that I will come out ahead monetarily by using THE BAT daily; what I must focus on is my own acumen and whether or not I can keep up and hit that big payday that I’ve been grinding for over the last two years. As a GPP player, I should be able to muster a win or two, shouldn’t I? Yeah, I should…and this year, I will. I hope to reflect more on my thought process surrounding optimal/cash versus tournament/GPP strategy, and in the process strengthen my cognitive skills along those lines and hopefully help a few folks in the process.

So, with that backdrop, away we sail…

Slate 1 – Tuesday, April 11, 2017 (main 10-game slate):

Man 96.7 vs. THE BAT 222.8
$6 ENORMOUS Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 169.8
Winner: spinningrock, 326

Cash game: N/A (starts with Slate #3)

Whoa, seriously?! I recognize, of course, that FanDuel made some scoring changes in the offseason, but even so, this score was awfully impressive right off (dare I say) the bat. The score topped last year’s high mark of 213.8 (for the entire series of 129 slates). There’s also a bit of a trend here; last year, THE BAT had its highest cash of the series in Slate #1. Of course, as my luck would have it, this was likely the highest scoring slate of the MLB season thus far, so 222.

Here’s one thing I really love about this series: I wasn’t on Cespedes at all, and thanks to THE BAT, I got a piece of his triple dong. Plus, my buddies sure got a kick out of me exclaiming at the college baseball game we were attending, “Yo’Anus just hit his third dong!” Yeah, I know, “Yo’Anus” is phonetically correct (at least, most think so), but when a southern guy has had a few, the Southern drawl is a bit more pronounced with an overemphasis on the “Anus” part. Not as bad as the Texan I once waited on in Jackson Hole who ordered a “Pee-knot No-ear” though!

Thanks for the dong blitz, Cespy!

For my Man lineup, I have been working in the early season on maintaining a GPP philosophy that is consistent and therefore has a higher likelihood of hitting the mark more frequently.

Let me explain: I feel like if today it’s optimal, tomorrow contrarian stack, the next day chalk, “ride the hot hand” the following, then overlooked stack, etc, etc; we might as well be playing the damn lottery. My theory is that I’ve long suffered from this disorder. I listen to guys like The Siege, and I think, “Yeah, go contrarian!” And, on the day I go contrarian, chalk hits. The next day, I go chalk, and contrarian hits. It feels like a never-ending cycle at times. So, I am working on refining my GPP philosophy to account for this element and have adopted a correlation chalk/overlooked stack strategy that coincides with the same type of mentality for pitching (i.e., who’s being overlooked). With this approach, many days I have cash to spend after the overlooked stack and pitcher strategy (generally better value), so I can try to fit a chalk and/or higher-priced correlation play like Rizzo/Bryant or Machado/Davis. I have discovered that I am a GPP player who tends to choose more chalk…yeah, not that great a strategy in many cases. But, since THE BAT has the optimal covered, it helps to free me from that mentality. Or, at least, that’s the theory.

So, all that said, obviously my overlooked stack of Marlins bats and high-priced correlations did not hit; but, when I examine this lineup in hindsight, I still love it. As a Phillies fan, J.A. Happ has burned me like a CIA agent gone rogue (can you tell I’m addicted to “Homeland” at the moment). I’ve seen J.A.‘s best (not that great) and his worst (real bad), and I believe more in his worst than his best. And that cost me a lot of money last year, as he was not the gas can he’s previously been. So, I thought, “DFS is about not holding grudges and putting bias aside, so go Happ or go home.” I went Happ, and I went home (without any dollar bills).

Slate 2 – Wednesday, April 12, 2017 (early 4-game slate):

Man 89.5 vs. THE BAT 120.8
$3 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 127.2
Winner: dgetsbuckets, 220.5 ($35K, placed 2nd also)

Cash game: N/A (starts with Slate #3)

Obviously, you do not have as many choices on a 4-game slate, but that’s when the overlooked stacks or correlation plays can be even more effective. If 25-40% of folks are attacking one good spot (like the Rockies on this slate), and that spot falls flat (like it did), your guys can climb all the higher. But, on this slate, I had company with flat Tigers bats and a dud from Bro’Clown. Not a fan of young Bryce, and he rewards me with almost never hitting when I need him. I am, on the other hand, a Fulmer guy, and I remain convinced that he’s only going to continue to get better (despite the advanced metrics suggesting regression).

As for THE BAT, I naturally like the exposure to the Coors chalk when I am trying to hit the overlooked pieces, and after Ricky Weeks, Jr. got THE BAT off to a hot start, I thought it was going to be a $$ day. Wasn’t meant to be though. Coors effect turned into Kers affect.

Of course, I also have to speak to the fact that in the first two slates of the series, I had not yet decided to test the cash game waters with THE BAT. I regretted it last year, as I felt like I would have won profited more overall than I did. But, of course, I fail to play cash games in the first two slates and would have won. Ugh.

Slate 3 – Wednesday, April 12, 2017 (main 10-game slate):

Man 95.4 vs. THE BAT 107.5
$3 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 137.3
Winner: drdignam, 243.5 ($15K)

Cash: Single-Entry (SE) Double-Up, -$10 (19 of 34, 112 cash line)

Man, I am hoping the Hump Day magic hasn’t left us! It did on this Wednesday, but since the Hump was a boom for the series last year, I am sure hoping it hasn’t left the building. It did on this day, as we both fell flat in the main slate. Most weeks through first of June, I won’t be able to play the Wednesday main slate due to other obligations; and, I damn sure wish I hadn’t played on this night!

It was one of those slates where almost nothing went right. When I reverse engineer my Man lineup, however, I like some things and hate some things. Naturally, I hate that Tom Koehler pick; he’s not a strikeout pitcher, and the Braves are not prone to K a great deal. So, what the Hell was I thinking? Good question. I do really like the Cano/Seager low-owned correlation play, but while the tandem was decent, I needed way more. Almost everyone was on the Joey Bats/Dongalson pair, including the night’s $15K Squeeze winner; but, geez almighty, the Jays have stunk up the joint. Of course, Dr. Dignam also paired Joey & Dongalson with Two-Dong Squared Fever (47.4 × 2 = $$), Giancarlo and Mancini. Sounds like a bad TNT cop show! Stanton was on my radar, but this is an example where I got burned by that chalk correlation play strategy. Two one-offs, with GC in cleanup mode, would have ruled the day. Oh well, didn’t happen.

Last year, folks often wondered why I’d have duplicate players as THE BAT, and that one is simple. “It’s the process, man, the process!” My process calls for me to develop my lineup prior to running THE BAT. I will often make changes to my lineup throughout the day, as more information becomes available; but, differentiating from THE BAT is not really something I consider that much. I do sometimes. For example, say I have a pitcher I am not bullish on that mirrors THE BAT. But, mostly seeing a player in THE BAT’s lineup only solidifies that guy more for me. For this series, I do not use THE BAT for my Man lineup, as I feel like that would spoil things. But, I will use THE BAT data for lineups on other sites.

My trick moving forward will be to believe in and maintain my GPP strategy. I’m off to an 0-3 H2H start, but it’s a long season/series.

Slate 4 – Thursday, April 13, 2017 (early 4-game slate):

Man 148.5 vs. THE BAT 73
$4 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 148.5
Winner: sf49ersck7, 256.1 ($25K)

Cash: SE Double-Up, -$5 (212 of 227, 127 cash line)
Cash: SE Double-Up, -$2 (421 of 451, 127 cash line)

Whoa, that one got a bit hairy. Off the schnide with the full bubble minimum cash! A rare feat indeed. As most of you know, you hit the bubble number square on the nose, and most of the time you are splitting that minimum cash up and barely even getting out what you put in. Of course, $6 on $4 ain’t exactly a huge ROI either!

Yu know it! Not rostering Yu on this short slate was rather foolish, and I decided that I was not about to be foolish. THE BAT fell for Jordan Zimmermann returning to 2015 Z-form, and I just didn’t/don’t see that happening. I originally thought about the Twinkies as an overlooked stack against a guy I think has lost it, but others maybe still respect. I instead opted for the back-end Tigers 5-6-7 stack (for, oh say 31), while the 2-4-5 Twins stack hit 110+. Ugh.

Store that one away: Don’t freeze up on Minney-soda!

Slate 5 – Friday, April 14, 2017 (main 13-game slate):

Man 167.5 vs. THE BAT 157.8
$4 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 154.6
Winner: affihq, 260.2 ($25K)

Cash: Multi-entry (ME) Double-Up, +$10 (2276 of 5517, 154 cash line)
Cash: Multi-entry (ME) Double-Up, -$2 (7304 of 16091, 159 cash line)

Don’t call it a streak, but damn if it ain’t two in a row (and the first double-cash of the series — everyone’s favorite!)

This was a W in roster construction that I ultimately have to chalk up to Derek. I listen to Sirius FM in the car, and it’s almost always on Dan Back and the RotoGrinders when I am driving between 3:00-4:00 Pacific. Carty was Dan’s guest, and he indicated that he liked the spot Felix was in. In wanting a couple more bats in my lineup and wishing to deviate from the chalk Kershaw lineups, I rolled with Felix the Cat (not to be confused with the former Felix the Kat). Yeah, strikeouts are lagging with Felix, so choose carefully.

I know as a professor that I should understand the numbers a bit better than I do, but as more of a qualitative social science researcher, I just cannot stand cashing in a large-field GPP and failing to cash in a daggum double-up. Ugh. How does that happen? I keep rotating back and forth from single-entry (SE) and multi-entry (ME) 50/50s or double-ups, but it doesn’t seem to matter that much. If anyone has any advice, I’d love to hear it. When I enter the smaller SEs, I see pros that I would rather not be paired against. But, it seems like the MEs are the ones where anomalies like cashing a GPP and missing a cash in a Double-Up tend to happen most. Am I imagining that? Help me out, cash game gurus.

Slate 6 – Saturday, April 15, 2017 (main 5-game slate):

Man 96.1 vs. THE BAT 142
$3 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 153.7
Winner: astrocreep, 229.10 ($15K)

Cash: Multi-entry (ME) Double-Up, -$5 (1295 of 2758, 143.3 cash line)
Cash: Multi-entry (ME) Quintuple-Up, -$2 (892 of 2298, 163.5 cash line)

Man, daggumit! Not the way I wanted to end the first week of the series on cash game bubble watch. No, indeed. Of course, I’d already gotten lucky once today, as my buddy texted with free Phish at MSG tickets and a free place to stay this summer (yep, count me in!). I’ve never been to Madison Square Garden, and so to get that chance in style like that, sign me up! OK, back to baseball…

Today was one of those days where this particular lineup for THE BAT is likely not representative of all that Derek puts into THE BAT.

Why? I ran the optimal lineup early and ended up having to stick with it and not run it again, as I had to play another role in my life besides DFS goocher/blogger — that of dear old Dad. No regrets at all in doing that, as we had a blast out at a college softball game; but, it bears repeating that THE BAT is adjusted often throughout the day and right up until lock. I’ve had times where I’ve run the optimal 20 minutes before lock and then again 5 minutes before lock to different results. Derek takes the latest data that he has for weather factors, umpires, lineup placement, etc., and those updates throughout the day result in changes to the optimal. It may not have mattered, but it could have definitely mattered.

Of course, when I look down and see that Puig went off at high ownership, I just have to chalk it up to one of those nights. Yasiel Puig is not one of my favorites. I was a guy in my time who loved his guys and loved being a part of a team and all that went into it in terms of camaraderie. I don’t see that with Puig; I see selfishness. So, again, he’s not on my favorites list. If he fits, he fits sometimes. I don’t hold a grudge; we can’t in DFS, but I also don’t go looking for him. I should have gone looking for him on this slate, as in hindsight, he was in a great spot on a slate with lots of not-so-great spots. I actually crossed the Dodgers off entirely, as I have lost faith in their ability to hit LHPs. Had I not done so, I would have seen Puig.

I love building lineups, but I did not enjoy building them on this slate. I mean, goodness gracious, the winning lineup had Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton, and they were facing off against Jacob DeGrom. That ain’t optimal, and that strategy ain’t gonna win a whole lot for you most of the time. It did on this wacked out slate though.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the first one out of the gates.

The weekly summary is below.

Overall Scorecard (through 6 slates):

H2H Record: 2-4
Avg Score: 115.62
Cash rate: 33%
Net Profit/Loss: (-$10)


H2H Record: 4-2
Avg. Score: 137.32
GPP Cash Rate: 33%
Cash Game Rate: 14%
GPP Net Profit/Loss: (-$1.00)
Cash Net Prfit/Loss: (-$21.00)

TOTAL NET: (-$32)

Here’s a link to the full spreadsheet for your reference. If you see any mistakes, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear from you —> comment below or follow me on Twitter @yoteach7.


About the Author

  • Brian Greenwood (yoteach)

  • Dr. Brian Greenwood, an associate professor of sport management in the “real” world, is yoteach in DFS. Greenwood played season-long casually for over 20 years until joining the DFS and RotoGrinders community in the fall of 2013. Greenwood became so intrigued with the culture and strategic intricacies surrounding DFS that he even decided to commission an observational research study through full participant inquiry (i.e., immersion in the experience). Since the start of the study, he’s been writing field notes daily and hopes to eventually publish articles and a book on his experiences. That is, if he ever hits the elusive GPP win (i.e., the “Quad” of $1000+)! As a professor, his official expertise lies in youth sports and active learning in higher education.


  • mrboyer206

    Glad to see you are doing this again yoteach! Probably my favorite baseball read during the season.

  • yoteach

    • Blogger of the Month

    @mrboyer206 said...

    Glad to see you are doing this again yoteach! Probably my favorite baseball read during the season.

    Thanks a ton, I really appreciate the read and the props!

  • darkknight007

    • Blogger of the Month

    Welcome back and you inspired me to start my own blog. Let’s kill it this year on FanDuel with multiple lineups

  • yoteach

    • Blogger of the Month

    @darkknight007 said...

    Welcome back and you inspired me to start my own blog. Let’s kill it this year on FanDuel with multiple lineups

    Thanks, man. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to read many blogs, but I just checked yours out from Friday. Great job! Stoked to see you are writing. Helps a ton, doesn’t it? Helluva lineup on that same slate where THE BAT hit 222!

  • emac

    • 489

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #90

      RG Tiered Ranking

    Thrilled to see this series return!!!

  • BigWilburStyle

    • Blogger of the Month

    Glad you’re doing this again this year, good luck.

  • inwhiterooms

    Love this, man. Good luck this season!

  • yoteach

    • Blogger of the Month

    @emac said...

    Thrilled to see this series return!!!

    Oh my goodness, my old pal emac! Everybody’s old pal, emac!

    Where have you been, man? You were the first person I saw when I first landed at RG. It’s great to see that you are still around, and I really appreciate the kind words here.

  • yoteach

    • Blogger of the Month

    @BigWilburStyle said...

    Glad you’re doing this again this year, good luck.

    Thanks, man! I need all the luck I can get…it’s obvious the skill ain’t there. Ha ha ha! I appreciate the read.

  • yoteach

    • Blogger of the Month

    @inwhiterooms said...

    Love this, man. Good luck this season!

    Thanks a ton! I love your avatar, hysterically funny look!

  • Footballnaut

    • 295

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #64

      RG Tiered Ranking

    Love this blog and the BAT. Keep up the good work.

  • yoteach

    • Blogger of the Month

    @Footballnaut said...

    Love this blog and the BAT. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks, man. I really appreciate it. Stay tuned, as THE BAT is on a helluva roll this week!

  • jonance

    Hey…i had “The Bat” last year…but i don’t even see it on your site at all this year. It isn’t an option in the lineup builder, nor do i see it as a link in the resources page for yahoo dfs. Is it being updated and for sale this year? The price is a bit steep, me thinks….but i thought it was pretty good last year.

  • yoteach

    • Blogger of the Month

    @jonance said...

    Hey…i had “The Bat” last year…but i don’t even see it on your site at all this year. It isn’t an option in the lineup builder, nor do i see it as a link in the resources page for yahoo dfs. Is it being updated and for sale this year? The price is a bit steep, me thinks….but i thought it was pretty good last year.

    Yeah, I had a hard time finding it also, but Rotogrinders has added a Daily Marketplace and that’s where it’s located this year.

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