Man vs. THE BAT '17: Week 13 (Slates 85-89)

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 so freaking sick of the kids talking poop division (when do they grow out of that sh*t?); 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 enter each lineup in the same FanDuel large-field GPP (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, and then I run an optimized lineup for THE BAT after locking in and/or excluding certain positions based on THE BAT’s projections (e.g., may choose to lock in best value SP, highest projected 1B, and/or the highest projected stack). I do all of this to the best of my ability 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. 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.

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I want to start this week, not with more moaning and griping about my recent failures, but with some reflection on one of the many things I observed last week at Legoland. And, in this week that features the celebration of our nation’s independence, I think it’s a fitting discussion.

The people watching at Legoland is priceless! I am a self-professed lover of people observation. Our room at Legoland Hotel overlooked the main entrance to the park, so I’d periodically stand there and enjoy watching the energy, excitement, and tapestry of the people. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t creepy McVoyeur or Mr. Stares-a-Lot standing there for long stretches, but I did enjoy a few short stints. What I did more of was watching from the “observation deck” where parents sit and watch their children play in the Lego pirate ship at the hotel.

The tapestry is what I enjoyed the most. Seeing a family with a Middle Eastern ethnicity (moms in hijabs) alongside an African American family from the South (wearing Bama gear), everyone talking and laughing as the kids played in the pirate ship. Seeing a Latino family of multiple generations floating along in the Lazy River playfully bumping floats with me and my kids and an Asian American lesbian couple and their kids. That, to me, is the fabric of what makes the United States of America so very special! We are a nation of immigrants, and on the 4th of July, I believe we should celebrate that rich tapestry that makes us the ‘melting pot’ where people of all colors, shapes, and sizes can fit together in a country that ultimately emulates those colorful bricks that kids (and adults alike) love putting together.

So, with that, how about we also celebrate that (for now, and in the state in which I live) we also have the freedom to chase some capitalistic riches through playing daily fantasy sports.

Here we go in this (ironically) Vegas-shortened week…

Note. I decided that medium-sized lineup screenshots might work better and make reading the blog easier (maybe not easier on the eyes but easier in terms of seeing lineup while reading). If you’d prefer I move back to senior citizen-size, let me know.

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Slate 85 – Sunday, July 2, 2017 (main 10-game slate):

Man 108.8 vs. THE BAT 118.8
$3 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 161.7
Winner: jmama37, 333.5

Cash: SE Double-Up, -$23 (Cash line: High 132.7, Low 122)

When last we spoke, we were riding a 4-slate shutout streak (i.e., every lineup loses), and I sincerely did not think it could get any worse…

Uh, yeah, it did. We stretched that streak to 5. Ugh.

Prior to this stretch, two shutouts in a row was the worst we had done in the series, so this certainly comes as a shock. I do have faith that we’ll break out, but the bankroll that had ballooned to over $300 is now getting dangerously close to the re-up mark (series started with a $50 investment).

On slates like these where you have four double-dongs with 3 of the 4 being relatively popular players — Betts (16%, 73 FDPs), Ozuna (13%, 47 FDPs), Happ (9%, 53 FDPs), and Jose Ramirez (5%, 57 FDPs) — you are effectively drawing dead by only having one of these guys in your combined two lineups.

For my Man lineup, I made a good decision by heading to Marlins (10 runs) with a mini-stack, but where I erred was in playing Giancarlo over Ozuna (or not playing both). Rather than 56, we’d have topped 100 and been closer to cashing. Of course, I was also close in being on the wrong Cubbies 2B in Baez (18) over Happ (53). That does go to show, though, how close we are sometimes with our decisions — even when we seem far off. Even with a -11 SP on the bump, Happ and Ozuna would have put us in the running for a minimum cash.

THE BAT locks: With no SPs standing out based on THE BAT projections, I decided to lock in the top 3 highest projected hitters by THE BAT in Rizzo, Bryant, and Stanton.

Again, Cubbies Weekend is like a horror show for us. We’ll see, Theo seems optimistic about a second half surge; I am not so sure of that after getting pounded into submission by their cold bats so often.

We need a cash tomorrow…bad!
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Slate 86 – Monday, July 3, 2017 (main 8-game slate):

Man 171.2 vs. THE BAT 98.8
$9 Papa Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 155.2
Winner: tspiedo, 280.9

Cash: SE Double-Up, -$40 (Cash line: High 143.4, Low 130.1)

First big cookout at our new house!

Granted ‘new’ is relative, as we did move in a little less than a year ago. But, I decided on July 1 that I wanted to host our first big cookout to coincide with the fireworks show (July 3) put on by our summer collegiate baseball team. This neighborhood in which we now live is a short walking distance to the summer collegiate baseball team’s stadium (seats about 2000 max), so we’d heard that people congregate on the hill at the school overlooking the stadium and poach the fireworks rather than attend the game (usually sold-out anyway on fireworks nights). So, just 2 days prior, I got a wild hair and said to my wife, “Let’s invite a few people over. People likely already have plans this late, so it’s doubtful TOO many will show.”

Famous last words. Fifty-four people later, my wife was ready to kill me, and I learned a valuable lesson that people go bonkers over some damn fireworks! We managed to pull it off, only running out of hot dogs late, and I successfully broke in my new smoker/grill (leaving gas behind after many years).

Man, we came close to some fireworks with my Man lineup as well, but in the end, we could not fully capitalize on the usually winning combo of Kers goes under while you fade. I decided to go with a Rangers mini-stack, in feeling like it would be overlooked with Coors on the slate. Odor and Choo were 15% and 14%, respectively, which on an 8-game slate IS relatively overlooked. But, while Odor hit at 18 FDPs, Choo and Mazara were only average and didn’t propel us to GPP glory.

Turned out that the Red Birds were the jam, and while my one-off Molina certainly helped matters, “Ya Dee, Eh?” was not enough to bring all the cash home.

THE BAT locks: This was another frustrating one. On some days when I have more time, I will run optimal builds at various phases of the day to see what THE BAT is thinking. The original build had Nola. However, when it came time to lock in players, I decided that SPs were so bunched together that I should push the decision to the optimizer and lock hitters instead. I locked the three highest projected hitters in Arenado, Blackmon, and Votto and went about my merry day of cookout preparation. The strategic error was locking the three top hitters rather than the top two hitters. Top two would have likely yielded the top projected SP (Nola by a small margin).

Of course, we cannot really extrapolate whether or not that decision-making above cost us the full cash game total. Nola for Cotton would have yielded 135.8 and would have surpassed the minimum cash game line but not the maximum cash game line. And, we don’t know whether losing one of Nolan, Chuck, or Joe EV would have been a plus or a minus. So…move on and don’t play what-if.

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Slate 87 – Tuesday, July 4, 2017 (early 8-game slate):

Man 94.1 vs. THE BAT 130.4
$6 Sea to Shining Sea Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 138.8
Winner: monahajp, 238.6

Cash: SE Double-Up, +$23 (Cash line: High 124, Low 120.8)

Cutch is SO clutch!

Let’s not worry about my miserable lineup to start this holiday and focus instead on one Mr. Andrew McCutcheon. Even though we broke the miserable 5-slate shutout streak last night with the Man GPP cash, we still entered today with a 6-slate cashless streak for THE BAT in cash games. That is by far the worst stretch of the series, but it also came on the heels of a stretch of slates where we cashed in 10.5 out of 12.

THE BAT locks: Lester was the lock as the top projected SP of the slate.

Admittedly, I did not like the Lester call and should have configured hitter locks to avoid him. But, since we were scuffling a bit and made the mistake of going hitters-first yesterday and losing out on Nola, I made that mistake and decided to lock him. Fulmer (40 FDPs, 14%), Archer (43 FDPs, 17.5%), Taillon (48 FDPs, 12.6%), and Slipping Jimmy (55 FDPs, 22.5%) all lapped Mr. Lester’s 18 FDPs. Those four SPs coupled with 2 roundtrippers from highly owned Eric Thames (20%) forced THE BAT into needing some Clutch Cutch heroics.

Admittedly, I was both hungover from the night before and down from the 6-slate cash game slide. Very late into the slate, it was looking gloomy. We were below the cash line in every cash game contest, and up strode Andrew McCutcheon to the dish for our final AB…

BOOM! When Cutch gets a hold of one, for a relatively small dude, it flies off the freaking bat. And, this one was no different. A no-doubter to put us comfortably in the money for cash games. Thanks, Andrew! Happy 4th of July!

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Slate 88 – Tuesday, July 4, 2017 (main 5-game slate):

Man 170.7 vs. THE BAT 127.3
$4 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 152.2
Winner: linaw314, 288.5

Cash: SE Double-Up, +$32 (Cash line: High 126.3, Low 119.5)

A July 4 cash sweep? Yes indeed! A nice end to a lazy 4th.

My original build? I tried like all hell to make Kluber (55), Marwin (22), Bregman (31), Altuve (44), Springer (40), and punts work, but I just could not make it fit in any seemingly worthwhile manner. Uh, yeah, important lesson, sometimes punts don’t really matter. Those 5 would have been a base of 192. Even with zeroes from the other four, that’s pretty damn good. But, for some reason, I ended up pivoting away from the Astros altogether. Of course, I still did well at 170, but a simple Springer for Betts would have resulted in 210.7 and a whole $6.47 more.

THE BAT locks: My goodness, another original build miss! The original build by THE BAT, with Kershaw locked, included Benintendi (top scorer at 69.8 FDPs). Those two alone were enough to cash in cash games. What likely kept me from getting Altuve and Be Nintendo in the same lineup were the two value locks of Freeman and Kemp.

With Kershaw locked, I always try to lock in a combo of good value/high projection. The K Bros. of Kluber and Kershaw were on the bump though, so value plays were slanted by the creative FanDuel pricing of 1776 to mark our nation’s independence (pushed most of the hitters in those games to the top). Naturally, I did not want to lock anyone facing Kershaw or Kluber. If I had simply locked Kershaw and let THE BAT optimizer work its magic, I am thinking it may have paired Ben In Ten with li’l Altuve. Those 3 together? Base of almost 175! Wow, just missed, but nevertheless, I will take the bubble cash and run.

I hope everyone had a fabulous 4th! After late night drinking with friends on the 3rd, I made it a lazy day of baseball…plus a little Doc Burnstein’s ice cream mixed in for good measure. Ah, freedom!

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Slate 89 – Wednesday, July 5, 2017 (main 12-game slate):

Man 125.5 vs. THE BAT 120.7
$4 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 137.2
Winner: dollarbillw, 258.3

Cash: SE Double-Up, +$32 (Cash line: High 120.4, Low 119.9)

Speaking of bubble cash…wow, what a sweat!

It’s fitting that the night before I venture forth into the desert and a heat wave with temperatures in the 110-115-degree range, we’d have an epic (as epic as minimum cash sweats get, that is) sweat. The reason why this sweat was of particular note was twofold: (1) It’s the last slate for over a week, as I take off for Vegas in the morning; and (2) A form of user error once again reared its ugly head, as you will see below (so I had the pressure of feeling like my actions were misrepresenting THE BAT’s acumen).

First, with my Man lineup, I decided the smartest two plays were Astros bats in the form of Georgy and li’l Jose (sounds like a nightclub act). That decision was wise. I mean, good gracious, what a first half from Houston! The other decisions? Not so much. I talked last week about how the Phillies are almost always an overlooked stack, and at that time, I said, “Yeah, they are for a reason. They stink!” So, what the heck happened from that reflection last week to this slate? Well, remember how I also lamented missing out on the Giants LHBs against G-Cole? Yeah, so I did not want to miss out again, and that factor outweighed the Phillies suckitude in my lineup decision. You know what factor trumped the Phillies suckitude on this slate. G-Cole’s pitching! God bless, the Phillies stink!

THE BAT locks: Wood was no question as a lock based on THE BAT projections, and he was followed by Sano (top projected) and Pujols (one of the best value plays).

Here’s where my user error came in. I remembered late in the day that I had a work obligation that prevented me from being available in the 45 minutes prior to lock. Upon last check of the weather, Roth had not updated the TEX/BOS game, and I just could not roll the dice on THE BAT plays of Choo and Gomez without knowing whether or not the orange in that game would be removed. It almost cost us big time. The Choo/Gomez (43.7) pivots were Pence/Grossman (19.5 FDPs) for a deficit of (-24.7 FDPs).

How in the heck that move did not cost us big time is really astounding to me. I think the main factor was Coors again not going nuts, and the uncertainty surrounding weather in the MIA/STL game (causing most people to miss Giancarlo’s two bombs). Even so, Wood was freaking 70+% owned in most cash games, so how we managed to cash with so few offensive points is really wild.

As many of us do, I was watching right up until the final whistle, and with Wood’s last 6 points from the W, we slipped in under the wire in displacing one lineup here or there who did not start Wood. It was like winning your full bet in Pai Gow with a Jack-8 out front and a Queen-high in back. Unreal, but I’ll certainly take it!

Vegas, baby, Vegas…here I come!

The weekly summary is below.

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Overall Scorecard (through 89 slates):

Man

H2H Record: 37-52
Avg Score: 129.90
GPP Cash rate: 27%
Net Profit/Loss: (-$27)

vs.

THE BAT

H2H Record: 52-37
Avg. Score: 137.61
GPP Cash Rate: 29%
GPP Net Profit/Loss: (-$109)
Cash Game Rate: 59%
Cash Net Profit/Loss: +$116
Net Profit/Loss: +$7

TOTAL NET: (-$20)

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

Thank you for reading, thanks to FanDuel for sponsoring, and thanks to RotoGrinders for the blog platform!

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.

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