Man vs. THE BAT '17: Week 17 (Slates 112-117)

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 mini-grinder, ranked #1,230 in the rotund bantamweight division; 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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grind verb
to rub or cause to rub together gratingly

Oh, the grind.

We as daily fantasy sports players have a tendency to romanticize the grind, and many times we do so as a means for justifying our continued play.

For some, that definition of the grind that I’ve included above may be an apt descriptor for you and your play. Know this: You and you alone are always in control of your play. If it’s no longer enjoyable and truly feels like a grind, stop playing. Maybe not for good, hopefully for not for good. But, seriously, take a break!

For me, I’ve been grinding now for almost 3 years in daily fantasy sports after starting my fantasy sports ‘career’ back in 1992 with fantasy baseball (back in the days when I would pick up a Baseball Weekly and tally the stats by hand after going through the official box scores). I love the fact that every single day is different. I love the fact that every single day is a reset. I love writing this blog and the accompanying reflection that allows me to continue my learning process.

Sure, by most accounts to those from the outside looking in, I probably should have quit fantasy sports A LONG TIME AGO. I’ve been commissioner of my main football season-long league with my college buddies for 20 years now, and (wait for it)…

NEVER WON A CHAMPIONSHIP!

In baseball, it’s much better; I’ve played for 25+ years in season-long and won 3-5 championships across a couple of leagues.

So, yeah, I have not been successful at fantasy sports by any discernible measure, but I love playing the game and somehow have yet to grow frustrated. But, admittedly, after re-watching “Rounders” this week, the following quote really made me question things a bit:

“Listen, here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.”

I was that sucker in poker for a number of years in my home game that is chock full of Mathematics professor. They chewed me up and spit my ‘play everything aggressively’ approach out. Two years in, one of the guys’ wives accidentally let slip their nickname for me —-> ATM! That woke me up, and I had to actually learn how to play poker; and because of it, I sit now at the table with those same guys confidently and definitively knowing that I am no longer THAT sucker that I used to be. My poker nickname is now “MTA” (ha ha ha, a simple flip of ATM).

But, am I THAT sucker in fantasy sports? I suppose you could make a strong case based on my track record in a results-driven environment, but I’ll counter by saying that Mike McD (played by Matt Damon) eventually realized that poker was what gave him life and meaning and was his passion. As a hobby, fantasy sports is that for me. When I am with friends who do not play DFS, I have to guard against talking about it and remember the age-old axiom: Nobody gives a flying flip about your kids or your fantasy team. Talk about something else! Ha ha ha.

Sure, I want to win, and I try to win. And, I know I will eventually break through and win. Maybe I am THAT sucker and maybe I am not, but I’m willing to pay the small price of admission for a hobby that I enjoy…as long as it remains fun and not laborious (not rubbing against me gratingly).

On to the grind….

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Slate 112 – Monday, August 7, 2017 (main 7-game slate):

Man 94.9 vs. THE BAT 127.2
$4 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 146.6
Winner: hurd1949, 244.4

Cash: SE Double-Up, +$34 (Cash line: High 126.7, Low 123.7)

THE BAT locks: Of course, Scherzer was first, no question. I then was able to lock both Trout and Ryan Zimmerman thanks to the cost savings from RZ. Quick fact: Zimm was born in my hometown of Washington, NC, but he evidently moved as a small child and never played any actual ball there…(wipes brow) my place in Washington, NC baseball lore is intact. Ha ha ha.

Money Monday!

After a much-needed day off due to hosting my first annual Summer Patio Poker Fest (cards until 2:00, bed at 5:00am), we’re back in the saddle and ready for the week ahead. THE BAT got us started right with a rather major cash game sweat, finishing just inside the maximum money line for all cash games. It sure as heck did not look like that was going to be the case late in the slate. THE BAT was hovering very low in all cash games, and then our guy Paul of Jong helped us get a piece of the STL 11-run action with a dong. Then, guess who followed with late night heroics? Mr. Birthday Boy himself! It’s hard to believe that Mike Trout is only 24, but he gave THE BAT 28 big ones that boosted us into cash game safety.

Happy birthday to you, Mikey!

For Man, I continued my recent run where I nailed the SP and completely whiffed the O. Now, if you look at the stats, my ‘run’ has not been as great as I think it has been (still almost 7 FDPs below THE BAT’s output). But, you also have to take into consideration that THE BAT is configuring for optimal lineup and cash games (i.e., aces), whereas I am trying to find that overlooked guy. So, the fact that I am still at an average of 31 FDPs/game is not bad. If only I could nail both on the same night!

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Slate 113 – Tuesday, August 8, 2017 (main 15-game slate):

Man 162.6 vs. THE BAT 146.8
$7 Mama Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 177.6
Winner: threejos, 302.3

Cash: SE Double-Up, -$32 (Cash line: High 183.9, Low 175.8)

THE BAT locks: Even though Kluber was on the slate, and having a monstrous season, Chris Sale projected points by THE BAT were 10+ points higher than Corey K. So, he was the obvious lock. As the highest projected hitter on the slate, Freddie Freeman was the locked pair with Sale.

Chalk it up to chalk!

On the surface, it looks like it might have been a decent night in hitting that elusive 300-point mark for combined FDPs between us. But, think again…

When chalk hits, you’d better have chalk. Unfortunately, neither Man nor THE BAT had enough chalk to chalk up any wins on any of the game play formats. Only one time in the series have we surpassed 300 points and still not cashed anything (that crazy May 31 early Hump Day slate where the GPP cash line was an insane 217.3, by far the highest in the series).

So, even though we put on a Kuhl Sale, no one came and gave us any cash. It happens.

THE BAT’s Sale lineup was marked by studliness on the bump (73 FDPs, highest for THE BAT in the series) and mediocrity abounding around him. It happens when you have to pay a lot for a stud, but in this case, it was rather dramatic with not a single dude over 20 FDPs in the lineup. By contrast, my Man lineup had 3 such scorers (led by Dozier’s 41.9). Just one of those guys would have pushed THE BAT over the top, but Old Well, it was not to be.

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Slate 114 – Wednesday, August 9, 2017 (main 10-game slate):

Man 137.4 vs. THE BAT 116.7
$4 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 145.4
Winner: oneistheloneliestnumber, 314.7

Cash: SE Double-Up, +$33 (Cash line: High XX, Low XX)

THE BAT locks: In not being a much a Gio believer, I was none too excited to see Gio Gonzo up on top of THE BAT projections, but there he was. After careful consideration, I decided that there were no red flags to speak of and locked him. Gio allowed for a couple of high-dollar and highly projected hitters to be locked in Freeman and Judge.

Never ever utter the word safe in daily fantasy sports!

Why? It will burn you every time. There is, in fact, no such animal as a ‘safe’ DFS play. Sure, people purport to have seen the Lochness monster or the abominable snowman, and I think I caught a glimpse of a safe DFS play once (caught Nick Batum in my peripheral, then he went 0-10 from the field with a steal and a rebound).

I should be versed enough in DFS by now to know that universally-known axiom. But, alas, I am not. Why? Because on this slate, I ‘let’ Seige utter those words about Ivan Nova and did nothing to stop him. Yes, I am a habitual ‘Morning Grind’ and ‘Fantasy Fix’ listener. Podcasts are a major part of my day, as I do a lot of walking and biking. And, on this day, rather than processing CJ’s labelling of Ivan as ‘safe’ and running in the opposite direction, I instead liked the call and fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Ugh.

For Man, when you nail a dude like Ryan Zimmerman who has a line of 4-4, 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, 4 Rs, and a walk for a grand total of 66.3 FDPs (at 9%) and still don’t cash, you really have to control your emotions. That was me on this slate. Ivan and his ‘safety’ got shelled by the ferocious Tigres, so I needed more than the 3 points I got from my mini-‘stros stack of three suddenly not-hitting Houston dudes. Ugh.

Thankfully, all was not lost on this slate, for THE BAT again bailed us out from cashless gloom with what was the opposite from the night before. When chalk does not hit, and you aren’t all the way chalk, you usually benefit. That was the case tonight, as the cash game line ranged from a miserably low 72.4 to a still low 96.4. I did not look real close, but I am fairly certain that 24 points is the highest spread between minimum/maximum cash game lines as well. See, what had happened was this…Astros and the Brew Crew were chalk, and guys like Thames (67%), Altuve (73%), and Springer (61%) dropped major league duds. THE BAT was savvy and managed to nail one big low-owned hitter in one DD Grrrrrr-glorious!

Thanks, Didi!

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Slate 115 – Thursday, August 10, 2017 (main 10-game slate):

Man 142.2 vs. THE BAT 149.1
$4 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 150.5
Winner: eddycurryfan, 267.3

Cash: SE Double-Up, +$32 (Cash line: High 144.8, Low 139.8)

THE BAT locks: Three of the top 5 projected hitters were Harper, Cespedes, and Crush Davis, so I decided to lock those dudes up and see what happens with SP with the optimizer. Thanks to Crush savings, there was room for more expensive pitching, but Tanner Roark kept popping. Ugh, that was awfully worrisome to be marching Row Ark up the hill in cash games. However, I should note that the Chris Davis lock was replaced by one Danny the Valencia as the best late swap pivot after Davis got a day off.

Let’s start a little differently here today. How did eddycurryfan win $20K?

Here’s how: A Mets stack (10 runs), a mini-Cards stack (8 runs), Justin at the Turn, and Danny on the bump for 267.3. See, not that hard!
Side note: How did I miss that awful story about Eddy Curry’s 3-year old son seeing his mom and sister murdered in cold blood in front of him and then name the murderer? Ugh.

Man, oh man, I really wanted our first full cash sweep since June 21 and 22 (in the midst of our incredible June streak). That is a long freaking stretch to go without a full cash sweep, and the lack of those sweeps (only 8 to date) has really proven to be a problem in the series. By contrast, we’ve had 36 full cash shutouts. Ugh.

THE BAT had a very solid night, despite Roe Arc not pitching worth a flip, and Danny V was poised to lead THE BAT to a late night GPP minimum cash. But, alas, it was not meant to be. Or, rather, it was not meant to be because Danny V was not a player specified by THE BAT as a good target (remember, late swap).

Even so, I’ll take that cash game glory!

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Slate 116 – Friday, August 11, 2017 (main 15-game slate):

Man 141.6 vs. THE BAT 187.8
$7 Mama Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 170.1
Winner: chipotleaddict, 268.5

Cash: SE Double-Up, +$35 (Cash line: High 180.6, Low 167.8)

THE BAT locks: THE BAT loves looking down on the paupers in the valley atop his Rich Hill, so I went ahead and locked him. Despite my misgivings about it, in feeling similarly about Yoenis Cespedes as I do about Matt Kemp (i.e., prima donna), I went ahead and locked the top two OFs as projected by THE BAT in Trout and Cespy.

BOOM. Another cash game win…this time paired with a GPP cash!

The New York Metropolitans, paired with Rich Hill, were the difference in carrying THE BAT to a rather easy cash game win.

For Man, I hit like crazy with my overlooked correlation strategy, but my infield absolutely destroyed me with 5 guys scoring only 24.5 FDPs. Those bums ruined my main man Carlos Carrasco pitching another gem (8 IP, 0 ERs, 10 Ks). Ugh.

That’s 8 of 10 to start August! Love this month already. Obviously, the 26-slate stretch (32.7% win rate) from late June through July likely crushed the chances of exceeding a win rate of 60% or greater, but with this win tonight, THE BAT is back to a 56% win rate (64 of 114) and a cash game profit of $79 overall. Of course, the GPP losses offset that slight profit, but remember, we still only need to hit one big top-10 to change the whole outlook of this thing. It’ll happen, you’d better keep reading.

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Slate 117 – Saturday, August 12, 2017 (main 11-game slate):

Man 135.9 vs. THE BAT 28.4
$9 Papa Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 157.4
Winner: wesrwood, 264.7

Cash: SE Double-Up, -$32 (Cash line: High 139.3, Low 123.2)

THE BAT locks: Weird day for the builds. The initial build had me excluding the three orange games (WAS/SF, PHI/NYM, & HOU/TEX), and so therefore, the locks were Trout and MooseTacos (as the top two projected hitters). Both proved to be so-so (9 and 12), but those two dudes alone with average days almost beat what proved to be the resulting team for the day. The key, though, was the resulting team on that original build (Ryu, Thames, Villar, & Stanton, most notably). Combined with the locks, those other 4 would have given us 125 and a definite cash. However, as you know, we did not end up with anywhere near 125. Instead, Kevin Roth lifted the weather concerns, and I went with Harper and MooseTacos as the locks. That gave us Manaea and the band of merry non-scoring bandits that ended up scoring an oh-so grand 28.4 FDPs (by far the lowest of the series thanks to Sean’s -17 and another one of those “O, no!” lineups).

A crummy dark day across the board!

In the grand scheme of things, I wasn’t particularly worried about losing $50 in DFS after watching what unfurled in Charlottesville. Coming from a dude who grew up in the southeastern United States (just south of VA in NC) and who has family in VA, it pained me to no end to watch the hate and violence on display. But, really, it doesn’t matter where you grew up; we all have to search our souls and realize there’s no place for hate in this world. Oh me, what else to say? I’ll leave it at that and say that my heart goes out to the family and friends of Heather Heyer and the VA state troopers, and I send healing vibes to all those who were injured by that cowardly act of domestic terrorism.

So, yeah, sorry, I don’t feel like talking about this dang miserable slate where Man finished out of the money but over 100 points ahead of THE BAT who finished last in every Double-Up entered.

Yeah, not a good day…or way to end a pretty good week!

The series scorecard is below.

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Before I present the overall scorecard, a cool thing happened to me Saturday night and brightened up my day. One of my former students and research assistants sent me a text that read: “Do you know who your new LF is in Philly?” I knew right away, of course, that she was referring to Rhys Hoskins; but, what I had forgotten (and quickly remembered) is that Rhys is her long-time boyfriend. I gave her a high-five in my office the day after he was drafted, but since several crappy years of Phillies baseball has come and gone (and a ton of other things have happened in my life), I had completely forgotten which one of the Phillies prospects she was dating. So, I had a fun Sunday texting with her at Citizen’s Bank Park, as she celebrated Rhys’s first RBI and then (finally) his first hit.

And, next week’s blog will also feature me getting my fill of baseball, as my Phillies play at AT&T Park Thursday-Sunday. I’ve decided to take the whole famdamily and spend the long weekend (mostly) at the park. I’m stoked to meet up with my former student (and who knows, maybe meet Rhys), catch a game with an old high school buddy (Thursday), enjoy my daughter’s first ever MLB game (Friday), and finally get to home plate at an MLB stadium (Sunday). I always dreamed I’d be on my haunches with my right hand nestled in my crotch calling pitches like Buster Posey, but instead, I’ll be standing at home plate and waving in a pre-game ceremony where I am receiving a Willie Mac award for my work with the Junior Giants. I am one of probably 50 people being honored, and I am super excited to enjoy that special moment.

Overall Scorecard (through 117 slates):

Man

H2H Record: 49-68
Avg Score: 127.28
GPP Cash rate: 24%
Net Profit/Loss: (-$121)

vs.

THE BAT

H2H Record: 68-49
Avg. Score: 134.97
GPP Cash Rate: 26%
GPP Net Profit/Loss: (-$179)
Cash Game Rate: 56%
Cash Net Profit/Loss: +$47
Net Profit/Loss: (-$132)

TOTAL NET: (-$253)

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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.

Comments

  • joeycis

    • Blogger of the Month

    I absolutely love the reference to “Paul of Jong.” Great stuff… as always.

  • yoteach

    • Blogger of the Month

    @joeycis said...

    I absolutely love the reference to “Paul of Jong.” Great stuff… as always.

    Thanks, man! Much appreciated, as always, too.

    I took 2 semesters of Portuguese in college! ( :

  • McShuvin

    Enjoyed!

  • yoteach

    • Blogger of the Month

    @McShuvin said...

    Enjoyed!

    Thanks! I appreciate both the sentiment and the brevity!

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