Man vs. THE BAT '17: Week 19 (Slates 128-135)

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 below average grinder, ranked #12,987 in the late summer out-of-shape 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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Penultimate.

For those like me (up until a couple of years ago) who never bothered to look this long word up, it essentially means “next to last” in layman’s terms. The official definition is “last but one in a series of things; second to the last (e.g., “the penultimate chapter of the book”).

So, at long last, the penultimate blog post in this (nearly) season-long series. We’ve spent 19 weeks together, and after you read this penultimate chapter in the series, you’ll think, “How the hell did we both last 19 weeks through the ups and downs of the grind?” I’ve wondered the same thing at times over the last few weeks in particular, but in writing this Intro after Week 19 is in the books, I am struck with a vibe that seems all too familiar.

I enjoy what I do!

You may be thinking to yourself, “Good gracious, he’s lost $400+ bucks in this series — sucks for him!”

But, no, I enjoy what I do!

I mean, I’d rather have won $400 bucks, but in my eyes, I can afford $400 and got 19 weeks of fun playing and writing about daily fantasy baseball for a price of $400. It’s an expense that I can afford. That’s $21 per week. Not so bad when you look at it like that.

Some people dig classic cars and spend a fortune buying, refurbishing, collecting, and selling those things.

Admittedly, saying that I have zero interest in classic cars is vast overstatement. My interest would be weighed out in the negative, for I actually can barely tolerate hearing someone talk about them. Oh, I’ll stand there and look interested, might even inquire about horsepower; but, I won’t really be listening to the answers and will undoubtedly eventually throw in a “It’s all ball bearings these days” joke. Yeah, that’s probably not even fitting in that context, but it shows how little I care about that pastime. My wife and I once had a couple over for dinner, as their 2-year daughter and our 2-year old daughter were becoming fast friends. An hour into the dinner, I told my wife, “I like these guys; they seem interesting.” Two hours later, my head spinning from classic car overload after visiting my condo’s guest parking lot where the dude’s old school something-or-other was parked, I recanted and said to my wife, “Sorry, unless she splits with this dude, we’re out!”

Now, again, do not get me wrong — I respect the knowledge and passion that those cats have for classic cars. And, we have something in common, for just like I love playing DFS as a side pursuit, they do the same and are very serious about their chosen leisure pursuit. This phenomenon is dubbed serious leisure , and Robert Stebbins is the leisure science researcher responsible for advancing the theory and the working definition of serious leisure:

“Serious leisure is the systematic pursuit of an amateur, hobbyist, or volunteer core activity that is highly substantial, interesting, and fulfilling and where, in the typical case, participants find a (leisure) career in acquiring and expressing a combination of its special skills, knowledge, and experience.”

I teach college students about the concept in our introductory leisure studies section. Whether classic cars, cultivating giant pumpkins, making beads and jewelry, collecting superheroes memorabilia, engaging in medieval role-playing, or playing daily fantasy sports, serious leisure has exploded in the digital communications age where people can connect more easily around their hobbies and interests.

So, with that lesson in mind, let’s get serious about winning some money this week…

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Slate 128 – Sunday, August 20, 2017 (main 10-game slate):

Man 93.4 vs. THE BAT 89.1
$4 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 133.2
Winner: avacamdanbay, 243
Cash: SE Double-Up, -$23 (Cash line: High 117.5, Low 115.6)

THE BAT locks: This was a simple one in locking both the highest projected SP in Jake of Grom and the highest projected batter in Mike Trout.

Stud arm dude + stud bat dud = No cash, dude!

One of the things you learn when you actually watch games and pay attention to box scores is when dudes are slumping versus when dudes are breaking out. Mike the GOAT has been Mike in Slump recently, and unfortunately that has coincided with me forcing him into THE BAT lineups.

For Man, my bookends were pretty dang solid with Peacock on the bump notching 37 and Cespy at the bottom going for 31. Yep, you did the math correctly; that means another 30-something for the other 7 dudes. That ain’t cutting it, boys! Why it didn’t cut the mustard was also simple; my Yankees stack fell flat. I felt like the Yanks would be under-the-radar versus a guy who gets more respect than he deserves as last year’s Cy winner (i.e., Poor Man’s Cello). I was right in terms of the low ownership, but those who faded were right also. Ha ha, ha…ugh.

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Slate 129 – Monday, August 21, 2017 (main 8-game slate):

Man 80.7 vs. THE BAT 59.6
$6 Supreme Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 134.4
Winner: dreinfeld1, 216.1

Cash: SE Double-Up, -$32 (Cash line: High 119.2, Low 110.5)

THE BAT locks: Again, it was relatively simply in that the highest projected SP (Skaggs) and highest projected hitter (Trout) by THE BAT were locked. I decided again to “let it go” from there with the lineup optimizer (that utilizes THE BAT projections).

“It’s just another miserable Monday, just like Sunday; that’s my ‘none’ day!”

That’s how the song goes, right?

Maybe I could add a verse about the red highlighter associated with “full cash shutout” on the spreadsheet. Ugh.

So, what had happened? Ha ha ha. This time it wasn’t the dual duds of the highest projected SP and hitter like yesterday’s slate. Instead, we got a split in that department with Tyler “Country Boy” Skaggs going dud and Trout snapping (at least temporarily) out of his slump with an 18+ night. Of course, those two weren’t real problem for THE BAT’s lineup. Hell, the Halos locked duo actually led the team with 34 of the 59 total FDPs. Ha ha ha wow…yes, THAT bad.

I cannot talk, for my Man lineup was not much better. I obviously felt pretty good in going after the Supreme Squeeze and laying down $32 in cash games, but it was not meant to be. I really loved Cole Hamels on this slate. He’s been money versus the Angels this season, and I knew he’d be low-owned even on a smaller slate. That proved to be accurate, but the trouble was that I did not pair him with any real hitters of note.

This slate gave the 125.7 on July 17 a run for its ‘money’ in terms of ineptitude, but in the end, it came up a little long.

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Slate 130 – Tuesday, August 22, 2017 (main 14-game slate):

Man 169.3 vs. THE BAT 135.5
$7 Line Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 163.6
Winner: db4cornett, 295.6

Cash: SE Double-Up, -$20 (Cash line: High 160.2, Low 151.4)

THE BAT locks: It’s been such a horrendous run that I decided to mix it up a bit here and fully lock every player based on THE BAT projections. So, every player in the original lineup was a lock. Problem was, Cameron Maybin who had been deemed as the best value by THE BAT did not make the starting lineup. By the time I had a chance to make the late swap, the 8:15 games were already locked. So, I had to sub out both Trout and Maybin for Cole Kalhoun and Chin-soo Shoo.

Riding Yankees to a minimum cash!

My ‘whoop whoop’ regarding the Man minimum cash only goes so far, as losing once again in cash games makes my DFS life somewhat frustrating.

I’m not going to dwell; you’ve heard enough of that already.

Instead, I’ll focus on the positive with my Man lineup. Of course, there’s not a whole lot else to say besides what I said above. I rode the Yankees stack in style with the 4 Yanks of Gary the GOAT, the Judge, Hicks, and Austin topping 117. Yep, only a Lance Lynn dud away from a bit more cash, but that’s OK.

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Slate 131 – Wednesday, August 23, 2017 (main 13-game slate):

Man 96.2 vs. THE BAT 164.7
$4 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 167
Winner: exfedex, 283.7

Cash: SE Double-Up, -$23 (Cash line: High 171, Low 166.1)

In running so horrifically cold with cash games and THE BAT lineup, I have to look inward. I know that many will ascribe this seeming ‘failure’ in the series thus far to THE BAT, but I am certain it’s not THE BAT. I am a goocher, plain and simple. But, I am a goocher with supreme confidence and optimism that things will turn around eventually. Yes, I am still convinced that is the case here. But, given the troubles and knowing that I am increasingly making THE BAT look bad (when, in fact, it’s user error), I have to re-evaluate how I am using it and try to figure out a way to turn things around.

So, headed into THE BAT locks, I decided to check out THE BAT Chat for the first time. The reason I steered away from that tool this season was due to my dislike of chats in general. I have a ton on my plate, and I am not great at multi-tasking. So, if I am in a chat, that is all I am doing. What I failed (typical of me) to realize is that these types of premium chats are not like the BS cattle call chats where people spew mostly nonsense and ask ridiculous QQs. Oh great, nice of me to figure that out 131 slates in to this damn thing.

THE BAT locks: Despite knowing that Derek is very high on Luke Weaver in this spot, and that Kluber is facing both a hitter’s umpire and a club that doesn’t K often, I cannot get away from Corey K here. Why? Four important reasons: (1) Wind blowing in; (2) Lowest Vegas total; (3) Still the highest projected total by THE BAT; and (4) Have you looked at those dominant game logs and overall stats? It’s a pennant race, and Kluber is pitching better than almost anyone in the league. If I go down here with Kluber, so be it. If I go down with a rook who’s shown a proclivity towards HR balls the night after the Friars exploded for 10 runs, so be (t)i(l)t(ed). From the Kluber lock, I also ventured into semi-unchartered territory and decided to exclude several guys who always projections pop (and who I am none too fond of their ‘lack of’ actual pop this season). Bye bye Kemp, Valbuena, and Maybin. And, then? I decided to do something that is awfully scary — I clicked lock on three of my Phillies who were in the top-5 or so of THE BAT value plays: Tommy Joseph (aka ToJo, pronounced Toe Joe), Rhys Hoskins, and Maikel Franco. Why? A mediocre LHP and upside power from all three in a hitter’s ballpark. My only worry, besides them being light-hitting Phillies (of course), is that the ball was flying out of Citizen’s Bank yesterday due to hot temperatures and extremely high humidity. It’s cooled off today, and the humidity is much lower. We’ll see what happens.

Oh, the beauty of the cash game chalk you miss!

yoteach, meet Gary Sanchez.

Yeah, yeah, I know Gary the GOAT; you see that I played him in my Man lineup, right (again)? I actually loved him and Judge, but they somehow did not fit the build for THE BAT’s lineup.

Here, we experienced something that has plagued me throughout this tough stretch, and that is, there seems to be a reoccurring thing happening whereby 1-2 dudes are as chalk as a one-room schoolhouse who don’t end up in THE BAT cash lineup. Tonight (and last night) it was Sanchize, better known as Gary the GOAT. Again, as I have said before and will continue to reiterate, I feel like this is on me rather than THE BAT. You have to know who is uber-chalk, and unless you want to be effectively ‘drawing dead’ (as seems to be happening over and over to me), you have to be on those guys. They bust in cash games; it doesn’t really matter, as they also busted for 50-99% of the other entries as well.

You’ll notice that since I started controlling THE BAT, I have sucked. And, for me, that makes this streak suck even more. One, I have the worry of people attributing this suckitude to THE BAT. And two, I have my own self doubts and worry over how the immortal crap I can suck so bad at this game I’ve been playing for so long. Ugh. Where I ultimately erred, besides the obvious Sanchez missed play, was excluding Luis Valgood and locking a guy I know from firsthand knowledge is not a good hitter right now in Maikel Franco. Luis would have won us a dramatic cash game win with that 3-run bomb, but instead, it was the opposite; THE BAT’s lineup ended up losing all cash games with the Luis roundtripper. No buena! And, again, lest you have forgotten, that was not THE BAT; that was all me! I alone excluded Valbuena; THE BAT wanted to play him and had him projected ahead of Maikel.

Just remember, there is an “I” in suckitude!

Side note. We need a little comic relief, so I just witnessed the following in the coffee shop where I am working:

A dude (looks 50-ish) just said to two other guys, “What is this, guys — a coffee shop, right?”

Bewildered, one of the two 30-ish guys said, “Uh, yeah. What’s up?”

To which 50 replied,“What do you do in a coffee shop?”

The same ‘lead spokesperson’ for the 30-something twosome said, “Where are you going with this, man?”

50 did not hesitate, “Where I’m going with this is not where I went. I did not come to a sports bar where I might be interested in your loud conversation; I came to a coffee shop to work. Do you mind quieting down so I can do so?”

It’s a small coffee shop, and even though I was across the way from these dudes, I had not noticed them talking loudly at all (and I wasn’t wearing headphones). The two dudes demonstrated amazing restraint, hushed their voices, and were even apologetic. I think I’d have ended up in a shouting and/or wrestling match had it been me and given my current state of mind (i.e., scuffling). Good thing I’m a loner in coffee shops!

I’d like to be a loner atop a gosh darn GPP here soon…

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Slate 132 – Thursday, August 24, 2017 (early 4-game slate):

Man 62.3 vs. THE BAT 217.4
$6 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 172.9
Winner: ddub428, 258.5

Cash: SE Double-Up, +$16 (Cash line: High 156.9, Low 154.4)

THE BAT locks: After locking Rob E. Ray as the obvious cash game play and highest projected SP by THE BAT, I then decided to focus on highly projected bats in what was obviously the best hitting game on the slate (PHI/MIA). It worried me after last night that THE BAT would like too many bats in that game, but locking my main man Rhy$ Hoskins and GC Stanton was not worrisome in the slightest. The fact that two toe-related players showed up was admittedly worrisome. Toe Joe reappeared and then Real Mule Toe popped up also. Uh, oh. Another slate where Gary the GOAT is uber-chalk? It was scary as all chalk, but I decided I could not lock Sanchez with JT projected by THE BAT for more points (and cheaper).

42 points away from that loner bliss!

Ha ha ha, not as close as I hoped at one point. THE BAT lineup was slamming points like Tommy G slams fireball shots at a Jersey Shore sports bar!

Ha ha ha, I don’t even know if Tommy G lives anywhere close to the Jersey “shore” …but, I perceive that he does. Ha ha ha. He’ll never in a million years read this, but if he just so happens to catch a Powerball in a bottle — know this, Tommy, I wish like all hell I could craft actual GPP winning lineups like I have seen from you on occasion. And, I actually have an affinity for the Jersey “shore” in having grown up affectionately called yolittleguy by the guys at the dock where my dad, yoguy, used to launch his boat for fishing in the Delaware Bay. We’d go every summer, as my stepmom’s folks had a cottage in Villas, NJ; it’s how I became a long-suffering Phillies fan.

We ended at 42 points away, but I thought for sure that # was going to be under 20 points away for quite some time on this early slate, as we were in the top 35-100 for much of the slate (until I sent Derek a DM with the link and effectively stopped the scoring in its tracks). Yep, curse of the early screenshot!

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Slate 133 – Thursday, August 24, 2017 (main 6-game slate):

Man 148.3 vs. THE BAT 42.7
$3 Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 108
Winner: fdfog71, 192.9

Cash: SE Double-Up, -$7 (Cash line: High 82.4, Low 82.4)

THE BAT locks: Despite lots of chatter during the day regarding Sale not being in the greatest spot, THE BAT still liked him and projected him as the best SP on the slate. I also did not personally buy the “Sale has traditionally crashed a bit late in the year” line, so I liked the call. But, with Sale locked, we needed value, so I locked C Mitch Garver batting 5th against Derek Holland. The optimizer filled in the rest.

Guess the winning score of the guy who took down the Monster tonight for $20,000?

If you guessed 149.6, you win…as did healybj19!

What would my 148.3 have won? $10,000.

Now, granted, I may not have made these choices had I paid $333 for an entry, but still, it’s fun to imagine what could have been. Just a day ago, I was sitting here going, “What the heck is wrong with me? Why do I stink so bad at this damn game?” I still stink, but I guess not as bad as I thought last night. Ha ha ha.

Luckily, also, I dropped down a bit in cash games with funds running low. It was a good thing, as Sale did indeed crash and burn to the tune of zero fantasy points. Also, the Twinkies stack of Dozier, Buxton, Escobar, and Garver was no match for Derek Holland. Chalk Twinkies taste really awful!

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Slate 134 – Friday, August 25, 2017 (main 15-game slate):

Man 52.2 vs. THE BAT 165.8
$7 Line Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 142.6
Winner: bigroddy1, 251.1

Cash: SE Double-Up, +$16 (Cash line: High 136.5, Low 135.1)

THE BAT locks: Verlander was projected to be the highest scoring SP on the slate, so he was locked first. The others are likely going to surprise you. First, John Jaso. Without a doubt the first time JJ was put on a roster in the series, but THE BAT liked him as the top-ranked value play in Great American Smallpark. I liked the matchup (i.e., crappy Reds RHP) and batting order (6th) combo, as I also did for Jabari Blash (i.e., crappy Marlins LHP in Conley, 5th) whom I am also fairly certain was played for the first time in the series. Finally, the highest projected (by far) hitter by THE BAT was the baseball player formerly known as Mike Stanton.

Giancarlo just keeps cruzin’!

You probably learned that “Cruz” nickname, like I did, this weekend, and you likely also learned that that dude is the hottest hitter on the planet (even hotter than the one setting beginning of the career records in my man Rhys Hoskins).

What I loved about the Jaso and Blash plays was the room they gave us for Stanton, without completely wrecking the rest of the lineup. Of course, that statement is kind of ironic, as the rest of the lineup wrecked themselves by not helping THE BAT much. The 4 locks scored 140+, and the other 5 managed less than 25. Thanks, other 5, for mustering so much!

The only bright side from my Man lineup? I scored 52, which was my football # as a middle linebacker! Ha ha ha.

Seriously, in looking back, I have no problem with the direction I went here. I thought the trio of Cardinals (Yadier, Paul of Jong, and Gyork Store) were a great overlooked mini-stack against Blake Snell, and I thought the same of the Rockies OFs in the launching pad for LHBs that is SunTrust. Neither worked worth a darn, but hey…that happens.

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Slate 135 – Saturday, August 21, 2017 (main 9-game slate):

Man 91.3 vs. THE BAT 145.8
$9 Papa Squeeze
Minimum cash line: 155.7
Winner: fallfromgrace, 263.7

Cash: SE Double-Up, +$8 (Cash line: High 147.7, Low 145.5)

THE BAT locks: Despite a bit of worry with the fighting Phils hitting better (led by Rhys the GOAT), I made the decision to lock Hendricks as the highest projected SP on the slate. That cost savings helped to lock several high-priced hitters and highly projected sluggers in Rizzo and (unfortunately) Arenado. Arenado has murdered LHP this year, but the choice over Kris Bryant was despite KB being projected by THE BAT to be a bit higher.

A Cubbie short!

Yep, I bet you can guess which Cubbie I was short. Yep, Kris Bryant (34 FDPs, +25 over Nolan). Ugh.
Yep, KB would/should have given THE BAT 170 and an easy minimum cash in the Papa Squeeze (from -$9 to $18) plus a sweep in cash games (from +$8 to +$18)

Remember how that Cardinals mini-stack did so well yesterday? Yep, back to the well. A little better thanks to Yadier, but still not nearly enough to be viable. I was also a day early on the Indians stack. E5 hit a dinger, but the other 3 did jack squat. A day early and $9 short!

So, we move on to next week and will try to end the ’17 blog series with a blast!

The series scorecard is below.

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Overall Scorecard (through 135 slates):

Man

H2H Record: 57-78
Avg Score: 125.89
GPP Cash rate: 24%
Net Profit/Loss: (-$174)

vs.

THE BAT

H2H Record: 78-57
Avg. Score: 135.42
GPP Cash Rate: 27%
GPP Net Profit/Loss: (-$154.78)
Cash Game Rate: 53%
Cash Net Profit/Loss: (-$90.50)
Net Profit/Loss: (-$245.28)

TOTAL NET: (-$419.28)

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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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