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Lesson 6: Understanding the Complexities of Hitting

JM Tohline (JMToWin)

JM Tohline (Tuh-lean) – DFS alias JMToWin – is a novelist and a DFS player who specializes in high-stakes MLB and NFL tourneys, with a strategy geared toward single-entry play in multi-entry tourneys. He joined the DFS scene at the beginning of the 2014 MLB season, and has since won five DFS championship seats and two separate trips to the Bahamas. His tendency to type a lot of words leads to a corresponding tendency to divulge all his DFS thoughts, strategies, and secrets…which is exactly what he does in his RotoGrinders articles and RotoAcademy courses. You can find JM on Twitter at JMToWin.

As we said last lesson: you already have all the tools you need. Now, let’s keep this simple – running through some final thoughts on hitting, then setting your feet on the path toward A) putting all of this into action, B) raking in money, and C) carving out a permanent spot for yourself at the top of the leaderboards…

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The Least-Predictable Element in DFS

As we’ve said over and over again in these two courses: Hitting is the least-predictable element in all of DFS.

But as we also uncovered last lesson: Hitting is a lot more predictable than most people realize!

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What We Can Know:

We can know where ownership is likeliest to go.

This is where I pause (as I do so often in video courses, and in written courses, and in articles, and on GrindersLive) to encourage you to study ownership percentages every day you play. Take ten minutes and sort through the tournament you are in. Don’t seek out certain DFSers to “see who they rostered.” Don’t go in search of the ownership percentage of certain players. Instead, click on 20, 50, 100 different GPP rosters. Glance through each one – looking at how different people chose to put their roster together (this is great for learning as well), but also, glancing through ownership percentages at each stop along the way. Before long, you will begin to firm up an understanding of which players often go over-owned or under-owned, which types of players often go over-owned or under-owned, and – in both instances – why this is the case. The more you look at ownership percentages, the easier it will be to eyeball a slate at the start of the day and know exactly where ownership is likeliest to flow that night.

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What We Cannot Know:

While we can know where ownership is likeliest to go, we cannot know exactly how hitters will perform. And of course, I bring this up because this is – in a big way – something we can use to our advantage.

Most people enter the MLB DFS season at the end of the NBA season – and as such, they are used to projections that are very accurate in the small sample size of a single game. This is not the case in MLB. Most projection systems will run something like a 10,000 at bat sample size for the matchup in question, in order to gain a feel for what is “likeliest to happen.” But then, the game is played, and the batter doesn’t get 10,000 at bats. He gets four. Or five.

Look at it like this:

If you flipped a slightly-weighted coin that was designed to come up heads roughly 5,200 times out of every 10,000 flips, and flipped another coin that was perfectly normal (5,000 times on heads out of 10,000), your chances of ending up all tails on four consecutive flips would be practically identical from one coin to the other (6.25% of the time with the normal coin; 5.31% of the time with the weighted coin – which basically means that if you tried 100 times to get “all tails, four in a row,” you would see this happen about six times out of a hundred with one coin, and about five times out of a hundred with the other). That’s the sort of small gap / small sample size stuff we are dealing with in MLB. So what do you do when you have two hitters who are nearly-equally good plays, but you know the “best of the two options” will be highly-owned, while the “second-best of the two options” will be low-owned? You go with the lower-owned guy! And sure, you’ll have your big game from this hitter slightly less often…but the times you hit your big games, it will help you a whole lot more than it is helping all the other people who are standing in that warm huddle together.

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My Biggest Tournament Days…

Throughout my MLB DFS career, my biggest tournament days have rarely been my “highest-scoring days.” Instead, my biggest tournament days have usually been the days on which the chalk turned to dust. Because chalk hitters are so heavily rostered in MLB, and because hitters in MLB are the single most volatile element in DFS, you don’t have to properly predict who the single best play is on the day; instead, you need to simply identify who the best plays are that others will not be rostering!

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Play the BEST Plays…

…but as we’ve said: that doesn’t just mean the guy with the highest projection. Playing “The Best Play” means playing the guy who gives you the best shot at winning a tournament that day.

But, of course, you know that already by now.

All that’s left at this point is to put it all into action.

About the Author

  • JM Tohline (JMToWin)

  • JM Tohline (Tuh-lean) – DFS alias JMToWin – is a novelist and a DFS player who specializes in high-stakes MLB and NFL tourneys, with a strategy geared toward single-entry play in multi-entry tourneys. He joined the DFS scene at the beginning of the 2014 MLB season, and has since won five DFS championship seats and two separate trips to the Bahamas. His tendency to type a lot of words leads to a corresponding tendency to divulge all his DFS thoughts, strategies, and secrets…which is exactly what he does in his RotoGrinders articles and RotoAcademy courses. You can find JM on Twitter at JMToWin.

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