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  • thedkexperience

    Hello everybody, it’s your old pal THEDKEXPERIENCE, coming on back to the forums after a few month hiatus due to the DFS bloodbath known as the NBA sucking my will to live … errrr … play out of my soul. So what brings me back again other than my unfailing devotion to our favorite masochistic hobby? The same thing as always, the Cadillac of fantasy sports, MLB DFS!

    Ironically while baseball is the 3rd of my 3 favorite sports behind basketball and football I’ve had an inverse relationship between my love of the games and my DFS success. Last year I turned a really good profit during the 2 months I focused on baseball and won a single entry tournament in both MLB and NFL before getting pummeled repeatedly on NBA.

    Sadly once summer came around last season I wasn’t able to devote the time to grinding DFS baseball every day, so I probably left some profit on the table, but I digress. It’s a new season and my Phillies are actually worth watching (all hail my new leader Bryce Harper, may you live long and whack many dingers will into the next decade) so I’m planning on giving it the full 6 month run.

    Anyway, I noticed that there seems to be a lack of pre-season strategy talk in general on the interwebs so I wanted to start this thread to cover for that. It’s one thing to talk about how your planning to put together a lineup in May or July but in early March I believe that the market for general tips seems to be lacking. Hopefully we can all learn something by putting our heads together here.

    So with that here are some tips that have worked for me in the past that may get some people to call me a moron or a genius depending upon your viewpoints.

    Tip 1: Understanding advanced stats is important but understanding human psychology is equally vital.

    Anyone who plays DFS baseball profitably should know that there is a veritable alphabet soup of pertinent advanced stats like ISO, VoRP, WAR, OPS and seemingly 10,000 others. It is important to know what they mean if you want to be successful, but don’t lose the forrest through the trees. My days of playing poker have shown me that 98% is not 100% and just because someone has tons of metrics pointing to a big day, doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen more than 30 to 40% of the time. 30 to 40% is not 100% and you should be wary in baseball of committing salary to expensive hitters due to this. I’m not saying don’t play Mookie Betts, he’s awesome. I’m just saying that he’s very capable of going 0-4, because unlike the NBA, every person in baseball has a floor of 0.

    Tip 2: Embrace the 0

    Here is what makes baseball the most winnable DFS sport for a single entry grinder to beat the pros, simply embracing the zero. In the NBA even if James Harden has a bad game he’s still going to score 30+ DFS points. Barring an injury the likelihood of a goose egg from Harden is essentially nill. Meanwhile Mike Trout and Mookie will get 2 or 3 zeros a week sometimes. That bottom variance is what keeps the pros from dominating. Like I said in tip 1 all the stats in the world can point to a huge game and a few caught line drives can send Trout fishing for a 0-4 day. That zero is what makes baseball great and why once or twice a week the Nick Williams types of the world for minimum price will crush the value that Bryce Harper, or Trout or Mookie or another allstar will get. Little known secret, even the worst MLB hitters aren’t bad and the best ones are only about 20 to 30% better than the bottom feeders.

    Tip 3: Even the bad players are good, and cities exist outside of the coasts.

    You know how much money Shin Soo Choo made me last year? For weeks he was near minimum priced while hitting at the top of the Rangers order. People on this forum would say he sucks but he doesn’t, he’s just a boring old guy. But he’s a boring old guy who gets ABs and often produces against the opposite handed pitchers at low ownership. People were jamming in Brett Gardner over him at a higher cost just because he was a Yankee. Happens every year. There is a legit East Coast bias in DFS baseball and a bias against boring old guys. Exploit them both and profit.

    Tip 4: Lets be honest, we’re playing guess the homerun.

    While I am unsure if FD has updated their scoring for this season, I know last year a solo homer was worth 18.7 points. 1 for 6 with a homerun is potentially worth more than a career 6 for 6 day assuming they were all singles. While exceptions can be made for players with some speed, good lineup position or price, there are very few good reasons to roster a player who you don’t think can hit a homerun that day. I know that cash players probably raised an eyebrow at that, but it’s just your total score that matters. You can still win your cash game with 3 or 4 zeros if you find 3 or 4 homeruns. I actually showed a significant increase in my cash ROI by using a more GPP style strategy.

    Anyway, these are just a few things that I do that have been profitable for me. There are plenty of others – sometimes I’ll play a guy in a negative game script just because “um, that guy is still a good baseball player” (see the psychology thing I mentioned earlier) – and I’m sure I’ll share them in due time. For now please add some of your personal tips or discuss what I just wrote should you want to call me a genius … or a moron.

    Regardless, happy baseball season to all of you. Let’s make it a good one.

    I will now leave you with a Bryce Harper gif because he’s the greatest human in the universe as far as I’m concerned these days!

  • jtkucheck

    I’ve had the most success when I place very little emphasis on top tier pitching.

    Especially early in the season when guys are not properly stretched out, the odds of them having a ceiling game that can’t be reached by any other SP on the slate are just not good.

  • coachspitz

    cheap marlins pitching early. stack big bats on big teams. April strategy

  • thedkexperience

    @TheDataDetective said...

    Great insight, THEDKEXPERIENCE. I pretty much agree with all of your points although I think you might be oversimplifying with the chasing HRs bit. I agree that homers usually decide a lineup’s fate but the small ball stats help as well (just look at a base stealer like Trea for a good counterexample). Instead of filling my lineup with 3 true outcome sluggers like Thames or Bour, I like to target hitters with a more well rounded skillset. I find that this raises their floor and helps me cash more often.

    As for advanced metrics, I feel that they lead to information overload when it comes to DFS because no single stat directly measures fantasy production. That’s why when I developed my projections app I decided to base my algo around a single core stat: FPTS per plate appearance. This allows me to normalize every type of split, game situation, etc and directly translate them into fantasy production. It’s very difficult to create a fantasy projections algo based on advanced metrics.

    I actually completely agree with your take, and thanks for the feedback.

    It is funny because while my advanced stats knowledge pales in comparison to some of you fellas, I know from years of experience that it’s still better than 90% of baseball fans, but in our collective rush over the last decade to make baseball smarter (thank goodness for that) I believe some folks have forgotten that baseball was played for 100 years before anyone ever thought of WAR or VoRP or OPS or xFIP or BABIP or Y-XRoW.

    There is a lot of money to be made using your gut feeling in this game assuming your gut feeling is coming from a place of 25 years of watching baseball like a rational human being as opposed to a belligerent maroon.

    For example, I have no idea what “(player-popup #bryce-harper)Bryce Harper”:/players/bryce-harper-13392’s game logs are against Julio Teheran. I do know that Harper generally murders right handed pitching and that the Phillies park is great for lefty power so I can reasonably project that one of Harper’s 35 to 40 homers will come on opening day, so if I can afford him (and don’t find a cheaper player in an equal spot) I’ll play him and simply expect 18.7 or 0.

    It’s definitely a simplistic approach but it’s worked way better for me than trying to get 9 every day from the Joey Votto types.

    Note: Y-XRoW is not a real stat but I wanted to see who was paying attention. :)

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