The purpose of The Payoff Pitch is to “zoom in” to today’s slate in order to provide a micro perspective of DFS strategies to exploit. With the plethora of content available on our site from our talented analysts, this piece will focus more on game theory and leveraging contrarian approaches to get ahead of the field. As always, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@drewcrawford7) with questions or comments, and make sure to hop in our Discord chat to pick the brains of our contributors 24/7!
Lineup Review and Strategy Session
2nd Place in the FanDuel Slugger
I talked throughout the day yesterday in both The Payoff Pitch and in our private chat that the optimal Single Entry route was to avoid a chalky Robbie Ray in tournaments. Little did I know that Brad Peacock, who was projected very similarly, would have a Ray-esque bout of inefficiency thanks in part to a horrific strike zone and terrible Robinson Chirinos pitch framing. As it turned out, I thought this lineup was dead in the water early on after I realized Peacock wasn’t going to get me north of 30 FanDuel points, and I actually considered pivoting off of Arizona and onto the Pirates for leverage against the popular Ray. We discussed it in the chat for a few minutes, and I decided to hold since no other starting pitcher was putting together a solid outing. One change I did make when I realized I could be swimming upstream with this lineup was to get off of the predictably popular Edwin Encarnacion and onto the low-owned Mitch Haniger. This gave me some great leverage as well, as Haniger homered leading off the game against Mike Fiers at just 10% in this contest.
I went with Peacock over Ray strictly due to game theory in that anytime we have a volatile pitcher that is going to be heavily owned, it is wise to fade. I firmly believed that Ray was a better play overall, but thinking probabilistically made me go with the similarly-priced Peacock, who had just as good of a matchup. If Ray (who was double the ownership of Peacock) had one of his vintage blow-ups, I would be well ahead of the field. In this format, where high-volume players typically throw their cash lineups in, I am pretty consistently able to identify who the chalk is going to be and who is going to go overlooked. That idea also had me come off of the Cleveland Indians, who I figured would have two or three guys in most cash lineups. I was right, and not having over 30 points from Francisco Lindor was tough to come back from, as he was 63% owned here.
I mentioned throughout the day as well that historically, pitchers coming off of a no-hitter have a difficult outing their next time out. This, along with the fact that the Mariners have been cold (recency bias), had me wanting to attack Mike Fiers. When I fell asleep, Fiers had only allowed one run (the leadoff Haniger HR), and it looked like he was going to be able to escape damage from this Mariners’ attack. He only lasted 5 innings and 85 pitches, and Seattle was able to get into the Oakland bullpen where they did most of their damage. The process was pretty sound in choosing this stack, but I got really lucky with my hitters rallying against a pretty decent set of relievers. Sometimes it works out even when it doesn’t. The good news with the Mariners’ stack was that all of these guys were 20% owned or less, so when they went yard, it really allowed me to jump up pretty quickly.
For the other stack, I knew I wanted to attack youngster Nick Kingham with a surging Diamondbacks’ lineup. I knew Arizona was going to be popular but felt like it was one of those situations where, if you didn’t have them, your lineups were going to be dead. That turned out to be pretty accurate, as David Peralta, Eduardo Escobar and Jarrod Dyson combined for 87.5 points. Kingham had pretty wide splits against left-handers, so I wanted to attack him with those three guys specifically. This game also featured the best hitting weather on the slate, so contextually I knew there was an advantage to be had there.
I did have a chalky Jason Kipnis since 2B was an abject disaster on FanDuel. He was batting second at just $2,300 for an offense that was projected for almost 5 runs, so I didn’t mind being with the field there. There are always great discussions in our Discord about different stack configurations and whether it is optimal to force a 4-4 stack on FanDuel, force a one-off in there, or pre-determine some other type of constraint. I think the answer to all that, as happened here, is just go with what happens organically. If a 4-2-2 stack is what you arrive at with the players that you like, then that’s great. I would say that stacking a full “4” for one of your targets is what I see winning most of the time. It makes sense, as you want to have the highest-scoring offense on the slate, and, if they are the highest-scoring, they have more than enough room for four position players to go ham.
If you enjoyed this breakdown (or didn’t), give me a shout on Twitter, as I always welcome feedback. Also, reach out if you are on the fence about joining us at TQE, I would love to answer any questions you have and explain to you how we are changing the game with our expert content and analysis, premium tools and optimizers, and private chat! I’m also running a promo where I will choose 1 new subscriber for the MLB DFS Season Pass through Sunday at midnight for a private hour-long 1:1 coaching session. Our season package is discounted to $124.99 (from $149.99) using the promo code TQEMLB!
Drew Crawford, AKA “Squid0308” is one of the top Daily Fantasy players in the industry and the Director of Baseball Product at The Quant Edge. He was a finalist in the 2018 FanDuel World Fantasy Football Championship (4th Place), the 2019 FanDuel World Fantasy Basketball Championship (20th Place) and the 2019 FanDuel FantaSea Championship (Held April 13th).