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Our MLB Coaching Sessions, held every weekday in our MLB Chat Room, have been a treasure trove of advice not just for those wanting to dominate each night’s slate, but for anyone looking to improve their lineup construction, contest selection, or research skills and become a better MLB DFS player.
With that in mind, I’ve compiled EVERY evergreen tip, question, answer, and discussion we had in the first half of 2019 and I’ve put them below.
They’re (roughly) separated into categories, which you can see and use to navigate here at the top if you’re just looking to digest as much info as possible, but if you’re looking for help on a specific topic, I recommend using your browser’s Find feature (likely by hitting Ctrl+F or ⌘+F) and entering a keyword of your choice.
Also, don’t forget to check out all of our standalone strategy articles by studs like DraftCheat, Ray Flowers, Vlad Sedler, and Benny Ricciardi!
What is the best way to use the info you post in the bullpen coach article? Are we looking for R/L balance, over worked, high era? all of the above?
Phil Backert: Yea it all meshes together…will say the R/L balance helps bc you can identify what hitters in DFS may be pinch hit for and obviously if a lefty-heavy bullpen is facing a right-handed lineup that is something we may want to attack. K percentage is good as a lot of these bullpens have power arms so if we find some that don’t, again we can attack that. This is what I wrote about the Rockies bullpen that will be in the bullpen coach later today. Despite allowing only one earned run, seven base runners reached on the Rockies bullpen in three and a third innings pitched on Tuesday night. The bullpen ranks 15th in ERA, but 22nd in xFIP. They rank dead last in hard hit percentage as well and 23rd in strikeout percentage. The numbers on the surface don’t look bad, but I think this is an exploitable bullpen.
When you’re looking high level on the bullpen numbers are you looking more at ERA or xFIP?
Phil Backert: More xFIP, but I like some of the other indicators since the bullpens could be allowing inherited runners to score so ERA won’t tell the full story. Example…Rockies bullpen right now is allowing 51.4% hard contact percentage…the next closest team is at 42.7% BUT the Rockies bullpen ERA is only 3.86. Their xFIP is 4.59 so I think we can take advantage of that at some point
Should I also focus on innings pitched?
Phil Backert: IP is always good just because we know if they have been overused or if a team may push a starter more
Do you play DFS, and if so, how much weight do you put into your player pool selection based on the opponents’ bullpen?
Phil Backert: I do and it’s becoming more of a higher priority now that we see pitchers being taken out when they are throwing a no hitter and only at 82 pitches!!
Do you use FanGraphs?
Phil Backert: Yes and when the bullpen coach comes out later today the first spreadsheet you see is from FanGraphs. right now it’s from previous 7 days, but once the season gets rolling you will see past 7 and past 14. The order is based off ERA, but there are a ton of stats listed so you can see outliers
With TBs bullpen day, do you consider the stats for Stanek and Yarbrough as bullpen or starters? or both?
Phil Backert: So I lean on FanGraphs for that and they count it as a bullpen
Phil do you think how hot or cold a bullpen is, is just as important as the level of talent of their arms when determining if they should be targeted?
Phil Backert: Yes. for example…cubs couldn’t get anyone out for the first week or so now they haven’t given up a run for 17ish straight innings. I think this stuff snowballs…it can be being overworked, bad matchups/ballpark, having to bring up a fresh arm from the minors who isn’t ready.
Yeah that’s what i was referring too. So in an instance if the Os bullpen was somehow just getting everyone out, they may not be as big a target even tho their pen sucks, and vice versa for a team like the Yankees
Phil Backert: Unfortunately, it may take a couple of games for us to make that change. For instance, we are targeting red sox tonight, and O’s could shut them down…but I would still do the same tomorrow. But, if we see the o’s bullpen pitching better…is it bc they have used pitcher x for 2 straight days? if so, then he won’t be available day 3 so can we go back to them?
Right, right. How long would you think a team needs to keep it up before maybe moving away from directly targeting them or avoiding them? 4 days? A week? Or maybe a certain number of innings?
Phil Backert: i would reevaluate after a series. It would at least let me look closer…was weather bad, did they just match up well that series, etc.
Phil is there any day/night splits taken into account? Being a tiger fan i used to watch the best tiger teams over the last decade frequently struggle in day games against bad teams/players/bullpens because everyone on the team just played better at night. Is that a part of the research? Or is it just too small a sample and sort of irrelevant later in the year anyway?
Phil Backert: I think any sample size is worth looking at…I haven’t done the day night splits, but that is a good idea
Phil, do you use a lot of the pitch type and/or plate discipline numbers from Fangraphs?
Phil Backert: yea i like seeing the swinging strike rate and hard hit rate
How about the plate discipline numbers or the numbers for specific pitches? I’m asking because I’m wondering if you prefer to use either the PitchFX numbers or the Baseball Info Solutions numbers.
Phil Backert: Plate Discipline
when you are targeting awful bullpens are you looking to use the opposite handedness versus the relievers in the pen? if there are 5 RHP are you looking to use the lefties for instance?
Phil Backert: yes
Morning Phil, where do you pull the bullpen xFip data from? Fangraphs
Phil Backert: yup! any specific team you want to know?
do you happen to have a link? I like to export it to my spreadsheet
What is some key data for bullpens? xFip is kind of tough because they throw shitty RP in games where they are getting beat.
Phil Backert: hard hit percentage is always one i look at. swinging strike percentage, fly ball percentage. the grid that is posted of how many lefties and righties in the bullpen is always good to look at as well. left on base percentage too.
TheAlgoholic: So when using the opto you have to remember my projections are mean, So people that use average will be higher. Also I ALWAYS use the opto stack function, Usually 3/4/2, to get correlation
do you adjust the ownership %s?
TheAlgoholic: I do 80% on ownership for MME (max), That is higher than a lot of guys I’m sure. I also do 3 unique players for MME
What is the best Stack option for Fan Duel? 4/4 or less?
TheAlgoholic: I like 4/4
on DK how would you recommend stacking for cash vs. stacking for gpp
TheAlgoholic: I don’t stack cash, I just fit the best bats
If there is a slate like today and we expect a stack to be super chalky (phillies for example) how would u use the optimizer to get exposure but limit the chalkiness?
TheAlgoholic: One way to get off the chalk stack but still get exposure is to stack lower in the lineup
TheAlgoholic: For mme I will mostly lock in my top 3 arms And just vary the lineups with them
Question for you guys. I don’t play much $ on a nightly basis. So if I’m only playing $15-$20 a night how much of that do you recommend for Cash/GPP
DraftCheat: entirely personal preference and what your goals are. if you’re trying to grind out a small profit, cash, if you’re comfortable possibly going on long dry spells, GPPs are fine.
Just trying to build my bankroll slowly. My goal is to win the week, not necessarily the day
DraftCheat: probably stick to cash mostly then
Jesse: Then $16-$17 in cash, $2-$3 in small (<100ppl) tourneys, and about $1 in a larger single-entry gpp, is what I’d recommend. That’s the type of mix that I’ve found generates the best ROI with the lowest amount of variance. Variance goes down even more if you make a majority of that $16-$17 in cash into h2h instead of 50-50s and double-ups.
I have success in NBA, by doing my own research then looking at articles to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Any tips or similarities you can give me to for research because i suck at baseball.
Jesse: Why do you say you suck?
because i bleed money away every baseball season. Partly due to contest selection. But i rather form my own opinions then look at what everyone else is saying
Jesse: It’s good to want to think for yourself, it means you’re approaching this the right way. Copy/pasting stuff from the articles here will make you better than about 70% of your competition w/o any thought at all. Unfortunately, it’s tough to be profitable long-term when you’re only in the top 30%, unless you’re playing 90+% cash games. Contest selection can turn a guy with a slightly negative, leaky ROI into one with a significantly positive one. You’d be amazed at what would happen if you only entered 20-man tourneys instead of 1,000-man ones. What’s your contest selection look like right now?
right now have 3 in the $12 5 max and 3 in some 100 mans
Jesse: That’s better than most. If you’re just interested in GPPs, and you like building 3 LUs and risking $50-$100/night, I’d say move that $36 of 5-max money into 3 $10 20-man tourneys and 3 $2 20-man tourneys. Then about $5/LU in the 100-mans, and $2-$3/LU into things w/ >100ppl, like a few of the 250-1000 person single-entry things.
Benny what is your play structure per night? How many GPP and how many Cash lineups do you put out
BennyRicciardi: Depends on the site and the sport. For MLB, I’m more of a GPP player, I try to make 3 lineups and stick to the 3 max or single entry stuff and then play some Qs for tickets or stuff like that on DK.
How important do u think player projected ownership is in GPP? What size slate do you say “ok this is gpp”? What’s the cutoff on slate size and then is it just mini stacks?
RotoGut: It’s important because there is always a stack every day under 10% that pops off. Anything under 500 entries to me is more suited for a cash game LU. I’d say any 4-game slate is a GPP slate. I don’t play cash on those slates. That’s just me.
Any specific hitters sticking out to you? Do you use all the statistics that DC likes to use? Broke down a lot on Fangraphs yesterday.
RotoGut: I use FanGraphs religiously. For pitchers and hitters. Lots of diving into splits. I like looking at Pitch Type too to see how certain guys have hit certain types of pitchers over the years and matching that with what the opposing pitcher’s most common pitches thrown are.
What’s typical amount of time/research put in each day before setting lineups?
RotoGut: About 2 hours prep night before for the article and 1.5 hours on article. Then another three hours spread out during the day.
Hey Vlad, what should we look for to find those players that might be heating up but won’t show up on the regular stat sheet
RotoGut: Mans’ cash game article always covers it
My guess is to compare the hitter’s BABIP and hard hit %, and ISO. If their average and BABIP are low, but they are hitting it hard, it could mean they are due for a breakout
RotoGut: for a deep dive, that nailed it
Vlad, what’s your process for constructing a cash lineup vs gpp
Rotogut: Cash, I’m looking for high-contact hitters who don’t strikeout much against sub par pitchers – best one-offs, never look to stack. In GPPs, I don’t mind going up to 5-6 hitters from the same team.
Vlad for fan duel GPP, what is your goal with stacks ideally, 3, 4 man stacks?
Rotogut: FanDuel, yes, 4 man stacks in GPPs…usually top to middle of lineup guys, but if I’m doing multiple lineups, I like to differentiate with near bottom of lineup – like a 5-8 – not many teams that I feel comfy doing that with but NYY is one example where you still have studs who can go off near the bottom and there’s no pitcher hitting 9th
Will you try and fit in two 4 man stacks or build around one main stack?
Rotogut: Usually build around one main but early on this year I’ve gone 4 + 3. There’s no exact formula for it as you have to make the pieces fit under salary cap and you can of course include hitters not on either of those two primary stacks.
Vlad, I feel like you don’t solely rely on analytics to make your hotter choices. How much do you weight analytics v hot streaks v bvp v matchup, etc.? I struggle to fully trust hitting analytics at times (being a former ballplayer) i see the merits of bvp and park stats
Rotogut: It’s really a balance for me. I’ll look at analytics first, but hot streaks do matter to me, especially if opposing pitcher and bullpen stinks. BvP should be used last mostly as a tiebreaker between two players if sample size is big enough (but it usually isn’t). I try to build lineups before looking at BvP so that I’m not influenced.
Stack in single entry or use my cash lineup?
Rotogut: I like using either my cash lineup or a modified version of it in single entry…can be a bit more ‘stacky’
So you don’t like to use mini stacks in cash?
Rotogut: depends your definition of it, is that 2 or 3? I don’t have hard and fast rules. Mans and Schuster are amazing at cash and have a good strategy that works…they rarely stack. I’ll go up to 3 myself
For DFS purposes how often do you look towards who a hitter will face in the bullpen when building lineups? that’s something I’m trying to pay attention to more this season
Rotogut: Yep, it really does matter. Especially if you believe a SP won’t last long. But new bullpens so will take some time to recognize good and bad bullpens
Vlad, I play single entry GPPs on FD (less than 100 people) how many lineups is going overboard? I usually play 2-3. With the low amount of people the payouts aren’t as high, but a weaker score cashes easier.
Rotogut: you’re doing it right bro. People who aren’t chasing the big 150-entry with just 5 lineups and are actually grinding cash games and single entries are the ones doing this right
How do yall choose what hitter to play in a stack? do they need to be batting like 2-3, 3-4 ,5-6 or 1-2 or separate them? and what’s the theory in going 1-3 or 2-5 or something like that?
Rotogut: Figure out the two guys you want to base your stack around, for starters. Typically a strong L vs a RHP or vice versa.
Another Sub: Daniel generally you want at least the heart of the order. 1-5, 1-4, 2-6, 3-5, 3-6, something like that. I love getting weird with like a 3-6 stack. The theory behind a stack is like a pinball machine. Your 1 hitter gets on. Maybe steals a base. The 2 hitter gets a hit and could get an rbi and you 1 gets a run, then the 3 guy hits a double. Basically you get the rbi and run points. You don’t always have to stack 1-5. Last night i won money going 1,3,5,6,7 for the braves
Rotogut: That’s good advice.
Right on I’m with you i guess what I’m asking is this… if mans or tommy g or Vlad or whoever recommend a Boston stack for gpp or cash… that generally means the top of the order guys?
Rotogut: If I recommend a stack, I’ll point out the guys. Like today it would depend on lineups. If I decide Lynn is gonna get blasted I can think like this: For 1, gotta have Trout so he’s my base. I’m ok starting with 1 hitter (Calhoun) because he’s a streaky dude who hit a HR last night and he’s a lefty going up against a righty. So I have my first 2. I then decide I like Bour #3 but want to cut it off there. I now have my 1-2-3 Angels stack.
how deep will you go in a stack?
Rotogut: No issue going 5 in a DK stack. That’s what I did yesterday with Rangers 3-7 where I almost won the $44 GPP
how do I determine what pitcher is gonna get crushed or where to find that info? Like the Lefty vs RHP stuff like that as well.
Rotogut: Got to click around our pages on this site.
Vlad, I know this is a hitting coach session, but I have a question about bankroll. My bank roll is 1000 to start the year and I play about 1-5% a day. I am really struggling on what contests to play. I have been doing half cash and half gpp and been struggling. Got any ideas for me?
Vlad Sedler: Are you playing the single entries and 3-entry max and are you on DK or FD?
FD. I play 100 people 50/50s for cash and I play half my gpp plays in big tourneys and the other half in 3-100 people
Vlad Sedler: Sounds like you’re doing it right. How many lineups? Just one?
I think that’s my problem. There are so many players you guys post and I just keep making lineups. I will play almost a different lineup per contest
Vlad Sedler: Oh there’s the issue. Play 1 lineup (your favorite) on all your cash games and single entries. If you play say 3 teams, make the other 2 GPP stacks. Just use Mans’ cash game article and don’t go too stack happy there. Just build around guys facing bad pitchers in good lineup spots with high contact and walk rates/low strikeout rates.
Then for my GPPs?
Vlad Sedler: There you can try to fit a couple of your favorite stacks. Can have a different (cheaper) pitcher in those and maybe try to line up a 1-4 or 3-6 on a stack then mix in other high variance guys. It’s hard for sure. Start in the mornings maybe by looking at the Vegas lines to see which teams are projected to score the most runs and seeing who you like. Write down a few players who stick out. Then check out Mans’, mine and other articles and if you start seeing a common thread about a player being listed then you can feel good about using him that day.
Vlad did you happen to read that convo Jesse and I had before you jumped in about HR projections?
Vlad Sedler: We’re not FantasyCruncher so don’t have control of that. They’ve never had this feature. But if you look at the ‘ceiling’ column, you can tell how it sort of incorporates upside of potential homers. If you want to dig in on a specific matchup, go to Fangraphs SPLITS then PITCH TYPE to see past history of how a pitcher has used a specific pitch and his stats with it, then look up corresponding batter – you can usually tell from a batter’s history what type of pitch (cutter, splitter, curve, etc.) he is better at taking out of the yard.
Thanks Vlad. I wasn’t sure how that interaction worked since it’s based on a simulation model i though it might be possible. Wasn’t sure if they were just an interface for robs model.
Vlad Sedler: That’s maybe something you can ask Rob. I will say we are going to bring back a feature starting this weekend called the Bomb Detector though.
Vlad, I did what we talked about yesterday and smashed my Cash game with a 209 on Fd but didn’t enter that lineup into a GPP and my GPP lineups didn’t cash so it was an even day. Should I put the cash lineup into GPP also?
Vlad Sedler: Always always always enter your cash LU into a gpp, no matter how small. That’s basically Rule # 1.
How much do you factor in the wind on any given day? ex. wind blowing out to LF in DET today 10-15 mph
Vlad Sedler: For wind, I’m looking for outliers so closer to 20mph and above
Vlad, Is 3 players too much to stack in cash games? I have 3 Dodgers for tonight, Seager, Bellinger, and Muncy.
Vlad Sedler: That means you think Hudson is really going to implode. You can do that, but better would be 2 depending on who your alternative is. If it’s a 10-15 game slate then for cash 3 is okay (for me), and if it’s 8 or less then just 2.
I see a lot of guys in GPP go with the 4-4 stack on fanduel, and they’ll just put in whatever 4 guys from each team they can fit. Most times they aren’t in order in the lineup. Do you think that’s better than doing say 2-3 mini stacks of guys who are in order, or at least close to one another in the lineup
Vlad Sedler: You see guys doing that on auto…if you’re doing teams by hand you can mix it up with mini stacks but you’ll see most doing 150 multi entry doing it this way (4-4)
Vlad what are some indicators or stats you look at to try to predict who will Homer?
Vlad Sedler: Primarily matchup based, very simple but looking for guys with .200+ ISO against that handedness facing fly ball sub-par pitchers. Stadium, wind blowing out, streakiness and to some extent BvP in the equation.
Vlad do you ever play showdown? How would you attack those games?
Vlad Sedler: I haven’t yet for baseball this season outside of the Tokyo series.
I was just talking general strategy. I’ve been toying with it a bit
Vlad Sedler: Simple for me but usually just get a pitcher in and figure out the way I think the game flows/where the offense comes from.
how much to you factor temperature into your plays
Vlad Sedler: Temp only in extremes. Like when it’s extremely warm in places like Arlington, Dodger Stadium. Usually Vegas accounts for that though in the odds.
How would you attack a Q
Vlad Sedler: Attacking a Q, you are looking for unique paths? Of course everyone will have a piece of every stack. But don’t be afraid to mix some chalk into your Q’s.
Do you play much on FD?
Vlad Sedler: I play there few times a week
Do you vary your stacks there much IE 3/3/2 or try and go 4/4 – obv slate dependent but what is your thoughts as a general approach. I’ve been struggling with consistency over there for cash and GPP. I’ve done a lot of 4 x 2 man stacks for cash and I’m very hit and miss. Have been getting the right pitchers down but hitting has let me down so far this year.
Vlad Sedler: really depends on the slate. My times winning big were mixed stacks, not a straight 4×4
Vlad, I’m new to MLB DFS. In football I’m able to make a lineup using players in the cash game article, but in baseball using a high priced pitcher like Thor today I’m not able to create a full lineup even using the cheapest players in the cash article.
Vlad Sedler: so much depends on what value opens up when lineups are out. FD there is value a plenty. DK, most value today would be with MIA (v Darvish) and COL (v Lucchesi), but that’s CHEAP not necessarily VALUE if they don’t do anything.
On Fangraphs, when you’re using pitch-type-related data, do you use/prefer to use the Baseball Info Solutions numbers or the PitchF/X numbers?
Vlad Sedler: I usually just look at F/X…you get some really good stuff when you subscribe to BIS directly (I had one a few years ago) – but sometimes it’s paralysis by analysis.
vlad how do you feel about using one offs vs a pitcher you’re rostering on a slate this small?
Vlad Sedler: Today I’m fine with it and doing so myself. Have a cheap Harrison against my Nova and a Jansen against Pineda. GPPs only.
I do not know if you are a BvP guy, but that Keon BvP number is so sexy
Vlad Sedler: I look at BvP for bigger sample sizes in the case of a tiebreaker (player A vs player B), but yes, hard not to look at that sample for Keon and consider him if he’s in the lineup. It also could mean he’s due to go 0-4. The problem with some BvP is pitchers and hitters change and some of this data is from 3-4 years ago, But can’t deny that certain hitters just see certain pitchers better
how do you go about choosing 1 offers for cash games?
Vlad Sedler: high run totals against bad pitchers, preferably in good hitting park, LvR or RvL, middle or top of order
Hi Benny, what is the best way to stack 3 players? Do you stay in order 1,2,3 ?
I don’t think you have to stick with in order
So here’s my thinking on stacking like that
A lot of lineups go R/l/r/l/r/l to avoid teams being able to bring in a pitcher late in the game to have advantage splits on them all
And we know a lot of pitchers are stronger to one hand or the other
So if that’s the case, 1/3/5 and 2/4/6 are better 3 man stacks because guys on that side have the splits advantage
Also when a team goes off, they still make 27 outs or the game would never end. How often do 3-4 guys in a row all get hits? Someone has to make outs right. It’s not always the bottom of the order guys.
In an ideal world, 1-5 would stack up easy and be the way to go, but you have DH/AB guys that you cannot play together. Hell the middle of the White Sox order is 1B/1B/C so no matter how you want to stack them up, you cannot take all three on either site
on the elite sports show last week mans mentioned using multi category players in cash games along with sprinkling in some HR upside. Which players do you consider multi category bats?.
Vlad Sedler: That’d be guys who hit for average, make good contact, have some speed (can steal bases)
I don’t like to go with 3 stacks very often. Am i wrong?
Is 3 still considered a mini stack?
Vlad Sedler: a lot of it is slate dependent and roster construction. I’ll often go 1-2-3 or 3-4-5 in a lineup stack if I love that offense that day
When stacking a team for example…Nationals today do you typically like to use their Catcher in the stack and find super low value in OF as “one offs” or is it typically better to punt Catcher and roster 5 best bats on the stack?
Vlad Sedler: I like to punt catcher if at all possible. Only use them as part of a stack if it makes sense and they are hitting higher up in order. Like J. McCann today if you wanted to go with CWS (which I don’t). If I were stacking Nats today would be 2-6 or 1-5 – you get more upside for a HR with 2-6 with Kieboom though.
which position do you typically use in the UTIL spot on FD?
Vlad Sedler: I mix it up – depends if there are two must-have players at a single position (like 1B) that I want to play. Sometimes a 4th OF
also, do you use BvP? If so, at what point do you “trust” the data? For instance, today, Howie Kendrick is 9-13 against Wacha. Is that a large enough sample size to move your pickle?
Vlad Sedler: Honestly, I try NOT to use BvP. Only say I’m looking at two guys as a tiebreaker and one is 9-for-13 and the other is 2-for-21. But other factors come into play: how long is this sample? how hot/cold is current player? etc. Some say BvP is garbage but there’s something we can’t put our finger on even if it’s small sample – some hitters just see certain pitchers better. Others use 25 PA as a sample. The problem with those who say you need 50 PA sample – there just aren’t a lot of those. And much of that history stems back 5 years where hitters and pitchers have obviously changed a lot in how they approach.
how many lineups do you typically make day to day? and are you more of a cash of ggp player?
Vlad Sedler: I’m much more of a GPP player. On slates like tonight that seem wonky and on smaller slates, I play 5-10 GPP lineups. Usually play 3 lineups and mostly single-entry. Sometimes I play just 1 entry that has mini stacks and those always seem to be my biggest nights because I’m putting all my resources in one lineup and forcing decisions on guys I like.
Jesse: Care to talk Baseball Savant?
Jesse: I never see any subs in here discussing it or all of the awesome info it has, so figured a lot may benefit from it.
Jesse: I mean, obviously those 90ft running splits are vital to all of our models, but besides them…
TONS of stuff you can do there
but one real simple thing
is this page
Jesse: Exactly. Definitely the best tool.
DraftCheat: so you can sort by Barrels/PA
DraftCheat: shows you who is really smashing the ball and maybe getting unlucky. I like “Exit Velocity on FB/LD” as well
That’s a good one. I’ve never bothered to integrate it into anything I’ve made because I couldn’t determine the optimal way to do so.
How do you use it?
I don’t have it integrated, per say
but it’s a good barometer of who is squaring up
benny have you had more luck in paying down this year? i know the strategy is slightly different between FD and DK
BennyRicciardi: I tend to end up paying up more than paying down in the middle or lower tier for my cash pitchers. Having a solid base of points from your pitcher is always a good start to your lineups
how can you tell if a hitter is a slap hitter?
A good way to know if a guy is a slap hitter is to qualify that with numbers. ISO scores under .180-.200 lack power
Guys with 400+ ABs and under 15 HRs lack power
Those are slap hitters
Guys that only hit singles and doubles need to be really cheap to consider
What about catchers Benny, you only play catchers batting in the top of the order, or is that a position you punt?
BennyRicciardi: If you are paying up, the catcher better be near the top of the order, but I do think that catcher is a puntable position
Benny how do you determine speed upside?
BennyRicciardi: so the easiest way for SB upside is to use our SB analysis
Mans/Schuster do it in the cash game article
besides ISO how can we judge power?
ISO is the power stat
FB rate, hard contact for both the pitcher and hitter
all these things are power focused stats
general lineup construction question for cash…do you always try to pair up everyone or just a few 2-man stacks?
Vlad Sedler: I don’t mind one-offs in cash; does not have to be pairs
do you mostly build your stacks from your “favorite stack” list or from your “sneaky stacks” list?
Vlad Sedler: From the favorite stack list. Only issue is I write that late night, night before. So I try to pop in chat every day after I see lineups to update. Honestly my best gut feels are usually 2 hours before slate starts. Like yesterday, had a feeling that Lambert was gonna shut down Cubs in his debut so made a Lambert team and faded all Cubs.
When stacking a team, how many players do you like to use for the stack?
Vlad Sedler: I like to go 4 or 5 man stack on DK. 5-2-1
How does the roof open in Rogers center affect hitting
Vlad Sedler: no huge difference with dome open there
a tiny bit more humidity and wind off the lake but not much difference?
How many pitchers are good to target- like should you narrow it down to only 2 or more
DraftCheat: Sometimes I’ll play 150 lineups with just 2 pitchers if I feel good about two contrarian pitchers. Other nights I’ll have 5-6 pitchers in my pool
Where do single entry tourney’s fall when you’re considering cash vs. gpp?
DraftCheat: just depends on the slate
Do you factor in strikeout props?
DraftCheat: No, I have my own projections for each pitcher that are better than the props.
When yall say stack how many players is considered a stack? 3 or 4
DC, do you think stacking is the best way to attack GPP’s. I seem to find my one offs for cash tend to outscore my GPP’s most of the time
DraftCheat: I almost always stack on FanDuel because runs/rbi are more heavily weighted. On DK it’s all about home runs and steals, so I don’t always stack on DK
Do you factor the probability of wins into pitchers
Do you play a certain percent of cash games and certain percent gpp? or are you strictly gpp for the most part?
DraftCheat: my % cash games or GPP varies night to night depending on if I think my personal favorite plays are going to be low owned. If yes, then I play a higher percentage GPP
So is 85 percent cash 15 percent gpp a good starting point for mlb
DraftCheat: for sure
Do you have a strat for Utility position
DraftCheat: no specific strat, just want highest upside typically
Hey DC, how much should I worry about SP ownership on FD for small single entries (50 people or less)
DraftCheat: You should definitely be considering ownership for those types of GPPs. Typically single entries have even MORE ownership surrounded around a couple of pitchers. If you can find a guy you like that should have low ownership, that’s typically a great way to go in FDD GPP.
Is there a benefit to look at a non starter for your second pitcher on dk?
DraftCheat: Only in rare circumstances can you consider a non starter SP on DK. The most obvious is someone not listed as the SP but will come in after an “opener”. Those pitchers always go low owned, get to miss the top of the lineup, and have really high WIN equity points
When evaluating SPs? I usually look at K%, gb%, bb% to start? Good or bad?
DraftCheat: A great place to start, of course. But you can go SO much deeper
Early on in the season where there’s not much sample size, are we basing most of our picks on pre-season prediction/draft analysis? How do you use tie breakers, etc. without much data this early?
DraftCheat: early on I’m mostly using last season’s numbers, unless I have a reason to believe differently, but lots of pitchers will change in significant ways, so a couple starts of data can dramatically change my opinion on a pitcher from what is was last year
So do you do this first for every pitcher on a slate before you make a decision?
DraftCheat: Yes, all pitchers, every slate, and as the season goes on and we get more data, sometimes you start to see these numbers really start to trend one way or another. At that point my question is…did something change here?
What would you say are the most important metrics to use when evaluating a pitcher?
Phil Backert: K rate is always good along with swinging strike percentage
Do you look at the % of each pitch a pitcher throws to LHH and RHH, and compare it to how an opposing hitter hits those pitches? Do you look at BAA and ISO? I have been using brooks, but can it be done on Fangraphs?
DraftCheat: Yeah, I use pretty much every stat you can you can think of and a bunch of my own too. Always start from the top and work your way down the granular stuff, So like RHP vs RHB, pitchers’ K% vs RHB, That batter’s K% vs RHP, so you have your baseline there, Then you go to pitch type stuff to see if you want to modify that number, or park K% factors, etc.
At this time of year, how do you weigh 2018 stats/2019 stats? Do you use career numbers, or anything pre 2018? How do you factor those in? At what point, if ever, do you move to just 2019 numbers?
DraftCheat: Still using a lot of 2018 but it will transition VERY quickly to 2019 numbers
I personally would like to know what pitching red flags do you see, that cause trouble? And over what period of time? Is it pitch speed? pitch zone %?
DraftCheat: velocity is the biggest red flag by far. Pitchers almost never choose to just throw with less velo these days
DraftCheat: So one interesting thing this year. I’m sure those of you who have been DFSing a long time have noticed the DK hitter pricing. It used to be the hitter “punts” were 3k and below. Now, most viable hitter punts are almost $1k higher, high $3ks. my point is that going low priced pitchers on DK is much more valuable than it has been in the past because it used to take you $2000 in salary to upgrade from scrub to stud hitter, now it takes about $1200.
doesn’t hurt that Aces haven’t been locked in so far either
DraftCheat: yeah when you consider the projection between an ace pitcher and a viable cheap guy is typically less than 15 fantasy points. you can upgrade like 3-4 bats significantly with that salary.
does that mean go for 2 low priced pitchers or just 1
DraftCheat: it will still always depend on slate, but IN GENERAL we need to be considering low priced guys more than ever. FanDuel hasn’t changed, still want a guy you trust there as your only SP
Not a pitching question, but i started out with $40 this year and I’m up to around $800. Do you have advice on whether I should up my play a little or take some out and keep up my current pace?
DraftCheat: Kinda depends on what your goals are
I’m pretty just 90 percent cash and 10 gpp
DraftCheat: I’d keep doing what you are doing, you’re having a lot of success!
I owe it all to you guys man not me. Thank you!
DraftCheat: you’re making the lineups!
FWIW, since that initial pitching session, I’ve started opening up Fangraphs when I watch a game and look up the pitch types and velocity. Adds a new level to watching games…. So thanks!
DraftCheat: Glad to hear it! Yeah, I love studying pitching. The more you do it the better you get, and you also start asking yourself more and more questions.
How do you start your process every day? Is it as simple as Vegas lines or is there certain pitcher stats you look at 1st?
DraftCheat: I have my own pitcher model, so that’s where I always start, and then I’m digging in from there to see if it’s missing anything
Which set of numbers do you use when looking at pitch type and plate discipline data on Fangraphs? PitchFX, Baseball Info Solutions, or both
DraftCheat: pitch fx mostly
DraftCheat: well, sometimes its missing data or whatever. As long as you use the same data consistently you should be fine.
Do you think just using PitchFX unless it is unavailable is an accurate enough representation?
DraftCheat: yeah i do for sure
With your model are you just trying to create an aggregate ranking based on weighted stats that you feel are important to success?
DraftCheat: yes, basically doing that
Jesse: Kind of. Mine serves as both a “see everything I care about in 1 place” tool and a “generate original stats based on the things I care about” one. Also, I have mine set up with filter buttons so I can quickly see everyone of a certain pos, salary, team, or range of a stat, which makes building LUs much easier. If I need my favorite FD UTIL play under $2700, I can get it automatically.
Hey DC, can you give me kind of like a brief rundown of how you start your research every day… like do you have the same system you do day in and day out
DraftCheat: I start from the top down. So I have my pitcher model which ranks every SP for their season performance so far, so generally a few are going to stand out there. I dig into each one to see if there are any changes, good or bad, that should make me adjust, Then I start to look at the matchups for each of the guys on my short(er) list. This is a good simple page for SP matchups: https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=0&season=2019&month=14&season1=2019&ind=0&team=0,ts&rost=&age=0&filter=&players=0 . If you click “advanced” on that page, then sort by K%, that’s a decent start to which teams you might want to target with R/L pitchers
when you sort by K% do you click create custom table? is that the button?
DraftCheat: you could, don’t have to. https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=1&season=2019&month=13&season1=2019&ind=0&team=0,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=4,d . That should give you team stats vs L for the year, sorted by K%. Ideally of course we are adjusting for each day’s lineup etc., but this gives you a very good overview. K% is important, as is BB%, and then wOBA and wRC+ on the far right.
There’s a way to see if certain teams struggle against a certain pitch correct? Like for instance Musgrove’s off-speed stuff is looking great; wondering if there is a way to see if a team struggles with a pitcher’s best pitch?
DraftCheat: Here you go: https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=7&season=2019&month=0&season1=2019&ind=0&team=0,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0 . So, be careful overdoing it making decisions on this data here. for one, you can’t easily divide it based on RHP and LHP, and two it’s kinda noisy anyway.
how do you really determine if each slate is more of a cash slate or gpp slate?
DraftCheat: Basically if the plays I think are the best plays are going to be highly owned, that’s a cash slate. If the guys I really like are low owned, GPP slate
When making your lineups and selecting your pitchers how much do you factor ownership into who you use, especially on dk?
DraftCheat: a decent amount for GPPs
DC, if i want to make a switch from cash to gpp, does my bankroll strategy change at all of playing 10% a night?
DraftCheat: might want to be a little more conservative than that, but as long as you stick to 10% should be ok
Should i stick to the 100man 3 entry max, or go MME? I’m generally playing $20 a night, so nothing big. I’ve been at the same balance all season doing 95% cash
DraftCheat: 100 man 3 entry def a good tourney
Seems like this season pitchers are even more dependent on opponent matchups than skills somewhat, is it just me?
DraftCheat: i think that’s a fair take
On these short slates is it still optimal to stack in a gpp or can you get away with a little more diversification?
DraftCheat: i like diversifying today
How do you factor the weather, mainly possible delays both pre and during game when ranking your pitchers?
DraftCheat: I try to avoid pitchers in possible weather games, but you really gotta take it game by game