Miss today’s sessions, or just want to revisit them? Here’s a full transcript of everything we covered!
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Bullpen (Phil Backert)
Phil Backert: We spotlighted the Marlins bullpen on Friday being one to target and they struggled again over the week. For the last week, the unit has an 8.31 ERA and a hard hit percentage of 43.1. Right-handers are slugging .520 against the Marlins bullpen this season.
Phil Backert: The Tigers bullpen is another one mentioned to target and they allowed 11 earned runs over the weekend. This past week, they have an ERA of 8.20 and opponents have hit .325.
Phil Backert: The Angels bullpen has allowed six home runs over the last week which is the most in the league. Their hard hit percentage of 47.3 percent ranks 29th.
Phil Backert: The Brewers bullpen had to cover 18 innings over the last three days and 37.2 over the last week.
DraftCheat: yeah i kinda think you gotta pay for SP today
Hamels/Chachin my bud
DraftCheat: yeah both solid options
do you like Canning’s stuff?
not on the slate but wondering if I should start him in seasonal
DraftCheat: yes 100% love canning, got him in all my seasonals last night
You like Snell DC?
DraftCheat: @Papps24 – two rough starts for Snell coming off that toe injury but the stuff all looks fine, should bounce back here and maybe lower ownership?
seems like one of the top 4 options on dk should be forgotten
DraftCheat: I bet people will be a little scared of Snell tonight
DraftCheat: man DK is so hard to pay for 2 stud SPs, can get like zero top end bats
Hitting (Benny Ricciardi)
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 real 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
BennyRicciardi: Kevin Gausman faces the Dodgers today. Gausman is a guy who has exhibited reverse splits, where even though he is a RHP, RHBs do better against him. Now the Dodgers whole team crushes righties, but many of them are LHBs. One exception is Justin Turner, Justin Turner has always hit very well RvR
So, this session is going to cover more cash game strategies.
I know this is the hitting coach session, but first thing I want to say is that in cash games your #1 thing should be getting pitching right. DC does a great article every day and Mans/Schuster cash game pitching breakdowns are always good.
The reason I start with pitching, is because it means you are likely not going to be able to get all the studs you want in your lineup.
Which brings me to my second point about cash games. I tend to end up with a stars and scrubs type group of hitters.
If you pay up for pitching, it’s the next best way to go. I hear people talk about value and value is great, but upside still wins, even in cash. A bush of $3800 hitters are fine, but if they are a bunch of solid slap hitters you aren’t going to end up winning anything. One HR on DK is worth 14 points. A guy who has 2 singles, a walk, and three runs scored also has 14 points. I’ll take my chances a guy goes yard over a guy racking up massive amounts of hits, don’t fall in love with cheap slap hitters.
I tend to end up with one or two of the near highest priced guys in my lineup in the best spots (JD Martinez, Arenado, Yelich, Trout types of guys)
From there, I try to round out the lineup with solid value plays at good prices. Now on DK, anyone in that $3700 and down range is a solid value. On FD, under $3000.
So, what kinds of things make a guy a solid value? One thing that I stress is lineup placement. All things equal, a guy batting 1-5 in the order is better than a guy batting 6-9. Many other people have done the research and the numbers and on a blind basis, just looking at LU spots, the guys batting 1-5 > 6-9.
So right off the bat LU spot is big deal. Remember, guys at the top are more likely to get the extra AB and sometimes a cash game comes down to one or two ABs. Like GPPs, you also give an edge to away teams, because teams batting up first are guaranteed 27 outs, which also could lead to that extra AB you need.
The power positions are 1B, 3B, and OF. Those are places I rarely punt. On any given slate we have 15-20 1Bs and most of them bat in the heart of their respective orders. If I punt 1B, I better have a punt with massive upside, because I can almost guarantee you that at least a couple 1B options go yard every day. It’s cool you got three singles and an RBI from your $3K 1B, but if my $4K 1B goes yard and rack up a few RBI, you are trailing me anyway.
Now that leaves C, 2b, and SS. These are not normally the power positions; these are positions that tend to be much easier to punt. Even when I punt, I still want my punt play to have something special, whether that be power upside or stolen base potential. Again, we need upside to win, so just racking up a couple hits and runs scored is likely not enough.
You need as much upside as you can get in cash, that’s my point here, People try to be too conservative. That’s not the idea. Here’s a good example:
Daniel Descalso. Facing a RHP today and likely hitting near the top of the Cubs order. Look through his game logs in the last ten games, one game over 10 DK points and it was when he went yard. No other double-digit fantasy point games.
Wilmer Flores, also 2B eligible. Much tougher matchup against Blake Snell, but in his last 10 games, he started 6 of them, mostly against LHP. He’s gone for double digit fantasy points in 4 of those 6 starts.
Descalso may lead off, Flores may not hit till 5th, yet one guy has upside and one guy doesn’t. Descalso will be chalky, Flores might be the better play. Now, I’m not keen on picking on good pitchers, so maybe I don’t play Flores, but you guys see the point here. Descalso may be safe for a couple hits a walk or a run or two, but 7-9 points is 7-9 points, Not really worth a $4K price tag on DK.
You can get guys like Ben Zobrist, Starlin Castro, Jedd Lowrie who can do the same thing or better than Descalso for closer to $3K on DK and under it on FD, while Descalso is roughly $800-$1000 more. He’s not a bad play, he’s just not the ideal type of play. If you have 8 Daniel Descalso types that get you 7-9 points you aren’t going to win. Do the math, 7-9 times 8 is 56-72, add in a good solid 20ish from each pitcher and you end up 95-105 points. Go check your recent contests and see if that would have been enough to cash.
I think you guys need to understand that there is no one method. There is no one magic number, baseball is a collection of things and how they interrelate. Is the pitcher bad? If so, who is he bad too? Righties? Lefties? Is he bad because he gives up a lot of homers? (High FB rate, High /hard contact, High HR/FB rate) Is he bad because he gives up a lot of base runners? (high WHIP, high BB/9, High BAA against) Is he bad because he cannot hold on a runner? (High SB% against, bad catcher CS stats, Lot of walks or hits to allow baserunners). The idea is to try to find pieces that fit. If the Pitcher is bad because of HRs allowed and has weak splits against RHB or LHB, then that’s his weakness. You want to try to find the guys whose strengths are his weaknesses.
QUESTION: if a guy like Descalso is cheap and is going to be chalky, don’t you want him in your cash games? in case he has a good game and you’re behind the 8-ball
What’s a good game for Descalso? 7-9 points? Like I said, last 10, the only game he was over 10 he had one hit and it was a HR. Do you not think you find other guys cheaper who can also get you 7-9 points?
It’s way easier to fade chalk without power or SB upside. HRs and SBs are things that add up to a lot of points. If Descalso was a burner on the base paths or a high upside HR guy, he’s tougher to fade. If he was min price at $2200, then 7-9 points is huge. When you have to pay nearly $4K for him on DK it’s not.
Now on FD, at $2800, Descalso is tougher to not play in cash, which brings me to my next point and that’s price.
Value is a function of price v. Projected production. To me, Descalso = Wilmer Difo today. Both guys are likely to be up in their order with a splits advantage about the same projection, but Difo is a couple hundred bucks cheaper. When two guys both lack upside, but project decently due to a bump in the order, the cheaper one is always better option for cash, not so much because of his production, but more so because it gives you an extra $500 to go get the unfadeable guys like a JD Martinez who is pricey. I don’t want a bunch of low upside $4K players when I can drop down to 2 $3500 players and afford one $5K guy with massive upside. Give me Starlin Castro and JD Martinez over Descalso and a Michael Brantley, Adam Eaton type.
Again, all these guys profile well today, but a $3K Castro and a $4K descales are not more than a point or two away from each other in projections, but the difference between them is $100 which is the difference between a solid low upside Michael Brantley and a big-time upside JD Martinez. People mistakenly think the middle range is the better way to go, but in cash I play for upside, and upside means more stars and scrubs.
Now upside in cash and upside in GPPs are two different things. In a GPP, I may take a lefty Milwaukee Brewers bat against Max Scherzer, because Scherzer gives up homers and these guys are all going to be low owned due to the matchup. In cash I would never do that, you have Guys like JD Martinez and Mookie Betts in great spots for the same price as a Christian Yelich today, yet the matchup against a lefty gas can from Baltimore is 100X better than playing against a Max Scherzer, even though Yelich profiles as the kind of guy Mad Max struggles with.
While taking the chance on Yelich is acceptable in a GPP, it’s stupid in cash. When I say upside, I mean good player, expensive price, but can go yard and score 15-25+ fantasy points. Both Yelich and JD or Mookie can do that, but one is more likely than the other and thus better for cash. Again, if you want to do the research on your own, the things to look for are the CS rate of the pitcher and catcher and also the amount of SB chances teams take
It’s early in the year, but if you do a look back of 2-3 years data, you will see some guys team try to steal off of way more than the league average. If you have a situation like that for the pitcher and catcher, you would start there and then look at what guys on the team facing him have exhibited the willingness to run and have been successful doing so.
So, it’s almost 12 already and I wanted to touch on one other thing here, and that’s stacking in cash. I’m not a fan of full game stacks in cash. Love it in GPPs, but not so much in cash. I try to limit one team with of exposure to 2 guys in cash. Sometimes I’ll go three, but in that case it’s usually because at least one if not two of those guys are just way too cheap.
Remember from the stacking GPP discussion that you can definitely get a leg up by stacking due to the increased opportunity that comes with a team racking up runs and getting the lineup turned over, but it can also work the other way. If a pitcher is on, you are going to lose if your stack falls flat. I try to find a couple situations I like the best and pick out the best pieces of those spots. Today that might be a combination of 2 Red Sox, 2 Orioles, maybe a reasonably priced piece of the Phillies or Astros. Try to get some exposure to the teams you see with the biggest totals. This way you have a piece of a couple of the best situations, hoping a few or out and knowing that they won’t all work out. You can make up for a zero or two if someone else goes off for 20-30. This way you spread your risk a little.
So let’s sum up the things to think about here
1- You want guys that have upside
2- You want to go more stars and scrubs
3- Stick with guys in good spots. You don’t have to force bad plays into cash. There are enough god ones to build around
4- Lineup spots are important, more so in cash than GPPs for me. I’m fine using a 6-7-8 batter in a GPP stack, but you will rarely ever find me having guys down there in cash
No need to risk battling a good pitcher in cash. Pick on the crappy ones. Every slate has a few of them at least.
Price v. Projection is the key. Descalso at $4K, not as interesting as Descalso at $2800, so play him on the site where the price is beneficial and look elsewhere on other sites. Fading chalk with upside is tough to do. Fading chalk that lacks upside is easier to swallow. It’s tougher to fade power positions (1B, 3B, OF) than it is to find viable cheap options at C, 2B, SS if you need to save salary.
And the #1 rule for cash for me is that pitching > Hitting on most slates. Get your pitching right first and work the bats around it.
These are the rules I try to follow when building my own cash lineups and it’s been a good run for me so far doing it this way. Anyone have any questions?