Vlad gives an overview of our new partner DFS site, SuperDraft, and then breaks down the strategies he’s been using to dominate their MLB DFS contests!
If you’ve read Kevin Adams’ or Algoholic’s recent articles, you may already be in the know, but if not, there is a sweet, revolutionary new daily fantasy site with its own unique format. It’s called SuperDraft, and it made its debut just a couple months ago. The app (available on both Apple and Android) is extremely sleek, with a great user interface and experience; it’s very clear lots of thought was put into the design. Game play aside, it is my favorite app of all the daily fantasy games currently on the market.
SuperDraft is similar to DK and FD in a couple of simple respects:
- Accumulate fantasy points for the given day / slate
- Options for tournaments (GPP) and cash games (Double Ups, Head to Heads)
SuperDraft has two game modes – the salary cap format (similar to that of DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo! and FantasyDraft), and their Multiplier game, which is where the true innovation and uniqueness lie. There is no salary restriction with Multiplier mode: For baseball, you simply select two starting pitchers and six hitters, and each player has a “Multiplier” on their point totals ranging from 1x to 2x. There are NO SALARIES, you can use any players you want!
Studs like Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Jose Altuve or Mike Trout are typically closer to the 1x level, while less enticing pitcher and hitter options are around 2x. The name of the game is finding the best values on a given slate to maximize your point total. Oftentimes you’ll find many good hitters in the middle range (from 1.4x to 1.65x) to choose from. The multiplier amount changes daily based upon matchup and recent performance (algorithm driven, just like the salaries at the “normal” DFS sites). It’s a nuanced game, but one you can find balance in and start to dominate once you have a good feel for it. I assume, like with anything else, I’ll hit a wall, but for now I seem to have found a magic formula and have a win rate over 70 percent since I started last month.
Scoring for hitters and pitchers is fairly straightforward and similar to that of the other DFS sites:
On a night where, say, Aaron Judge’s multiplier is set at 1.4x and he hits a three-run homer and does nothing else, you collect the following:
- 8 points for the HR
- 3 (x3) = 9 for RBI
- 2.5 for Run
That’s 27.3 SuperDraft points (19.5 actual points * his 1.4 Multiplier)
If Jose Altuve produced that exact box score at a 1x Multiplier, you’d only get the 19.5 points.
So that is where the strategy and analysis begin and make this an incredibly intriguing game. The keys to finding that perfect mix of guys for your roster are as follows:
- Exploiting matchups (handedness, home/road splits, facing bad hitters or pitchers)
- Maximizing power (hitters) and strikeouts (pitchers)
- Utilizing Vegas IRLs (implied run lines)
- Weather (bump up consideration for hitters in strong hitting conditions/favorable parks)
- Game theory (ownership percentage assumptions)
- Value analysis (mixing in the most favorable 1.7x – 2x options)
First things first, let’s start with the last point (value analysis). Just like in DFS, we’re looking for the best “bang for our buck”. No site is foolproof, and through your research on a day’s slate, you may discover a hitter who is on a hot streak, in a good matchup, facing a below-average starting pitcher, and who happens to have a good multiplier that day. In these scenarios, you don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth and overthink things: Lock the player into your lineup if he’s screaming out at you to play him.
I’ve seen different roster constructions and strategies. I’ve seen winning lineups with two stud pitchers and all 1-1.2x superstar hitters in games where their team has a 6.0 or higher implied run line, and I’ve seen winning lineups with low-percentage, mediocre hitters with high multipliers throughout (1.6-2x). As you play, you’ll figure out your own sweet spot, but I’ve personally found my best success with a blend of both.
Even Mike Trout can go 0-for-4, and an Astros’ stack can disappoint, on a given day. Playing Altuve + Springer + Bregman + Y. Alvarez together in a good matchup, all with low multipliers (1-1.2x), can produce a GPP-winning day for you, but it can also result in not cashing in a 50/50 when other builds include better multiplier values.
This is straightforward and not unlike other DFS sites: You’re looking to find and exploit the best matchups. With hitters, that means you want to identify:
- Weak starting pitchers (5.00+ ERA, low K%, high BB%, 2+ HR/9)
- Weak bullpens (is your hitter facing the Orioles, Rangers or Marlins?)
- Handedness splits (is your hitter a lefty bat with a .220+ ISO against RHPs facing a weak righty?)
- Ballpark factors (Coors, Miller, Great American, Camden?)
The analysis goes on and on and these are likely already the factors you’re considering in your DFS research. Perhaps the guy also happens to be hitting first or second in the lineup that day (one extra at-bat can result in more fantasy points). And on top of it all, they have a high multiplier (1.5x+) and their team has a high IRL (5.5+).
With a home run being a multi-category event (meaning you get points for the HR, the R and the RBI), looking for power bats over slap-hitting contact hitters is usually another important element to consider. That isn’t too difficult these days, as 2019 will easily set the MLB record for most homers in a season. That’s why searching for power hitters, with strong handedness splits, against bad pitchers, in good hitters’ ballparks, with high multipliers, is usually a good place to start.
Keeping track of weather and humidity is important, and should be utilized in our analysis as well. A hot, 98-degree day in Arlington (where the Rangers play) is usually a much better place to look for hitters than, say, Marlins and Giants’ bats playing at AT&T Park (pitcher-friendly park). Some of this is obvious, and an extreme example is used on purpose here to make the point.
Since you’re playing against others who are also constructing lineups, it’s essential for us to attempt to gain an edge where we can. Especially since it’s very possible you may have overlap on hitters or pitchers with your competitors in a 47-person tourney or a Head-to-Head matchup.
There were a couple days two weeks ago where the great Nolan Arenado was priced in the 1.5 to 1.6x multiplier range, as SuperDraft’s algorithm had accounted for him not being productive at the plate over the last week or so. But, there was a matchup two weeks ago where the Rockies were in their super hitter-friendly ballpark and were facing a weak starting pitcher. That was a ‘staring you in the face’ kind of play, but one where it was fair to assume he might have high ownership. At that point, you either play him regardless of what you project ownership for Arenado in that GPP to be that day and take the points along with the field, or look for a comparable alternative if you truly felt in your gut that Arenado wasn’t quite ready to come out of his slump. Most times, I’ll just take the semi-free square and continue building elsewhere.
It, perhaps, may be the opposite case with the A’s Khris Davis, who saw his multiplier shoot up to the 1.85 – 1.95x range because he had been homerless for weeks and was clearly slumping, perhaps even hiding injury or pain with the hand issue he had earlier this summer. Davis is a very streaky hitter, often hitting homers on consecutive nights, but over this past month, Davis wasn’t worth rostering even at the high multiplier level.
Stacking is something else you should certainly be considering. It doesn’t have to be the team with the straight up highest implied run total, as you know that’s where others in your contest that day will probably first start looking. As in DFS, there are strong stacks that are lower-owned you may like just as much that may not have as high of a IRL but could be the winning combo for the that day’s slate.
Of course, you don’t have to always stack. If that’s not your style because there’s a higher percentage chance of it busting and you not cashing a penny that day, you could certainly build your lineups more cash game-centric (balanced) and still cash in a GPP, since you’re spreading the risk.
Here’s a lineup I built last week that was well balanced.
This was a nine-game slate where it was clear that Soroka and Maeda were great deals based upon their matchups and multipliers. I decided to not get too cute or contrarian and just took the pitchers I felt were best values (Soroka/Braves were home vs. Marlins, Maeda/Dodgers home vs. Blue Jays). My hitters were in a 2-2-2 format where I rostered my highest projected hitters from three of my favorite offenses that day (TBR, TEX, LAD) – all good bats who hit in the middle of their team’s respective lineups. Choi hitting fourth in a good hitters’ park (@ BAL) with a very high multiplier (1.95x) was certainly a matchup I felt strongly about while Andrus I got lucky with as he hasn’t been hitting for much power this season, but he hit a homer and saved my lineup that day. The 2x multiplier with him hitting third in the lineup against a subpar lefty just felt like a good play.
Every slate is different and unique. There may be slates where you feel that going mostly all-in on the top offense with low multipliers is the best path to success. Or perhaps going with two ‘safer’ starting pitchers reduces the risk of getting a negative or a super low score from a weaker unpredictable pitcher. On the Tuesday August 27 slate, I decided that the best path to success with the pitchers were to find the two cheapest ones I felt most comfortable with.
It was a slate absolutely loaded with some of the best pitchers in the game (Verlander, Buehler, Corbin, Morton, Giolito), but Verlander and Buehler were both 1x and I knew they’d have to have an 8-IP, 10-K effort to produce the same point total a 1.75x pitcher with a solid quality start would give me. I did have faith in Buehler but opted instead to play him in DFS and ended up landing on Andrew Heaney in a cake matchup at home against the Rangers. Clearly, many others had the same idea as Heaney was over 36 percent owned. My other selection was an against-the-grain play I knew would be contrarian. Masahiro Tanaka was coming off a rough stretch where his strikeouts-per-game had been low, and he’d occasionally been blasted. But I took the leap of faith knowing that Tanaka had a good history pitching in Seattle and was facing a subpar roster that also happens to strikeout against right-handed pitching more than any other team in baseball. It was risky but ended up working out nicely at a 1.75x multiplier. Sadly, my Braves threesome and gut Aquino decision kept me from having an epic day.
So there you have it! The fact that there are so many ways to construct rosters and prepare for the slate makes the SuperDraft multiplier contest particularly exhilarating. The other thing I’ve noticed is that the DFS sharks have been slow to adapt. They’re mostly busy in the “regular” DFS waters, and since the contests don’t have $1000 and up entry fees, many feel it isn’t worth their time. At some point, they will all migrate over, but for now, it’s a fantastic way to help build your bankroll, especially if you’ve run into a wall at the usual sites.
There is a big FREE tournament every day so you can hop in and give the site a shot before depositing. Their golf game has been in full swing (I see what I did there) for the past month, and they already have contests loaded and ready for NFL Week 1, including a $2,000 NFL Freeroll you can only get into by signing up through the links on this page!