Each Sunday we are going to bring you our SLUMP BUSTER article, where we will be outlining what it took to win some of the big tournaments we see around the industry. We will go over what type of pitchers we see on the winning rosters to give you an idea of who you should look to target. We will also take a look at the hitters and roster construction technique’s our winners have used to take down the big prizes.
Far too often player’s neglect to put the same amount of time in analyzing their lineup choices after the fact as they do in selecting players before lineup lock. Looking back on your choices and figuring out what worked is the best way to improve your own game and become more profitable. Here’s a site by site breakdown of what we saw:
If you are someone who still thinks that stacking is cheating, than please do not play large field GPP tournaments on DraftKings. The rules of the game allow you to put six players from one team onto your rosters. There’s arguments against this strategy by some purists who believe it lessens the skill involved in the game. I am obviously not one of the people as I believe there is an art and skill to building a roster with upside by using one of those stacks and knowing the most likely winning roster construction and how to replicate it is what we should all strive for. Here’s the breakdown of what we saw.
Using the largest field GPP as our guide here, we tracked the winning rosters of the $3 Moonshot all week on DraftKings. We noticed that these rosters did tend to have clusters of batters from the same team on them, but so far the top scorers have not been six man blind rosters with a few other bats mixed in. Last year it was en vogue to stack 6 batters from a team’s line up and round out your roster with two other guys and your pitchers. This year we have seen the top rosters built with smaller three or four man stacks and rounded out with other quality plays on the day. While it still makes sense to increase your upside by linking a few players from the same team together (Gordon, Yelich, Stanton) (Cargo, Dickerson, Arrenado, Tulo, Morneau) (Goldschmidt, Lamb, Peralta, Trumbo) (Pedroia, Ramirez, Betts), it takes more thought than just stacking 6 hitters against a weak pitcher and moving on. These combinations were all seen on winning rosters this week for the larger field moonshots. In some cases they were a chalky 20+%, but in most the majority of these guys were 10% owned or less.
What this tells me is that while you need to link together a few guys from a high scoring game, it’s more about getting the right guys than just having the right game. There’s been a lot of six man stacks make the top 50-100 spots in these tournaments, but there’s always been one or two of those players that underperform and someone who has the same studs from your stack with better performers around them is going to catch and pass you on the leaderboards. It also tells me that the most popular play is not the one that seems to be paying off. Everyone was on Milwaukee, Colorado, St. Louis, and San Fran at different points in the last week. Yet not one of those teams paid off the high usage and support the DFS industry threw behind them. It’s tough to win a GPP when you have the same chalk plays as ¼ or 1/3 of the field. Trying to think differently is highly recommended and profitable if you can guess right.
Only one day during this past week was the chalk pitching the way to go too. Carrasco and Kazmir were both highly owned guys with Carrasco being 35+% in some large fields and Kazmir being over 20%. Most of the other days though we saw guys like David Price at 11%, CJ Wilson at under 7%, Drew Pomeranz at 15%, Jimmy Nelson at 7%, and James Shields at 11% be part of the winning Starting pitcher combinations. Guys like Kershaw, Greinke, Gonzalez, and Strasburgh were the highest owned and highest priced pitchers on some of those days, yet never produced the kind of games we expected. High priced studs need to dominate to help you win a GPP, and while it does happen, it is not an everyday occurrence.
We used a variety of price points to look at winning rosters for FanDuel. They ranged from the $25 Grand Slams, to the $10 Line Drives, and all the way down to the largest field $1 and $2 tournaments like the Squeeze. The first thing that jumped out at me was the ownership percentages of the pitching choices on winning rosters so far. Archie Bradley last night at under 5%, Lincecum and Kazmir at under 9%, CJ Wilson at under 4% and even Mike Leake at 3% have all won people thousands of dollars this week. I rostered a lot of the same studs most of you did throughout the week and while my cash game return with them has been profitable, I have not sniffed a top 1% roster through the first week on FanDuel. We always says it pays to be different and so far that has shown to be true in GPPs on FanDuel.
FanDuel seems to be playing towards the stacks having some validity as well early on, but it’s been pretty much the same story as on DraftKings. While most of those winning lineups had multiple players from one team who all went off, there’s not the same amount of success we saw last season with blindly stacking two teams by taking four players from each and calling it a day. The most likely winning roster seems to be constructed with a group of three or four bats from one team and then some good value plays to complete the hitters. Catching a low owned double digit number on FanDuel is huge as people who rostered Joey Votto on Saturday or Adrian Gonzalez when he went yard three times will tell you. Even lower priced punt plays like Jonathon Schoop, Kevin Kirmaier, and Kole Calhoun have been needed to win, so it’s not only the studs you need to nail. Not once yet has the highest owned player overall been the highest scoring on any winning roster. It’s not that guys have not paid off before, but they are rarely the sole reason for a big score. I would not say to stay away from the chalk completely because of this, but its more ammo for the argument that it pays to be contrarian in MLB DFS.
Linking hitters together seems to be a smart idea, but straight stacking games and moving on will likely not be enough to differentiate yourself at the top of the leaderboard. While it is still advised to target bad pitchers and put some hitters from the same team together, it’s not that easy to just throw the top stacks in and expect to win. On both sites, the high end pitching seems to be overpriced and struggling to live up to those lofty salaries. It’s advisable to try to find value with a cheaper option who will go under the radar. Remember too that while everyone is talking about who the best team to stack and who the stud pitchers to start are, those have not been the guys who have won people all of the money. Fantasy MLB is a high variance game to begin with. The nature of the game does lend itself easily to situations where things are highly predictable. The best players go o-for-4 in great match ups all the time, while a guy with a worse match up might come through with a huge night. There’s always going to be an obvious play who is in a good spot and has all the right boxes checked off. Coming through 1 out of 3 times puts you in the Hall of Fame as a baseball player, so there’s still a higher likelihood of failure than of success. If you can find a guy who is in the second or third best spot on the day that you also like, it goes a long way to helping you have a differentiated roster and a good chance to reach the top. The larger the slate the more differentiated you want to be. On some smaller slate days it still pays to go with the chalk plays at some positions if you have very few other options that can produce an equal or better result. Just a few things for you to think about when building your rosters going forward if you want to take down a big prize.