Daily Fantasy Strategy – 7/8/13 – For Draftstreet

When I was on The Sleeper and the Bust with Mike Podhorzer a few weeks ago, he told me about his process for finding value in daily contests. The basic idea is that he breaks the rest-of-season ZIPS projections down to a fantasy points per game basis and then compares that to cost to find the biggest values. As I’ve learned, that process takes a bit of work, so I’m going to walk you through it.

The first step is to get the rest-of-season ZIPS projections into a spreadsheet. You can find daily updated projections from the ‘Projections’ tab at the top of the site. Then you need to eliminate the stats and columns that are not needed in order to calculate how many fantasy points a player is projected to score for the rest of the year. But don’t delete the games column; you’ll need it later to calculate projected points per game.

Below is a picture of the stats used in Draftstreet scoring.

DS Scoring

The ZIPS projections don’t have GDP and SAC on the hitting side and CG and HB on the pitching side. But those are events that don’t happen too often, so it shouldn’t skew the results much. Once you eliminate all the unnecessary columns, you can multiply the remaining columns by the point total assigned to each particular stat. Then you can add them all up, divide them by the number of games remaining, and you’ve got their projected points per game number. Now you’re ready to compare that to their price for the day.

Draftstreet will let you export the prices for the day’s games into a spreadsheet. Do that, and then transfer the prices into a separate tab  in the sheet in which you placed the projections. You’ll then need to run a couple of functions to get the player’s price next to their point per game projection. The first is the concatenate function. When you pull the prices off Draftstreet, the player’s name will be separated into two columns. Just create a blank column on the very leftmost side of the sheet and run the concatenate function. In the function argument box, you simply have to put the cell with the first name as text 1 and the cell with the last name as text 2. That will give you the player’s name in one cell which will allow you to then run the vlookup function. I won’t waste time with an explanation of the function because I’m sure a quick google search will yield a concise and helpful tutorial on the function. But that’s the function I use to get price next to projection.

Long story short: Once you get the player’s price next to his points per game projection, you can divide the price by the projection and find how much you will have to spend to get a point from that player. Obviously, the lower the cost of acquiring a point the better.

The Daily Five

Jimmy Rollins, $5,400 – The players with the most ‘value’ in your spreadsheet will be guys who either suck or guys who have been struggling. For example, Rob Brantly is the third most ‘valuable’ player in my spreadsheet for today, but he’s only projected to score two points per game from here on out. This is just a rough estimate, but you need around 30 points on average from your hitters in a double up to cash. You’ve got to look a little further down the list for guys who don’t suck and who are projected for closer to three points per game or more. And you still have to factor in other variables. For me, I’m still looking for favorable platoon match ups against crappy pitchers. And Jimmy Rollins is the first guy I saw that meets the criteria.  He’s the 26th most ‘valuable’ player today in that he’ll cost you $1,671.58 per projected point. He’s a switch hitter who has performed better from the left side in recent years facing a struggling right-hander fresh off the DL, Dan Haren.

Adam Jones, $6,058 – Jones comes in as the 43rd best value today with a price of $1,817.40 per projected point. That price is slightly more than one standard deviation from the mean. He’s a right-hander facing a left-hander. Unfortunately, that left-hander is Derek Holland who has a solid xFIP of 3.43 this year. But for his career, his wOBA allowed to right-handers is 38 points higher than his wOBA allowed to left-handers.

Giancarlo Stanton, $6,494 – Stanton will cost you $1,844.27 per projected point today. Like Jones, he has a favorable platoon matchup but against a good pitcher (Mike Minor). But it’s hard to pass on good hitters like this when their price is so low. The price is low because Stanton and Jones have struggled in the last few weeks, but these guys are just as likely to start a hot streak today as they are to continue with their slump.

Joey Votto, $8,896 – I sorted by projected points per game to see if any of the studs had a reasonable price today. Votto’s cost per projected point is $2,355.61, which is about a hundred bucks below the average cost. He’s facing right-hander Kyle Lohse.

Zack Greinke, $12,994 – When I sort my pitcher spreadsheet by the cost of a projected point for today’s starters, Greinke is the most valuable decent pitcher with an above average match up. Greinke will cost you $2,052.57 per projected point and is facing the Diamondbacks who have the 8th worst wRC+ vs. RHP. I’m also rolling with Roberto Hernandez whose cost per projected point is well below average and who has a good match up against Minnesota. I’m also going with Felix Hernandez who has the fifth lowest cost per projected point today. His cost is so low because he’s facing the Red Sox who may be the best team in baseball against right-handed pitching. But I’m going with him anyway.

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This post, covering one of the leading sites for daily fantasy is sponsored and made possible by the generous support of Draftstreet. FanGraphs will maintain complete editorial control of the postings, and brings you these posts in our continued desire to provide the best analytical information on the latest in baseball.

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You can find more of Brett's work on TheFantasyFix.com or follow him on Twitter @TheRealTAL.

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How much value do you put on head-to-head matchups if at all? I had Jones added to my team before your article published but I then took a look at how he does vs Holland and it turns out he’s 1/10.