Process, not results.
We all know this axiom. It applies to front offices and fantasy baseball players alike. It’s especially important for daily fantasy players to stick to the process and not get caught up in the results. There will be stretches where you find it difficult to cash, and there will certainly be stretches where you’ll find your bankroll stagnant. During those stretches it’s important that you not question your process. Stick with it, and over time you’ll see that bankroll grow.
If you don’t have a process, let me explain what mine is. I start each day by looking at weather and Vegas game lines. Vegas is better at predicting things than we are, so use their knowledge to your advantage. Look for the highest over/under totals for the day, and lean towards those lineups when choosing hitters. And you should also lean towards the teams within those games who are favored. When looking at weather, remember that more runs are scored on average in warmer weather. And be wary of picking pitchers in games with a high probability of rain. Long rain delays can cut starts short.
Next I look at the starting pitchers for the day. I take the Steamer RoS projections, cut them down to a per game basis, run them through the Draftstreet scoring system and then adjust for opponent to get daily projections for each starter. Then I compare that to each starter’s cost to see which pitchers provide the most value for the day. I also see which pitchers have the lowest projected point totals of the day to help in selecting hitters. As an example, below is a chart showing my calculations for today’s pitchers.
After identifying the best teams from which to choose hitters based on the Vegas game lines and the pitching projections, I start outlining the best stacks to use for the day. Research has shown that upside is highest and downside is lowest when using three or four hitters from the same team in your lineups. Once I choose a team, I look at their last seven lineups on MLB Depth Charts to see which hitters are most likely to play against a pitcher with the particular handedness of the pitcher they’ll face that day. Remember that it’s best to choose hitters who hit near each other in the lineup. The idea of stacking players is that you’ll benefit double when one player on your team drives in another player on your team.
That’s the short version of what I do every night for a few hours. I consider other things like park factors and bankroll management as well as a few other things that aren’t springing to mind at the moment. But that’s the gist of it. If you have any questions about it or if you think I’m doing something wrong, feel free to hit me up in the comments.
The Daily Five (or six)
Madison Bumgarner ($19,367)
Because MadBum will be facing the Padres and Yu Darvish will be facing the A’s, Bumgarner is easily projected to ourperform Darvish today. And Bumgarner is about $500 cheaper. Of the elite options, Bumgarner is the best choice today. I also prefer Michael Wacha to Darvish, but not over Bumgarner.
Franklin Morales ($13,152)
If you haven’t noticed, the Diamondbacks lineup has been pretty bad, and they’ve been worse against left-handed pitchers like Morales. I’ll admit that I’m not wild about using a guy who has worked primarily as a reliever in his career and who has a career ERA of 4.34 (4.33 SIERA). But the other two really cheap pitchers of the day are in the Rays-White Sox game which has a 90-100% chance of rain as of this writing. You almost always have to save some money at one or two pitching slots, and Morales is best cheap pitching option today.
The Giants will be facing Tyson Ross, whom I like, but you can get four guys in the middle of their order for only a quarter of your budget. Two of those guys are right-handed hitters, Hunter Pence ($6,922) and Buster Posey ($6,536), who hit right-handed pitching at an above league average rate. The other two are left-hander Brandon Belt ($6,511) and switch hitter Pablo Sandoval ($5,152) who is better from the left side of the plate.