The Daily Grind: Cash Games, Sanchez, Lester


  1. DFS Cash Game Strategy
  2. Daily DFS – Sanchez
  3. Tomorrow’s Targets – Porcello, Lester, Valencia, Orlando
  4. Factor Grid

1. DFS Cash Game Strategy

Those of you already playing DFS probably have a good idea of where this is going. Still, it’s wise to occasionally re-orient yourself with the basics. By “cash game,” I’m referring mostly to head-to-head play. However, the same ideas apply to non-tournament style DFS contests.

In the big tournaments, your job is to maximize your ceiling. Then you hope it all works out knowing that you’ll be wrong more often than not. Cash games are about managing ceiling and floor.

There’s a general formula to building a good roster. Start with a reliable pitcher – often one of the most expensive of the day. There are certain types of hitters you want to target. Ideally, you’re looking for guys who are high in the batting order of a visiting team at a hitter’s park. Obviously, you’ll want to adjust for quality of matchup as well as handedness and batted ball splits.

Avoid high strikeout power hitters like Chris Carter or Pedro Alvarez. This is where managing the floor comes into the equation. All things equal, it can be better to have a Melky Cabrera over Carter simply because you know Cabrera will put the ball in play.

Don’t stack*. The less reliant you are on one roster, the better. You’ll be left in rough shape if you bet against Kyle Kendrick at Coors and he somehow only gives up four runs. Diversification is your friend.

The above is meant to be very basic. If you’d like to discuss anything else related to cash games, let’s reconvene in the comments.

*Stacking is when you take multiple players from one lineup so runs and RBI are double counted.

2. Daily DFS – Sanchez

Yesterday’s Grind

Early: We have eight games in the early contest for Thin Thursday. Let’s talk about home runs and Anibal Sanchez.

To date, Sanchez has allowed five home runs in 16.1 innings. At a high level, there are two scenarios we can consider.

1. Something is wrong and we should expect an elevated home run rate
2. We’re observing a random fluctuation and we should expect better numbers

Of course, we need more data or scouting expertise to test which of these hypotheses is truer. I’ve included a heat map of Sanchez’s home runs below. The pitch distribution included two fastballs, two sliders, and one cutter. I didn’t look to see which is which.

Anibal H

One of those pitches is not like the other. The remaining four are all locations that often yield poor results. For DFS purposes, you have a choice. Do you bet he’ll continue to serve up gopher balls on a pupu platter, or will he throw like vintage Sanchez. Depending on your opinion, you could justify stacking Yankees or starting Sanchez.

For what it’s worth, the conditions are terrible for home runs today.

Late: Four games are late. Jesse Chavez and Nick Tropeano will make their 2015 debuts as starters. I’m interested in the game because I happen to like both pitchers. There are also issues with the pitchers from the other three games. It’s certainly safer to cast your lot with Chris Sale or Jake Odorizzi.

Stack Targets: Jeff Locke, David Phelps, Dustin McGowan, Homer Bailey, Kyle Lohse, Mike Bolsinger, Ryan Vogelsong, Clay Buchholz

3. Tomorrow’s Targets – Porcello, Lester, Valencia, Orlando

Pitchers to Start: Rick Porcello has struggled with his control through three starts. He doesn’t rack up strikeouts or shut down the opposing offense. This recommendation is all about chasing the win. Porcello is opposed by Miguel Gonzalez. I expect the Red Sox lineup to go bonkers off the homer prone starter.

Also consider: Aaron Harang, Danny Salazar, Drew Smyly, Carlos Martinez

Pitchers to Exploit: I had trouble deciding whether I should count Jon Lester as a possible exploit. He’s certainly not the first guy I would target, but let’s talk about him.

Lester will face a decent Reds lineup, but the hitters aren’t the biggest story. The Reds are one of the most aggressive teams on the base paths. The club leads the majors with 17 steals (nine of which are Billy Hamilton). Lester is ridiculously bad when it comes to pickoff moves, so expect further aggression today.

I imagine this whole pickoff debacle is in Lester’s head. He’s always had the problem, but it’s just recent became a national story. Until he finds a solution in which he’s confident, I expect uneven performances from him.

Also consider: Miguel Gonzalez, Mat LatosJose Quintana, Chris Heston, Eddie Butler

Hitters (power): I haven’t had many chances to plug Danny Valencia. He’ll face lefty Smyly in his 2015 debut. Valencia is a career .332/.371/.508 hitter against southpaws. Unfortunately, the game is at Tropicana Field.

Also consider: Travis Snider, Brock Holt, Marlon Byrd, C.J. Cron, Dustin Ackley, Seth Smith

Hitters (speed): I don’t know anything about Paulo Orlando. Well that’s not quite true – I know he has eight hits and five triples on the season. I also know he’ll have the platoon advantage against Quintana.

Also consider: Alejandro De Aza, Danny Espinosa, Nori Aoki, Angel Pagan, Collin Cowgill

4. The Factor Grid

The table below indicates which stadiums have the best conditions for hitters today. The color coding is a classic stoplight where green equals go for hitters. The weather conditions are from SI Weather’s home run app. A 10/10 means great atmospheric conditions for home runs. A 1/10 means lousy atmospheric conditions.

The Link. Colorado looks awfully inviting today. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to target a roofed park.

This post is not brought to you by any DFS platform. The current author is quite pleased to present a DFS ad free environment. 

You can follow me on twitter @BaseballATeam

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