FNTSY SportsGrid RotoExperts
Industry MLB

5/15 MLB DFS Review: Kersh Came, Kershaw, Kersh Conquered

5/15 MLB DFS Review: Kersh Came, Kershaw, Kersh Conquered
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

5/15 MLB DFS Review: Kersh Came, Kershaw, Kersh Conquered

You can’t predict baseball.

Here is a statement everyone has heard, and there is even a Twitter account devoted to reminding people daily how true it is, yet it never ceases to amaze. On a night where both Clayton Kershaw and Jordan Zimmermann took the mound, the perfect lineup on DraftKings (DK) would have included both Kyle Lohse and Clay Buchholz. Lohse squared off against the Mets who rank 26th in both wOBA and OPS versus RHP while Buchholz faced the 24th ranked Mariners in wOBA who also rank 23rd in OPS versus RHP. In other words, both of them had above average matchups, it was just an extremely risky proposition considering neither had an ERA under 5.73 heading into the night. Buchholz at least came into the night with a 10.3 K/9, which on second look should have been an eyebrow raiser. Strikeouts are more important than any other statistic on DK as you can make just about any outing respectable with 8-10 Ks. The problem always is being the guy to risk the money on fading Kershaw for a pair of bum pitchers with a higher probability of failure than success on these types of nights. Looking at the large tournaments, no one had the guts to pair these two pitchers together, so it took other combinations to win. It’s just interesting to see the contrarian strategies that could have been employed to take down tournaments in hindsight.

Besides the unlikely pitching duo, a plethora of other ballplayers had themselves a night on Friday. Rostering these top performers likely led to a fair bit of success:

Player Stat Line DK FP FD FP
Kyle Lohse 8 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 8 K, W 36.2 20
Clay Buchholz 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 11 K 36.2 18
Yoenis Cespedes 2 R, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 SB, 3 RBI 33 13.5
Brandon Belt 3 R, 1 1B, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI 32 13.5
Michael Brantley 2 R, 1 1B, 2 2Bs, 1 SB, 2 RBI 30 13
Giancarlo Stanton 2 R, 2 HR, 1 BB, 2 RBI 30 12.5
Bryce Harper 2 R, 2 1Bs, 1 BB, 1 HR, 2 RBI 26 10.75
Jordan Zimmermann 6 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 0 ER, 6 K, W 25.3 16
Miguel Cabrera 2 R, 2 1Bs, 1 HR, 2 RBI 24 9.5


Unsurprisingly, many of these top performers showed up in tournament winning lineups. Similarly to basketball, both DK and FanDuel (FD) hold large tournaments on full slates. I think it’s neat to keep up with the industry and track what combinations of players won it for people. Without further ado, here are the lineups that took these giant tournaments home along with the winning user’s username:

DraftKings $300K Mega Perfect Game – Username: werth4949 (a DailyRoto subscriber! Congrats!)

Clay Buchholz, Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey, Chris Davis, Justin Turner, Adrian Beltre, Jimmy Rollins, Gregor Blanco, Alejandro De Aza, Nick Swisher

DraftKings $160K Payoff Pitch – Username: geotico

Jesse Hahn, Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey, Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Nick Castellanos, Jimmy Rollins, Yoenis Cespedes, Anthony Gose, J.D. Martinez

DraftKings $80K Moonshot – Username: gamble24x7

Clayton Kershaw, David Phelps, James McCann, Prince Fielder, Justin Turner, Adrian Beltre, Yunel Escobar, Yoenis Cespedes, Bryce Harper, J.D. Martinez

FanDuel $250K Grand Slam – Username: massimo09

Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Justin Turner, Adrian Beltre, Zach Walters, Giancarlo Stanton, Kyle Blanks, Gregor Blanco

FanDuel $125K Monster – Username: massimo09 used the same lineup to win this one too!

FanDuel $100K Squeeze – Username: schmalls09

Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey, Jose Abreu, Justin Turner, Adrian Beltre, Jimmy Rollins, Yoenis Cespedes, Anthony Gose, Melky Cabrera

Again, congratulations to all the winners but especially DailyRoto subscriber werth4949. As Tony Cincotta would say, we love to see one of our own “getting it done.” Despite averaging 2.1 runs per game (RPG) in night games, many of these users had the cojones to roster Tigers batters in this slate and it paid off. There may be a little something to day/night splits but tonight showed it’s always more beneficial to just focus solely on the matchup and not listen to the outside “noise” (which in this case is me throwing around numbers like how putrid the Tigers offense has been in night games). As Mike Leone likes to point out in BvP, it’s all about sample size and using as a tie-breaker as opposed to solely focusing on secondary split numbers as the only reason to play a given player.

For every action, there comes an equal and opposite reaction. In this case, that means there were just as many poor performers as there were guys who made you spill your beer while cheering. These rascals just didn’t come through in the clutch for those that needed them on Friday night:

Player Stat Line Approximate Ownership %
Chris Davis 0 13
Carlos Rodon 4 IP, 5 H, 6 BB, 5 ER, 5 K 16
Hanley Ramirez 0 22
Mike Trout 1 1B 26
Bartolo Colon 5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 K 23
Alejandro De Aza 0 10


After a very eventful night, it’s a good time to sit back and ask “what can we learn from all that just happened?” Here are some things that I think can be taken away from the slate and the lineups that won them:

Lesson #1: Choosing players from the top six in the lineup continues to be the highest percentage play

Of all the winning lineups, only one included a player that hit outside the top seven in their team’s respective lineup (James McCann hit seventh). If you’re forced to do it in order to fit all your preferred studs in on a night, make sure it is one player maximum and only in tournaments.

Lesson #2: Stacking the right team always comes with upside

User geotico perfected this strategy this night all the way to winning the Payoff Pitch. He chose all the right hitters from a lineup that scored 10 runs. While I am not a giant fan of stacking and don’t love that it is allowed, it’s still a smart strategy in tournaments if you choose the correct team. It allows you to choose a team instead of specific players, so when that team ends up scoring a large amount of runs, plenty of the players in your lineup have contributed. Again, not my favorite thing in the world that it’s allowed, but as long as it is you need to at least consider doing it.

Lesson #3: Do not fade the highest owned players simply to be different

On Twitter tonight I was having a conversation with a follower frustrated with their lineup. They swore they were not going to play Clayton Kershaw again because he was so highly owned in his game and this user was not in the money. Just because Kershaw is 85% owned in cash games or even 55% owned in tournaments does not mean he should be faded. Just look above; many users rode him all the way to big money. The problem tonight was not Kershaw but rather other hitters/players in lineups if you started him and did not win. Similarly to basketball, identify the best plays of the night and use them regardless of usage percentage. You will be kicking yourself more for not using the “sure thing” guys if they go off then you will for bums going off that you could have used instead. I would try and differentiate in other areas as opposed to fading Kershaw when he’s a -300 favorite as he was tonight (his heaviest Vegas favorite line of the year thus far). It can pay to be contrarian in GPPs but that doesn’t mean you have to be contrarian across the board.

How did you do tonight? Want to brag to the world about your great lineup or complain at how awful it was? Do so now on the DailyRoto forums:


Industry MLB

We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 


We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 

We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution. 


We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution.