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Going All In: High Priced Pitchers Gaining An Edge, On One Site Only

Going All In: High Priced Pitchers Gaining An Edge, On One Site Only
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Going All In: High Priced Pitchers Gaining An Edge, On One Site Only

This week includes some deeper explanation of how I’m making the daily pitcher picks. Along with that, I tossed in some screenshots so you can see firsthand what I mean and how things play out. You’ll also come across a special side note/tip. Hint, it has to do with a Blue Jays stud hitter.

To see past articles in this series, click HERE!

May 21

DraftKings: Salazar+Teheran 116.65, Hendricks+Chavez 115.15 (+1.50)

Notes: Being featured on DailyRoto, some have asked why I sometimes pick pitchers ranked lower on the DailyRoto daily list. Sometimes it’s for the price, as is the point of this study. Occasionally though, it’s to avoid site bias. I check several sites each day and try to use a consensus of sorts. I want to avoid the counterargument against the pitcher selections of, “Well, your high-priced pitching team would have done better if you picked X instead of Y.” So while sometimes, Julio Teheran might rank mid pack, a consensus could have him higher on the list. And May 21 was one such day. It also paid off, as Teheran out-pitched Clay Buchholz, who was rated higher. This goes for FanDuel too, but it’s most prevalent on DraftKings given the use of two pitchers.

In the lineup screenshots, you can see that the high-priced pitching team would have actually lost out today if the duo of Danny Salazar and Julio Teheran wasn’t used.



FanDuel: Salazar 19.25, Buchholz 29.33 (-10.08)

Notes: Pretty rough day all around. None of the hitters with Danny Salazar topped two points, while David Freese and Mike Trout did for Clay Buchholz.

FantasyAces: Salazar+Teheran 49.00, Buchholz+Chavez 45.50 (+3.50)

Notes: Given the pricing, Clay Buchholz provided more salary relief on FantasyAces. However, Teheran outscored him by 8.50 points, more than making up for the hitting additions of Jason Kipnis and Mookie Betts.

May 22

DraftKings: Greinke+Hernandez 80.20, Archer+Syndergaard 122.30 (-42.10)

Notes: The Felix Hernadez over Max Scherzer is another example of taking a pitcher lower on the DailyRoto ranks. There wasn’t much of a difference in the scores, and I am not (nor is the consensus) perfect when it comes to picking the right high-priced pitcher every time. This was just another example to show how/why picked a different option.



As for the scores, I grabbed the other lineup for fun so you can see how big of a boost Brandon Moss, Jason Kipnis, Nelson Cruz and Carlos Gomez made – not one was affordable with Greinke and King Felix.


FanDuel: Greinke 31.91, Carrasco 48.25 (-16.34)

Notes: There was plenty of pitching today. Getting a win turned out big, as Zack Greinke had a strong outing, but several of the other solid plays outscored him with wins. The Buster Posey/Brandon Belt combo also thumped the Brian McCann/Mark Teixeira duo.

FantasyAces: Greinke+Cole 66.75, Syndergaard+Young 58.50 (+8.25)

Notes: Not much you can do on FantasyAces to make up for 37.25 points from two pitchers. The hitter savings just aren’t significant enough, especially when the cheaper options only total 21.25.

May 23

DraftKings: Arrieta+Haren 126.60, Bolsinger+Volquez 138.60 (-12.00)

Notes: This was just a tough one for pitching if you only played the night slate. Jake Arrieta was the clear choice and Dan Haren was high on the list given the other choices. Truthfully, I kind of hit the jackpot with Mike Bolsinger and Edison Volquez, as there were a couple land mines for other cheap options.

FanDuel: Arrieta 48.25, Haren 47.00 (+1.25) and Sale 26.75, Karns 33.66 (-6.91)

Notes: Early day was very close, as Dan Haren barely outscored Jake Arrieta, but the savings letting me use Giancarlo Stanton didn’t pay off thanks to his one point. In the evening, the bats made up for the lost points from Chris Sale to Nathan Karns (not the best pick). Brandon Belt, Jason Kipnis, Maikel Franco and Hunter Pence led the charge.

May 24

DraftKings: Gray+Liriano 135.55, Keuchel+Martinez 123.85 (+11.70)

Notes: Depending on how you wanted to play it, you could have gone early only or all day. The Sonny Gray and Francisco Liriano duo actually did better than the early-only high-priced pitching lineup, so I’m using the better one for comparison (I used an early only and full day for both high-priced and mid-level pitching to cover all odds). I used the Dallas Keuchel and Carlos Martinez duo (with some different hitters) in both the early-only and full-day, so those pitchers didn’t change. Liriano was the real boost to the scores today with 34.70 points, while Nolan Arenado and Billy Burns helped the batter side of things.

FanDuel: Gray 46.25, Bauer 40.41 (+5.84)

Notes: This is a good example of how sometimes, even better bats don’t pay off. Trevor Bauer scored more than Sonny Gray (14.66 to 13.00), but Mike Napoli went off with 12.75 points. Napoli being the cheaper play over Anthony Rizzo‘s big bat (to save for pitching) made the big difference.

Note: Gray left his start after 5 IP due to injury so the gaps here could have been even wider.

May 25

DraftKings: Wasn’t able to get around to making lineups with all of the cookout happenings. I tried to get two late 50/50s in under the gun, but neither league filled.

Notes: N/A

FanDuel: Ross 33.75, Morton 40.75 (-7.00)

Notes: Charlie Morton notched one more point than Tyson Ross thanks to the win (again a case proving wins are important on FanDuel), but Kris Bryant was the real difference maker.

May 26

DraftKings: Kershaw+deGrom 123.25, Buchholz+Chavez 122.90 (+0.35)

Notes: This should have been a bigger gap if not for the Mets bullpen. deGrom left with no runs and a win under his belt, but the bullpen allowed two deGrom runners to score and the game to be tied. Saving money got Bryce Harper, Jose Bautista and Kris Bryant in the cheaper lineup, and well, those three had 53 points and made up the difference in pitching.

FanDuel: Kershaw 40.00, Garcia 35.00 (+5.00)

Notes: Clayton Kershaw was finally worth it! Woohoo! Having a 10-K performance with a win is huge, as that gave Kershaw 21 points. Even with Jaime Garcia putting up a solid game (6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 K and the win) it wasn’t enough with the added bats to catch the nine point different from him to Kershaw.

Side note: Don’t ever fade Josh Donaldson. I went with Todd Frazier in another superb matchup since everyone was using Donaldson (56 percent!), but somehow, that Triple-A plus-6.00 ERA bum for the Rockies shut down the Reds and Donaldson scored 21!

FantasyAces: Price+deGrom 57.25, Shoemaker+Buchholz 57.50 (-0.25)

Notes: It was nigh impossible to get Kershaw and David Price or deGrom together. The difference would have been 6.0 more points over deGrom if I found a way, but the most expensive player was Todd Frazier, and he put up a goose egg. The main difference came from the Bryce Harper boost in the lower-priced pitching lineup.

May 27

DraftKings: I got to DraftKings late and by that time, there were no 50/50s for day games only or full day ones. I assume they were there, but other work had me slammed and by the time I built lineups, DK had no options.

Notes: NA

FanDuel: Hernandez 32.75, Archer 33.00 (-0.25)

Notes: I still had time for FanDuel though, and Chris Archer threw a gem just as Felix Hernandez did. This is a case where, honestly, it was a bit fortunate. To get a golden game from the two pitchers picked is often extremely low odds.

FantasyAces: Scherzer+Greinke 47.75, Lynn Cashner 42.50 (+5.25)

Notes: Where I was honest with FanDuel, I’m going to honest here too… wasn’t really a fair shake. There were so few games to choose from that you were pretty much cornered pitcher wise for going high versus lower prices and the hitter selection was too sparse to make up for it.


DraftKings tracking -366.15 or -10.77 FPPC (Fantasy Points Per Contest)

FanDuel: -143.58 and -3.99 FPPC

FantasyAces: -32.50 and -1.35 FPPC

Notes: Looking at the to-date scoring, DraftKings has the biggest margin, while FantasyAces is getting closer and closer to showing the high-priced pitching works better… and it has been a few times of late on their site. The one thing I wanted to point out though is that FanDuel’s point differential is actually a higher percentage impact than on DraftKings.

The average score to cash in 50/50s on DraftKings is around 120 with +/- 20 points. On FanDuel it’s around 40 with +/- 10 points. This isn’t rock-solid, hard-fact score needs but just an “on average” total needed. So if you take 10.77 from 120 points, that’s a 8.98 percent swing. On FanDuel, 3.99 from 40 is basically 10 percent (9.98). It’s not a enormous difference between the two sites, but I wanted to put the PPG differences in perspective since they look drastically different, but the FanDuel percentage difference is actually higher.

As a reminder, this Thursday piece is a continuing examination of the merits of spending on DFS high priced pitchers. (You can always look back here for the introduction.) This entire season, I’ll be tracking lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel and FantasyAces. There will be two competing lineups on each site, one using the highest priced pitchers and another avoiding those. As a FYI, “highest priced” means the Top 1-3 guys on most days. In addition, many of the hitters will remain the same to get a decent lineup-to-lineup comparison with the saved money used at 1-3 spots to improve the hitting choices.

For the method in choosing pitchers, it’s not arbitrary. I use the DailyRoto pitcher rankings to break ties or close calls. I’ll never take the highest-priced pitcher if he’s not even a recommended play, and I won’t use a cheap pitcher that should be avoided. In addition, when you see skipped days, that could be for various reasons: too many weather concerns, small slate to get a fair comparison, I wasn’t home for enough research (happens often on Sundays). Hey, we still have lives too.

Going All In