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Going All In: High Priced Pitchers Had A Miserable Week

Going All In: High Priced Pitchers Had A Miserable Week
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Going All In: High Priced Pitchers Had A Miserable Week

As a reminder, this Thursday piece is a continuing examination of the merits of spending on DFS high priced pitching. (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.

More screenshots and lineup explanations this week. Also, don’t look if you like your high priced pitching… it was a bad week… like San Andreas tearing up California without The Rock to save you though.

May 28

DraftKings: Burnett+Kluber 128.10, Heston+Kluber 149.85 (-21.75)

Notes: For this one date, I took a slightly different spin because I wanted to show/examine how you can play both ends of the high/low-priced pitching and really exploit the results on two pitcher sites. With A.J. Burnett and Corey Kluber, a 128.10 score isn’t bad at all. It even cashed in a 50/50. However, believing in Chris Heston and his matchup with the Braves allowed me to use Brian McCann and Mike Trout. Overall, the hitting wasn’t worlds better, but Heston paying off with a better outing than the more expensive (and higher owned) Burnett made this a great lineup instead of just a good one.



FanDuel: Kluber 31.75, Heston 40.08 (-8.33)

Notes: Corey Kluber out-pitched Chris Heston, but Brian McCann, Mike Trout and Ben Zobrist kicked in more than enough, especially when Yan Gomes and Carlos Beltran scored -1.0.

May 29

DraftKings: Liriano+Harvey 115.90, Bauer+McCullers 128.75 (-12.85)

Notes: This is a perfect example of how two stud pitchers can be matched in performance by two mid-tier guys with good matchups. The main boost from hitting came from Chris Davis and Wilson Ramos, as most of the high-end hitters did just as little as the lower-end options.

FanDuel: Harvey 24.25, Bauer 33.25 (-9.00)

Notes: Matt Harvey was good, but not great, and that let Trevor Bauer match him at 15 points. Brian Dozier and Jose Reyes were the kickers over Chase Utley and Marcus Semien.

FantasyAces: Harvey+Shields 48.50, Bauer+McCullers 50.00 (-1.50)

Notes: We’ve covered the pitching differences here. Troy Tulowitzki in the second lineup was a big boost.

June 1

DraftKings: Hernandez+deGrom 106.70, Garcia+Hammel 131.95 (-25.25)

Notes: Jacob deGrom was terrific (36.8) but Felix Hernandez… oh Felix… had negative points (-2.1). King Felix was worse than an empty spot! I was able to still use Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier in this lineup thanks to rather cheap options everywhere else. However, Jason Hammel had a huge game (36.0) and Jaime Garcia had 19.95. Adding Kris Bryant and Andrew McCutchen to the lineup also helped… even with the wasted Bryce Harper dollars (rain out and was stuck in a meeting, unable to swap him in time).

FanDuel: Hernandez 45.91, deGrom 54.25, Garcia 54.25 (+/- 0.00)

Notes: I’m including screenshots of the Felix Hernandez and Jacob deGrom lineups to reiterate a main point in this entire thing: you can still spend on pitching, but you don’t need to take those Top 2-3 guys. Jacob deGrom was still pricy, but much less than Hernandez, and honestly, I preferred him this day and was rewarded. For the comparative cheaper lineup, Jaime Garcia scored 10 less than deGrom, but Jimmy Rollins, Mike Trout and Nolan Arenado helped quite a bit.



FantasyAces: Hernandez+deGrom 56.25, Pineda+Garcia 69.80 (-13.55)

Notes: We know too well how this day went pitching wise thanks to Hernandez. Being able to afford Adrian Gonzalez in the second lineup helped too.

June 2

DraftKings: Scherzer+Syndegaard 77.70, Heston+Lynn 117.90 (-40.20)

Notes: This was the type of day that set me down the “avoid the Top 2-3 expensive pitchers path.” If a pitcher blows up, you can more easily recover and possibly still cash if your hitters are solid. If your lower-priced pitcher gets rocked (and yes, I do agree there is more risk for it to happen with them), you have a much stronger stable of hitters to make up for it. Max Scherzer and Noah Syndergaard combined for 19.7 points. Oof. Chris Heston didn’t have a good outing, but Lance Lynn did (27.65) and plugging in Adrian Gonzalez, Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock made a big difference.

FanDuel: Scherzer 30.75, Lynn 43.91 (-13.16)

Notes: Lance Lynn more than doubled up Scherzer, and adding in Joc Pederson and Brandon Moss was huge (17 points between them).



FantasyAces: Scherzer+Syndergaard 35.50, Heston+Lynn 56.75 (-21.25)

Notes: Lance Lynn scored more than Scherzer and Thor combined! Plus, Adrian Gonzalez and Joc Pederson scored 18.5 between them.

June 3

DraftKings: Sale+Shields 136.10, McCullers+Santiago 131.20 (+4.90)

Notes: Hey! A better day for high priced pitchers this week. Finally. Truthfully, every lineup cashed, so it’s all good to me. Chris Sale was more than great, James Shields was decent, while Charlie Blackmon and Joc Pederson were huge. In the Lance McCullers (who actually topped Sale 44.35 to 42.75) and Hector Santiago lineup, Santiago hurt, as this could have been an enormous score. I also avoided the Dodgers-Rockies game here to cover myself. As you can see, the hitters scored only 10 more points than the Sale+Shields lineup, so that wasn’t enough to make up for Santiago.



FanDuel: Sale 51.25, Shields 52.75 (-1.50)

Notes: Chris Sale had a big score here too (24.0) and James Shields only scored 13.0. I could have gone deeper at pitching and should have with my McCullers call on DraftKings and FantasyAces. Oh, what could have been. Nevertheless, I couldn’t afford Troy Tulowitzki in the first lineup with Sale, but could with Shields, and that was the only lineup change this day… and boom, Tulo over Ian Desmond overcame the pitching difference.



FantasyAces: Sale+Kluber 70.50, Shields+McCullers 77.75 (-7.25)

Notes: Pitchers nearly matched each other in the duos with Charlie Blackmon being the main difference between the two scores.


DraftKings tracking -461.30 or -11.83 FPPC (Fantasy Points Per Contest)

FanDuel: -175.57 and -4.28 FPPC

FantasyAces: -76.05 and -2.72 FPPC

Notes: A week after a couple days of high priced pitching scoring more, we had a terrible showing for high priced pitchers. There is a bit of a notable trend overall.

High priced pitchers have a higher ceiling on average. Lower priced pitchers can have the same high ceiling, but it doesn’t happen as frequently. Also, the floors for both appear to be the same. If Felix Hernandez can score negative points (and other big names/high priced pitchers have), then the potential fallout is just as bad. True, it doesn’t happen as frequently as it does with more volatile pitchers. However, you are better equipped hitter wise to overcome a mid-priced pitcher’s weak day than a high priced pitcher given the stronger bats.

Going All In