MLB DFS Cash Game Strategy: Maximizing Plate Appearances
Raise your hand if you’ve played a game of “Would You Rather?”
I’m now envisioning that most of you reading this are now sitting, hand raised, reminiscing back to some drunken stupor that left you pondering an X-rated decision solely for the comedic relief of a group of friends.
Well I’m not in a drunken stupor, and hopefully neither are you, but let’s play the game anyway.
Would you rather…create as many opportunities for Fantasy points as possible or simply try to pick the most ideal situations for points regardless of the amount of opportunities?
I know now you’re bored, because that’s not how this game works. Don’t worry though, because I’m not going to make you give an answer.
Instead, I’m going to experiment this dilemma to see if there actually is a side which you prefer.
Each night I’ll be compiling lineups consistent with each side of this debate and tracking their point totals and cashes to be able to draw some conclusions at the end of a month.
The first lineup I create each night will be an attempt to maximize plate appearances (the first side of the would you rather question). To do this, I’ll be selecting hitters that are on the road, and have the advantage of getting a full nine innings worth of at-bats, regardless of the score. The second stipulation is that I want to select hitters that are in the first four spots in the order, as to even further increase potential plate appearances. Believe it or not, this is actually a terrifyingly difficult process. Because I’m selecting players from away teams only, I’m essentially cutting the player pool in half. After doing that, I’m only choosing players from the top four lineup spots, so once again, I’m only using 44% of road lineups to make my own. Finally, from the final field of players I’m allotted, I’m restricted by the salary cap (and terrible matchups) before locking in a team.
The second lineup I’ll make each night is a typical cash game lineup (this is the second option of would you rather). This is what I would run out on any given night, trying to make the most optimal lineup I can regardless of the situation. That means, I won’t be worried about whether a hitter is on the road, or if they’re hitting second, or fifth. If the stars align on a certain player, he’ll be in my lineup.
Below I’ve included my lineups from the first night of the experiment, starting with the lineup with the goal of maximizing opportunity.
The goal of this experiment is to find out just how important it is to maximize opportunity or plate appearances over time. In most other Daily Fantasy sports, you want a player on the field, or on the court as often as possible. However, at a site like FanDuel where efficiency is so important (you lose points when a hitter gets out) is it worth maximizing plate appearances and creating more opportunity, rather than simply attempting to choose the most optimal lineup you can?
In a perhaps less obvious rationale, should the process of maximizing plate appearances be successful, does that provide enough merit to warrant the use of a systematic approach to building lineups, rather than simply picking and choosing?
Although I won’t be updating this every week, I’ll be creating a thread in the forum to discuss the experiment as well as to point out anything interesting that happens along the way. Also, I’ll be tracking the statistics and successes nightly, and updating a spreadsheet that I’ll include in the conclusion of the piece. Note: I won’t be able to do this comparison every night as there aren’t enough options on a short slate to field a competitive enough team.
As for the first night, the maximized plate appearance strategy took the cake, earning a cashing score, while my normal cash team faltered. We’ll see if this remains the case over the course of the next month – on to night two!
Check out Logan’s forum thread on this experiment!