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The Penultimate Piece On DFS High Priced Pitchers

The Penultimate Piece On DFS High Priced Pitchers
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The Penultimate Piece On DFS High Priced Pitchers

This is the penultimate DFS High Priced Pitching breakdown. This series has focused on whether using high priced pitchers will truly lead to more success, and with the All-Star Break (and football) around the corner, we’ll be wrapping up the study next week. Make sure you come back for the full “what this study and high priced pitchers mean for DFS success,” next Thursday. You’ll be a better DFS Baseball player for it.

June 18

DraftKings: Archer+Salazar 99.55, Buccholz+Hammel 115.95 $$ (-16.40)

Notes: The big difference came from Clay Buccholz having the best outing of all pitchers and adding in Giancarlo Stanton.

FanDuel: Archer 36.25 $$, Samardzija 46.25 $$ (-10.00)

Notes: Not only did Jeff Samardzija out-pitch Chris Archer, Brett Gardner and Brian McCann came up big.

FantasyAces: Archer+Salazar 40.30, Samardzija+Buccholz 55.00 $$ (-14.70)

Notes: We’ve hit on the pitchers here and like with DraftKings, Stanton helped.

June 19

DraftKings: Sale+deGrom 119.30, Burnett+McCullers 122.35 (-3.05)

Notes: With how big of a night scoring was, neither lineup cashed. However, I threw out a GPP lineup with Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco (Carrasco only notched 13). That team cashed at 163.80 thanks to stacking all Cardinals and Brewers (plus Chris Parmelee).

FanDuel: Sale 54.75 $$, Carrasco 53.66 $$ (+1.09)

Notes: We know Sale was great, and Carrasco was only mediocre this day, but when Jonathan Lucroy, Charlie Blackmon and Ryan Braun step into the lineup, you can easily make up for the difference.

FantasyAces: Sale+Carrasco 66.50 $$, McCullers+Lewis 65.00 $$ (+1.50)

Notes: I’m not even going to lie, there is a bit of luck with this one. Given FantasyAces pricing, it was hard to find decent savings and I went with Colby Lewis a bit begrudgingly.

June 26

DraftKings: Liriano+Scherzer 92.35, Walker+Hahn 105.45 $$ (-13.10)

Notes: This is the kind of night that this entire series has been about. Yes, a duo of Francisco Liriano and Max Scherzer could win you money on their own, but what if they’re not terrific. What if only one is? With cheap bats, you run the higher risk of low return there. Meanwhile, Taijuan Walker came close to Scherzer and Jesse Hahn was merely okay, but the better bats (Miguel Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes) were safer/better than Jake Lamb and Clint Robinson.

FanDuel: Scherzer 30.50, Ross 48.00 $$ (-17.50)

Notes: Heck, I threw out a Johnny Cueto lineup too that only scored 25.75. It was a rough day for taking the high priced pitchers and trying to plug in cheap bats. Tyson Ross wasn’t dirt cheap, but saving nearly 4k from Max Scherzer, close to 2k from Cueto and almost 1k from Francisco Liriano helped use much better hitting options such as Edwin Encarnacion, Brandon Crawford and Yoenis Cespedes. Of course, EE was the biggest difference with two homers.

FantasyAces: Scherzer+Cueto 48.00, Walker+Velasquez 47.75 (+0.25)

Notes: Just not many good things to talk about today. Even with the savings in pitching, it’s tough to grab multiple better bats on FantasyAces.

June 29

DraftKings: Wilson+McCullers 122.25 $$, Graveman+Bolsigner 123.15 $$ (-0.90)

Notes: Good day for both lineups and kudos to the head staff for being all in on Lance McCullers. There were several sites and people shying away because of the Royals, but McCullers was the top play on here and deservedly so. Kendall Graveman and Mike Bolsinger can close to matching the top duo with Josh Reddick and Mike Trout coming up big.

FanDuel: McCullers 41.00 $$, Graveman 50.00 (-9.00)

Notes: I threw out only one lineup on June 28 because of travel, and it was a Steven Matz lineup that scored 41.66 where I spent big on hitting with Ryan Braun, Josh Donaldson, etc. It easily cashed.

You can’t complain about either lineup really, but when you save even a small amount since Lance McCullers was cheap on FanDuel (yet, still the best play… I told you I wouldn’t take a high priced pitcher just because he is high priced) you can get a much better bat even at 1-2 positions. Ryan Braun and Joey Votto gave the second team a boost.



FantasyAces: Wilson+McCullers 65.75 $$, Graveman+McCullers 66.25 $$ (-0.50)

Notes: As mentioned, Lance McCullers was the best play and a great value, so he populated my lineups.

June 30

DraftKings: Sale+Salazar 111.65 $$, Salazar+Keuchel 114.65 $$ (-3.00)

Notes: This is one of the nights where I liked a player more than some. As with McCullers, Dallas Keuchel has/had been too good to avoid just because of the Royals. He nearly matched Chris Sale, as you can see, and the slight savings allowed a great play of Shin-Soo Choo to help the second lineup win.



FanDuel: Sale 42.25 $$, Salazar 35.91 (+6.34)

Notes: Sale topped Danny Salazar by 6.34, which was the main difference. The changed batters actually evened out completely.

FantasyAces: Sale+Salazar 82.45 $$, Keuchel+Heaney 61.80 $$ (+20.65)

Notes: One of the biggest positive differences for high priced pitchers to date. They came up huge, and even with Keuchel and Andrew Heaney doing well, the better bats didn’t have a big enough increase to make up for it… thanks to several Blue Jays doing nothing.

July 1

DraftKings: Carrasco+Heston 98.20, Anderson+Chen 120.75 $$ (-22.55)

Notes: Carlos Carrasco dominated, and if not for Joey Butler, we would have seen a much closer score (broke up Carrasco’s no hitter and shutout with one out to go). Nevertheless, Chris Heston was the real pain here as he chipped in just 4.1 to Carrasco’s 45.1 while Brett Anderson and Wei-Yin Chen combined for 44.75. Having Mike Trout and Anthony Rizzo helped the second lineup leapfrog the Carrasco team.

FanDuel: Carrasco 41.16 $$, Anderson 41.50 $$ (-0.34)

Notes: Anderson put up a nice 17 points, but adding in Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Yasiel Puig (even though he didn’t do much) helped make up for the pitching difference. If I stuck with Evan Gattis over Buster Posey at catcher in the Anderson lineup, it would have scored even better.

To Date

DraftKings: High priced pitching to lower priced -642.00 or -11.67 per lineup

FanDuel: -251.30 and -4.41

FantasyAces: -117.15 and -3.00

Notes: As mentioned, next week will have the year wrap-up. I’ll still be tracking this for the rest of the season to check in at the end of the year, but we can get a great idea of what we’ve learned and how to implement it for DFS lineup strategies.

It’s clear that exploiting the pitching not among the top 1-3 priced options will help you score better, but does that hold true for all three sites even with the numbers staring us in the face? Check back next week for the full breakdown.

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.