Week 2 Review

  • Sunday April 9th: Won $75 on $15 of entries for $60 net
  • Monday April 10th: Won $30 on $15 of entries for $15 net, bringing total winnings to $125
  • Rest of week: Complete, total, shit. $114 worth of entries with zero winnings

I’m on a hard cold streak right now. What’s worse is I started to get a little cocky after I cashed in 5 of the first 8 days I played, going for a couple $25-$35 games. That’s not a lot relative to some of the degenerate sports gambling I do for fun, but the point was that I was going to take this more seriously, and last week I didn’t really stick to that. I’ll probably go back to no more than $20 a day this week.

I cashed Sunday and Monday with pretty solid squads, and since then I don’t think I’ve had a 5 player stack put up more than 40 points.  I’m gonna need a minimum 50 from the stack if I have a chance at scoring. Pretty much every one of the last few days I’ve had at least one pitcher put up a stinker, which just kills the floor of the team.

One day I played around with a slightly different strategy where instead of stacking 5 from one team and then taking 3 other bats from assorted teams, I went 4 and 4 from two different teams as like a double stack strategy. It didn’t work that day, but if there are two teams I like and the positions fit together decently, I’m going to use it again in the future.

I’m chalking these last couple days up to bad luck and not switching anything up yet. I said in my intro post that half the teams I make with a 5 player stack strategy won’t be very good – hitter performance in baseball is incredibly volatile on a day to day basis and depending that much on one team is a hit or miss way to play. Through the first week, that wasn’t the case. Even on days I didn’t cash I was close, and I think I lulled myself into a sense of complacency. This is very much a “never too high, never too low” type of business. You have to have a high tolerance for uncertainty of outcomes and accept that a lot of this, just like real investing in financial markets, comes out to luck.

Speaking of all that, it’s been way too long since I’ve quoted Sam Hinkie’s resignation letter to the Sixers on this blog.

hinkie.PNG

I love that quote about a player with an estimated 10% to 20% chance of becoming a star. Basically he’s saying that if a team drafts a player with what they think to be a 20% chance of becoming a superstar, that’s an incredibly great pick. Guess what, 80% of the time it won’t work out. There’s way too much randomness. The only way to reduce the role of luck is to make as many of those types of picks as possible until one hits.

If I stack a team that I think has a 25% chance of going off for 10 runs on a given day, and the players are priced on Draftkings like there’s only a 1% chance of that happening that’s also a great play. 3 times out 4 it won’t work out. The 1 time out of 4 that it does should pay off more than enough to compensate for the losers. What’s great about this little project is I have the opportunity to make these teams every single day for the whole season, while a draft in any sport only comes around once a year.

Side note: Nicholas Nassim Taleb is one of my favorite authors and I’d recommend anyone reading this blog with an interest in learning more about this kind of stuff to read both Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan (Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman don’t get it on in this one sorry guys).

Hopefully I’ll have a little better luck this week. I’ll need it.

 

 

 

 

 

Week 1 Review

I bit off waaay more than I can chew right now trying to post and do updates every day. I’m taking Level II of the CFA in early June and unfortunately that’s taking up a lot of my time, so maybe after that’s done I’ll go back to daily posts, but until then I’ll probably only post once a week as like a weekly review of how everything went.

I know everyone in America wants their MLB daily fantasy Sheeple Play of the Day, but it’s gonna have to go on hiatus for a little.

Here’s how Week 1 went down.

Week 1.PNG

I know, there’s a lot going on in there and it might even be tough to see but I don’t have time right now to play around with it.

Friday was a disaster. I’m an idiot and didn’t realize the Giants switched Bumgarner to Saturday and had to do a last second swap with Zack Wheeler who got lit up. Total wash. Yesterday I made three different teams. In the 15 game all day slate I stacked the Twins who did nothing in the early games, so I played a couple more teams in the 10 game night slate. I stacked the Phils who put up 17 runs, 12 in the first inning. Great pick right? Nope. Way more people played it than I anticipated. I had the entry in a 40,000 person tournament and a lot of people had it, including Howie Kendrick and Cesar Hernandez, the two biggest plays in the stack, who I left out. My pitchers gave me nothing (Kershaw giving up a couple dingers to the Rockies…. that’s Coors Field for ya), the Cubs also went off as the most popular stack of the day, and I ended up barely out of the money (and way out of the money on my sneaky little Mariners stack that did nothing).

Either way, I’m up $50.66 playing cheapie games and my teams are doing exactly what I need them to hit it big one day. Pitchers have been giving me a consistent 40-50 points floor (with the exception of Friday), my stack teams have been all over the place, which is to be expected, but have worked really well when it goes right.

My 3 non-stack bats have anchored my squads so far, especially in the Monday game, my best team so far.

Anyway, today I stacked the Rays and have Arrieta and Strasburg. We’ll see how it goes.

 

April 7, 2017

Yesterday’s result (with a couple inning left in Giants-D’Backs so this may change slightly):

DK 4.6.17.PNG

Won $55 on $12 of entries.

Really kicking myself over not starting Puig in the Dodgers stack – would’ve won both contests and netted $325.

If that all holds in 4 days of playing I’ve netted $100.66 only playing really cheap games. It’s tempting to think this working pretty well, why not start playing more expensive ones, but I’m gonna hold off for a little.

OK on to today’s slate.

There’s two obvious pitcher matchups but they’re way too expensive to take both. It’s either Bumgarner ($12,300) vs the Padres or Scherzer ($13,000) vs the Phils. They’re both great matchups, but I think the prices should be flipped. The model runs out a higher strikeout upside for Scherzer but a significantly better overall matchup for Bumgarner. It also worries me that it’s showing the Phils are likely to hit a lot of well hit fly balls off Scherzer – at good ole CBP fly balls are no bueno. Bumgarner’s in a much friendlier park and has a better xFIP (again just think of it as a more predictive version of ERA if you’re not familiar) vs the handedness of the lineup he’s facing.

Pitchers

As a Phillies fan and fan of my own Draftkings lineup, I hope Scherzer gets lit up tomorrow but I’m not holding my breath.

For the second pitcher I have no idea. I don’t really like anyone. Mike Leake has a good matchup with STL but his K potential is bad. Hyun-Jin Ryu is in a solid matchup against the Rockies but taking any pitcher at Coors is playing with fire, especially a guy who made one start last year. Same boat with Zack Wheeler against the Marlins, decent matchup numbers but the guy hasn’t pitched a regular season game in over a year. Could come down to the weather here.

Who to stack?

Tomorrow’s the first Coors Field game of the season. If you missed my earlier post, everyone loves stacking games there because the altitude makes it a lot easier to hit dingers. The Rockies are throwing Kyle Freeland (?) out there for his first major league start (god help him) against the Dodgers and people are gonna be all over it. I’m gonna fade both teams there and pray they don’t put up 10+ (they very well might).

I’m thinking the teams most people will stack in addition to LAD-COL are the Cubs, Rangers (facing a rookie I have nothing on) and Giants.

I’ll check the weather tomorrow and get back on what I’m doing tomorrow AM.

UPDATE:

Went with Phil Hughes against the White Sox as the 2nd pitcher. He actually runs a bit better matchup rating than Scherzer does against the Phillies. Not great K upside and I don’t even like it that much, but he’s cheap and it fits well with the stack I want to take. The White Sox put up 11 runs yesterday and it could backfire but all the options could as well.

Stacked the Athletics. Sold hitters park. AJ Griffin gives up a ton of fly balls. It’s a riskier play but the A’s have some sneaky solid power hitters like Ryon Healy that the average fan couldn’t name.

4.7.17.PNG

I put a couple entries in all-day slate. Every play except Bumgarner is in the 7:00 or later slate so if any of the day games go off for a bunch of runs I might re-enter it into the night-only slate. I’ll have to find a replacement for Bumgarner and that won’t be fun…

Sheeple Play of the Day: Rockies OF Charlie Blackmon ($5,300). He leads off for the Rockies at Coors tonight and people are gonna be all over him despite the fact he’s in a terrible lefty-lefty matchup with Hyun-Jin Ryu.

 

 

 

April 6, 2017

A couple pitchers are going today I have zero numbers and a few more I have very little on. When I saw Rookie Davis for the Reds I thought Draftkings screwed up and just put his name as Rookie because he’s never pitched before. Nope. The guy’s name really is Rookie.

Like yesterday, no great pitching matchups out there. The 5 I’m looking at right now: Matt Harvey, Jeff Samardzija, Gio Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, and Robbie Ray. Leaning toward Gio and Harvey but weather might change that.

An Astros stack is tempting because they’re facing a lefty with only a few inning pitched under his belt. The matchups the model runs are insanely good but that’s because Ariel Miranda hasn’t pitched well in his 50-some MLB innings. I don’t know what to make of a guy like that, so I’ll probably take a bat or two but won’t stack it.

Thinking the Dodgers today. Games start early and “apparently” I have to “go to work” in a couple minutes so I probably won’t get any updates in before I get home.

Sheeple Play: I’ve gone with a all hitters so far so I’ll take a pitcher here. Cubs P John Lackey is tied for the most expensive pitcher ($9,200) on the day and one of the few guys with significant name recognition. He’s got less upside than a bunch of other plays in terms of Ks and the matchup with the Cardinals isn’t great.

UPDATE:

Here’s the squad

4.6.17

Today’s going really well so far but I shit the bed big time with the Dodgers stack. It was the right play, they have 10 runs right now. I swapped out Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner for Logan Forsythe and Yasmani Grandal at the last second this morning because it fit better with the other 3 bats that I liked. Puig hit two dingers and Grandal didn’t get the start – I got caught up with work and didn’t have time to make the last second swap out with Grandal.

Arenado and Schwarber both homered and they’re anchoring the squad right now.

The rain in DC scared a lot of people away from starting Gio Gonzalez, which is great for me since I stuck with it and he’s only 10% owned and has 4Ks through 3 innings. I’m confident about Harvey vs the Braves as well.

I entered two tourneys with entry fees of $9 and $3 and am in 9th/98 and 96th/1,600 respectively right now (winning $35 total). Anything from George Springer and anything respectable from my starters and I’ll be in the money. If I get big things from them I could end up with over $100.

 

 

 

April 5, 2017

There’s a ton of rainy cold games out there. DET-CWS and CHC-STL have already been postponed. PHI-CIN looks like it won’t get played either. It’s freezing cold in Boston for BOS-PIT. There are a bunch of other games that are looking at scattered rain. It’s a landmine for taking a pitcher in a rain delayed/postponed game.

I don’t love any pitcher matchups today, but Chris Sale in the cold weather against the Pirates looks good. Not sure what I’m doing after that. Rich Hill against the Padres is going to be highly played and it has a lot of upside, but same as yesterday with Maeda, I’m not a big fan of it. Jake DeGrom against the Braves and Michael Pineda against the Rays are solid options.

I’m probably gonna stack the Mets again for the same reason I did on Monday. Lots of lefties going against Big Bart, the lovable 65 year old steroid-using (#peopleforgetthat) teddy bear, in his return to Citi Field. The over/under on the game is low again so I like it. I fade Cespedes again in the stack.

I think the odds on, highly played stacks will be the Nats, Blue Jays, Rockies, and Dodgers. Hopefully those games are low scoring.  I’d include the Phillies and Reds here but it doesn’t look like the game’s getting played.

Sheeple Play: Orioles 3B/SS Manny Machado ($5,100). Machado’s a weird righty who hits with way more power against right handed pitchers than left. At over $5k, he’s way overpriced against the left handed former-future Phillies Hall of Famer J.A. Happ.

 

UPDATES:

Other than a Jay Bruce dinger the Mets gave me nothing. Even worse they gave me so little DeGrom couldn’t get the win despite crushing it. Had Sale and DeGrom and they both crushed it, but I’ll be out of the money on this one (unless Yasmany Tomas hits like 3 homers here).

I still like the Mets stack vs a RHP. I’ll definitely be playing it aga

 

 

 

April 4, 2017

Tomorrow’s a weird day. 8 games (technically 9 since there’s the DET-CWS rain out game but you can’t play it). 7 lefty pitchers going. A lot of teams haven’t shown what they’ll do against lefties so it’s gonna be tough to run the matchups. Lefties screw everything up matchup-wise so it should be an easier day to find value.

There are no pitchers in really great matchups. Jake Arrieta’s a pretty easy start against the Cardinals and then it’s kind of a crapshoot between Johnny Cueto, Carlos Carrasco, and Lance McCullers. Not sure what I’ll end up doing.

A Yankees stack is tempting against Odorizzi, but it’s a risky play. The model keeps running really good matchup numbers for Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge based off a really small sample size so not sure how I feel about it. The Rockies or Brewers could be a good option too.

The over/unders are all bunched together between 7 and 9 so not much there to get a sense of what people are gonna play.

 

Sheeple Play of the Day: Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt ($4,600). Most expensive 1B in a bad matchup with Johnny Cueto.

UPDATES:

6:55 PM

The suuuuper contrarian play would’ve been a Padres stack. I saw some DFS sites say Kenta Maeda was a must start against the Padres, but I don’t like his matchup there and I think their top couple hitters might have solid days. I didn’t stack it, but I took Ryan Schimpf as one of my bats.

Went with the Rockies stack. Think it will be played by a decent amount of people but not enough that it doesn’t have value.

For the pitchers, I took Arrieta as the safest option and ended up going with Carlos Carrasco as my 2nd. I like his K potential against the lineup the Rangers are going with today.

I also really like Rickie Weeks Jr. hitting cleanup for the Rays against CC Sabathia.

Here’s the squad, I entered it twice in a $5 entry game.

4.4.17

11:30 PM

Another pretty solid day. Low scoring day overall. I’m in 169th out of 4,705 winning $40 right now. Unless Schimpf does something big I’m gonna fall a bit by the end of the night since the Giants are killing it right now.

Either way it’s going well so far. I won $66.66 yesterday getting 29th out of 4,705 and am likely going to cash again tonight.

 

 

April 3, 2017

Kershaw’s going up against an awful Padres offense in one of the most pitcher friendly parks in baseball at Petco. Even at a pricey $12,800 he’s a must start. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t dominate.

Syndergaard’s the next best option but at $11,600 but I can’t afford both him and Kershaw so I’m going with Strasburg against the Marlins as my 2nd pitcher. He runs slightly worse matchup numbers but at $1,700 less I think it’s a good play.

I’m really like a Mets stack tomorrow. I’m thinking the most popular stacks will be the Rockies, Dodgers, Orioles, and Blue Jays, all in good matchups. I think a significant number of people will try to be sneaky and stack one of the teams in Phillies – Reds. They’re both bad offenses but have a couple bright spots playing in one of the most hitter friendly parks with two meh Opening Day starters going. My gut is more people are going to play it than those stacking them realize, especially with the over/under on the game at 8.5, second-highest of all the games tomorrow. I thought about for a minute and it might work out, but I don’t like the play.

A lot of people go right to the Over/Under for total runs that Vegas puts on each game as their starting point for which team to stack.  I look at the O/Us, but use it more as a gauge on how many people are going to stack certain teams than to decide on a team to stack. Philies-Reds, Pirates-Red Sox, Blue Jays-Orioles, and Rockies-Brewers have the highest O/Us tomorrow.

The Mets-Braves O/U is 6.5, the second lowest of all the games. That’s gonna scare a lot of people away, but I think the Mets might hit over 6.5 on their own. They’re facing Julio Teheran, a good pitcher who has really struggled against lefties. The Mets are loaded with 7 lefties and switch hitters (who will hit lefty against Teheran). I also like the Mets because I really like stacks where I don’t take that team’s “best” hitter – it’s like a contrarian play on top of a contrarian play. Yoenis Cespedes is the priciest, most well-known Met at $4,200 but I’d say he’s their 6th best play against Teheran. He’s a righty with only average upside against right handed pitchers. I’m gonna load up on the Mets lefties.

April 3rd Sheeple Play of the Day: I already singled out Mookie Betts in an earlier post as a bad play, so I’ll go with someone else. I’ll give it Astros 2B Jose Altuve ($4,800) in a tough righty-righty matchup with Felix Hernandez. Jorge Polanco and Raul Mondesi are both much cheaper options at 2B in better matchups.

Sleepers I like: Tigers OF Mikie Mahtook, Tigers C James McCann, Dodgers OF Andrew Toles

UPDATES

6:15 PM:

Here’s the lineup I went with today

4.3.17

 

The Mets stack was solid and Strasberg pitched well enough. Mark Reynolds and Yasmani Grandal are anchoring the team with two dingers. Kershaw’s dealing. I liked this team a lot and entered it twice in a $3 league and the entries are tied for 17th out of 4,705. I’m winning $80 right now but that most likely won’t hold up since there’s 3 more games later and I’m done once the Dodgers game is over. Either way, I’m almost definitely gonna be in the money today and that feels good.

7:30 PM: Grandal hit another dinger but I didn’t move up much since everyone at the top stacked the Dodgers. Still big in terms of putting distance on everyone else. Finished for the day with 165.7 points and still in 17th with three games to go. Really solid start regardless of where I end up.

 

 

April 2, 2017

The Yankees didn’t end up going with the lineup I was thinking they would yesterday so I switched things up from what I posted. Stacked the Rays, kept Bumgarner, and took Chris Archer instead of Tanaka. Team I made is below. I like Jarrett Parker – solid lower priced play and a guy who doesn’t have any name recognition.  Games start in 5 minutes LEGGOOOOOOO.

4.2.17

 

 

Opening Day

Opening Day is tomorrow. Or Monday. I don’t know. Technically MLB says it’s Sunday/Monday since there’s only 3 games tomorrow. This is a total side rant – in my opinion, MLB has done a really bad job of marketing it’s “Opening Day” over the years. A couple years back the “first game” was on a Saturday night, up against the Final Four, played in Australia, and literally no one knew it was even happening. I remember looking at Twitter and seeing people talking about an MLB game going on and thinking when the hell did the season start. For someone who follows baseball more than 90% of the people I know, that should never happen. Other years they’ve played one game on Sunday night and the rest of the teams open the following Monday. Recently they’ve done this thing where a couple teams play on Sunday and the rest of the teams play the next day. If they’re going to consistently and specifically use the term “Opening Day”, here’s a novel thought, try having all the teams OPEN on the same DAY.

OK I’m done. Whether it’s Opening Day or not, 3 real MLB games that count for the standings are being played tomorrow. I’m going to make a Draftkings team because I’m excited to finally test this thing out, but with only 3 games it’s all luck and I’ll probably just put it one of the $1 moonshot games. There are only 6 starting pitchers, so you could pick two randomly and have only a slightly worse shot than someone who puts a lot of thought into it.

I haven’t looked at the weather at all yet, which is even more important in early April while it’s still cold AF in some areas, but right now it looks like I’ll stack the Yankees and take Bumgarner and Tanaka as my two SPs. When there are only 6 games being played it makes it really hard to find three other hitters that are even decent options (I’ll have 5 guys from the Yankees). I can’t take any more Yankees and I don’t want any Rays or Diamondbacks since they’re the teams my pitchers are facing. That leaves me with only the Giants, Cardinals, and Cubs to choose from. This is probably the team I’ll go with (again barring weather issues). For the 8 people that read this feel free to steal it, like I said, with only 3 games happening tomorrow it’s all luck anyway.

NYY stack

This is gonna be really numbers-y so feel free to skip over this, but I’ll explain for anyone who actually cares and is curious what the matchup and upside ratings mean (the expected K% is pretty self explanatory). 0.00 would indicate a league average rating for their matchup (either a pitcher’s matchup with the opposing lineup or a hitter’s matchup with the opposing starting pitcher). Looking at the hitters I picked, Gary Sanchez is by far the best play on the team with an upside of 1.42 and a matchup of 1.61 – this means that his upside and overall matchup against Chris Archer of the Rays are 1.42 and 1.61 standard deviations above league average. If you know nothing about standard deviations, just know that anything approaching 2 standard deviations above/below average is very good/bad. For pitchers, the only really solid matchup was Bumgarner’s against the Diamondbacks, after that there were three guys clustered around the 0.3 – 0.4 range and I took Tanaka because he has the highest expected K% and is facing the weakest lineup.

To be honest, I’m not confident about this lineup at all, and am much more excited for the 9 games on Monday.

I’ll start a little feature of this blog called the Sheeple Play of the Day. This is going to be reserved for a player who (most likely) has a really high salary and who I think a lot of people are going to roster despite the fact that they’re in a bad matchup. Tomorrow’s TTP Capital Sheeple Play of the Day is Giants catcher Buster Posey. He’s the 5th most expensive hitter despite being in a really bad matchup against Zack Greinke. His salary is $4,400, and he runs worse matchup numbers than D’Backs catcher Chris Iannetta who’s nearly half his price at $2,500. With both Gary Sanchez and Kyle Schwarber being in great matchups with only slightly higher prices and also both having eligibility at catcher, you can’t make the “thin position” justification for his high salary either. Lastly, and this is just my subjective judgment, he’s what I would consider to be a well known name playing on a popular team with a lot of recent success – a lot of people will roster him based on nothing other than name recognition.

So after I wrote all that I’m excited to watch Buster Posey probably go 4-5 with two homers tomorrow.

Baseball’s back. Get pumped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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