It's been a while since I have posted a piece about DFS or a piece at all on Sportsmanac.com. The summer was time for family, especially enjoying my infant son who turns months on the first day of the NFL regular season.
FanDuel has been very good to us last month. If you follow the FanDuel user name sportsmanac1 on some of the single entry tournaments or tournaments with multiple entries of 4 or fewer, you will find that we earned a top 5 finish 10 times from July 29 to Sept. 2 and a top ten finish 12 times. In fact 4 times we won 1st place in these tournaments! Most of these tournaments had a $100 buy-in which is good for the "middle class" of DFS players. It's awfully hard to compete the major stakes tournaments ($400+) if you are not bankrolled with at least a few thousand dollars and not willing to max out the number of entries. It's also awfully hard to make any serious money if you play in the cheap tournaments with thousands of DFS players, even if you max out the number of entries. Single entry with buy-ins from $50 - 100 is the way to go if you really want to let your baseball knowledge win the day.
The good news is that the baseball season is about 5/6 complete and there is a lot of in-season data to work with. This is one reason why we were so successful in August. There is quite a bit of machine learning that can be done by inspecting how pitchers fare against particular spots in the batter order. Likewise with right-left splits, home-away splits, ground ball-fly ball splits, air density index, and occasionally batter - pitcher history. The last thing mentioned can be helpful but some tend to over emphasize that. When building a stack, it's best to attack a pitcher who has simply not been a good pitcher for a better part of the season and who tends to do poorly against particular types of hitters based on splits.
With pitchers, it would make sense to gravitate towards those who have great strikeout potential, going against a team that will strikeout a lot, and playing in a pitcher friendly park. Going after the Mets, Giants, and Padres hitters would make sense here. Those teams are pretty much AAA teams now with nothing to play for and all of them play in very pitcher friendly parks with usually cool temperatures (not this weekend in the Bay Area though!). The Brewers and Rays have been kind to strikeout pitchers given how they tend to lack patience at the plate. Be cautious though since every once in a while they can go off, especially the Brewers in Miller Park which plays like a Little League field from time to time. However, selecting a stud pitcher like Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Clayton Kershaw, or Max Scherzer when facing those teams will surely pay off with a 60+ point night with 70+ very possible.
So ... who do we like for today! Not many stud pitchers to choose from and even if we did, look at what happened last night! However, we will go with one of the higher priced pitchers. On the flip side, there is a relatively unknown pitcher who makes sense for today.
Mike Fiers - Houston Astros
Lucas Giolito - Chicago White Sox
Fiers has been hit or miss this year. However, the Astros host the Mets and we mentioned how awful they have been at the plate. They pretty much traded away everyone and any true HR threat currently on the roster is injured. Minute Maid Park can be very pitcher friendly and the Astros are playing with a lot of heart after witnessing the devastation to their city. Fiers should do well.
Giolito only has two big league starts but shined in his most recent one. Guaranteed Rate Field is a neutral park and the weather should be moderate in Chicago.