DraftKings Picks: Saturday April 18, 2015

I finally gave in and I’m going to give daily fantasy sports (DFS) a shot this year. This is my first year playing so there will be bumps in the road, but if you read my fantasy guide you know I am going to be overly prepared before I do something.

I’m playing at Draft Kings so all of my analysis and picks will be based on their scoring system.

My Strategy

To maximize your scoring potential you need to find pitchers who throw a lot of innings, strikeout a lot of batters and have a good chance for a win. Since you also lose points for hitters reaching base (hits, walks, hits batsmen) you want to avoid high strikeout, high walk pitchers (Francisco Liriano for example). Also, if they’re walking a lot of batters their pitch counts will be high, which means they won’t pitch deep into games.

With hitters you want players who will hit for extra bases because the scoring increases progressively for extra base hit type. Also, there are no penalties for hitters making outs so you can draft a Mike Zunino and not worry so much if he goes 0-4 with three strikeouts. Power is emphasized in the scoring so it’s imperative to find players who are going to hit home runs and make hard contact.

Speed is another way to find easy points at a low cost, but you want to make sure you grab players who have a high stolen base success rate because you lost points for every caught stealing.

Last Note

This is the most obvious thing, but it has to be said. You are responsible for your own lineup. It is your decision to play or not play a specific player or in general. I’m giving the best analysis I can and if you agree then, that’s great. I’m going to be wrong sometimes. In fact I’ll probably be wrong a lot because like I said at the start I am a beginner there’s going to be a learning curve.

My 50/50 Double Up Lineup

  • P: Jacob deGrom (LAD) vs. M. Latos (MIA) — $8,400
  • P: Jake Odorizzi (WSH) vs. M. Tanaka (NYY) — $7,600
  • C: Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) vs. J. Locke (PIT) — $3,900
  • 1B: Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) vs. C. Heston (SF) — $5,300
  • 2B: Robinson Cano (SEA) vs. C. Lewis (TEX) — $4,500
  • 3B: Kyle Seager (SEA) vs. C. Lewis (TEX) — $4,300
  • SS: Hidden
  • OF: Khris Davis (MIL) vs. J. Locke (PIT) — $3,900
  • OF: Hidden
  • OF: Hidden

Unlike yesterday’s lineup, which was extremely pitching heavy (and it also won by the way) I went with a more standard lineup; really good, but not elite pitchers with some elite hitters. Both Jacob deGrom and Jake Odorizzi have great chances of winning their games. I have no idea what to expect from Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees offense without the likes of Alex Rodriguez has been awful. I love how Odorizzi has looked this year. As I wrote a few days ago it looks like he’s transforming into pitcher (that’s the highest compliment for any pitcher).

If I was playing a contest I would load up on Brewers hitters. They’re going to bat Ryan Braun first with they’re next best three hitters against lefties behind him. I can’t say enough how much I love that lineup. Colby Lewis has good numbers now, but they’re not going to last. Eventually he is going to regress back to the 2014’s .840 OPS numbers.

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Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher Rankings: Week 3

The match ups and data you see below were pulled Friday afternoon. The data is for the 2015 season. Please be aware the match ups are subject to change. If you have any questions about the rankings hit me up Twitter @MattCommins

These are rankings for the entire week so I give the edge to a lot of fantasy pitchers who pitch twice. Also, the rankings are based on traditional 5×5 categories. I also provide write-ups for a few pitchers. My hope is after you read them you have a better understanding of why I ranked them.

Archie Bradley had a lot of hype heading into 2014, but after his first five starts in Triple-A he was put on the DL with a mild flexor strain in his right elbow. He didn’t pitch again until June. Since then he’s been healthy and he opened the 2015 season with a rotation spot with the big league club. I’ve watched both of his starts and I’m not impressed. The raw stuff is very good, but he still has a long way to become a viable fantasy option. The biggest reason is his command has been extremely inconsistent. He’s a two-pitch pitcher (fastball and curveball) and in order to be successful as a starter with that repertoire the fastball command has to be at least above average (because the curveball is a fastball dependent pitch). The fastball command has been shaky; he’s maybe throwing it for strikes for 60-61% of the time, which far too low. At times he flashed a top end starting pitcher, but for the most part he’s a work in progress.

In the preseason I wrote Jake Odorizzi, Collin McHugh and Drew Hutchison had the best chance of being this years Corey Kluber. So far Odorizzi and McHugh have looked exceptional while Hutchison has looked good in one start and bad in another. McHugh is legit. Last year he was in the top 10 among starting pitchers in swinging strike rate and this year he’s fifth. Odorizzi added a cutter and he’s using it to create weak contact and to go deeper into games. If he continues to rely on the cutter his strikeout rate may suffer, but his overall results should improve.

I did a full write up on Mike Fiers and Aaron Sanchez at Baseball Professor. Like with Archie Bradley, Drew Pomeranz has to have above average command to be successful. In his first start his fastball command was great and in his second it was only average and he got pounded. Pomeranz is a high variance pitcher so proceed with caution before starting him. I wrote up a full report on Pomeranz a couple of days ago.

In the preseason I wasn’t buying Anthony DeSclafani because he looked so bad last year. Specifically, he was a one-pitch pitcher who didn’t even have command of that pitch. However, this season he added a changeup and is seeing really good results. I’m still not on-board and I fully accept being late to this party.

Kendall Graveman suffered from bad luck in his first start and in his second start he had no idea where the ball was going. He’s a two start pitcher this week and I’m staying away. If pitches poorly this week I wouldn’t be surprised if Sean Nolin or Jesse Chavez usurps his rotation spot.

Nate Eovaldi is still a work in progress. For the past three seasons I’ve never believed in the Eovaldi breakout because of his inability to get lefties out. He’s still not getting lefties out (only a two start sample size), but he’s throwing the split-changeup more often and at times it looks like a legit secondary pitch. However, most of the time it lacks depth and hitters are not offering at it.

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DraftKings Picks: Friday April 17, 2015

I finally gave in and I’m going to give daily fantasy sports (DFS) a shot this year. This is my first year playing so there will be bumps in the road, but if you read my fantasy guide you know I am going to be overly prepared before I do something.

I’m playing at Draft Kings so all of my analysis and picks will be based on their scoring system.

My Strategy

To maximize your scoring potential you need to find pitchers who throw a lot of innings, strikeout a lot of batters and have a good chance for a win. Since you also lose points for hitters reaching base (hits, walks, hits batsmen) you want to avoid high strikeout, high walk pitchers (Francisco Liriano for example). Also, if they’re walking a lot of batters their pitch counts will be high, which means they won’t pitch deep into games.

With hitters you want players who will hit for extra bases because the scoring increases progressively for extra base hit type. Also, there are no penalties for hitters making outs so you can draft a Mike Zunino and not worry so much if he goes 0-4 with three strikeouts. Power is emphasized in the scoring so it’s imperative to find players who are going to hit home runs and make hard contact.

Speed is another way to find easy points at a low cost, but you want to make sure you grab players who have a high stolen base success rate because you lost points for every caught stealing.

Last Note

This is the most obvious thing, but it has to be said. You are responsible for your own lineup. It is your decision to play or not play a specific player or in general. I’m giving the best analysis I can and if you agree then, that’s great. I’m going to be wrong sometimes. In fact I’ll probably be wrong a lot because like I said at the start I am a beginner there’s going to be a learning curve.

My Lineup

  • P: Clayton Kershaw (LAD) vs. K. Kendrick (COL) — $12,600
  • P: Max Scherzer (WSH) vs. S. O’Sullivan (PHI) — $11,700
  • C: Yasmani Grandal (LAD) vs. K. Kendrick (COL) — $3,400 F. Cervelli (PIT)
  • 1B: C.J. Cron (LAA) vs. R. Hernandez (HOU) — $3,400 P. Alvarez (PIT)
  • 2B: Martin Prado (MIA) vs. B. Colon (NYM) — $3,200
  • 3B: Alberto Callaspo (ATL) vs. D. Hutchsison (TOR) — $3,000
  • SS: Hidden
  • OF: Gregory Polanco (PIT) vs. J. Nelson (MIL) — $3,200
  • OF: Hidden
  • OF: Hidden

If you’ve read my earlier work you know I’m new to DFS and I’m looking to try new things. So, for Friday I’m going to load up on pitching with Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. I thought about using Corey Kluber, but the Indians offense doesn’t look that good anymore after the loss of Yan Gomes. Another pitcher I really liked was Sonny Gray. I’m not buying the Royals offense and the Kaufman Stadium is still a pitchers paradise. With my hitters there obviously isn’t a lot of money left, but my strategy was to get hitters who should hit atop the lineup, are low cost and have at least a neutral matchup.

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