Halpin and Ricciardi talked about DFS game theory as well as specific players. Excerpts from the discussion are below.
Q: For a casual player, who plays maybe $10 per day, how would you tell them to approach DFS baseball?
A: Whether you play $10 per day, $100 per day or $1,000 per day, the concept and the way you approach it is going to be the same. You want to make the big score, turn $5 into $5,000 … For me the idea is to keep yourself in the game long enough to give yourself a chance to make that big score … You want to play the bulk of your money in cash games so that you can consistently grind out a little bit of a profit, and then use that profit to take shots in tournaments.
Q: When should a DFS player follow the crowd, and when should he/she differentiate?
A: If everybody is looking and saying that the Rockies are playing in Coors Field and there’s a right-handed pitcher on the mound, and they want to use all the lefties like CarGo and Blackmon … I’ll use them in my cash games, but in tournament, I might try to find someone at the same price point that I think is going to be much lower owned.
Q: What are your favorite stats for hitters? Many people swear by wOBA (weighted on-base average).
A: The thing I really want to know about is wOBA versus the handedness of the pitcher they’re going up against. That’s the stat I start my research with. It’s not the be-all, end-all stat. While it correlates the most to fantasy production in points leagues, you also want to know how they got there … I like guys with high isolated power (ISO) scores- .190-200 and above. You also want guys with wOBAs against the handedness of the pitcher they’re facing to be .360-.370 or above. But you also need to factor in the level of pitcher a player is going up against. It’s great if a player has a .400 wOBA and .250 ISO against left-handed pitching, but if the left-handed pitcher is Clayton Kershaw, I’m not going to be all that excited.
Q: What about for pitchers?
A: It’s such a simple concept, but I think people overlook how important the strikeout stat is. How you usually score points in daily fantasy is the amount of innings that you pitch minus the number of hits and runs you give up. The only other positive stat – other than getting a win, which is so unpredictable – besides the number of innings you pitch is the number of strikeouts you get … Once you have the baselines of how many strikeouts he can get and how many innings he can go, you can start making projections on how many fantasy points you think he can score.
Q: Who are some players that you like more than others do, and will probably roster early in the season more than others will?
A: One thing I think people overlook in daily fantasy is the stolen base stat … Starling Marte is a guy that people are taking in the second or third round in season-long leagues because of his stolen-base upside, whereas in daily leagues he’s never over 10 percent owned. When he has one of those two- or three-hit games, steals a base or two, scores a run and gets an RBI or two, he’s scoring 20 fantasy points on a given day.
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