Veteran daily DFS players know there are a couple rules of thumbs when it comes to selecting your pitcher or pitchers for your lineups:
- Play it safe and go with one of the best for cash games, with cost being a secondary consideration
- Take more chances and look for upside from a lesser option in a large-entry tournament
A quick and dirty filter I’ve been using lately to help decide on an arm for either scenario (but mostly cash games) is what I call “The Rule of 13.” It’s very simple. A pitchers satisfies the Rule of 13 when you’ll be shocked if they fail to total 13 combined innings and strikeouts. That’s all it takes, add up what you expect for innings and whiffs and if it is less than 13, they aren’t candidates for cash games and probably don’t have the upside for tourneys.
On one-pitcher sites like FanDuel, I’ll never use a pitcher not meeting the Rule of 13 in a cash game. On two-pitcher sites like Draft Kings and Fantasy Aces, one pitcher absolutely has to qualify while the second is at worse a borderline Rule 13 candidate.
To put the Rule of 13 in perspective, here are the pitchers that average more than 13 combined innings plus punch outs.
Keeping in mind this is an average. The closer to 13 the pitcher sits, the more starts fall below the cutoff.
The above table didn’t include starters whose total rounded up to 13. Of course, in order for their average to be between 12 and 13, they must have several efforts that met the criteria. To add more names to the discussion, here’s the set that barely missed the cut.
What follows is the percentage of games each of the above 31 has met the criteria so far this season with rain-shortened games excluded.I rarely play more than five or six cash games in a given night since I have a job that often starts 6 PM ET which makes it tough to make absolutely certain all my lineups are devoid of players scratched or affected by weather. I may enter more contests on the nights I have off. As such, it is extremely rare when I don’t have a starting pitcher from the top table as my cash game anchor. And if there isn’t one from that group, most assuredly you’ll find my guy in the second.
The only five starters I consider to be completely match-up proof for use in cash games are Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, David Price, Chris Sale and Yu Darvish. Their Rule of 13 success rate are all over 80 percent.
Next time we’ll go over the reasoning used to decide if any of the rest pass the Rule of 13 sniff test for their matchup that day.
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Affectionately known as Lord Zola, Todd was the 2013 Fantasy Sports Writers Association recipient of the Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year, Web. He's been with Mastersball since its inception in 1997 and presently Todd writes for the ESPN Insider and Baseball HQ. Todd is a frequent guest on SiriusXM and is a regular on HQ Radio. He's a veteran of Tout Wars and LABR as well as a multi-time NFBC champion. Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddZola
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