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Anyone who has been following me over the years knows that I’ve been much more a season-long fantasy player than one who plays daily. I love the offseason research, the draft, speculating moves four months in advance, you name it. I like running my team from wire to wire. I like talking trade and I LOVE running my buddy’s team down over dinner and drinks. Season-long fantasy baseball is a way of life.

But over the years, with the exponential growth of DFS, I have tried to embrace that side of fantasy sports and have really grown to appreciate the daily game. When I first started, my play was a little haphazard. I didn’t pay enough attention to things like proper contest selection or the necessary adjustment of lineups for the different scoring systems and I certainly didn’t pay enough attention to bankroll management. I wasn’t playing consistently and because I was busy doing a million other things for work, my daily player research was not nearly as strong as it needed to be.

But I’ve changed. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m writing every day again. Maybe it’s the privilege of being on-air seven days a week. Maybe it’s an increased feeling of obligation to all of you who read my work and listen to me on-air. Whatever the case may be, I am eyeballs-deep in research every day and my DFS game has been taken up a level or two.

Now I’m not one for screenshots as I think that whole game is both overplayed and, in many instances, untrue. I was talking to a friend of mine who knows PhotoShop backwards and frontwards and when I showed him some of the screenshots on Twitter, he laughed and proceeded to show me how I too could become a “millionaire.” But for today’s Daily Bender, I’ll be that screenshot guy and show you my winnings; not to brag about how great I am and how you should be hanging on my every word, but in an effort to share my thought process and maybe help teach you some things you may not have known.

Call it a whim, but after winning a pair of 50/50’s and cashing for 6x on a $5 GPP on Wednesday, I decided to try my hand at playing the short, early slate for today. That guy Fuego Steve, who you’ve heard call in to SiriusXM a number of times, is a friend of mine (we did the first night of the Phish NYE run at MSG last December) and he’s always telling me to try my hand at some of the shorter slates and get on a winning streak. He said once you’ve done that for a while and trained yourself on the research aspect, you can then increase your play on the bigger slates.

I didn’t exactly follow his blueprint, but for the first time, I decided to play the short slate and invested $12 into three GPP contests – two of them single-entry and one multi just because it was a buck and I really liked my lineup. As you can see to the right, I got a little more than a 4x return and turned my $12 into $50. Not too shabby, baby!

So here’s how it happened…

Given the short slate, I went with the GPP instead of cash just because it gave me the freedom to avoid some of the real chalky plays. I feel like everyone is on the same guys in most cash games and with fewer options, the overlap would be strong.

I started with pitching and faded Chris Sale. I knew his ownership would be high and I figured, why not? If the Toronto bats ever did wake up, it would probably be on a day when I was relying on him. I went a little cheaper with Lance McCullers, someone in whom I believe and also had the potential for strong strikeout totals. Not to mention Houston was one of the bigger favorites today according to the Vegas lines. As it turned out, Sale was an absolute beast (67 points), but McCullers was no slouch himself with 54.

The catcher position looked ugly, so I went with Brian McCann as the lefty in a nice RBI spot against Matt Shoemaker. Turns out it didn’t matter at all as none of the backstop did much in the way of contributing.

At first base, I debated between Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana. I wasn’t a huge fan of going against Ervin Santana given his recent performances, but I didn’t dig any of the other match-ups on the slate. I entertained the thought of going cheap with Marwin Gonzalez, but I opted to go with the BvP numbers E5 had and hope for a robust turnaround. While you can hardly call it robust, he did post the second-highest total at the position for the slate.

The options at second base weren’t exactly jumping off the page for me and I wavered between Dustin Pedroia and Brad Miller. Jose Altuve and Brian Dozier were both too pricey based on my thoughts on their match-ups and Ian Kinsler has been ice cold. I don’t usually like to go righty vs righty, but it was either that of lefty on lefty for Miller. Turns out Kinsler was the better play and I had the money to spend on him. Who knew?

At third base, I liked the idea of a mini-stack with Jose Ramirez and Encarnacion. Again, I looked to the BvP numbers which looked good and lo and behold, I was right. Ramirez was the highest-scoring third baseman on the slate.

Shortstop was my punt play. I wasn’t paying up for Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa was just coming off a hand injury. If I spent down here, I would have some decent funds to spend on my outfield. Did I make the right choice? Well, in not spending for Bogaerts and Correa I did, but there were a couple of low-rent guys who did better than Jorge Polanco. I figured he was a switch-hitter and I don’t particularly care for Trevor Bauer. C’est la vie!

The outfield was my bread and butter here. I figured I could go with one cheap guy, one mid-tier and one of the top options. Rickie Weeks in the middle of the order and against lefty Derek Norris seemed like a good punt and Steve Souza batting leadoff against a shaky southpaw seemed like the right thing to do. My final choice, I was wavering between Mookie Betts and George Springer. Temptation to use Springer was strong since I needed Houston to plate some runs in support of McCullers, but that’s just mojo crap and not really relevant. Neither player had particularly good BvP number against their respective starters, but Mookie was batting third and was in a better spot for RBI production. I also had Michael Brantley, Max Kepler and Carlos Beltran on my radar, but leaving that much more money on the table would have had me second-guessing some of my other selections. I decided to stick with Betts and hoped for some decent RBI production. Watching that Blue Jays/Red Sox game was aggravating, to put it mildly, but when he smacked a three-run game-winning hit, I was ecstatic.

While I’m not really sure how much this explanation is really teaching you, the win today inspired me to further investigate the shorter slates. I passed on tonight’s two game slate contests though and threw down a whopping $8 into a couple of main slate GPP, but I want to make sure I start playing some of the four and five-game slates when I can. I feel like they might suit me a little better.

If you have any questions regarding contest selection or lineup construction, be sure to hit me up in the comments section. In the meantime, keep playing, keep winning and I’ll see you all in the money this year!

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