DFS Strategy: Breaking the Rules to Live By
Todd explains why some conventional wisdom is overblown and urges to realize every decision is contextual. There's no always or never.
Always remember, never forget, there's no such thing as always or never. In both season fantasy and DFS, there are no absolutes. There's usually. There's sometimes. But there's no always and there's no never.
Every DFS analyst is asked a question along the lines of, "What three pieces of advice would you give to someone trying DFS for the first time?"
Without fail, the words always or never precede the advice. And that's just wrong.
What follows are some not-so pearls of DFS conventional wisdom folllowed by why they're untrue.
Never use a hitter on the team facing your pitcher
Randall Grichuk says hello. Tampa Bay Ray fans may dispute this but all pitchers give up hits and runs. If the scenario (handedness, spot in batting order, cost, etc.) dictates using a player against a pitcher you're deploying, don't sweat it. This isn't to say that many were on Grichuk when he was a triple short of the cycle against Chris Sale, but it does serve to demonstrate a hitter can have a great night against a pitcher that also excels.
Never use a hitter against an ace pitcher
OK, Grichuk, wipe that smirk off your face. Again, it's situational. Good hitters are good hitters for a reason. If your analysis points towards using a hitter against Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer then pull the trigger. It won't happen a lot. but don't shy away from it.
Always get as close to the salary cap as possible
Granted, if you're more than $300 from the cap it behooves your chances to go back and review your squad to make sure there isn't a better option available, the bottom line is to lock in the squad you feel gives you the best chance of winning, irrespective of leftover cap space. While this is true regardless, it's especially pertinent on smaller slates. Chances are, on full slates, there is a better combination out there if you're $300 or more under the cap.
Never use a pitcher in Coors Field
OK, maybe there are exceptions.
On multiple-pitcher sites, never use two pitchers facing each other
There are two very recent examples to point to debunking this myth. Recent match-ups with Chris Sale and Lance Lynn as well as Taijuan Walker and James Shields are perfect example how you can accrue ample points with opposing hurlers. It's not something to target but if the run-scoring should be low using both is fine, especially in a cash game. It helps that the win is less important on two-pitcher sites.
Always make sure your hitters have the platoon advantage
Having the lefty-righty or righty-lefty edge is important, but it comes down to talent. A right on right matchup at the right price could be superior to an opposite handedness matchup as could a left on left scenario. Actually, since so many rely on handedness as a filter, eschewing the platoon factor couid be a means of going contrarian.
Always use an ace in a cash game
If there's one "always" I believe in it's this, but there are exceptions. If you're not using one of the, if not the top starting pitcher on the board the alternative better be in a heckuva favorable spot. The reason for pivoting off an ace is exposure concerns. But look at it this way. If you're using the starter with the highest percent usage, it will come down to the bats as the determining factor. If that pitcher fails. there will be some that are now in the money, but there 's still a decent number of participants that will cash using the ace with an off night, and it will again come down to the bats. That is, in either scenario, it comes down to the bats.
Here's the catch. If you feel there's a lower-priced pitcher that will match an ace, that's the definition of an tournament pitcher. There's nothing that says you can't use him in both with appropriate bats, but the bottom line is if there's a pitcher you feel will put up ace-like numbers for less, then play him in a tournament.
Always use the stack with the highest projected team run total
Sometimes you want to be contrarian, especially in a tourney. Other times it could be a cost factor, perhaps using a lower-priced stack avails budget for exposure to a big bat or two elseshere. There may be some scenarios where a team is top-heavy and while an entire team may be expected to score a certain number of runs, the production is distributed among more players than the two or three expected to do most of the damage of another team.
Never stack in a cash game
Here's the "never" I come closest to agreeing with. In cash I want to spread the risk but if there's an absolute no-brainer stack, I'll use it in cash.
Always use the Fantasy Alarm tools like the DFS Playbook Pro, Hitting and Pitching coaches, Lineup Optimizer and daily projections
Well, maybe there's another exception.