RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship – Week 12

Summer is officially upon us, meaning time is running out to qualify for the championship round of 2016 RWBC tournament. All RotoWire users can sign up and show off their skills, as we have teamed up with FanDuel to run a $10, multi-entry contest exclusively for you every Friday from April 8 to July 15 for cash prizes and entries into the $5,000 championship that will be held on July 22. All you need to do is beat half the field in order to get cash, with the top-10 users from each event eligible to play for the crown. You can view the rules and enter the contest by clicking here.

 RotoWire writers play in a league that is separate from the reader base. Why? What goes on in this private league? Wouldn’t you like to know?

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Nothing to see here.

Scott Jenstad (oaktownsj) took home the top prize last week, as huge performances from Peter O’Brien, Franklin Gutierrez and Paul Goldschmidt left him more than 20 points ahead of second-place finisher Jason Brown (modano9). Meanwhile, I was among the nearly 39 percent who received just 21 points from Matt Harvey against the Braves, contributing to a 19th-place finish. Here is a look at the top-10 experts heading into Week 12. You can check out the full leaderboard here.

  1. Josh Fathollahi (jashfath) – 1,480.20
  2. Andrew Parr (aparr013) – 1,401.00
  3. Ronny Mor (ronnymor2) -1,400.50
  4. Aaron Quinn (aaronq) – 1,395.30
  5. Derek VanRiper (rotowiredvr) – 1,388.70
  6. James Anderson (realjranderson) -1,359.80
  7. Scott Jenstad (oaktownsj) -1,353.50
  8. Ken Crites (kencrw) -1,352.40
  9. Jake Letarski (rotojakeski) – 1,345.80
  10. Benny Ricciardi (brich 11) – 1,337.80

Strategy

 There is so much to consider when putting together a DFS lineup that it is easy to succumb to data overload. Why not take a bit of strain off the brain by consulting the RotoWire Lineup Optimizer when you are trying to decide how to spend that last $3,300? The optimizer automatically generates the best value lineup based on each player’s price, matchup, weather conditions and other day-specific variables. In other words: the sentient machines aren’t coming, they are already here.

Those of you who wish to fight the robotic revolution can dig into batted ball data in order to try to gain an edge. Here is a long and nerdy article that Andrew Koo of Baseball Prospectus wrote in 2013, explaining why fly ball hitters excel against ground ball pitchers. The article details the finer points, but the gist is that fly ball hitters tend to swing underneath the ball, while ground ball pitchers are trying to make them swing over the ball. This concept was previously explored in The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball, which told us that fly ball hitters hit 61 points better against ground ball pitchers than their ground ball counterparts. It is important to note that we want to play to extremes here, so a 40 percent groundballer against a 42 percent flyballer may not be worth the trouble. When all else fails, however, just grab as many fly ball hitters as possible. Why? Because home runs are better than everything.

Value Picks

 SP Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

FanDuel Price $7,200

Taillon allows us to utilize the strategy I outlined above in reverse, as he has kept a 53 percent ground ball rate over his first three starts, and the Dodgers are a top-10 team when it comes to hitting ground balls this season. For those of you who prefer a more traditional approach, The Blue Crew hold the eighth-lowest mark in the league against righties according to wOBA (.305).

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OF Peter O’ Brien, Arizona Diamondbacks @ Colorado Rockies

FanDuel Price: $3,100

The equation here is pretty simple, as O’Brien has hit three homers in 14 at-bats against lefties, and Tyler Anderson is a mediocre pitcher at Coors Field. The young slugger has had a strikeout issue so far this season, but Anderson punched out just 293 batters in 359 minor league innings.

SS J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays

FanDuel Price: $2,600

Hardy is struggling overall this season, but his numbers against lefties are solidly above average, as he is slashing .308/.321/.500 with a homer in 26 at-bats. Opposing starter Matt Moore has allowed 12 long balls to right-handed hitters over 61 innings in 2016, and carries a 6.35 ERA away from Tropicana Field.

High Risk/High Reward

 1B David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox @ Texas Rangers

FanDuel Price: $4,200

Nick Martinez has walked more batters than he has struck out at the big league level this season, and was pitching to a 4.50 ERA at Triple-A Round Rock before being recalled to take the roster spot of Tom Wilhelmsen. Ortiz is eating righties for lunch, having notched a .751 slugging percentage in 62 games.

Steer Clear

 SP Steven Matz, New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves

FanDuel Price: $10,400

Mouths water at the prospect of a pitcher like Matz facing the Braves, but the promising rookie dealt with elbow tightness in his last start, and Adam Rubin of ESPN.com reports that he will be watched closely while on the mound in Atlanta. He may turn out to be fine, but that’s an awful lot of salary to be spending on a pitcher who could be limited. We also can’t discount the possibility of reinjury during the game.