The Z Files: Finding Viable DFS Pitchers
The Z Files: Finding Viable DFS Pitchers

This article is part of our The Z Files series.

Let's change things up a bit and talk a little DFS, specifically cash game pitchers. The general mantra is to pay up for pitching in cash play and for good reason. Trying to find spots to earn a nice potential return on investment is integral to success. However, in cash games, the optimal approach is taking advantage of a pitcher's floor as opposed to looking for bang-for-the-buck from arms and paying up for sticks. It doesn't matter who the hitter is, their floor is zero or even negative, depending on the site. With innings and punch outs the prime means of accruing pitching points, you want to lock in a baseline of pitching points and hope your offense comes through.

To that end, there's a down and dirty means of identifying viable cash game pitchers – The Rule of 13. To be safe for cash play, the pitcher should be expected to total 13 innings plus strikeouts. That's it, simple as that.

To be clear, 13 is something more than arbitrary but less than the ideal gas law. It's empirical but has worked quite well as a guideline.

So what pitchers make for reliable cash game starters? Here's a table showing 2015 data, including the percentage of starts satisfying the Rule of 13, the percent of those at home, average innings pitched per start, strikeouts per start and the all-important sum of the average innings and strikeouts per start.

NAMEGSR13 PCTHOME PCTIP/GSK/GS(IP+K)/GS
Clayton Kershaw
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
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