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Umpire Analysis: Examining Conventional Wisdom

Christopher Olson

Christopher Olson writes DFS articles and blogs for a variety of sports including MLB, NFL and MMA. Follow him on Twitter @RealChrisOlson

In our development as daily fantasy players, it is important to remember that our primary goal is to create the best lineup possible. In order to do this consistently, we sometimes have to re-evaluate conventional wisdom and determine how much of it is actually applicable in achieving our aims.

In this week’s article, I will take a look at what I believe to be some of the most common pieces of DFS advice given to players to see how they hold up under scrutiny.

Don’t Leave Money on the Table

We put a lot of work into our daily lineup building, using various methods in order to craft a tenable overall strategy. It is for this reason that I am a firm believer in not sacrificing what may be the most optimal lineup in favor of maxing out funds. There is a limit, of course. Leaving an excess amount of money may sometimes deprive us of utilizing matchups that can provide the best possible value, but the best advice I can give any daily player in this regard is to stick to the process. If your regular routine has left you with a few hundred dollars that will be fed to the birds, so be it. One of the worst mistakes a player can make is to shuffle a roster around trying to zero out their balance. The irony is that spending more money in this fashion can actually lead to a weaker lineup than one you might have had if you left a few bucks on the table.

Focus on Matchups with Platoon Advantage

As I look around the Internet at daily fantasy articles, it sometimes surprises me how often matchups that contain reverse platoon splits are glossed over or entirely ignored. I certainly understand that reverse splits are not as likely to hold up over the long haul, but we have seen at least some evidence that suggests they can remain consistent throughout the course of a season. Therefore, I feel it is best to take all matchups into account, even if selecting a righty batter against a same-handed pitcher in a given situation seems counterintuitive.

Target Games in “Small” Ballparks

Most of us know that Coors Field and Yankee Stadium are two of the best places to look at when targeting home runs, but it’s important to really know your parks in order to make the most informed choice as to which situations are the most profitable. For example, Petco Park, while generally classified as a pitcher’s paradise, has actually been conducive to left-handed power in 2014. While one can’t go wrong by honing in on contests in more traditional hitter-friendly environments, keep in mind that a location doesn’t need to have the designation of “bandbox” in order to be worthy of a look.

As you may have noticed, these pieces of conventional wisdom are all useful to a certain extent, which is likely the reason they have hung around for so long. The common problem with all three, though, is that they have a tendency to constrict a player’s thought process. I suppose the best advice to offer here is that you shouldn’t strictly abide by maxims. Instead, try to incorporate various elements into your daily play to construct a strategy that allows for the creation of the best possible lineups.
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Christopher Olson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: Sommerset, FanDuel: Christop, Yahoo: Martins.