RotoWire & FanDuel Fantasy Baseball Championship – Week 14

Where does the time go? Not only is the season at its halfway point, but there are also just two weeks left for RotoWire readers to qualify for the championship round of the 2016 RWBC tournament. The top-10 from each event are entered into the finale on July 22nd, which carries a $5,000 prize pool. There are plenty of other goodies to be won along the way, so don’t miss the opportunity to grab your share. Full contest rules can be found here.

RotoWire Expert Competition

Ryan Rufe (rmrufe) got off to a slow start this season but has really turned it on over the last two weeks, notching a seventh place finish and a first place finish, respectively. Meanwhile, Derek VanRipper (rotowiredvr) was able to close serious ground in the race for first place in week 13, as he outscored current leader Josh Fathollahi (jashfath) 122.30 to 64.60, leaving just a 28.1 point gap between second and first place. The less said about my scores these days, the better. My hot start has completely fizzled, illustrating the boom-or-bust nature of stacking.

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Here are the top-10 runners as we head into the 14th week. The full leaderboard can be found here.

  1. Josh Fathollahi (jashfath) – 1716.40
  2. Derek VanRiper (rotowiredvr) – 1688.30
  3. James Seltzer (schweppy23) – 1643.20
  4. Jake Letarski (rotojakeski) – 1636.50
  5. Andrew Parr (aparr013) – 1635.90
  6. Ronny Mor (ronnymor2) – 1633.10
  7. Chris Benzine (crispy272001) -1615.00
  8. Aaron Quinn (aaronq) – 1612.80
  9. Vlad Sedler (rotogutguy) – 1595.20
  10. Scott Jenstad (oaktownsj) – 1592.50

Daily Strategy

I generally get my DFS advice from Matt Vasgersian and the fine folks at the MLB Network. Those of you who want something more precise can check out RotoWire’s Daily MLB Lineup Optimizer. The optimizer factors in variables such as a player’s price, matchup and weather conditions. If anyone asks why your wining lineup is basically the same as the program, just tell them great minds think alike.

Before I leave this section I want to talk a bit about pitch type linear weights, and how we can use them to aid in our selection process. A comprehensive overview (along with a brain-melting technical explanation) can be found here, but essentially these values tell us how a player (or team) has performed against a given pitch throughout the season. As you would expect, the method is incredibly meticulous, assigning a run value to each outcome in each count to arrive at a runs above average score. Give the overview a read and play with the charts on FanGraphs.com, I think you will find these weights can be a nice tool for your DFS toolbox.

Value Picks

SP Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles Angels @ Baltimore Orioles

FanDuel Price: $7,700

Let’s take our new stat out for a spin. What I try to do when using linear weights is find a pitcher who relies heavily on a secondary offering. In this case, we can see that Shoemaker throws his splitter more than 34 percent of the time. The Orioles are a bottom-10 team against the split, so we mix the two together and voila. Those of you who are following along at home will notice two seperate categories: wSF and wSF/C. The first category is a raw score, while the second rates on a per 100 pitch basis. They are usually similar, but it is worth looking at the adjusted numbers, as certain teams/players see a particular pitch more often than others. There are good reasons not to take some pitchers at Camden Yards, but it may be helpful to monitor this matchup as a test case.

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1B Chris Carter, Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals

FanDuel Price: $3,500

In my previous blog, I talked about platoon splits using batted ball data. Research suggests that fly ball hitters do far better against ground ball pitchers than their ground ball counterparts. We have a fairly juicy matchup to test the numbers, as Michael Wacha is an extreme ground ball pitcher, and Carter has the 15th-highest fly ball percentage in the league (45.2%).

2B Derek Dietrich, Miami Marlins vs. Cincinnati Reds

FanDuel Price: $3,300

It seems like Dan Straily’s xFIP against lefties gets worse with each passing start, as it now stands at a staggering 6.11 over 52.2 innings. That regression could land square in the lap of Dietrich, who has amassed a .901 OPS against righties this season.

High Risk/High Reward

3B Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers

FanDuel Price: $4,800

You could probably take a number of Blue Jays against Mike Pelfrey, but Donaldson has to be a consideration whenever we are opening the wallet, as he is slugging a cool .600 over 86 games. Pelfrey’s below average strikeout rate and mediocre walk rate should give Donaldson the opportunity to have a few comfortable at-bats.

Steer Clear

SP Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres

FanDuel Price: $8,800

The Padres are the second-worst team in the league against right-handed pitching, but have been strong against lefties, notching the sixth-best wOBA. Kazmir has had a bit of a homer problem against righties, and has also struggled with the free pass at times. While a play for Kazmir will likely still get the owner some strikeouts, the price is simply too high for a deceptively bad matchup.