We are heading into our eleventh week of MLB DFS Wars and yours truly is going to attempt to guess the ownership of some pitchers tonight and then talk a little game theory. Since I am far more “fanalyst” than expert, this is quite possibly going be an exercise in futility. But here goes nothin’.
Remember: I am focusing on percentages through the lens of the MLB DFS Wars competition, which pits 20 daily fantasy degenerates against each other every Friday evening. While this group is small, it should still be a microcosm of ownership across the major sites in general (excluding major differences in salary, of course). This contest is held on FanDuel, so any prices mentioned here will reflect that site.
The top arm of the night (remember, we are talking ownership) will most likely be Chris Archer ($10,400). Archer is at home against a predominantly right-handed Baltimore lineup–one that is prone to cold spells and to the almighty strikeout (23.0% vs RHP). They don’t run well, either (only 13 SB vs RHP all season, worst in the MLB) so there is no major threat of “manufacturing” runs. Archer is striking out an obscene amount of hitters this year (30.5% of RHH to be exact) and there’s the whole “Chris Archer at home” narrative that is still very much accurate in 2017.
The Orioles will probably trot out seven right-handed hitters tonight, with the two lefties being Seth Smith ($3,000) and Hyun Soo Kim ($2,000). Archer has allowed a whopping 46.0% hard contact rate to left-handed hitters and Smith is on a bit of a heater. I’m just saying there’s a chance, okay? Overall though, this looks like a matchup where Archer should excel and probably push for the highest raw point total of the night.
After Archer, I imagine the southpaw Alex Wood ($9,500) is going to get some lovin’ tonight. Last Friday our own Randy Capps used Wood against the Reds and was rewarded with a 46 FDP effort. Capps was one of two degenerates to use Wood (Chris Meyers was the other) but this week should be a different story. Capps won last week outright and Meyers finished 7th…building around Wood tonight may prove to be a winning strategy yet again, as the Rockies are far less threatening on the road. Wood’s obscenely high ground ball rates (70.6% vs L and 65.0% vs R) and strikeout rates (25.6% vs L and 31.7% vs R) make him the epitome of a floor/upside play. I think this will be the most-owned sharp play of the evening.
And here is where it becomes interesting from a “game theory” perspective. Since there are only 20 participants in this competition each week, it is reasonable to wonder if taking big risks at the pitcher position is worthwhile. Logic dictates that week-to-week consistency would propel one towards the top of the leaderboard more so than massive up-and-down swings each week. Dare I say it: more of a “cash game” perspective seems to make sense in this format. However, the part of me that enjoys taking risks (and having fun) is wrestling with the idea of going much farther down the pitching totem pole tonight and loading up on bats. I want to compare my two possibilities and see if anything leaps out at me. Maybe then I will be closer to my eventual decision of who to build around at pitcher, which is arguably the biggest decision one can make on FanDuel (or any other one-pitcher site).
Cotton is a bit of a reverse splits guy so far in his young career, as 10 of the 17 home runs he has allowed have been to right-handed hitters. RHH make hard contact 36.9% of the time compared to a solid 26.2% rate to LHH. Cotton is a fly ball pitcher, as both LHH and RHH have fly ball rates around 48 percent. The HR/FB rates are both right around 12-13% for each handedness. Cotton walks RHH less than he does LHH, but he allows far more hits to RHH. Facing a Chicago lineup that boasts at least three big right-handed bats (Abreu, Garcia, Frazier) may not be the best thing for him–especially in this ballpark. At this point I am inclined to pass on Cotton. The White Sox lineup for tonight just popped up and it has seven right-handed bats for Cotton to contend with. Cotton is cheap but I am unconvinced that in this hitter’s park and against this offense is the place to play him.
Luis Perdomo gets the nod at home in San Diego, where he has a nutso 75.8% ground ball rate to RHH. He also strikes them out 21.4% of the time. Against LHH at home the ground ball rate is still very good at 56.9% but the K-rate dips to 16.5% (yuck). Still, the high ground ball rate gives Perdomo a pretty safe floor, even against the vaunted Detroit Tigers offense. What jumps out at me is the 36.2% hard contact rate to LHH that Perdomo has allowed at home, which makes a guy like Alex Avila ($3,000) pretty threatening. For what it’s worth, Avila should be fairly rested too. He sat out on Tuesday and Wednesday while the Tigers used James McCann against a pair of southpaws.
Anyway, what is good about the matchup is that the Tigers really only have one lefty bat to fear, unless you count Alex Presley ($2,000). I don’t. Kinsler, Miggy, Martinez, Upton, Castellanos, Iglesias…all are right-handed. The Tigers have lost six straight games, by the way. Perdomo has logged four quality starts in his last five turns. This guy really is interesting to me. Even if he doesn’t get the win, it feels like a quality start sort of night from a guy that can do just enough for you alongside your big bats–if you choose the right ones. I may be paying down at pitcher tonight, after all. We shall see.
Feel free to share your own picks in the comments or on Twitter. We have a fierce competition going on in the inaugural MLB DFS Wars competition and we welcome your friendly banter. Cheers!