Sometimes you do everything right and still lose. Such is life in DFS.
My main lineup scored 140.8 points, good enough for fifth place out of 29 entrants in the BP Private League and a profitable score in GPP's and 50/50's on a relatively light day of scoring. But I got ruined in my cash games with the same lineup, losing a $20 heads-up and two $10 three-team tournies against monster scores of 173.85, 166.70 and 161.85, respectively. I had scouted out these games to be sure that I wasn't playing against the usual suspects, and I didn't recognize the names of my opponents, which is essentially the green light to enter a three-team with two entrants already established.
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I just got beat, plain and simple, by higher-scoring lineups on a day where the biggest arms scored in the 30's (Madison Bumgarner with 32.3 fantasy points and Matt Harvey's 30.55 points), and two cheaper arms had big days – Taylor Jungmann scored 28.15 and the cost-conscious Luis Severino contributed 22.05 points in his MLB debut. My opponents chose their pitchers wisely, so the real competition came down to the bats, and they were able to unearth a couple of diamonds that I had missed – namely Yasiel Puig, who was in all three winning lineups and was 12-percent owned among almost 50 thousand people in the Moonshot.
I lost $17 on the day, certainly not a killer, but with the combination of a strong score and a soft day I figured to profit (my other lineup scored 154.45 points, but was only entered in the three-dollar Moonshot tournament). Perhaps I could have checked things earlier so that I didn't have to deal with the news of all three contests at once, but I tend to ignore the individual competitions until games are done, particularly on days when I can't watch the outcome on a screen (me and the fam were traveling yesterday).
Oh well, each day is a new day in DFS, and today I'm back to the grind.
We've discussed salary adjustments in the past, how DK will have a very different price on a player for one day to the next due to changes in ballpark, opposing pitcher, recent performance, and whatever other ingredients they choose to bake into the salary structure. One of those elements involves that day's player pool, a factor which is most apparent on days (like today) on which there are few pitching options on the high end. Players across the population are jacked up on these days. The most expensive pitching options for All Day tournies are Zack Greinke (was ahead of the pack with $13500 at PHI), Michael Wacha ($10400 at CIN) and Jason Hammel ($10300 vs. SF). Eduardo Rodriguez is playing the rival pinstripes in Yankee Stadium, yet he's the fifth-most expensive arm on today's market at $9300; Mark Buehrle ($8900 vs. MIN) is next.
On the hitting side, there are 11 players at or above the $5k threshold (two of whom, Miguel Cabrera and Giancarlo Stanton, are disabled) despite zero games being played at altitude. MVP candidate Josh Donaldson (too early?) leads the pack at $6200 and four players are at $5500 or higher. The next tier bats haven't been quite so affected, as there is a quick drop-off once the elite players are out of one's price range. The net result is that top-end position players (and the top half of pitchers) will be more costly, and the Fantasy Points Per Game might be lower than usual. This time of year, I typically build a roster that totals about 100 FPPG when constructing a lineup, but most of the rosters that I built for today were closer to 95 FPPG.
The price adjustment was necessary, lest the contests be filled with star-studded lineups and $1000 left on the board due to the limited pitcher value. Throw in the extremely limited player pool available for the Early tournaments (five games) or the evening tournaments (five games), and overlap would have been ridiculous – consider that Hammel is the priciest pitcher on the night slate. I'm very pleased that DraftKings makes these types of adjustments, give that such details could conspire to put the competitive elements of the game at risk.
I have been impressed thus far with the ways that DraftKings have tweaked their MLB game throughout the season, and though the inconsistency can be puzzling at times, I think that the net result is a better competition that helps to smooth out the ownership rates within the player pool. This is a critical point, not just from the competitive point-of-view, but also with the connection between DFS and the game on the field. It's boring to field the same high-end players as everyone else, and if you happen to follow along with MLB.tv or Extra Innings then it limits those players that grab your attention on a day-to-day basis. I prefer a game in which we are forced to do some digging in order to find value and the true intrigue of competition comes out via the various strategies that are available, whether stacking batters or spending on pitchers or streamlining platoon splits. DraftKings has this in mind.
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