It feels like a good day for bullet points:
*The start of the football season has brought a rush of new gamers to the table of DFS baseball, as those who showed up for the kickoff of football season look for a way to stay involved during the week while the gridiron is on hiatus. I don't think that it's a coincidence that the biggest baseball tourney of the year took place on the Tuesday following the first weekend of the football season, with 91 thousand entries that turned up for the $20 Millionaire Maker tournament ($1 million to first place, maximum 500 entries). Most of those entries were used by players who sunk several hundred (or thousand) bucks into the tournament, with six of the top seven finishers having submitted 68 or more entries apiece, but for those lucky few a greater than $15,000 fallout justified the investment.
*I have had an easier time dodging the pros this week due to the sudden influx of new names, revealing a more diluted player pool that upped the enjoyment level by virtue of the fresh faces and strategies that populated the tournaments. The pros love this time period for exactly that reason, as the football-playing crowd that is trying their hand at baseball is obviously weaker than the everyday baseball grinders, so it' like a man-made lake that has just been restocked with fish. The expanded gamer pool has a ripple effect that impacts the pros as well as we non-commercial fishermen, and one can only hope that the trend will continue for the final two-and-a-half weeks of baseball's regular season.
*Fantasy football is already crazy enough in season-long leagues, with the wild swings of performance and the typical head-to-head style of play that only rewards the best teams some of the time, but DFS football is insane. Maybe I'm off-base here, as a long-time player of seasonal fantasy football who has merely dabbled in football DFS, but the patience that has served me well in baseball goes completely in the tank for DFS football. I have different targets and anchors in DFS baseball on a day-to-day basis, but there tends to be a continuity which I see bargains that remain viable for several days (this was especially true when the player salaries at DraftKings were less volatile), so in any given week I tend to have similar targets. The very nature of football throws this strategy out of whack, due to the nature of a 17-week sample size, the impact of opponents on a week-to-week basis, and the wild fluctuations in player value which take place within the football pool. What we thought was true in the preseason is now moot, roles are starting to be revealed, and we are due to learn a number of lessons in week two that turn our collective thinking on its head. It's a completely different game, one whose high degree of variation lends itself well to the DFS format, and for this reason I think that DFS football will survive even if some of the other DFS sports begin to flounder in the future.
*There are a couple of added quirks with DFS baseball over the last few weeks. Stacking against weak pitchers suddenly has a caveat, in that games that become blowouts quickly devolve into minor-league contests, as the expanded rosters of September allow clubs to rest nearly all of their regulars with mid-game substitutions. This also impacts the starting lineups as veterans are given some R-and-R down the stretch, but the possibility is more daunting to DFS managers when it comes to those vets who are penciled into the starting lineup. This effect is somewhat counteracted by the likelihood that the displaced players took part in generating said blowout, but keep in mind that the substitutions tend to take place in both dugouts, so rostering a regular player who is on the losing end of a lopsided ballgame might only get two plate appearances before his day is ended prematurely.
*This ties into another aspect of September baseball, as we see a host of young, inexperienced pitchers take the hill. These players all tend to be priced in the $5000-$6000 range on DraftKings, providing excellent profit potential to those gamers who know prospects (for better or for worse), and stacking opportunities are all over the place as some of these pitchers are not yet fit for big-league exposure. Stacking against these greenhorns carries the aforementioned caveat of mid-game subs, but the impact is more likely to be felt by the manager who ignores the prospect pitcher when rostering the regular bats from his team.
*Something that I left out of yesterday's Rounders was the weird domination of Jered Weaver by none other than Jesus Montero. I noticed it about an hour before roster-lock, as I was looking at the batter-vs.-pitcher numbers for Weaver, and saw that Montero had four jacks against him in just ten plate appearances. This tied Montero for the fourth-highest homer total against Weaver in his career, alongside other players that had seen Weaver 35 or more times, including David Ortiz (49 PA), Raul Ibanez (42 PA), and Hank Blaylock (35 PA). Montero only had 26 homers in his career, so even though I am very skeptical of batter-vs.-pitcher stats, I went ahead and threw Montero into a Leroy GPP. It sucks having such a weak player manning 1B, but at the minimum salary of $2000 I went for it. Naturally, Montero went yard off of Weaver yet again, going deep in the fourth inning for a three-run jimmy jack, giving Montero five taters in their 12 head-to-head meeting. I don't know what it means or why it's happening, but there is something about Weaver that Montero finds to his liking – maybe it's the 84-mph fastball.
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