As a quick aside to all readers, this will likely be my 2nd to last article until NFL starts, so I am going to try to include content that can help you improve your lineup making process, rather than try to recommend any specific picks on today’s slate. In my experience it is far better to master the game you are playing rather than try to emulate someone else’s approach anyway. Also, my older articles are archived in the Strategy section of the site for anyone who wants to review. Without further adieu, one of my last pieces to advice which I want to ram into your skull is this:
Roster Hitters on “Bad” Teams
The first major concept that seems to throw players off in GPPs is the concept of the run line. We all know that a team lined at 5 runs is much more enticing than one lined at 3.5, but what does any of this really mean in practice? First off, we do not get paid prizes based on expected outcomes, we have to get extremely lucky and put up actual giant scores to win. If you’re the type of player who likes to stack, it’s likely that you’re going to be very happy if the team you stacked scores 10 runs, so let’s look at what the rough probability is doing that, based on estimated run lines.
Actual Runline | Probability of 10 or more runs (%)
Note that these are estimates, and will fluctuate based on the team’s batting profile (small ball or home run prone) and whether they’re at home or on the road. What is most interesting to me is that a team projected at 3 runs is only four times less likely to score 10+ runs than a team lined at 5.2 runs. So when it comes to ownership, we are looking for our unappealing 3 run line team stack to have significantly less than 1/4th the ownership of the team lined at 5.2 runs, which we should easily find on just about any slate.
If you don’t want to get too crazy, take some bigger shots on the 4.0-4.5 run line teams provided you think most of the players in your stack will be fairly low owned and aren’t terrible value. Never forget that baseball is an extremely volatile sport, and in GPPs we are simply looking for the random 10+ run game that isn’t owned by much of the population, which we will only achieve via luck. Anyone who can routinely predict 10 run games should be winning millions vs. Vegas, not playing DFS. While the 5.2 run line teams are nice and are worth owning some shares of if we are taking zillions of lineups, in general you need to be looking to fade these teams more so if you’re only running out a handful of lineups.
To recap, lots of runs are nice but ownership %/runs ratio is the most important factor. Of course there are other components that matter such as what % of those runs come from home runs and stolen bases, but in general we want to be playing the stack that maximizes the O%/R ratio the most efficiently.
Also keep in mind that if you play 100 lineups and only stack a 3.0-3.5 runline team in 2-3 of them there is a good chance that you will own more of those players than the field does. Even if you’re mostly looking to play chalk on a slate, I think it makes more sense to go 35% of the 5.2 run line team and 3% on the low run line team than it does to go 38% of the chalk. Diversifying your portfolio is not to be underestimated in a highly volatile game, as it not only protects your bankroll a bit, but it give you a few extra outs to win when the hugely improbable 10 run game happens.
Taking Bad Teams Might Give You “Ghost Points” Via Leverage
To give you an example from today, let’s say the A’s are projected at 3 runs, but they’re against Chris Sale. It should be very easy to get a decent 4 man A’s stack at <10% total ownership. How easy will it be to get the 4 best players on a chalky stack at <80% total ownership? Furthermore, every run the A’s score will give you “ghost points”, a term I made up so let me explain. If your A’s stack miraculously hit 5 solo home runs off Chris Sale, that subtracts at least 13 points from his total score.
If Sale is 50% owned, that means that every time one of your guys homers, half the field with Sale loses 2.6 points, which is an overall 1.3 “Ghost points” you gained for every home run off of Sale. The easiest way to figure this out is multiply the pitcher’s ownership you’re leveraging times the point value you’ve scored against him.
Therefore a solo home run against a 0% owned pitcher is worth 14 points.
A solo home run against a 50% owned pitcher is worth 14 points + (2.6*0.5 ghost points) = 15.3 points.
Furthermore, the chances of Sale getting a win or having a long outing go way down the more runs he concedes. Note that in no way am I advocating that the A’s are a great stack against Sale tomorrow, only that they might be worth taking a few shares of to diversify your portfolio. There in fact might be better chalk pitchers to attack with a more realistic probability of success, but never be afraid to take the David vs. Goliath approach in a couple of lineups.