Diving deep into the data to help you build winning lineups for 2020 World Series DFS contests on FanDuel & DraftKings.
Now that we’re into the World Series, we’re only looking at single game contests on both sites for the vast majority of formats.
However, DraftKings recently launched a series-long slate where you draft one team in the showdown format and they accrue stats for the duration of the World Series. The largest contest there is a $20,000 prize pool ($10 entry, 70 entry max), and the balance being either lower dollar entry fees or single entry formats. To be honest, I really like it as a concept and will dabble in it a little bit myself. However, the key focus for most of us will be single game contests.
FanDuel Single Game Format Overview
For FanDuel single game slates in baseball, it’s all about hitting. Sure, we do need to consider pitching in this one given it’s going to play significantly into how the hitters will perform. However, in their contest format we don’t have the ability to roster pitchers.
The MVP (2x), STAR (1.5x) and UTIL (1x) format makes it pretty straightforward, but also requires a bit of creative thinking for lineup construction purposes. Especially given the variability of baseball as a DFS sport (162 game season condensed into 1 game for a given contest), and how sometimes a Mike Zunino could be an optimal MVP play if he steps into one or two, while Corey Seager could go 0-fer and be a total dud. Now, I’m simply using that to illustrate a point and am not trying to say that’s the optimal way to attack lineup construction on a slate like this. But it needs to be understood that you should:
- short list the players you like for a given slate
- force all kinds of combinations and permutations of them in the various roster positions
- not be afraid to have lower-salary players occupying the MVP and STAR slots
DraftKings Single Game Format Overview
It’s a little different on DraftKings, especially with the ability to roster pitchers and have them accrue points for your lineup.
However, I would say that it’s not generally too optimal to roster a starting pitcher in particular, especially given how DK prices them up on a regular basis. Unless you think one of them is going to have a dominant 25+ DKP kind of outing, you probably want to steer clear.
As an example from the last game between Atlanta and Los Angeles, three hitters had ROIs of at least 2.0, and the highest-returning pitcher was 1.6 on the ROI spectrum (Chris Martin, believe it or not) thanks to 1.1 IP of 3 K ball at $4,000. That’s realistic for a RP to return, but choosing the right one(s) on a nightly basis is not an easy or predictable task.
So, some of the principles that I like to follow here are:
- prioritizing power-hitting bats for the captain slot; you generally want the guy that’s going deep to occupy that position for you
- try to group at least 2 hitters from the team you’re stacking in a more significant way (i.e. 3+ players from the same team) in consecutive lineup spots (i.e. 5-6 hitters along with another strong bat at whatever else lineup position you’d like)
- make sure at least 5 of the bats are penciled in the starting lineup(s) – never a bad idea to have some element of exposure to a bench bat that you know is likely to enter the game for a couple at bats based on potential lineup changes
- spend close to, if not at least 98% of your potential salary – with how well DK prices their bats, it’s highly likely that leaving significant money on the table is going to be optimal
Hitting Splits of Note for the World Series
Looking back to the start of the 2019 season, I’ve compiled some noteworthy data that traditionally work nicely into lineup construction plans for a smaller group of bats like this on single game slates.
The idea is that these charts will act as nice quick references for you for the duration of the 2020 World Series worth of DFS contests on FanDuel and DraftKings.
Here’s the data:
Key Notes for Consideration:
- Note the team-best wRC+ vs RHP for the Dodgers, as Will Smith (165) in his last 229 PA is incredibly compelling; he has a team-best .368 ISO as well and is no stranger to big hits in big games
- Mookie Betts is an elite talent through and through, but note the delta between his track record vs RHP (152 wRC+, .276 ISO) and LHP (101 wRC+, .145 ISO)
- Cody Bellinger has surprisingly effective power and wRC+ metrics against both LHP and RHP alike (.270+ ISO in each split), so don’t be shy to use him in LvL situations (like when he’s facing Blake Snell and will be lower owned)
- Edwin Rios is a stud for LAD against RHP with his 142 wRC+ and .350 ISO in the split – whenever he starts, make sure to have adequate exposure
- Austin Meadows is likely to sit vs LHP but start against RHP. Even though he hasn’t been great in 2020 (mostly due to injury-related issues), he can still run into one against RHP and deserves consideration whenever and wherever he’s priced appropriately
- Randy Arozarena’s numbers aren’t entirely indicative of the hitter he’s become over the last season, so be sure to bump his projections up accordingly given many models still under-appreciate his displayed level of skill of late
- Yandy Diaz and Mike Brosseau are musts for exposure vs LHP, even against Clayton Kershaw who has proven to be less effective recently and both of these guys have very strong split metrics vs lefties (150 wRC+ dating back to 2019)
- Manuel Margot not only brings a nice speed dimension to the table, but also has surprisingly nice BB/K metrics vs LHP (0.69, second best on the team after Diaz in the split) and is a plus play in this split if you ask me
- Brandon Lowe is a strong play vs RHP but his numbers against LHP make him someone that deserves consideration in that split as well (137 wRC+ and a .276 ISO, good for 4th best in the wRC+ department on the Rays vs LHP)
Hopefully this is a helpful reference guide for your lineup construction purposes and the respective thumbs up/thumbs down you give to certain players on each slate.
Now, head over to the FC Lineup Cruncher and get rocking!