MLB DFS Strategy for FanDuel & DraftKings Lineup Construction

DraftKings MLB Lineup Study Review: How to Spend on Pitching

DraftKings MLB Lineup Strategy Review: How to Spend on Pitching

With the MLB season approaching rapidly, I decided to go through all of the winning lineups for DraftKings MLB Main GPPs for the 2020 MLB season.

I did this with a specific goal in mind of answering two questions. The first of these questions is how much should we spend on pitching. The second of these questions was does ownership matter when it comes to your pitchers.

How much to spend on pitching

For the first question, I also broke it down into three smaller questions. Should we be spending up for one of the expensive pitchers on the slate? Is it okay to spend down on your SP2 for one of the dirt-cheap pitchers on the slate? What is the total amount of salary we should be spending on our pitchers?

Let’s start with the question ‘is it okay to spend up for one of the expensive pitchers on this slate?’ The answer to that question is a resounding yes. Out of the 142 pitchers I analyzed, 66 pitchers had a salary of at least $9,000 with 37 of those pitchers having a salary of at least $10,000. Of the 71 total lineups, only 20 (28.2%) didn’t have at least one pitcher at least $9,000 in salary.

While we know that spending up for at least one pitcher is a smart bet does that mean we can spend down on our second pitcher? The answer to that question is a maybe. Out of the 142 pitchers in winning lineups only 29 of those pitchers had a salary under $7,000 in salary with only eight of those lineups using a pitcher under $6,000 in salary. 28 of the 71 winning lineups had a pitcher under $7,000 in salary with one of those lineups having two pitchers under that salary threshold. That works out to be 39.4% of winning lineups having at least one pitcher under $7,000 in salary in it compared to the 71.8% of winning lineups that had at least one pitcher over $9,000 in salary in it. Conversely, we can also see that 21.1% of all winning lineups had both pitchers with a salary of at least $9,000 in it.

Pitching spend in detail

With us now knowing that we should spend up for at least one of our pitchers and should most likely avoid spending down for our second pitcher the question then becomes what is the total salary we should spend on pitching? The answer to this question is also pretty clear when you look at the breakdown of the total spent on pitching.

  • 10 lineups used under $15,000 total salary for pitchers
  • 8 lineups used between $15,000-$15,999 total salary for pitchers
  • 14 lineups used between $16,000-$16,999 total salary for pitchers
  • 15 lineups used between $17,000-$17,999 total salary for pitchers
  • 9 lineups used between $18,000-$18,999 total salary for pitchers
  • 7 lineups used between $19,000-$19,999 total salary for pitchers

Looking at these numbers you can see that the sweet spot for total pitching spending is between $16,000 and $17,999 in salary as 29 of the 71 winning lineups used that combination of salary.

How much does ownership matter for pitchers

Now that we know how much we should be spending on our pitcher the question becomes does it matter if those pitchers are going to be popular or as we like to say in the industry chalk? The answer to that question actually shocked me as we have been told over and over again that you have to be different to win a GPP. While that is true you don’t have to be different at the pitcher position.

Out of the 142 total pitchers, 95 had an ownership percentage of at least 20% with 53 of those pitchers having ownership over 35%. 48 of the 71 winning lineups had total ownership of over 50% for their two pitchers. In fact, going different at the pitching position seems like a losing proposition as only nine total pitchers in winning lineups last season had ownership under five percent. When it comes to total ownership only 5% of lineups had a total ownership percentage under 20% last season.

About Zach Qualtieri

Zach is an accomplished fantasy player who has had success in multiple sports across multiple platforms. Zach specializes in cash games where he can often be found playing $25 H2Hs but has also had a lot of success in GPPs as an 11-time winner of a large field GPP. When not talking about fantasy sports, Zach enjoys hanging out with his son. If you have any questions about fantasy or sports in general Zach can be found on Twitter @zachsgotmoxy.

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