Remember the Fundamentals

As of the time I write this we are just two weeks into a long MLB season and there are some who are confused about building a lineup and others who are just annoyed with a bad night here or there (or a bad week, etc.).  I remind you that it’s a long season and many ups and downs.  I’ll have a $3500 hit on a $50 play on a short afternoon only slate, then lose $750 the next night and then come back two days later and go 7x on a $500 investment and get it all back.  Then have three losing nights in a row.  That’s gonna happen a lot and the highlight here is not the specific $’s anywhere, it’s that you’ll have more than 2x hits along the way with three day or more losing streaks as well.  The real goal though is to find out what type of player you are and to find the in between.  The 3x, the 4x, the 2x and yes, the 1.5x.

The fact that nobody wants to tell you is that winning a lage GPP has a lot of luck involved and that luck comes with things falling into place on a given slate.  You cannot control the games that are on a slate, you cannot control the weather, the pricing the ownership and honestly you cannot control the outcomes even though we want to joke around about narratives and superstitions.  So a lot of times you need that one play here or there in any DFS sport to put you into first place in a given contest.

What you can control are the variables to put yourself in a position to win.  That is what makes DFS such a good sport and one of skill, because we can control variables to allow ourselves to be in a position on a given night to hopefully have a shot.

I liken this to when I coach Middle School Travel Basketball.  Every year we go through the season and I have a plan on how we are going to implement different things.  We’ll start off at the beginning dusting off some fundamentals but also installing our systems, concepts, and work on overall team building/chemistry.  As the season moves along we certainly make adjustments and hone in on skill development while doing some game planning for our opponents.  But when we reach the playoffs, the number one thing we focus on for our practices leading up to the first game is …. Fundamentals!

Because at this point we anticipate being in close games, we anticipate match-ups and strategy will be back and forth, but in the critical situation who is going to have the proper fundamentals to help execute.  So to tie this all back to DFS, we sometimes need an article like this to help with Fundamentals and these are my Dongers Club Fundamentals for you to use or even tweak for your own style if you need to be.

I do not offer MME advice and I’ll spare the reasons why but ultimately it’s because I do not play an MME style or believe that offering the type of advice that I can offer will help with that mindless process.  You can have success with one lineup in MLB DFS.  It can be done and anyone who says contrary is just thinking differently.  I will many times play up to 3 or 5 lineups on a given slate, but generally it’s a Main lineup on FanDuel, a Main lineup on DraftKings and then a 2nd or 3rd lineup on DraftKings.  But I follow my Main lineups the most and if I want some variance I might split between the two sites to get that variance in my plays.

These Fundamentals can be used for a Main / Single Lineup.

What are the Fundamentals you should rely upon when struggling?

 

CONTEST SELECTION

  1. Find a contest with less than 1,000 lineups in it.  Preferably a contest that has less than 200 lineups in it.  Key word here is lineups and not entries because I don’t care if it’s 150 entry max or Single entry, the key isn’t Single Entry, the key is how many other lineups do you have to compete with.  Hammer this through your head as much as you have too, but it’s the most important step to sustaining profit long term in DFS.
  2. While it might not offer the biggest reward, you should ALWAYS have one entry in a contest that pays 10x to first when you are struggling.  $5 to $50, $100 to $1,000, etc…  Finding that contest can often times be challenging, but if you look closer to lock (within 1 hour) they open up the Mini or Smaller contests and they fill-up and pay out just as nice.  You’ll be shocked sometimes at the ownership in these as well.  One of my favorite tournaments on DraftKings is the $200 Mendoza which pays $2,000 to first.  It’s about 35 people.
  3. Don’t worry as much about what the place line is, but focus more on 1st place vs 5th place.  The place line variable isn’t going to impact you as much in Baseball as it does in NFL or NBA which are attrition sports.  But you don’t wanna be in a contest which pays so much to first and then pennies to 5th place.  Be smart about that.
  4. You do not have to AVOID the “donkey” contests that pay an obscene amount of money to first.  But they should not be your ONLY contest entered.
  5. Got it????   If you have any questions on the above, please speak up.  This is the most basic rule when struggling.

 

BANKROLL

  1. That’s on you.  I don’t care if you spend 1k one day and then $50 the next, or $0.25 one day and then $10 the next.  If you aren’t smart enough as an adult to understand the basic math on doing different variables one day and how it could impact your long term ROI then stop playing DFS.  I hate people who rant on about this shit like you are a moron, you get it, and you don’t need me to explain that logic to you.
  2. Next topic, you don’t need to be lectured on “Bankroll Management”… pfft

 

WHO ARE THE PLAYS TODAY

  1. You know what axes my grind more than anything else?  I do content every fucking day and yet I still get random DM’s or Text messages about “Hey, who you pitching today, whats your lineup?”.  No.  Not doing that sally and timmy.  I want you to process things on your own because again — Fundamentals.  The people who come along asking for a lineup or a hot play are those who follow screenshots of winning thinking that they can hit it rich quick.  I want you to learn to fish.
  2. So the plays today, well.  You tell me!
  3. Sometimes you are going to come and open my article having done zero research because of life commitments and I get that’s what you are paying for.  But honestly if you are in a slump and need some fundamentals then you need to get in the gym and work on things yourself.  This doesn’t mean spend hours doing research, but at least open up the slate and look at who is playing and pitching and make three decisions before reading my article.
    1. What pitchers do you think make the most sense.  Pick 3
    2. What team looks like the best team to play.
    3. What team that you normally wouldn’t think is really good offensively might do better than expected.
  4. It should take you no more than 5 minutes to make those determinations.  Just make some educated guesses quickly glancing at things without digging in deeper.
  5. Then open the Dongers Club and compare.
    1. Did I mention any of the pitchers you thought of and offer reasons why?   If so, I think we made a collective decision here.
    2. Did I mention the team that stood out to you the most?   Check
    3. Did I mention the team you thought was a little unique on that slate?  Double Check.
    4. Or did I completely differ from everything you said?   This is likely the case too and this is where you have to read and should start to mix and match.  But collectively we have narrowed down our player pool to no more than 6 pitchers and 5 offenses because I’m not going to be writing up the entire slate and I told you to narrow your list down very small too.

 

HOW DO I BUILD THIS ONE LINEUP

  1. Look, I don’t think stacking 5-3, 5-2-1, 4-4, 4-3-1 is as automatic as everyone else and certainly not when we lock in on our proper contest selection, but we should start with a core from a team that we like.
  2. The Braves are a great example as I write this because Ronald Acuna just hit his 2nd homer on the night.  He was the most expensive player on the slate and for one of the most popular teams going tonight.  So back to the “having a little luck” thing above, you stack a team because you are simply giving yourself a chance if they are producing as expected.  Nailing 8 one offs is extremely difficult and something you shouldnt try to do when struggling.
  3. So the top team we want to build off tonight should not be a team who is going up against the Ace pitcher that night because again, we want our fundamentals.  It’s one of the top teams going up vs a pitching staff/starter who is known bad and the hitting environments are good.  This isn’t the case 100% of the time, but again — fundamentals.  What are we looking for here?
    1. Pick the 3 hitters from this team who grade out the best using the Dashboard I provide, my article or even your own research.
  4. Identify the second team you want exposure from, but this is where it pays to read the positional breakdown.
    1. Lets say the second team you like is the Nationals.  Should it be Turner?  Soto?   Bell?   Schwarber?  Robles?   Yan fricken Gomes?
    2. Identify the available one offs elsewhere and their price compared to those plays.  If 1B is extremely deep and Josh Bell is $5,400 then I can find value at 1B and maybe take Robles/Turner instead from the Nationals to balance the $ out better there.
  5. If you get to the final spots and you have nobody that fits besides someone from your top team and you want to make it a 4 or 5 man stack then yes.  But a 5 man stack loses more than it wins — especially in 10x to first contests….

 

PITCHING

Because we have a narrow list on Pitchers, you want to circle back to this before locking in all your hitters.  Do not sacrifice pitching just to force in heavy bats and do not just blindly punt SP2 on DraftKings every single night when you are struggling.  There is a mindset that you gotta find that sneaky 2% owned low $ pitcher who is going to give you 4x his price and win a large tournament.  You know how many other DEAD lineups would have been built with that same guy in the 100k sized field????  Don’t be stupid, we are playing a 50 man contest that pays 10x to first here, we don’t need Joe Ross dealing the game of his life at 0.01% ownership.

 

FINAL FUNDAMENTAL RULES

  1. Pick the right contest
  2. Know your own opinions before reading others
  3. Don’t go into plays who aren’t in the pool of “good plays” for your main lineup
  4. Ownership doesn’t matter on your main lineup to win 10x
  5. Be consistent with the fundamentals

 

Re-establish your fundamentals with these rules and craft some of your own rules too to help build that Main Winning Lineup.  Then once we have that down, you can visit the 2nd and 3rd lineup builds which are going to shoot for 20x or 30x returns on nights and that’s when we can factor in ownership.

 

 

srenner

Founder and CEO for The Daily Ambush. Author or The Dongers Club (MLB), The Ambush (NFL), The Slapshot (NHL) and The Tailgate (CFB).