Mad Max’s MLB GPP Rundown (9/15)

Hope you all had a fun playing Daily Fantasy Football week 1 of the NFL. I lost quite a bit of money this weekend, but for once the biggest loser of the weekend were the DFS sites, who gave a way a ton of money in overlay across the board. It looks like FanDuel and DraftKings are going to run those big contests once again, so it should be another juicy weekend.

But, we’re not here to talk Football today, we’re here to talk about Baseball! And speaking of big tournaments, we have some huge ones on both DraftKings and FanDuel. DraftKings is actually running a MLB Millionaire Maker, which will only has a 2.5 million dollar prizepool and will be very top heavy. FanDuel’s contests have slightly smaller prizepools, but are much more flat. Either way you choose, it’s a great day to play Daily Fantasy MLB today.

I wrote an article about GPP strategy in Daily Fantasy yesterday (which you can find here: The article was about why I think player salaries matter a lot less when playing GPPs. Since our whole goal is to be to just find the highest scorers of the night, I think it’s best to build around those players regardless of their salary, and hope to get lucky with the rest of our lineup. The article was mostly about Football, but what I didn’t really talk about was how it applies to DFS Baseball. I think this strategy actually applies much more to DFS Baseball than Football. There are usually so many quality low salary options in Baseball, that wasting a little extra money on a high salary guy will rarely effect the upside of our lineup.

So with that in mind, this article is going to mostly be about the high upside plays I think you should be building your teams around tonight.

But first, as always, let’s get into pitchers.

Pitchers I Love:

Jacob deGrom ($11,900 on DK, $11,100 on FD) – This one doesn’t need much explaining. deGrom is an elite pitcher, is at home, and has a great match-up vs the Marlins. He’s solid across the board on the recent performance sheet and has actually gained some velocity on his fastball in his past 5 games.

Stephen Strasburg ($9,800 on DK, $10,100 on FD) – Strasburg has had an up and down season although it’s been mostly up as of late. He’s done a good job pounding the strikezone recently and his stuff has been very good, especially in his last start where hitters swung correctly at strikes only 58% of the time. I really wanted to find a reason to fade Strasburg tonight, but I honestly can’t find one.

Carlos Martinez ($9,300 on DK and FD) – Bet you’re a bit surprised to see this guy on here! Martinez on paper has been pretty bad lately, but looking into his relevant stats I actually love him a lot. He’s gained almost a 1.5 mph on his already ridiculous fastball, but most importantly he’s been locating better than ever. His F-Strike and Zone % is way up and his contact % is lower than everyone tonight except Jacob deGrom. The last time I saw something like this was with Raisel Iglesias, before he went on a complete tear. Martinez is a high splits righty, so this match-up actually works quite well for him as all the Brewers top guys are right-handers. He’s someone who could win you $1,000,000 tonight.

Pitcher you may Love, but I Don’t:

Derek Holland ($9,500 on DK and FD) – Holland is similar to Happ, he gets a great strikeout match-up and he’s at home. But, like Happ, he doesn’t miss many bats either and his home park is a lot worse for pitchers. On top of all this, the Astros have some great righty bats at the top of the order, not ideal for a high-splits lefty. Unlike Happ, I’m going to suggest a total fade of Holland, as his price is way too high. Use Carlos Martinez where you were planning to use Holland.

Pitchers I Hate:

David Buchanan – Not exactly the shocker of the century here. Buchanan is a very bad pitcher and actually a reverse splits one. This bodes quite well for all the Nationals right-handed bats.

Aaron Brooks – Not a surprise either, but Brooks is as terrible as his recent stats suggest. I think the White Sox run line of 4.8 is pretty fair though, so don’t go overboard here.

Juilo Teheran – He’s had a lot of trouble this season throwing 1st pitch strikes, and it was really bad in his last start. I think he gets wrecked here even vs a lineup full of right-handers.

Bold Prediction

J.A. Happ has a mediocre game – Ok look, Happ does have a quality match-up here and his price is great. He’s a good play, there’s no doubt about that. But, I think he’s gotten quite lucky in his last couple starts missing bats. His contact rate was down to 72% in his last start, and I think it was due mostly to the Reds swinging at a lot of pitches outside the strikezone, as his zone % was down quite a bit as well. Happ’s stuff didn’t suddenly improve. I think he’ll be over-owned on DraftKings and is not the type of player you want to over-own, as his upside, in my opinion, is limited. The Cubs are definitely a team that can go bonkers on offense as well, so there’s blow-up potential here. I’m not going to totally fade Happ, I’m just going to try to own him about 15-20%, not 40-50% like the field likely will.


Bats to Build Around

As I stated earlier, I think price is not as important in GPPs, so I’m going to list off some guys who I think have the upside to win you a tournament (Best price in parenthesis). I’m going to refer to hitter skill quite a bit below, and what I mean by that is how good a hitter would be over a season playing at the particular park, against that particular pitcher hand. For example, David Ortiz obviously is not as good a hitter as Bryce Harper, but at Camden Yards we actually do rate him higher than Harper at the Phillies park.

Bryce Harper ($5,300 on FD) – Doesn’t seem much explaining. Harper is facing a bad pitcher in a hitters park and is one of the best hitters in baseball.

Paul Goldschimdt ($4,000 on FD) – He’s not facing a lefty, but he’s an incredible hitter and can steal some bases against Tyson Ross.

Buster Posey ($3,500 on FD) – Another obvious one. Posey is a unbelievably good hitter vs lefties and actually is well priced as well.

Chris Davis ($5,600 on DK) – I list Davis’ DK price here because he plays 1B/OF there, and that versatility should not be underrated. His price is terrible but if we ignore that he’s the 5th highest projected player according to our algorithm.

David Ortiz ($5,100 on DK) – In terms of pure hitter skill given the park, Ortiz is actually the best hitter of the night. His match-up is mediocre against Ubaldo Jimenez, but that’s not enough for me to want to avoid him. Ortiz has insane upside.

Andrew McCutchen ($4,600 on DK) – Whenever McCutchen faces a lefty, he’s going to be up there as one of the best hitters of the night. And what helps here as well is that he’s going against Jon Lester, who can’t hold a baserunner to save his life. McCutchen could be in for a ridiculous game.

Josh Donaldson ($5,800 on DK) and Jose Bautista ($5,400 on DK) – Given the prices of these two guys and the fact they’re facing a righty, I don’t think either of these two will be popular plays. But from a point projection and upside standpoint, they are two of the best. If you’re in agreement about salary not mattering as much for GPPs, then these guys should be in your lineup.

Miguel Cabrera ($4,600 on DK) – Guys like Rendon, Carpenter, and Sano may be on your radar much more at 3B than Cabrera, but in terms of hitter skill, Cabrera is our 3rd highest rated player and he’s facing a guy prone to give up the long ball.

Mike Trout ($4,200 on DK) – He’s facing an elite pitcher, but it’s actually a great match-up for Trout who hits off-speed pitches extremely well and steals bases, the perfect fit against King Felix. I think he gets overlooked tonight but you can’t ignore one of the best hitters in baseball even if he’s in a slump.

Jose Abreu ($4,900 on DK) – He’ll be used quite a bit, and is facing the worst pitcher of the night as well. Definitely has big power upside at home.

Joey Votto ($5,300 on DK) – Despite being at the worst HR park in baseball tonight, Votto still is rated highly in terms of hitter skill by our algorithm. If he was $4,300, he’d be on a lot of our radars, but at $5,300, he won’t be used at all. Chris Heston looks quite bad on recent pitcher performance as well. I could actually see Votto having a huge game despite the limitations of the park.

Justin Upton ($3,700 on FD) – Last one. Upton is at a great hitters park and is a great hitter as well. He doesn’t face a lefty but we actually project him as a more skilled hitter tonight than Miguel Sano, Edwin Encarnacion, and Evan Gattis.

Good luck tonight! Make sure to join us on the forum for some further MLB discussion.

View all posts by Max J Steinberg
Max J Steinberg

About the Author

Max J Steinberg Max Steinberg is a professional poker player and a top Daily Fantasy player who uses his creativity and mathematical abilities he cultivated as a poker player to win money on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He already has several big tournament scores to his name including the Victiv Bowl and countless MLB Monster wins. Follow him on twitter @maxjsteinberg.

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