MLB DFS

MLB GPP Strategy: Lineup Construction Tips

I will be giving some tips and advice for MLB GPP lineup construction on Fanduel. These tips are based off of what I have learned in my time playing DFS.- Joe Berg

Over/Unders and Using Vegas Totals to Indicate Chalk

The first thing that I like to do when constructing my lineups is to look at the Over/Under totals for the upcoming slate. It gives me a little insight to what players/stacks will be chalky and which games might go under owned. If you think a game will go a few runs above the O/U, try a lineup or two stacking bats from that game. A good example of this is the day before the All-Star break. The O/U for the Pirates/Cubs game was 8 and Pittsburgh went out and scored 14 runs! These are the kind of decisions that can be the difference between not cashing and getting towards the top of the leaderboard.

The Impossible Pitching Dilemma

The next part of the equation is choosing your pitcher. The question that always crosses our minds is whether or not to pick the highest priced pitcher on the slate. My answer to that is no, usually. I only feel comfortable picking the highest priced pitcher if I am going to be playing a small slate. My reasoning for this is because you don’t want to pick Chris Sale at $11,000 when 35% of the field will also be on him. Remember, the goal of a GPP is to get as close to the top of the leaderboard as you can. It’s nearly impossible to do that when you, your cousin, sister and aunt all rostered Chris Sale. Guess who got 1st? Your Mother-in-law because she rostered James Paxton at $9,200 and could still afford the Astros stack.

Here’s an interesting piece of information that I noticed when reviewing the winning lineups. The winning lineup in 7 out of the past 10 large scale MLB Squeeze contests rostered a pitcher between $8,600-$9,400. You may think that this is irrelevant and perhaps a coincidence, but none of the top 10 played the top priced pitcher. This is one of the key ways you can differentiate yourself from the rest of the field and hit a big payday. I’m not saying that you can’t play the top priced pitcher and still get 1st place, but from my experience and research it is highly unlikely. The whole point of a GPP is to make a lineup with high potential that differs from the rest of the competition. Most of my lineups that had the best results were high run potential with a mid to low salary pitcher. Here are a couple of the pitchers that I chose in my lineups from last week as examples.

  1. My pitcher- Rich Hill $8,700 (8.2% owned) 49FDP – $200 won
  • Highest Priced- Chris Sale $11,800 (35.6% owned) 45FDP
  1. My pitcher- Jared Eikhoff $6,600 (4.1% owned) 45FDP- $120 won
  • Highest Priced- Jon Lester $10,400 (3.6% owned) -10FDP

The second example is a rare one, but still proves the point I am trying to make. Just because a pitcher is high priced does not mean that he is a safer or better play. Next time you’re trying to differentiate yourself from the pack, don’t be afraid to try playing someone you may not be as comfortable with. If they have a decent matchup then try rolling them out in a lineup or two. The results may just surprise you.

Stacking: Proven but still open for interpretation

Stacking is the basic concept that is used in 99.99% of winning GPP lineups where you play multiple players from the same team(s) in your lineup. An example of a common stack would be 4 Astros bats and 4 bats from a more affordable team. The idea behind this concept is banking on those two teams doing well increasing your chances of hitting big scores. This is where my opinion may differ from the conventional stack idea. I hate, no I DESPISE stacking four batters from the same team. Now hear me out. Unless the team you are stacking scores 8+ runs, at least one player in your stack won’t get you a lot of points. Not to mention, at least from my experience, the likelihood of choosing 4 batters from the same team that all go bananas is slim (the Astros being my one exception). I would much rather have a stack of 3, 3, 2 or 2, 2, 2, 2. I haven’t done enough research to determine whether or not my theory of a 4 batter stack is incorrect, so you can take this advice however you would like. I just haven’t found the 4 player stack to be as successful as other versions of stacking.

Using Batting Order Bias to your Advantage

One of the first things I learned when starting out in MLB DFS was that batting order is gospel. What if it wasn’t? What if you could use the batting order to your advantage to hit some huge numbers?

Most people would think using a stack of players batting below the 5 hole is burning money. I have had more success using this method than sticking to a conventional 1-5 bias. The idea is that having a stack of batters batting 6th-8th on a high scoring team is just as good as having a 1st-3rd stack on a low total team. We’ve seen over the course of the season that Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman can put up huge games. They almost always bat 7th and 8th, but if the Astros score 8+ runs, which is easy to do, they both get 1-2 additional at bats. That’s going from 3-4 at bats to 4-5, maybe even 6. I would take that any day over a bad team’s 1st-3rd getting 4 at bats.

Along with this concept is another that is worth taking note of. It is, if you like 2 teams with around the same implied run total, choose bats from the away team. The reasoning behind this is that the away team is guaranteed to bat the top of the 9th inning. Your player has that much more of a chance to get an extra at bat, which might just be the deciding factor between cashing or even taking down a GPP.

How to use this?

Now that we have a general idea of how we want to build our lineup, let’s test it out!

To start out, I want to go with a pitcher I think will be owned around 5%. He is in that sweet $8,600-$9,400 range we talked about earlier and that guy is Gio Gonzalez @ Cincinnati for $9,000. This sounds like a crazy play, I completely agree, but look at the upside. He has huge strikeout potential, he’s gotten a quality start in all 8 of his last games and I think he’ll be very low owned. Everybody is going to be on James Paxton and I think Gio is a very very sneaky play. This is what GPPs are about! You have to look at stats as well as matchup and I am willing to take a risk on Gio here. For my first stack, I’m going to take some Rays bats against Ricky Nolasco. I think there is too much upside for how cheap they are. I’m going to take Steven Souza at $3,200 and Corey Dickerson at $3,500. My next stack is going to be some Mariners vs James Shields. Kyle Seager is still ridiculously low priced at $2,500 and has good upside. I’m also going to take Robinson Cano at $3,200. I’m going to go with 2 more 2 man stacks because I feel these teams will garner lower ownership with insane upside. I’m going to go with Alex Avila $2,700 at catcher and Justin Upton at $3,300 in my last outfield spot. They both have potential to put up a home run against Aaron Sanchez. Lastly, I’m going with a couple of Dodgers. These 2 guys can knock it out of the park and will have less ownership thanks to the 8.5 O/U. I’m going with Cody Bellinger at 1B for $3,600 and Corey Seager at shortstop for $3,900. There are lots of things you can do with this huge 15 gamer and I think a lineup like this has a ton of upside. Thank you to everybody who took the time to read all of this. I hope I was able to give you some new ways to think about GPP lineup construction. Good luck in your tournaments and I hope you take home some big money!

Lineup

P- Gio Gonzalez- $9,000

C- Alex Avila- $2,700

1B- Cody Bellinger- $3,600

2B- Robinson Cano- $3,200

3B- Kyle Seager- $2,500

SS- Cody Seager- $3,900

OF- Corey Dickerson- $3,500

OF- Steven Souza Jr.- $3,200

OF- Justin Upton- $3,300

About the author, Joe Berg:

I am a 24 year old from Southwest Wisconsin and have been playing DFS on Fanduel since 2014. Before this year I mainly stuck to NFL, but started listening to Lineup Logic and decided to get into NBA and now MLB. I’ve gotten top 3 in large scale GPPs in NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL with an overall profit of around $9,000. I love playing GPPs and hope my advice can help you hit some big wins. I just wanted to thank Sean Kane for allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts and advice with all the loyal Lineup Logic listeners.

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