Quote of the day
"We jumped our team batting average some, didn't we? Did we get over .250?" -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, after the team scored 14 against the Marlins (raising the team batting average from .245 to .247)
Quote of the day
Iíve been regularly playing a couple of different baseball contest formats over the past month and a half, each with modest (albeit low stakes) success. One is the weekly contest at Draft$treet, and the other is the solo contest format at Daily Joust. Today I want to talk a bit about the latter.
In Daily Joustís solo contest format, you are not paired against any other contestant. Like blackjack, you are playing against the house, and need only to reach a total of 50 fantasy points to win. Presumably, Daily Joust has figured that this puts the odds slightly in favor of the house over the long haul. But so far, in 18 contests, Iíve hit the 50 point mark eleven times, giving me an 11-7 record, which is good enough to exceed the siteís rake ($5 entry fee to win $9.)
Iíll be the first to admit that 18 games is not a statistically credible sample. If I flipped a balanced coin 18 times, the probability of getting least 11 heads is roughly 25%. If I flipped an unbalanced coin that produced a head only 44% of the time, Iíd still have better than a 10% chance of getting 11 or more heads. And four of my wins were close calls (3 52s, and a 51), while only one loss was that close (49).
Nonetheless, so far, so good. I donít play every day, avoiding those days with a limited number of games, or with a lot of weather uncertainties, or when I simply donít have time to think about it for at least 15-30 minutes. Strategically, it seems as though pitching should be a critical factor, even though there is only one pitcher on a 9-player roster. The pitcher can cost as much as half of the salary cap, and the production should be commensurate with the cost. So I need to have some conviction about the pitcherís outlook.
Curiously, in my limited sample of 18 contests, Iíve generally done better when Iíve allocated significant cost toward my pitcher. In my 11 wins, my pitcher has cost an average of $337 (33.7% of the total roster), and those pitchers have produced an average of 19.2 fantasy points (DJP). In my 7 losses, Iíve spent only $240 on pitching, and those cheaper pitchers have produced an average on only 5 DJP. So going cheap on pitching has not worked out. My pitching points have been much worse that the proportionate cheapness would suggest, and the extra funds I have used for hitting have also not been as productive. In my wins, Iíve actually gotten an average of 38 DJP from hitters, vs. just 31 DJP from my hitters in the losses, in spite of spending about 14% more on hitters in those losses.
Whatís this tell me? So far, it tells me that I do better when I pay up for a higher quality pitcher, and forage for value among cheaper hitters. As an extreme case in point, yesterday I used Justin Verlander at a cost of $528 Ė more than half of my entire salary cap. He only generated 20 DJP, suffering a tough 1-0 loss to Dan Haren (who would have been a much better pick at a salary of only $325.) But my hitting Ė notably Ryan Howard with a monster 22 DJP game - saved the day. My hitters actually produced 41 DJP in total Ė 22 from Howard, and 19 from everyone else.
Maybe my thinking will shift over the next 18 contests. I really donít think Iíve been that adept at picking top pitchers. I think the quality pitchers have just cushioned my pitching downside, and Iíve been able to identify enough value in cheap hitters to make up the difference. Whether thatís been skill or luck remains to be seen.
In any event, if youíve been gun shy about playing at daily contest sites because you fear always getting paired against a ďproĒ, you might want to give solo contests a try. And so far, Daily Joust is the only site offering this alternative. If you arenít registered there, be sure to click on the big purple banner above, which should populate ďrotoguruĒ in the appropriate registration referral field. Thanks. (Note Ė there are no free solo contests offered, but if you want to test out your solo picking capabilities, play a free head-to-head contest. The scoring and salary pricing is the same, and youíll also get to see who someone else has selected on his or her roster. Just measure your prospective solo contest success using the 50 DJP threshold.)
Donít forget to set your GuruGolf rosters for tomorrowís John Deere Classic. More than half of all GuruGolf teams still include inactive golfers as of this morning.