Throughout the season, I am using our FREE Trends tool to create a custom trend, and then I am tracking the results of my matches for the week in this article. The goal is to create trends with high Plus/Minus values and share them with our readers every Friday.
In case you haven’t already heard, we now display ‘Ownership’ as a field in Trends. This value represents the average ownership among past qualifiers for the trend you are looking at, and it is pulled from past large-field guaranteed prize pools. In previous installments of MLB Trend Testing, I have speculated about various factors that may lead to high or low ownership . . . and now the speculation is over.
Ownership is not the only thing that matters. We want to maintain a high Plus/Minus. Otherwise we will just be losing while using guys no one else used. I’ll start creating this week’s pitcher trend in an obvious and familiar way, by focusing on FanDuel pitchers whose teams are favored to win:
Next, let’s limit the result set to games in which the opposition is implied by Vegas to score fewer than four runs. The Plus/Minus increases, as does the average ownership:
How value-conscious do players tend to be on FanDuel? By applying a filter that matches players whose Bargain Ratings are in the bottom third, we have cut the average ownership in half:
The Plus/Minus and Consistency are within the same range as they were when we were looking only at favored pitchers.
The filters used to create this trend were as follows:
• Team is the favorite.
• Opposition is expected to score fewer than four runs.
• Bargain Rating is under 34 percent.
Matt Shoemaker’s price has been all over the place on DraftKings. In his seven starts leading up to Monday’s contest, Shoemaker’s salary on DK had been as high as $10,500 and as low as $6,400. On 8/29, he cost $7,200, which led to a 10 percent Bargain Rating on FanDuel.
His $8,700 price tag on FanDuel was a tough pill for people to swallow despite the fact that Vegas had projected the Reds to score only 3.5 runs and Shoemaker was at home, where he has been dominant this summer. But with several other aces on the mound, Shoemaker was rostered on only five percent of the field, a number that is right in line with what we are looking for in this trend. Shoemaker had an excellent start, posting a Plus/Minus of +17.06.
There were plenty of cheap home runs to be had on Tuesday. That helped neutralize any points-per-dollar advantage that might have otherwise been gained by DFS players who went with cheaper options at pitcher as an alternative to Max Scherzer. Still, Collin McHugh and Seth Lugo both individually exceeded their expected point total by 10.
To finish near the top in a large tournament, you need EVERYTHING to go right. On Tuesday, I had some things go right — I picked two mid-to-cheap pitchers who exceeded expectations at low ownership — but what wasn’t in my favor was the fact that the chalk hit. Max Scherzer was 21 percent owned in this tournament (with a much higher ownership on DraftKings, where two pitchers are used) and he scored 63 points.
This is probably my favorite play in the history of Trend Testing for several reasons.
First of all, Wednesday was a busy day for me with all of our newly-released NFL stuff (which is awesome) now live on the site. I didn’t have a chance to check the “Current Matches” as frequently as I usually do going into a slate.
When I checked the matches at some point in the mid-afternoon, Ricky Nolasco appeared as a match. Closer to lock, the Reds’ implied run total had increased to the point where Nolasco no longer qualified as a match. Remember, our projections update throughout the day! Essentially, I played Nolasco for no reason at all. And I was rewarded with a 60-point performance. From Ricky f*cking Nolasco.
Jason Hammel was the lone actual match headed into the 7:05 p.m. ET Main Slate. Hammel was by far the highest-owned pitcher of all the matches so far this week. He did exceed his implied total by a healthy margin but was still easily outscored by Corey Kluber and Nolasco.
Just so that it doesn’t look like every single match in this trend is a low-owned mid-priced guy who just crushes value, I should note that Bartolo Colon and Mike Fiers scored only 27 and 24 points as matches for the afternoon slate, which I did not enter.
Every single match in this trend is a low-owned mid-priced guy who just crushes value. It was a good week’s worth of results for this trend. By being willing to pay somewhat of a premium (based on Bargain Rating), you can generally find low-owned pitchers who are in decent spots and have a decent track record of success.
At the time of this writing, there is a single match for the trend: Jeremy Hellickson, who is currently favored to win in his matchup against the Braves, who are projected to score 3.8 runs. Hellickson’s FanDuel Bargain Rating is ZERO due to his dirt cheap $4,500 price tag on DraftKings. His average ownership in 2016 on FanDuel has been around 3.5 percent. The poor Bargain Rating may be enough to balance out the positive matchup and keep him around that level again tonight, especially since there are several aces on the hill for other teams.