The MLB Ownership Review is a regular series in which we review the ownership dynamics of a previous slate.
On Wednesday, May 24, the main slate consisted of 10 games and was headlined by Red Sox ace Chris Sale, who facing the Rangers had a slate-low opponent implied total of 2.9 runs, per our Vegas Dashboard.
Sale did not live up to his lofty expectations, putting up just 22.3 DraftKings points. While that number is good in a vacuum, it’s mediocre for a $13,500 pitcher. A whopping $3,600 more than any other pitcher, Sale entered the slate likely to be heavily rostered.
Let’s take a look at how the ownership distribution played out on Wednesday.
May 24th Ownership Review
Sale was the highest-owned pitcher by an incredibly large margin. The following ownership data is from our DFS Ownership Dashboard, which Pro Subscribers can review shortly after lineup lock:
In the guaranteed prize pools we track, Sale was owned in at least 60 percent of lineups across the board with an average ownership rate more than 50 percentage points higher than that of any other DraftKings pitcher. On a 10 game slate, there is merit in fading an expensive pitcher with expected high ownership, especially if he has a history of underperforming when priced up. As it turns out, before the May 24 slate Sale had a -3.17 Plus/Minus and 41.7 percent Consistency Rating (per our Trends tool).
When using our Lineup Builder, you will have significantly different roster construction by fading an expensive pitcher with high ownership. By eliminating just that one player, you will be much likelier to create unique lineups. By the end of the slate, five other pitchers had more DraftKings points than Sale. Fading him in GPPs was the right play on this occasion.
The Washington Nationals had the highest implied total in the main slate at 5.3 runs. Let’s see what their ownership looked like:
With their high salaries, the Nationals were hard to roster with Sale, which is why they had lower ownership. Instead of owning the Nationals, many DFS players pivoted to the Houston Astros, who led the slate with an 82 Team Value Rating (per our Lineups page). Evan Gattis, George Springer, and Marwin Gonzalez all had average ownership rates above 15 percent. Houston was taking on Tigers lefty Daniel Norris and implied to score 5.1 runs. At is happens, four of the top-eight batters in the Bales Model were Astros.
Although many DFS players used Sale as a plug-and-play pitcher, that was probably the wrong decision given his elevated salary and ownership, which was projected to be high given his past ownership rates and status in the slate as the only high-priced stud. Correspondingly, the Nationals had low ownership rates despite their slate-high implied total. In similar situations in the future, it might be possible to gain an ownership edge by using top hitters instead of a top pitcher.
Moving forward, be sure to use the FantasyLabs Tools to monitor the ownership patterns of slates with minimal high-priced pitching options.