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“I Don’t Want to Be Right”: Dual Eligibility and a Concrete Way to Be Contrarian

If starting this article without an introduction is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

This is the 55th installment of The Labyrinthian, a series dedicated to exploring random fields of knowledge in order to give you unordinary theoretical, philosophical, strategic, and/or often rambling guidance on daily fantasy sports. Consult the introductory piece to the series for further explanation.

“. . . is Now Clean, Your Highness”

It wouldn’t be a Labyrinthian if I didn’t talk about something other than DFS for an extended period of time . . .

I think that the first time I saw Coming to America, I got to watch it because my uncle was in town and wanted to see a movie that wasn’t made by Disney. My parents decided to let me watch it with the rest of the family, even though I was way too young to see it. It actually might’ve been my first R-rated movie, which is sort of the filmic equivalent of losing one’s virginity to . . . I can’t think of any non-problematic archetype, but you get the idea.

My parents let me watch the movie because they figured that I was too young to “appreciate” the “subtlety” of the humor. They were wrong. There’s nothing subtle about the definitely NSFW opening scene in which a naked woman says to Eddie Murphy, “The royal penis is now clean, Your Highness.” You don’t need to be an adult to appreciate that — and I appreciated it.

I was probably about five years old, and five minutes into the movie I had decided that Coming to America was the best movie ever and that Eddie Murphy was the funniest man in the world. I wasn’t that far from the truth.

The Eddie Murphy Oeuvre

Once that cork was popped, I begged my parents to let me see other Eddie Murphy movies, and they eventually relented, which probably explains why I am who I am today.

I saw them all: 48 Hours, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, and Beverly Hills Cop II. I loved them all. They were all (and still are) classics in their own way.

But even then I thought that Coming to America was the best. I quoted that movie nonstop, especially this one scene:

I don’t know why, but I thought that one line was the f*cking funniest statement that I’d ever heard or that could ever be said. I started using it liberally in a variety of situations:

  • If eating candy for dinner is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
  • If punching you in the nuts is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
  • If peeing on the teacher’s desk is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Eventually, my parents offered to pay me to stop using that linguistic formulation. When I said that I’d prefer to keep on speaking in the manner to which I had grown accustomed, they then threatened to fine me $0.25 each time I used a variation of the phrase.

A few relinquished dollars later, I stopped using the phrase. Ultimately, my Jolly Ranchers money was more important to me than Arsenio Hall’s declaration that he didn’t want to be right.

“I Don’t Want to Be Right”

Years pass. I’m in high school. I haven’t seen Coming to America or said that phrase in at least half a decade. I’m at dinner with my parents and sister. A douchebag and his mega-hot girlfriend walk into the restaurant, and he starts making a scene about wanting a particular table. The girlfriend looks embarrassed.

I turn to my sister and say — in a voice intentionally loud enough for the douche and his girlfriend to hear me, “If stealing that guy’s girlfriend is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” The douche looks pissed. His girlfriend bites her lip to keep from smiling. My sister laughs. My mother audibly gasps. The douche and his girlfriend leave the restaurant.

My father calmly sticks out his hand. I reach into my pocket, pull out a quarter, and give it to him. He smiles slightly. He can’t say it because my mother is mortified — but I know that he’s proud of me.

Sometimes it’s worth sacrificing money to do what’s wrong.

A Concrete Way to Be Contrarian

Last week, I generally discussed the concept of contrarianism. In this piece, I want to discuss a concrete way to be contrarian in MLB DFS.

It’s pretty simple: Do what’s wrong and don’t worry about being right.

Actually, that’s not that concrete.

Dual Eligibility on DraftKings

On DK, in almost every slate, there are multiple players who have dual positional eligibility. In tonight’s main slate (5/25/16), for instance, among those with dual eligibility are these players:

  • Steve Pearce: 1B/2B
  • Brandon Drury: 3B/OF
  • Manny Machado: 3B/SS

For each of those players — and for most players with dual eligibility — one position is usually preferable to the other. Ideally, DFS players for this slate should use Pearce as a second baseman, Drury as an outfielder, and Machado as a shortstop. It’s harder to find players as good as them in their salary ranges at those positions (in comparison to the other eligible positions), and so it’s optimal to play them at the positions of relative scarcity.

It’s the value-seeking move.

And that’s why in tournaments you shouldn’t do it.

“If Sacrificing Value is Wrong . . .”

In guaranteed prize pools, it sometimes (or oftentimes) makes sense to sacrifice money, salary, value, etc., in order to do something that’s “wrong,” especially in MLB DFS where volatility diminishes the importance of “lineup optimization” anyway.

Using dual-eligible players at positions of scarcity is an optimal tactic intended to maximize a lineup and the salary used. That’s why it’s a horrible idea. It’s clearly optimal, and lots of people do it.

But GPPs aren’t about optimization. They’re about individuation. They’re about creating lineups that have a decent chance of being unique.

If you use Pearce and Machado as middle infielders tonight, you will most likely not have a unique lineup. If, though, you use Pearce and Machado in tandem as your corner infielders, you will likely have a much better chance of fielding a unique lineup. You will probably be leaving value on the table — but that “value” isn’t all that valuable anyway.

Here’s $0.25

Sometimes, the best thing to do is not to wait for a Black Swan. Sometimes, it’s best to find a White Swan or a Gray Swan and paint it black.

In using dual-eligible players at their suboptimal positions, you are theoretically doing something wrong — but if painting a swan black is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

———

The Labyrinthian: 2016, 55

Previous installments of The Labyrinthian can be accessed via my author page. If you have suggestions on material I should know about or even write about in a future Labyrinthian, please contact me via email, [email protected], or Twitter @MattFtheOracle.

If starting this article without an introduction is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

This is the 55th installment of The Labyrinthian, a series dedicated to exploring random fields of knowledge in order to give you unordinary theoretical, philosophical, strategic, and/or often rambling guidance on daily fantasy sports. Consult the introductory piece to the series for further explanation.

“. . . is Now Clean, Your Highness”

It wouldn’t be a Labyrinthian if I didn’t talk about something other than DFS for an extended period of time . . .

I think that the first time I saw Coming to America, I got to watch it because my uncle was in town and wanted to see a movie that wasn’t made by Disney. My parents decided to let me watch it with the rest of the family, even though I was way too young to see it. It actually might’ve been my first R-rated movie, which is sort of the filmic equivalent of losing one’s virginity to . . . I can’t think of any non-problematic archetype, but you get the idea.

My parents let me watch the movie because they figured that I was too young to “appreciate” the “subtlety” of the humor. They were wrong. There’s nothing subtle about the definitely NSFW opening scene in which a naked woman says to Eddie Murphy, “The royal penis is now clean, Your Highness.” You don’t need to be an adult to appreciate that — and I appreciated it.

I was probably about five years old, and five minutes into the movie I had decided that Coming to America was the best movie ever and that Eddie Murphy was the funniest man in the world. I wasn’t that far from the truth.

The Eddie Murphy Oeuvre

Once that cork was popped, I begged my parents to let me see other Eddie Murphy movies, and they eventually relented, which probably explains why I am who I am today.

I saw them all: 48 Hours, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, and Beverly Hills Cop II. I loved them all. They were all (and still are) classics in their own way.

But even then I thought that Coming to America was the best. I quoted that movie nonstop, especially this one scene:

I don’t know why, but I thought that one line was the f*cking funniest statement that I’d ever heard or that could ever be said. I started using it liberally in a variety of situations:

  • If eating candy for dinner is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
  • If punching you in the nuts is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
  • If peeing on the teacher’s desk is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Eventually, my parents offered to pay me to stop using that linguistic formulation. When I said that I’d prefer to keep on speaking in the manner to which I had grown accustomed, they then threatened to fine me $0.25 each time I used a variation of the phrase.

A few relinquished dollars later, I stopped using the phrase. Ultimately, my Jolly Ranchers money was more important to me than Arsenio Hall’s declaration that he didn’t want to be right.

“I Don’t Want to Be Right”

Years pass. I’m in high school. I haven’t seen Coming to America or said that phrase in at least half a decade. I’m at dinner with my parents and sister. A douchebag and his mega-hot girlfriend walk into the restaurant, and he starts making a scene about wanting a particular table. The girlfriend looks embarrassed.

I turn to my sister and say — in a voice intentionally loud enough for the douche and his girlfriend to hear me, “If stealing that guy’s girlfriend is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” The douche looks pissed. His girlfriend bites her lip to keep from smiling. My sister laughs. My mother audibly gasps. The douche and his girlfriend leave the restaurant.

My father calmly sticks out his hand. I reach into my pocket, pull out a quarter, and give it to him. He smiles slightly. He can’t say it because my mother is mortified — but I know that he’s proud of me.

Sometimes it’s worth sacrificing money to do what’s wrong.

A Concrete Way to Be Contrarian

Last week, I generally discussed the concept of contrarianism. In this piece, I want to discuss a concrete way to be contrarian in MLB DFS.

It’s pretty simple: Do what’s wrong and don’t worry about being right.

Actually, that’s not that concrete.

Dual Eligibility on DraftKings

On DK, in almost every slate, there are multiple players who have dual positional eligibility. In tonight’s main slate (5/25/16), for instance, among those with dual eligibility are these players:

  • Steve Pearce: 1B/2B
  • Brandon Drury: 3B/OF
  • Manny Machado: 3B/SS

For each of those players — and for most players with dual eligibility — one position is usually preferable to the other. Ideally, DFS players for this slate should use Pearce as a second baseman, Drury as an outfielder, and Machado as a shortstop. It’s harder to find players as good as them in their salary ranges at those positions (in comparison to the other eligible positions), and so it’s optimal to play them at the positions of relative scarcity.

It’s the value-seeking move.

And that’s why in tournaments you shouldn’t do it.

“If Sacrificing Value is Wrong . . .”

In guaranteed prize pools, it sometimes (or oftentimes) makes sense to sacrifice money, salary, value, etc., in order to do something that’s “wrong,” especially in MLB DFS where volatility diminishes the importance of “lineup optimization” anyway.

Using dual-eligible players at positions of scarcity is an optimal tactic intended to maximize a lineup and the salary used. That’s why it’s a horrible idea. It’s clearly optimal, and lots of people do it.

But GPPs aren’t about optimization. They’re about individuation. They’re about creating lineups that have a decent chance of being unique.

If you use Pearce and Machado as middle infielders tonight, you will most likely not have a unique lineup. If, though, you use Pearce and Machado in tandem as your corner infielders, you will likely have a much better chance of fielding a unique lineup. You will probably be leaving value on the table — but that “value” isn’t all that valuable anyway.

Here’s $0.25

Sometimes, the best thing to do is not to wait for a Black Swan. Sometimes, it’s best to find a White Swan or a Gray Swan and paint it black.

In using dual-eligible players at their suboptimal positions, you are theoretically doing something wrong — but if painting a swan black is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

———

The Labyrinthian: 2016, 55

Previous installments of The Labyrinthian can be accessed via my author page. If you have suggestions on material I should know about or even write about in a future Labyrinthian, please contact me via email, [email protected], or Twitter @MattFtheOracle.