Guaranteed Bargains on FanDuel

August 16 3:50am
Derek Carty

When we’re picking our FanDuel teams, we’re always looking to find bargains. More often than not, we’re looking for bargains in the form of players who have a favorable matchup for a particular day or are playing in a favorable park, but there are a couple classes of players that often go overlooked but serve as systematic bargains. Today, I’d like to talk about these two types of players who are often big bargains in FanDuel.

Converted Starters

I don’t know the specifics of it, but FanDuel’s pricing system seems to calculate a player’s price based upon his actual performance over some past period of time, giving no heed to future role. This creates opportunities for savvy daily leagues players in the way of relievers who are moved to the rotation. As I showed last week, relievers contribute very little in terms of FanDuel points, so if their prices are being based off of this performance but their future role has changed, they can be ripe for the picking. Last week’s study showed us that even terrible starters are worth more than the best relievers in the FanDuel format, so for a pitcher’s first few starts out of the bullpen, he’ll likely be severely undervalued, regardless of how good he is. It’s icing on the cake if he’s talented too.

Earlier this year, Cory Luebke was a favorite play of mine because he was a very talented pitcher who excelled in relief and figured to do very well as a starter. He cost peanuts, though, and he turned in some very nice games:

5 IP, 6 K, 0 ER
6 IP, 7 K, 0 ER, 1 W
6 IP, 8 K, 2 ER
7 IP, 5 K, 2 ER, 1 W

Those performances would have been good for 11, 17, 12, and 15 FanDuel points under the new format, which are all above average and plenty good if you’re loading up on offense because the pitcher only cost you $2000 or $3000. Now he costs $6300 if you want him for your FanDuel team.

Guys who currently qualify for this distinction include Charlie Furbush ($2600), Clay Hensley ($3300), and Micah Owings ($4000—only if he takes Marquis’s spot). Hensley is facing San Diego’s lackluster offense in Petco Park on Saturday, making him a prime play.

Rookies

Again, because of the way FanDuel’s pricing system works, players with no MLB experience also start off costing very little. The hot-hitting and light-footed Jemile Weeks was a very good example of such a player when he was called up earlier in the season. Mike Moustakas was another one that was a good play, despite not really delivering at the major league level yet. The two were called up around the same time, and it was interesting when you’d come across a FanDuel player who would have both in his or her lineup because they were so cheap.

Right now, players like Brett Lawrie ($2600), Zach Stewart ($2600), J.D. Martinez ($2700), Yonder Alonso ($2500), Dave Sappelt ($2700), and Collin Cowgill ($2400) fit the bill of recent call-ups with low FanDuel price tags. Jesus Montero will fit this mold as well once he’s called up (which seems like it will be September 1 now).

It’s also interesting to note that rookies who have been up a while like Weeks, Dustin Ackley, and Eric Thames still seem to be undervalued, costing $3000 or less right now but delivering 2.4, 2.8, and 2.4 points per game, respectively, while they’re surrounded (cost-wise) by players who are barely breaking 1.0 points per game. For pitchers, guys like Danny Duffy ($4800) and Jordan Lyles ($3400) still seem to be undervalued as well.

Concluding Thoughts

Some of the players are listed are, naturally, better plays than others, but they are all guys that are worth paying attention to and are, at the very least, worth considering on days that they have good matchups. The larger point is that certain classes of players seem to be systematically undervalued in FanDuel, and that is very important information to have.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment or e-mail me. Also, be sure to add me as a friend on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Derek Carty’s work can also be found at Baseball Prospectus, CardRunners Fantasy Baseball, and DerekCarty.com. He has previously had his work published by The Hardball Times, NBC’s Rotoworld, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, and USA Today. He is the youngest champion in the history of LABR, the longest-running experts league in existence, and is a graduate of the MLB Scouting Bureau’s Scout Development Program (aka Scout School). He welcomes questions via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.


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