Daily Fantasy Picks – Pitchers and Teams to Stack in our Lineup Optimizer – 7/16/16

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Austyn Varney

Welcome to Saturday baseball! It was great to see some baseball yesterday after the 4 day all-star break, which seemed like it lasted a year. We have a split slate day with a total of 15 games spread from 2:30 to 9:00. There are some pitchers in interesting spots as well as some offenses in spots to put up some runs. Lets get into some pitchers and stacks to consider!


Don’t forget to check out our free MLB research tools as well as our Premium fanduel and draftkings lineup optimizer for MLB, complete with DFSR projections. Get started for free with our 3-day trials!

Pitching Targets

Jason Hammel

Jason Hammel FD 8400 DK 0
Opponent – TEX (Darvish) Park – @CHC
FD – 31.19 DK – 20.27

Let me put a disclaimer out there first, the pitching options on the early slate are terrible and there is absolutely nobody that I am fully comfortable with. That being said, Hammel is going to be the guy I ride with in both cash games and tournaments. While the Rangers are a good offense, we saw what could happen yesterday and I would not be surprised to see that again. Hammel has dominated right handers with a .246 wOBA that is backed up by strong peripherals across the board. However, it is exactly the opposite with lefties as Hammel has given up a .369 wOBA, albeit is definitely inflated by a nearly 20% HR/FB rate. While that does worry me to a point, everyone on this slate has some serious issues. If Hammel is able to wiggle around the lefties, the strikeouts should be there and the Cubs are always able to put up a few runs, even against Yu Darvish. As for Darvish, I do think he is a somewhat interesting tournament option. There is definitely some strikeout upside with a Cubs team that can strikeout against righties at a huge clip. As I said, be careful with this early slate.

Matt Shoemaker

Matt Shoemaker FD 8100 DK 7700
Opponent – CHW (Shields) Park – @LAA
FD – 32.07 DK – 21.2

The main slate or "late" slate is a complete different story as it offers a few very viable options at pitcher, with Matt Shoemaker definitely making the list. While Shoemaker has definitely came back down to earth, he is still sporting some very good numbers and peripheral stats to back them up. With a 3.81 xFIP across the board and a combined hard contact rate sitting below 32%, I don’t think there is anything to worry about here with Shoemaker. The Angels will be taking on a Chicago White Sox team that strikes out 21% of the time against righties and hits the ball hard only 28% of the time. With this game being played in an extreme pitcher park, Shoemaker makes for a tremendous tournament option. As for cash games, I would look at a guy like Jeff Samardzija or Adam Wainwright.

Stack Targets

Boston Red Sox vs. C.C. Sabathia (Yankees)
Park – Yankees Stadium

Some may point to Sabathia and say he is a much improved pitcher from last year, and those people aren’t necessarily wrong. However, that is not saying too much as he was one of the worst left handed pitchers in the league. With this game currently sitting at a 9.5 over/under, we can definitely expect some bats to get a hold of some balls in the hitter friendly Yankees stadium, especially with it being daytime and temperatures rising. In 2016, Sabathia has exhibited an xFIP over 4.00 and a very low BABIP, which suggests some serious regression. My favorite 5 Red Sox are going to be Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia, in that order. If you want to be sneaky, I would target someone like Aaron Hill or Jackie Bradley Jr. that should be tremendously lower owned than the rest of these guys, and have the ability to hit one out to the short porch in right field. Throw them into our lineup optimizer and stack them solo, lock these guys in, or try double stacking them with the next team:

Milwaukee Brewers vs. John Lamb (Reds)
Park – Great American ballpark

John Lamb in the Great American "Smallpark"? Yes please. I will have A TON of Brewers tonight and I am willing to go down with the ship, well hopefully not. Not only is Lamb bad, but this ballpark magnifies all of his biggest weaknesses, which are giving up deep fly balls to the power alleys. Against righties dating back to 2015, Lamb has sported a horrible .386 wOBA and a 34.2% hard contact rate that is backed up by all of the necessary peripherals. While the Brewers aren’t known as a prolific or great offense, they definitely have a considerable amount of upside with a bunch of power and speed spread throughout the order. This is looking like a great team to stack in both our fanduel or lineup optimizer. My favorite 5 Brew Crew bats are going to be Ryan Braun, Chris Carter, Jonathan Lucroy, Jonathan Villar and Will Middlebrooks, in that order. In addition, the Reds bullpen is by far the worst in the league and the brewers are guaranteed 9 innings of hitting. Get some exposure and throw these guy into optimizer.

DFS Picks – Pitchers and Teams to Stack in our Lineup Optimizer 7/8/16

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Chris Durell

After back to back slates with little to no pitching options, we are gifted with a terrific slate on Friday. There are at least five elite aces on the mound in some pretty favorable matchups with a nice mix of mid to lower tier options to help get in some high dollar stacks tonight. Yes, I am talking about you Coors Field and your 10+ run totals night after night. If you are paying up for the aces tonight it may be wise to go contrarian and fade Coors in GPP’s and stack some other teams in great situations(Astros/Rangers/Jays/Red Sox). For cash games it is always worth fitting one or two of the Coors bats in your lineup.


Don’t forget to check out our free MLB research tools as well as our Premium fanduel and draftkings lineup optimizer for MLB, complete with DFSR projections. Get started for free with our 3-day trials!

Fanduel Lineup Optimizer - Jose Fernandez

Jose Fernandez FD 11700 DK 13400
Opponent – CIN (Straily) Park – @MIA
FD – 46.4 DK – 30.31

Fernandez comes into any matchup huge strikeout potential as he leads the league with an outstanding 13.10 K/9 rate. He leads with a 95 mph fastball that he throw 54% of the time producing a 14.9% swing strike rate. He is in a great spot on Friday night in a matchup vs. the Reds who rank 27th in wOBA(.297) and 29th in wRC+(70) vs. right handed pitching while striking out 22.3% of the time. Fernandez has also been very impressive at home with a 1.72 ERA while limiting opponents to a .220 wOBA.

Fanduel Lineup Optimizer - Scott Kazmir

Scott Kazmir FD 8800 DK 9100
Opponent – SD (Cashner) Park – @LAD
FD – 34.82 DK – 22.97

If you are looking to roster an ace like Fernandez on DraftKings with some viable bats you are going to need a value pitcher in the second slot. Kazmir fits the bill tonight as the Dodgers are the third biggest favorite(-200) behind the Marlins and White Sox. Kazmir possesses strikeout upside(9.6 K/9) and is coming off one of his best start of the season where he struck out 10 while walking none vs. the Rockies in six innings of three hit shutout ball. The matchup isn’t elite by any means as the Padres are actually pretty good against lefties(6th in wOBA) but they strikeout 23.7% of the time.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Mike Pelfrey (Tigers)
Park – Rogers Centre

Your guess is as good as mine why the Tigers keep rolling Pelfrey out every five days. He’s sporting a 5.05 xFIP and walking 3.41 batters per nine while only striking out 4.29 per nine. He will be in tough today vs. a Blue Jays squad who is red hot since Jose Bautista went on the disable list. Here are the slash lines of the big three since June 17th.




That is pretty good I would say. The Jays lineup gives you choices of whether to go top of the order with Carrera leading off or stack the middle of the order and add Saunders or Martin or go down even further and get some low ownership on Pillar and Travis. Either way, you can’t go wrong with the Jays today.

Chicago White Sox vs. Matt Wisler (Braves)
Park – US Cellular Field

There are a number of good-to-great pitchers going on this Friday slate of games. Matt Wisler isn’t one of them. While not bottom-of-the-barrel bad, he isn’t a guy we’re scared of by any means. He strikes out less than seven batters per nine and has an xFlP close in on 5.00 halfway through the season. The White Sox make for a decent value today mostly because they’re coming cheap. That’s the case because they aren’t a very good team. But we can target lesser bats in good matchups when the price is right. Tim Anderson at the leadoff fills a SS need even for a guy who nearly refuses to take a walk (1 BB in 112 PAs this season). But he has some sneaky power upside and wheels to turn loose. Then there’s Jose Abreu whose price has fallen thanks in some part to a dip in HR/FB%. But U.S. Cellular plays to power and I think the Sox could be a sneaky stack here.

Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks – Stacks & Pitchers for Fanduel and Draftkings 7/7/16

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Austyn Varney

Welcome to Thursday baseball! We have a 2 game early slate on the docket to lead off the 9 game main slate. With some interesting options all across the board and a couple over/unders over 10, it is going to be a very fun night. Let’s take a look at some pitchers and offenses we can look to target!


Don’t forget to check out our free MLB research tools as well as our Premium fanduel and draftkings lineup optimizer for MLB, complete with DFSR projections. Get started for free with our 3-day trials!

Stack Targets

Colorado Rockies vs. Adam Morgan (Phillies)
Park – Coors Field

While the Coors Field game is rarely mentioned in the stacks article due to it’s obvious nature, Adam Morgan calls for drastic measures. Morgan is one of the absolute worst pitchers in the league and I will be beyond surprised if he makes it out of the 3rd or 4th inning without giving up a ton of runs and getting pulled. Not only has Morgan been bad against righties, though with just as bad as a wOBA against left handers. My favorite 5 would be Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Raburn, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon, in that order. That being said, every hitter in the lineup will be in serious consideration for both cash games and tournaments. Make sure you get some exposure to this offense as I promise this will not be one of those times where the Rockies get shut out against an average pitcher in Coors Field. While this stack will be heavily owned, you should look to get cute elsewhere in a tournament.

Minnesota Twins vs. Chi Chi Gonzalez (Rangers)
Park – Arlington Park

Moving on to a sneakier stack, we will look at the Minnesota Twins facing off against the man, the myth, the legend, Chi Chi Gonzalez. Chi Chi has been horrendous since entering the majors with a .382 combined wOBA that is backed up by an utter ridiculous 43% hard contact rate against lefties and while you may think he is due for some positive regression, his peripherals suggest the exact opposite. The Twins on the other hand, have hit righties well this season and will improve their numbers even further now that Miguel Sano is back and hitting the ball well. My top hitters from the team are going to be Miguel Sano, Brian Dozier, Eduardo Nunez, Robbie Grossman and Kennys Vargas, in that order. While the other do have upside, I think those 5 work the best together with power and speed combinations. If you want to get a little off the board, I wouldn’t mind throwing Mauer in there.

Pitching Targets

Lucas Giolito

Lucas Giolito FD 7200 DK 8100
Opponent – NYM (Colon) Park – @NYM
FD – 32.02 DK – 17.44

Pitcher is extremely ugly and everything I say here is going to be very relative to this slate. That being said, I think Lucas Giolito has to be considered. While the sample size is small, Giolito has been great against both righties and lefties. While the Mets are thought of as a good team, they have been atrocious lately against righties with a .302 wOBA in the last month. While I am obviously not comfortable with Giolito in cash games, he makes for a great tournament play. With him sitting at 7 thousand on FanDuel and 8 thousand on DraftKings, he does not have to do too much to make you happy. If you are looking for a guy that is going to get some strikeouts and go about 100 pitches, Giolito is your guy, though he definitely has risk. To add on, his strikeout numbers will come as he struck out a fair amount of guys in the minors and that is not something that just falls by the wayside.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu FD 8700 DK 10300
Opponent – SD (Pomeranz) Park – @LAD
FD – 30.84 DK – 20.42

While I have not seen a pitch count for Ryu, you can clear this from your mind if there is one announced. While the Padres are bad against righties, they are not good against lefties either. Ryu is probably the best pitcher on the slate if we are talking talent, and while that doesn’t really matter, it is always nice to have a guy that has a ton of talent. To clarify, pitching is absolutely atrocious and neither of these guys would be mentioned if this was a regular 15 game slate with multiple aces on the mound. That being said, Ryu is the most talented pitcher on the board and I think he has a ton of upside if there is no pitch count or it is around 100-90 Aside from the great pitchers ballpark, the Padres lack both power and speed. When talking upside, however, I am not sure the Dodgers will stretch him out in his first start back from the DL.

Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks – Stacks & Pitchers for Fanduel and Draftkings 7/6/16

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Chris Durell

It’s an interesting smaller slate in tonight’s MLB. On the one hand we have a clear pitching option who’ll likely be the chalk across the board. But after that it gets a little murkier. The starting pitcher two slot on DK is especially tricky as you’ll need to decide whether to pay up for an arm with a slightly worse pts/$ multiplier or risk it on a cheaper option. I don’t envy the decision either way.


Don’t forget to check out our free MLB research tools and our premium fanduel and draftkings lineup optimizer for MLB, complete with DFSR and Razzball projections. Get started for free with our 3-day trials!

On the offensive side of things it’s a little clearer with one team projected for many more runs than the next closest squad. Let’s take a look at how things shake out.

Johnny Cueto - Lineup Optimizer

Johnny Cueto FD 10800 DK 11800
Opponent – COL (De La Rosa) Park – @SF
FD – 40.79 DK – 26.89

Johnny Cueto is in a great spot on Wednesday facing the Rockies who, going into Tuesday night, had lost six straight and seven of their last 10 games and sit with a 19-25 road record on the season. They are nowhere near as scary away from Coors as they rank 25th in wOBA on road. Even their numbers against righties this season, non-park adjusted, don’t totally scare you considering what Coors does to inflate stats. Cueto has had two bad starts in a row allowing 10 earned runs but did get the win vs. the Diamondbacks while striking out nine batters in seven innings pitched. He pitches in a terrific environment and will have a great shot to pick up his 13th win of the season. He’s the clear chalk play tonight and it’s not really close.

Marcus Stroman - Lineup Optimizer

Marcus Stroman FD 7100 DK 6400
Opponent – KC (Kennedy) Park – @TOR
FD – 31.59 DK – 20.88

Pay up or save on DK? With the big discount I will side with Stroman today against a Royals team ranked 20th in wOBA(.310) vs. right handed pitching who’ve struggled away from Kauffman Stadium with a 16-29 record on the road. Stroman has experienced an up and down season, which is to be expected of a pitcher who relies less on strikeouts and more on his command and control. He doesn’t have a pretty strikeout rate (6.42 K/9) but is producing a 59% ground ball rate. There are some positive signs for Stroman who is coming off an excellent start vs. the red hot Indians as he only gave up one earned run on five hits in 6.2 innings pitched with six punchouts and only one walk. I would even go as far as trusting him in DK cash games paired with on of the top options.

Stack Targets
Boston Red Sox vs. Martin Perez (Rangers)
Park – Fenway Park

For me, the Red Sox are the clear stack target on this evening slate. They open at about six expected runs, somewhere around 15% more than the next highest team. They’ll face a lefty in Martin Perez who walks nearly as many batters as he strikes out (4.43 k/9, 3.82 k/9) and sports an atrocious 4.91 xFIP. Don’t let that 3.39 ERA fool you. Dude isn’t good. The Red Sox will run three righties down the top of the order in Mookie Betts, Dustin, Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts. All three handle lefties better for their careers. Even David Ortiz in the reverse platoon is in play. I’m all over Red Sox in cash games and am even more encouraged because they’ve fallen somewhat out of public favor in the short term.

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Jeff Locke (Pirates)
Park – Busch Stadium

The Cardinals caught my eye when first looking at this slate. They face off against Jeff Locke who, in my opinion, has been lucky to have recorded eight wins to this point. He is working with an absolutely awful 4.66 K/9 rate while walking close to three batters per nine innings. His ERA sits at 5.13 and the xFIP of 5.01 does not suggest he is any better. Digging even deeper on Locke’s numbers you will see his Home/Road splits are pretty amazing. At home he has been serviceable with a 2.96 ERA and has held opponents to under a .300 wOBA. When the Pirates head out on the road it has been a different story all together as Locke has a 7.16 ERA and has allowed opponents a .373 wOBA. It is best to target the right handed bats(Piscotty, Holliday, Diaz, Molina) for the Cards as Locke is allowing 32.8% hard contact vs. right handed hitters vs. a 21% hard contact rate vs. lefties.

Daily Fantasy Baseball Picks – Stacks & Pitchers for Fanduel and Draftkings 7/5/16

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Nick Rodriguez

I hope everyone enjoyed the three-day weekend! We have 14 games on our hands today and it’s going to be a wild one. We have Bumgarner on the mound – then after that it gets tricky. I’ll be targeting my top GPP stacks and pitchers on today’s slate, so lets get right to it!


Don’t forget to check out our free MLB research tools and our premium fanduel and draftkings lineup optimizer for MLB, complete with DFSR and Razzball projections. Get started for free with our 3-day trials!

Pitching Targets

Carlos Carrasco

Carlos Carrasco FD 10200 DK 11700
Opponent – DET (Sanchez) Park – @CLE
FD – 36.48 DK – 23.9

One route that I would strongly consider taking for tournaments is Carlos Carrasco. He is one of the most dominant pitchers in the game today and will be going up against a Tigers’ squad that strikes out quite a bit (22.4 K% 7th in MLB) against right-handed pitchers. I honestly think Carrasco has the highest ceiling on the night, so I’m all in on the 29-year-old for tournaments.

Not only do the Tigers strikeout a ton, but Carrasco also does some fanning of his own. He is coming into this contest sporting a 25.4 K% to go along with a 1.06 WHIP. This guy is the real-deal and is the best option for tournaments on tonight’s slate.

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka FD 9000 DK 9900
Opponent – CHW (Rodon) Park – @CHW
FD – 31.78 DK – 21.04

Looking for a cheaper SP2 option? Then I recommend going with Masahiro Tanaka. He will be pitching on the road today going up against the Chicago White Sox. Not only is this a good matchup for the Japanese phenom, but it also gives him a nice ballpark boost. On the year, the White Sox own a .307 wOBA (23rd in MLB) and 21.3 K% (13th in MLB) against right-handed pitchers. He isn’t a guy with huge upside, but he’s got a lot of things going for him tonight and I expect him to deliver a quality start.

Stack Targets

Oakland Athletics vs. Tommy Milone (MIN)
The weather at Target Field is looking, well, not so good. Keep an eye on things with our mlb weather page here, and here’s a screenshot of the current forecast:

I know the Athletics aren’t a team that you tend to stack on a day-to-day basis, but I love them tonight. I’m not sure if it’s because they will be going up against Tommy Milone or the fact that they eat left-handed pitchers for breakfast. What the heck — I love them for both of those reasons.

Tommy Milone is a southpaw that has had his share of struggles this season since returning from the DL. He is sporting a 6.23 ERA that is backed up by a 5.31 FIP. That is all very appealing when looking to stack against a pitcher, but there is one thing in particular that stood out the most to me. And that was opponents hard contact rate against him. They own a 40.0% hard contact rate, which explains why his FIP and ERA are so inflated. Things have been ugly and going up against the A’s (.179 IS0 vs. lefties) sure isn’t going to help him out.

Cleveland Indians vs Anibal Sanchez (DET)

The Indians have been killing it! There are no other words to describe what they are doing. They have been on a rampage since the the NBA Finals; so don’t mess with the tribe! A 14-game win streak is no joke (snapped over the weekend) and I’ll have some exposure to these guys, as they will be going up against Anibal Sanchez.

Sanchez was a spectacular ballplayer in his prime — but he’s no longer in his prime. He’s 32 years old and has struggled mightily. He sports a 6.05 ERA that is backed up by a 5.24 xFIP. One of the key issues for Sanchez has been control and command in his pitches. He owns a 10.0 BB% to go along with a 17.9 K%. The stuff just isn’t there anymore for the veteran, so look for the red-hot Indians to have themselves a night — yet again!

Daily Fantasy Baseball Stacks & Pitchers for Fanduel and Draftkings 7/4/16

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By Nick Rodriguez

Happy 4th of July everyone! I know its Monday, but there is no better way to kickoff the week with some afternoon baseball. I will be talking some of the top stacks on today’s MLB slate as well some of the top GPP pitching options. So let’s get to it! And most importantly, stay safe on this beautiful holiday!


Don’t forget to check out our free MLB research tools and our premium fanduel and draftkings lineup optimizer for MLB, complete with DFSR and Razzball projections. Get started for free with our 3-day trials!

Stack Targets

Diamondbacks vs.Luis Perdomo (SD)

The 23-year-old is off to a rough start in the big leagues. He is coming into this contest sporting a 8.49 ERA that is backed up by a 5.46 FIP (yikes). His ERA and FIP are terrible, but that isn’t the only reason why I will be stacking the Diamondbacks today. Another reason is the park. Perdomo will be moving from spacious Petco Park into hitter-friendly Chase Field, which is never a good thing. The Diamondbacks own a .426 SLG (9th in MLB) against right-handed pitchers, so look for them to do some damage against the young right-hander.

St. Louis Cardinals vs Jon Niese (STL)

Niese is coming into this contest sporting an ERA and FIP over 5 (ouch). He has had a rough going in the early part of the season and I expect that trend to continue today against the Cardinals. He also owns a 1.53 WHIP and 7.8 K-BB%, which just shows you the type of year he is having. Everything about this matchup is yelling out Cardinals’ righties to me, so just do yourself a favor and stack St. Louis today. I know they are in the bottom half of the league against southpaws, but this matchup is just way to good to pass up on and I expect them to make some fireworks of their own today.

Pitching Targets

Danny Salazar

Danny Salazar FD 10600 DK 11200
Opponent – DET – Norris Park-@CLE
FD – 34.62 DK – 23.03

Salazar has been great this season for the Indians. He is coming into this contest sporting a 2.22 ERA that is backed up by a 3.13 FIP. I know he isn’t talked about much around the league (often a good thing), but this guy is the real deal. His ERA and FIP are very attractive, but what sticks out to me is his K%. He owns a 28.5 K%, and we all know that strikeouts are important when rostering a pitcher into your squads.

It’s never easy to go against the Tigers, but I love the matchup for Salazar. Yes, the Tigers are one of the best teams in the league against right-handed pitchers (9th in MLB in wOBA), but they also strikeout a ton. They own a 22.4 K% (9th in MLB), which is why I love Salazar. Sure this matchup has some risk, but it is certainly contrarian and he has the highest ceiling on the night, so I will go ahead and roll the dice on him.

Carlos Martinez

Carlos Martinez FD 8900 DK 8900
Opponent – PIT (Niese) Park – @STL
FD – 34.8 DK – 22.75

First and foremost, you have to love his price tag. 8K on both sites is just a thing of beauty. He will allow you to pay up for those big bats you love on today’s slate. Not only is his price tag attractive, but so is the Vegas line. Anytime you can roster in a pitcher that is a -180 favorite and is under 10K, it makes your life a whole lot easier. Wins are very valuable in DFS, so going with Baby Pedro is the best way to go if you’re chasing a W. Plus, we all know how dominant he can be when he is on his A-game.

Why Use a Lineup Optimizer? (Part 2)

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(If you haven’t read part 1 check it out here: Why Use a Lineup Optimizer? Part 1)


To understand the value of lineup optimization, lets look at the reality of how many possible lineups exist.

If you have ~300 available players and must select 9 of them, how many possible combinations of 9 are there? (Hint: It’s probably a lot more than you think) Math time! Lets look at an example using NFL:

We need 1 QB, 2 RB’s, 3 WR’s, 1 TE, 1 K, & 1 DEF. And lets say this is the breakdown by position:

  • 28 Available QB’s = Choose 1, so 28 Possible Choices
  • 90 Available RB’s = Choose 2, so 4,005 Possible Choices
  • 110 Available WR’s = Choose 3, so 215,820 Possible Choices
  • 40 Available TE’s = Choose 1, so 40 Possible Choices
  • 28 Available K’s = Choose 1, so 28 Possible Choices
  • 28 Available D’s = Choose 1, so 28 Possible Choices

How many possible combinations of 9 do we have?

[Nerd Alert: We are looking for combinations not permutations. There is a difference. If you would like to calculate the above and understand these numbers, you can check out the great combination / permutation calculator at mathisfun.com]

Now, we simply multiply them together to get our grand total of possible lineups:

28 x 4005 x 215,820 x 40 x 28 x 28 = 7.58976439 x 10^14
758,976,439,000,000 possible lineups.

Yes people, that is seven hundred fifty eight TRILLION possible lineups. Give or take few billion.


Things get even hairier when you add FLEX / UTIL players. The number of possible lineups compounds into unfathomable numbers. (It is an interesting exercise to figure out which sport & operator site has the most possible combinations, but we will save that for another day.)

Now, truth be told, we can reduce that number down pretty quickly because there are plenty of awful players that we know with certainty we will never use. But even if you bring these numbers down a lot, you still have trillions upon trillions of possible lineups.

Optimization can definitely help.

So is it even possible to find the #1 lineup? Yes it is! I still remember when we ran our first successful calculation. Quite frankly, I was nervous. Why? Well, I had one remaining nagging feeling. What if we find the #1 solution, lets say the total points achieved was 133.49 points, but what if the top 500 lineups also achieved 133.49 points? What if the top 1 MILLION lineups were tied for 133.49 points? A 1 million-way tie for first place would mean that there is no real value in doing this calculation. So we crossed our fingers and ran the algorithm and waited for several hours. (Hey, version 1 was purely brute-force and very slow.) Many hours later, I came back and saw the output on my screen. It looked something like this:

  1. Resulting Points: 133.490 / Salary used: $60,000
  2. Resulting Points: 133.488 / Salary used: $60,000
  3. Resulting Points: 133.482 / Salary used: $60,000
  4. Resulting Points: 133.480 / Salary used: $59,900
  5. Resulting Points: 133.471 / Salary used: $60,000
  6. Resulting Points: 133.470 / Salary used: $59,600
  7. . . . [a few thousand more results] . . . .



There was not a massive tie for first place. There was a clear #1 result and it did edge out the 2nd result, even if just by a few points. It was real, and it was staring me right in the face.

But now another question hit me: All of those lineups that I created manually in the past, where did they fall in the order of possibilities? In the top 1,000? Top 10,000? Top 1 million?
I gave this some serious thought and realized something unsettling. If you consider 1 Trillion possible lineups (for simplicity sake), the top 1 million lineups make up only the top .0001% of all possible lineups. Yes, the top 1,000,000 solutions are only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the total possible number of solutions. There was virtually no way I had ever manually built a lineup that landed the top million solutions.

Before optimization, I was doing it wrong.


Ok, so the #1 result is clearly valuable. Now what? Once we realized we had something interesting, it was time to start understanding how to apply it. Was this lineup good for head to heads? GPPs? 50/50s?

The answer we finally arrived at? Cash games. A #1 result, using the default Lineup Lab settings, is best used in large 50/50s, double ups & head to heads. Later on, we found that an optimizer is very valuable in Tournaments, but only if we generate multiple lineups in an intelligent way. Check out our limits tutorial as an example.

Daily Fantasy Sports is all about finding an edge no matter how small. If the #1 solution is even a 10th of a point higher than the #2 solution, shouldn’t you use it? Have you ever lost a game on a 10th of a point? I certainly have.

Sure there will be times when the #1 result has a player you don’t agree with. Remove him and re-calculate. Lineup Lab is a tool to help give you that edge. The Lineup Lab users who are consistently growing their bankroll and taking down large tournaments are combining their own personal opinions & research with Lineup Lab. This is the best way to use the software, and frankly, the most fun.

Push-button win systems do not exist. The human factor is strong in sports. Those of you who have played sports understand this. Have you ever seen a nervous batter’s face as he steps into the box? Or a hyper-confident point guard who walks up to the free-throw line? Ever said something like, "Ten bucks says he strikes out/sinks a 3/gets sacked." ?

If you love sports, then combine your knowledge of these nuances with our power lineup optimizers and you will have an awesome Daily Fantasy Experience.

Take me back to the Lineup Lab homepage -> https://www.lineuplab.com

Why Use a Lineup Optimizer?

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We first started experimenting with DFS optimization just a few years after Fanduel, and thus Daily Fantasy Sports, hit the scene. The original question was simple, but hard to solve:

Given a salary cap, how can I squeeze the most points possible into one lineup?

This problem required some thought, but before sinking our teeth into this math problem we decided to take a step back and ask a different question:

Does optimization really matter?

By now I’m sure you aren’t surprised to hear us say a resounding YES. Lineup optimizers are a foundational tool for successful daily fantasy players. But how did we arrive at this conclusion?

Enter the Knapsack Problem.

When studying algorithm development, the Knapsack Problem is a well known & well taught mathematics / computer science problem. It is considered a ‘classical algorithm’. The original knapsack problem goes like this: You have a backpack (knapsack) with a certain weight capacity and several objects to choose from. Each object has a value and a weight. The goal is to fill your backpack with the right combination of items to maximize the total value, without exceeding the weight limit.

In Daily Fantasy the weight limit is your salary cap, the weight of each player is their salary, and the value of each player is their projected point value.

This is what a lineup optimizer does.

The DFS lineup optimization problem is very similar but with a few key differences:

  1. In DFS, you must select items from defined categories (player positions).
  2. In DFS, we aren’t entirely sure of the values of the items (projected points).
  3. In DFS, there are many rules controlling your final lineup (think stacking rules and the like).

Lets talk about the second bullet, the unknown value of each player. Now if we know each item’s value with certainty, then we know exactly what we are getting in the end. But in DFS, each player’s value is estimated. Their value is their projected fantasy point value.

So does lineup optimization help us if we aren’t 100% sure about each player’s value? Does a lineup optimizer benefit me at all?


We optimize our lives every day using estimations. When you use Google maps for directions the system uses an algorithm to determine the best path given many uncertain values. Namely, traffic. We cannot always predict traffic with 100% accuracy, but we can make some damn good guesses given historical data. Has Google ever sent you straight into a traffic jam? Yes. Do you throw your cell phone out the window and say I’m doing this manually from now on! Of course not.

(The thought may have crossed your mind but we all know that using an algorithm, even if based on estimations, is still better than using just our poor ol’ human brains.)

Just like traffic, in sports there are unpredictable events. Injuries, weather, emotions, a bird flying directly into a 99mph pitch, and more. But by using historical data and incorporating the variables of that day, we can come up with some very good predicted values for each player. This is what a great daily fantasy sports projector does. And if we optimize those projections we can create a significant competitive advantage. In daily fantasy sports, finding an edge when constructing lineups is paramount.

Lineup Lab does not backtest for bird strikes.

Great projections need great optimization, and vice versa. This is why we decided to partner with the best projection providers in the industry instead of generating projections ourselves. Great projections require great attention to detail and the guys who do it best, love their respective sports. (Like Razzball for MLB, 4for4 for NFL, and DFSR for NBA)

Think about the variables that go into MLB projections (wind, pitcher stats, hitter stats, park factors, umpire bias, lefty/righty matchups, platoon splits, etc). Are these components even remotely similar to the ones that go into NFL projections? Of course not! Unless the baseball guy also lives and breathes football (and yes, those guys exist!) he’s going to be far better in one sport vs the other. Honda and Ford both make cars, but which shop are you going to take your Honda to? (cheesy, I know… but accurate!)

The same is very true in DFS. We let our projection providers focus on the sport that they love and know, while we focus on the lineup optimization algorithms. Together, this is how you create a top-notch daily fantasy lineup optimizer for ALL sports.

We’re not quite finished! Lets look at the final math to see why a daily fantasy lineup optimizer is important.

Take me back to the Lineup Lab homepage -> https://www.lineuplab.com

Reduce Risk and Boost DFS Tournament Winnings with "Limits"

Uncategorized by bpender 0 Comments

Often times, daily fantasy lineup optimizers will generate results that are overly dominated by certain players. If one of those players has a bad day, many of your lineups can quickly go bust. See how to boost your bankroll & reduce player-exposure using the ‘limits’ feature. One of the most helpful but underused features on Lineup Lab!

You can find the limits field for each player on the right hand side of the optimizer. This is what it looks like:


Essentially what this does is limit the number of results that a player can show up in. So if we put a 5 here, that player would show up in no more than 5 results. The 6th result would use a different player. Easy! But lets go through a real example to show you some tips and tricks.

First, lets run a default calculation to see what our results look like today.


Once I have my results, I am going to click “Download” and then click “Importable”.


This is the csv that we would normally take to Fanduel or Draftkings to easily import multiple lineups. But more importantly, we can use it to quickly see if any of our positions are being dominated by a certain player.


Yep, clearly a few players are dominating certain positions. Today is a Colorado day, which would explain some of these players. I want to mix things up a bit and reduce my exposure to some of these players. So lets click the blue ‘Go Back’ button.


If we want to limit Lance McCullers to 5 lineups, we would simply enter a ‘5’ in his limit field.


But since pitching is so important, I am going to take this a step further and show you what I would typically do. First, I am going to remove all of the pitchers I am not interested in today, and then apply a limit to pitchers I AM interested in. So lets say I want a mix of these 3 pitchers:


As you can see, I applied a limit to each of them. This is how I want these players to be disbursed across my 10 results.
So now, if I take a look at my results, I can see that the system followed my rules for the pitcher position.


And thats really it! If we want to drill down into other positions and limit other players, we can easily do so by just entering a number in their limit field.

If we are ready to submit these, we can hop over to our favorite Fanduel or Draftkings tournament and upload our CSV. For Fanduel, click on the "Upload Lineups from CSV" link.


Then just select ‘choose file’ and find the csv you downloaded. Once you click upload, your lineups will be submitted, making life much easier!


There you have it. You are now ready to generate optimized but diverse Fanduel and Draftkings lineups using the "Limits" feature!

Here is a short 4 minute video explaining the above:

Take me back to the Lineup Lab homepage -> https://www.lineuplab.com