Most Bang for Your Buck (07/13/16)

By Mark Dankenbring
Most Bang for your Buck

When playing DFS baseball, the first thing I always do is decide what pitcher I want for the evening and then construct my lineup with whatever salary I'm left over with. Pitchers have the largest range in salary of any position, as the gap from top to bottom can be nearly $6,000 on FanDuel and $8,000 on DraftKings. This offers you the opportunity to choose an expensive pitcher who is likely to put up solid numbers and take your chances with cheaper position players, or you can run a cheap pitcher and stack your lineup. The latter is an interesting strategy and is predicated on getting the most value from your cheap starting pitcher. In order to identify when would be a good time to employ this strategy, I've taken a look at the pitchers who have the highest points per dollar in the first half. This way we'll know what pitchers offer the most bang for their buck, whether they're cheap or expensive.

When comparing pitchers from both platforms, the leaderboards are very similar so in order to simplify the statistics and eliminate clutter, I will only use the FanDuel statistics. In order to qualify, pitchers must have started at least 12 games on the season.

*All salaries from July 10 – the last game before the All-Star Break. Points/dollar are determined from current salary.

Nick Tropeano – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Tropeano tops our FanDuel leaderboard with 4.5 points per dollar so far this season. He's started 12 games so far for the Angels and has gone 3-2 in those starts. Tropeano is averaging 30.3 points per game and currently has a salary of $6,900, up from his original salary of $4,400. Tropeano has had great value so far, as he sits in 45th among pitchers for points per start, while his salary puts him as the 97th most expensive pitcher. He clearly has outperformed his salary so far and should be looked for when choosing a value play at pitcher.

Michael Fulmer – Detroit Tigers

The Detroit right-hander has exploded on the scene this season going 9-2 in his first 13 starts. Fulmer has the highest current salary of the top five value plays currently at $8,800. Fulmer is averaging 38.5 points per game, which brings him to a value of 4.4 points per dollar so far this season. Fulmer sits at number 15 on the points per game leaderboard on FanDuel, but his salary is ranked 40th among qualified pitchers.

Tyler Duffey – Minnesota Twins

After a poor start to the season, Duffey has been able to put together some solid outings recently that have moved him up the leaderboard. Duffey comes in with our cheapest salary of this top five at $6,100. His last start brought him all the way up to 4.3 points per dollar for the season, as he lands third on our list. Duffey's value has come mainly from his road starts this year, as his home stats include a staggering 7.45 ERA and 11 home runs allowed in only 38.2 innings. This probably explains his low salary, but you should look to exploit this salary when he's on the road, as he sports a 3.07 ERA and has only allowed two home runs in 41 innings pitched. Look for Duffey to retain some of his value on the road in the second half of the season.

CC Sabathia – New York Yankees

Despite the fact Sabathia allowed at least five earned runs in each of his four starts before the break, he still lands at number four on our leaderboard. He had an outstanding stretch in May and most of June to set himself up for DFS value. Sabathia comes in to the break with a salary of $6,900, $1,000 more expensive than when he started the season. His value has risen due to the fact he's averaging 28.7 points per game, and therefore is up to 4.2 points per dollar on the season. Hopefully the rest from the All-Star break will help Sabathia return to early season form.

Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers

Our second Tiger makes the top five as Verlander comes in with 4.2 points per dollar as well. Verlander sits in the top 20 in total FanDuel points so far this season, and is averaging 36.1 points per start. Other than a few starts allowing seven or eight earned runs, Verlander has been a model of consistency this year. He's striking out over nine batters per nine innings, and has three games with 10 K's. Even with his success, he sits at 50th in salary, which has provided us with great value and makes him an intriguing value play going forward in the second half.

Even though it's usually a safe bet to run guys like Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Madison Bumgarner when they're available, sometimes it's a better value to take a pitcher that's $5,000 cheaper in order to bolster your position players. If your pitcher sits with a salary between $6,000-$8,000 and can provide you with 30+ points on a night, that extra $3,000-$5,000 can be used on better position players to fill the points gap of the top guys who average over 40 points per game on FanDuel. Usually splurging on higher priced position players will make up the missing points and even catapult you to a higher total than having the most expensive pitcher and mediocre position players. At the end of the day points are points, but in a game where maximizing points per dollar is the key, this can be a very effective strategy.