DraftKings Contest Review – Pitcher List Freeroll 4/12

Erik Smith reviews the Pitcher List Friday Freeroll Series on DraftKings and analyzes the top lineup.

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In addition to our daily previews of the upcoming slates on DraftKings, every Sunday we will be reviewing our Pitcher List Friday Freeroll Series. Daily fantasy players often get caught up in the cycle of preparing for the current day, building lineups, making last minute changes, watching the games and following their winnings without taking a step back to look at what strategies were effective for the day’s contests. We will try to shed some light on winning plays and trends, as well as see where players went wrong.


Pitcher List Freeroll, Friday 4/12, 7:05 p.m.


Our second contest in the Pitcher List Friday Freeroll Series on DraftKings featured 30 entries. Players are competing for a monthly prize, with the highest score for the month of April receiving a Pitcher List t-shirt. Pitcher List staff will be playing as well, though they will not be eligible for prizes.


Winning Lineup Analysis


First place goes to Playahata1332 with a score of 179.20, which is our current high score for the month. This lineup would have placed third in the MLB $4K Base Hit, a $12 single entry tournament. Third place paid out $250, so let’s hope Playahata1332 played this lineup in some other spots.

Brad Keller was one of the keys to the slate, essentially matching Patrick Corbin as the top pitcher of the day at a fraction of the cost. Keller’s matchup was against the Indians; their .254 wOBA against right-handed pitching was the second worst split on the slate, with only the Giants .239 wOBA against Chad Bettis coming in below them. Bettis isn’t a good enough pitcher to take advantage of his matchup, but Keller has shown some flashes of upside. Most players (myself included) likely shied away from Keller due to his pedestrian strikeout rates (both last year and up to this start in 2019), but it’s worth remembering that a bad lineup and a confident pitcher can produce surprising games like this.

Chris Paddack was a solid enough pick, though there were cheaper options that scored more points. My main concern for Paddack at his price is his limited upside. As a young top prospect, Paddack is likely to be handled cautiously by the Padres. He was pulled at 88 pitches in this one, which severely limits his ceiling.

The savings from the Keller pick allowed Playahata1332 to field a balanced lineup centered on a Tampa Bay Rays stack, a smart move for a variety of reasons. First, he avoided the most played stack, the Oakland Athletics, which is generally a good idea in tournaments. Second, he targeted Trent Thornton, a pitcher whose first two starts may have caused players to avoid Rays hitters. But Thornton’s two starts were against the sub-par Indians and Tigers lineups, and he’s ultimately a rookie who hasn’t even excelled in the minors. Third, Playahata1332 recognized a hot offense in the Rays and jumped on board. The Rays have had some tough offensive matchups in 2019, such as facing the Astros at home, as well as traveling to the pitcher-friendly confines of Oracle Park. Prior to Friday night’s matchup against the Blue Jays, however, the Rays scored 5, 10 and 9 runs in their previous three games against the White Sox. Stacking the top five hitters in the Rays lineup turned out to be a great call, as they scored 11 runs. A mini-stack of Astros players was a good way to round out the lineup.


My Lineup – 14th Place


My original plan was to squeeze in Corbin and Jake Arrieta, my two favorite pitchers from my preview of the slate. Weather reports scared me off of Corbin last minute, which ultimately was not a factor, as Corbin was the highest scoring pitcher in the field. Zack Wheeler performed admirably as my replacement, and in hindsight, I would trade the eight-point difference for the $1,700 in savings by going with Wheeler. My pitchers ended up outscoring the first place team’s pitchers in this tournament without breaking the bank—a success in my book.

Offensively, I picked the wrong stack, which happens and is not something to worry about due to the day-to-day variance of baseball. However, one thing I need to work on is not picking the highest owned players so often. I rostered three of the five most-owned hitters in Chad Pinder, Matt Chapman, and J.D. Martinez, and would have rostered a fourth if I could have afforded Khris Davis. Lineups don’t need to be filled with all 1% owned players, but it is usually best to avoid the top chalk, as it can severely limit your upside in big tournaments.


Contest Overview


Scores in this Pitcher List freeroll ranged from 179.2 to 30.05 points. There were 115 different players rostered across the 30 entries, including 15 of the 24 available pitching options on the slate. Below are the players that provided the best bang for their buck in Friday’s contest, as well as the ten most owned players from the contest. If you would like to join our freeroll, first sign up for an account by clicking the DraftKings banner in this article. Once you have a DraftKings account, or if you already have one, click here to join the Pitcher List Friday Freeroll Series.


Fewest $ Spent Per Point
Player %Drafted FPTS Salary
Eloy Jimenez 10.00% 33 3700
Alex Gordon 3.33% 31 3700
Brandon Lowe 6.67% 32 4000
Yuli Gurriel 6.67% 28 3600
Austin Meadows 10.00% 35 4700
Brandon Nimmo 6.67% 26 3800
Yasmani Grandal 3.33% 26 4100
Corey Seager 3.33% 25 4000
James McCann 6.67% 18 3100
Anthony Rendon 3.33% 28 5200


Most Owned Players
Player %Drafted FPTS Salary
Khris Davis 46.67% 16 4900
Matt Chapman 40.00% 7 4600
Drew Pomeranz 40.00% 14.25 8100
Chad Pinder 30.00% 2 4400
Marcus Semien 30.00% 7 4200
Brad Keller 30.00% 31.6 7100
J.D. Martinez 26.67% 7 5000
Joey Gallo 20.00% 0 4900
Rougned Odor 20.00% 0 3800
Jake Arrieta 20.00% 29.55 8800


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is eriks44) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games on which I offer advice. Although I have expressed my personal views on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings, and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

Graphic by Justin Paradis (@FreshMeatComm on Twitter).

Erik Smith

Ohio University graduate. Former food service employee in Yellowstone National Park. Now lives in Asheville, NC, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. DFS enthusiast and Reds fan.

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