If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, "You call yourself an expert? I'd love to be in a league with you!".
Well, the fact that I've never referred to myself as an expert aside, here's your chance to get in a league with me. Our promotional partners at FanDuel have set up a challenge league exclusively for friends of Mastersball. Other than my submission, only 26 other entries will be accepted with prizes being awarded to the top four teams - you won't get any better odds. In addition, FanDuel will pay $5 to anyone that beats my score.
The entry is $25 with prizes awarded as follows:
Here's the best part. I'm about to reveal my team so you know what you're going up against before you even choose a single player of your own. But before we get to that. I'd like to remind anyone that has not yet played at FanDuel that they are still offering a free 2013 Mastersball Platinum subscription if you deposit $25 into a new account. Even though drafting season is over, we'll still be providing rest of the season projections along with special features such as access to my ESPN Insider columns and some in-season content geared to FanDuel and National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) play. So that means you can use your initial $25 deposit to enter this contest and win or lose, have free access to our Platinum content. In addition, FanDuel will deposit an additional $7.50 into your account which means if you beat me but don't finish in the top-four, you'll still have $12.50 for future games along with access to our 2013 Platinum content. Click HERE to take advantage of this promotion.
By means of a brief review, here are the nuts and bolts of my FanDuel strategy:
Admittedly, these are non-intuitive and there are exceptions but the exceptions are only for extreme cases.
That's it - nothing more, nothing less.
For those unaware of the FanDuel format, it's a salary cap game where you fill in a standard nine man lineup (no DH or relief pitcher) by keeping the cumulative salaries under a set amount. The powers that be at FanDuel set the salaries in accordance with player quality, but based on match-ups, injuries, etc., you can find spots to (hopefully) gain an edge. The salaries are set up so that you will have primarily very good players, but you will need to skimp on a couple of spots and look for the most bang for the buck. The site does the math for you as well as providing the scheduled opposition pitcher for each hitter that night so you can set your entire lineup without ever leaving the site. Everything you need is there. Setting your squad can take as little as five minutes - it's that easy.
Here's the team you'll need to beat. I reserve the right to make changes based on weather and any news, but I'll do my best to share the edits in the comments below.
P Mat Latos, (MIA @CIN $7,800) - There are quite a few intriguing matchups on the docket and this one actually breaks one of my rules as the Great American Ballpark is hitter friendly, but Latos is at home and the Marlins sticks are not daunting so I'll trust the 25-year old righty to keep Miami in the park and rack up double digit FanDuel points.
C Jason Castro (CLE@HOU $2,400) - The setup at FanDuel is such that you can use mostly very good players, but you do need to find a couple of spots to skimp. Castro is a very low cost option that I am confident will start, he hits left-handed against right Brett Myers so that fits my criteria.
1B Lance Berkman (SEA@TEX $3,800) - You're about to see a pattern. A risky strategy that has the opportunity to score big or bust is to overload a team facing what you perceive as a lesser pitcher. Texas is slated to square off against southpaw Joe Saunders at the friendly confines of the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Berkman is the first of many righty Texas hitters that will be in my lineup.
2B Ian Kinsler (SEA@TEX $4,700) - Even without this piling on strategy, a player of Kinsler's ilk is always a strong play. He hits on top of a potent lineup so he'll get the maximum plate appearances and he'll score runs. He also has power and can steal so racks up points in a variety of ways.
3B Adrian Beltre (SEA@TEX $3,700) - If this strategy is going to work, the meat of the order has to come through. I'm just bummed FanDuel doesn't award extra points when you drop to your knees after jacking one out of the yard.
SS Zack Cozart (MIA@CIN $3,000) - Sorry Elvis Andrus, you don't make the cut. FanDuel only allows four players per MLB squad and I have someone else in mind. Cozart is facing Kevin Slowey, a fellow righty, but I like the park and the Reds should score some runs.
OF Jay Bruce (MIA@CIN $3,700) - Lefty Bruce hits right-handers pretty well and while Slowey can be effective, he's not particularly dominant so I'll double up with the Reds.
OF Nelson Cruz (SEA@TEX $3,400) - The final Ranger in the lineup, I may as well go all-in.
OF Drew Stubbs (CLE@HOU $2,500) - Inevitably, there will be one spot where you look what you have left and see what's available in that range. Stubbs is that player this time. There wasn't an option that met all my criteria (LHB v RHP or RHB v LPH, home, weak pitcher, good hitting park) so I chose the option with the most fits. I'll take my chances with Stubbs on the road facing Lucas Harrell.
There you go - my cards (and Rangers) are on the table. Click the FanDuel logo below to enter. Remember, only 26 entries other than my own will be allowed. You can reserve your team now and edit it right through 7 PM ET/4 PM PT.