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Friday 26th May 2017

This week's featured promotion is a qualifier for the Daily Fantasy Baseball Championship (DFBC) Finals. Only $10 to enter and you can win a trip To Las Vegas and  one of 45 seats in the DFBC Finals. The grand prize is $200K with over $1M in total awarded.

Click on the FanDuel logo below to reserve your team. You have until 7 PM ET Friday night to make changes.

In previous discussions, I have alluded to a means to in essence hedge your bet when it comes to entering one of these standard contests with a high prize going to the top finishers. FanDuel offers a variety of contests, two of which greatly increase your odds of winning. There's a double up where almost half the participants double their money as well as a 50/50 where half the entries win slightly less than double the entry. If you have the confidence you can place in the top half of entrants, you can hedge your entry into the big money contest. If you fail to cash in the big money event, at least you get your entry back in the double up or 50/50.

I've been doing this since the very beginning and have failed to cash in my "hedge" league only once in seven tries. And since I have cashed in a few of the big money leagues, I have built up a bit of a bankroll. Here's the thing. You don't have to play in the big money games. Instead, stay disciplined and play the double ups and 50/50's, perhaps multiple times in the same night. You won't hit the big score some of us are looking for with the leagues that pay several hundred dollars to the winners, but you'll almost certainly net a tidy little profit each week. I've been following the exploits of some folks doing just this and it has been very successful for them. Think of it this way. It's sort of like playing roulette but with a means to slightly increase the odds so you know if the ball will land in black or white. I'm playing two games of roulette. First I'm betting on a single number then I'm betting black or white.

If you focus solely on the high-odds, low return on investments games, here are a couple of tips to help insure success:

  • NAIL the pitcher (I hope Alyssa Milano isn't reading this so she doesn't misinterpret), even if it means building a weaker offense. All you want to do is finish with a total that is fundamentally above average. With the way FanDuel scores points, a winning pitcher that goes deep into a game and fans some guys along the way is GOLD. Choosing wisely can get you halfway to cashing so all you need is one or two of your hitters to have a good day and...$cha-ching$! Don't worry about bang for the buck. Choose the ace at home against weaker competition regardless of salary. This may hinder your chance to rack up a high score, but you don't care.
  • Make sure you have a complete lineup by watching weather reports and not taking chances on players you aren't positive will be playing that night. You'd be shocked how many have dead spots in their lineup, increasing your odds of placing in the top half.
  • Along those lines, if you aren't going to be around an hour or so before the games begin, don't play that night unless you are 100 percent sure everyone you choose will be active. You have until the first game begins to make changes.
  • Similarly, you don't HAVE to play every day. If there isn't a pitching matchup you favor, sit this one out. No worries, they'll be other days.
  • Here's my lineup for this evening's contest. Good luck to all those entering. Maybe I'll see you in Vegas!

    P Max Scherzer CLE@DET $8,700 - I originally had the less expensive Alex Cobb at home versus San Diego, but I found a bunch of cheap hitters so I upgraded to the more dominant Scherzer.

    C Miguel Montero PHI@ARI $2,500 - In my column yesterday, I alluded to the fact that studies show perceived hot and cold streaks are not predictive. It doesn't get much colder than Montero.

    1B Prince Fielder CLE@DET $5,000 - I'll take my chances with Prince versus the raw but talented Corey Kluber.

    2B Dustin Ackley OAK@SEA $2,600 - We're at the point of the season where some slow starters have salaries reflective of their struggles. This is a great way to find bargains (and on the flip-side, avoid overpaying for lesser players are to good starts). I'm hoping Ackley hits near the top tonight, but regardless, I like his chances against Dan Straily.

    3B Mike Moustakas NYY@KAN $2,800 - Like Ackley, Moustakas is better than he has displayed thus far but is carrying a low salary. Both are lefties at home facing righties so this is a perfect place to exploit the low salaries. Moustakas is facing Phil Hughes who has been known to surrender a dinger or two.

    SS Alexei Ramirez LAA@CWS $2,600 - This is the one match-up I'm not sure about as scheduled starter Tommy Hanson is on bereavement leave. However, I can't imagine I'll change it irrespective of who starts especially if Ramirez continues to bat second.

    OF Alex Gordon NYY@KAN $3,900 - My favorite play of the night.

    OF Jacoby Ellsbury TOR@BOS $3,600 - Toronto is summoning the 39-year old Ramon Ortiz from the bullpen to replace Brandon Morrow this evening. Heck, I may have to enter another lineup with the maximum allowed four Red Sox just for kicks.

    OF Andy Dirks CLE@DET $3,200 - With the right-handed Kluber on the mound, the lefty swinging Dirks should get his hacks.

    That's it gang, my ticket to Vegas!

    Click the logo below if you want to go instead.


    Here are the league specs, my team is below.

  • $10 to enter
  • PRIZES $3,000 total 
  • 1st $600, 2nd $450, 3rd $350
  • Pay to 37 places
  • Click the logo below to enter.

    If you're a first time FanDuel user, you can still get a free 2013 Mastersball Platinum subscription if you deposit $25 using the promo code Masters. Details HERE.

    My squad:

    P Justin Masterson MIN@CLE $7,600 – I’m putting my credo of only starting pitcher at home to the test here as I am leaving some awfully nice options on the board in Felix Hernandez, Doug Fister and Clayton Kershaw. The other arm I considered was C.C. Sabathia at home versus the Oakland Athletics, but the A’s remind me of a softball team and could take C.C. deep a few times so I let the ball yard be the deciding factor and opted with Masterson at the more pitcher friendly Progressive Field. Admittedly, I am a leery of the choice since the opposition Twins have several quality lefty swingers in Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Chris Parmelee and newcomer Oswaldo Arcia. Masterson’s splits are well-documented – he slays right handed batters but can struggle facing lefthanders.

    C Russell Martin WAS@PIT $3,000 – Each of my hitters profiles the same: off-handed matchup at home facing what I perceive to be a lesser hurler. Martin squares off against Ross Detwiler.

    1B Ryan Howard MIA@PHI MIA@PHI $3,300 – Howard is facing Ricky Nolasco at home. I wanted to pile on this matchup so Howard will have some FanDuel friends tonight.

    2B Chase Utley MIA@PHI $4,100 – And that is teammate is Utley, another offhanded matchup. Howard and Utley both hit towards the top of the order which is another plus

    3B Mike Moustakas CWS@KAN $2,900 – Moose is off to a slow start so hopefully facing Dylan Axelrod will be his elixir.

    SS Mike Aviles MIN@CLE $2,600 – This is a little bit of a risk as I am assuming Aviles finds a spot against southpaw Pedro Hernandez. I'll check back when lineups are announced but my guess is Jason Kipnis is sitting.

    OF Starling Marte WAS@PIT $4,200 – My dice roll for the week is going with a couple of high priced outfielders facing the same starter, Detwiler. Marte is scoring tons of runs and can accrue FanDuel points in number of ways so I’ll hope the Bucs’ leadoff hitter has a big night.

    OF Andrew McCutchen WAS@PIT $4,200 – If Detwiler is on, I could be in for a long night, but if he is off, it could be a fun one. Cutch is not lighting it up, but like Marte he can score fantasy points via pop or speed.

    OF Ichiro Suzuki OAK@NYY $3,100 – This pick works out nicely as the money works and it gets a top of the order guy in the lineup in a good hitter's park.

    This team has a weird feel to it, probably because more so than usual, I forced it to fit my criteria of focusing on players at home with off-handed matchups against weaker pitchers, hopefully in a hitter’s park. This will be interesting for me to follow.

    What do you have?


    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:

  • 1st - $300
  • 2nd - $150
  • 3rd - $100
  • 4th - $50
  • Beat Todd - $5
  • 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:

  • 1st - $300
  • 2nd - $150
  • 3rd - $100
  • 4th - $50
  • Beat Todd - $5

  • Hitter versus pitcher history regardless of sample size
  • Perceived hot and cold streaks
  • Admittedly, these are non-intuitive and there are exceptions but the exceptions are only for extreme cases.


  • Lefty hitters facing righty pitchers and righty hitters versus lefty pitchers
  • Hitters at home in favorable parks
  • Hitters facing lesser quality pitchers
  • 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.

    Good luck!


    For those curious if I ever win when I do these, the answer is yes. One of the best features of FanDuel is the variety of games. You can enter a contest like the one below and win a lot for a small entry or you can go with the other extreme and only look to double your entry in a 50/50 by finishing in the top half of the field. There are also contests in between such as winner take all with four other entrants and one on one match-ups. I have found if you can stay disciplined, you can almost always cash in the 50/50's. So what I do is enter my team into a contest with a large prize then enter the same team in a 50/50. I almost always break even since cashing in the 50/50 pays for the entry into the large contest. At least so far, I have cashed far more in the larger contest than I have been shut out in the 50/50's so I'm ahead. The discipline comes in when you see the larger price point contests and at some point I suspect I'll jump in. But first I want to build up the bank roll hedging with the 50/50's.

    Here's the contest set up by FanDuel this week. It's open to the public so it will likely fill.

  • $3000 in prizes
  • Only $10 to enter
  • Starts Friday at 7:05pm EST
  • Prizes down to 37th place
  • Here's my team.

    P Ervin Santana CLE@KAN $6,700 - I suspect most will be using Jake Peavy, Jordan Zimmermann or Ryan Dempster and in a 50/50 I may as well. But in a go big or go home contest, I need something to separate my squad from the pack and I like the inexpensive Santana at home. The Tribe are starting Scott Kazmir so I like my chances for a win as well as K's.

    C Yadier Molina PIT@STL $3,500 - Right-handed Molina against southpaw Jonathan Sanchez is a strong match-up. Molins should score and/or drive in a teammate or two.

    1B Adrian Gonzalez MIL@LOS $4,200 - Rookie Hiram Burgos looked good his first time out, but I'll take the vet Gonzalez in this match-up.

    2B Dustin Pedroia HOU@BOS $3,900 - Very nice price for one of the best second baseman in the game as righty Pedroia will face lefty Erik Bedard.

    3B David Freese PIT@STL $3,100 - Playing a little pig-pile on Jonathan Sanchez with another solid right-handed bat.

    SS Jhonny Peralta ATL@DET $3,100 - Paul Maholm has been very good, but I'll roll the dice in an effort to save a little salary as well as stick to my plan of LHB vs. RHP or RHB vs. LHP at home.

    OF Bryce Harper CIN@WAS $4,400 - I hit it big with Harper facing Bronson Arroyo last night and am hoping the phenom has similar success against another Red known to surrender a homer or two in Homer Bailey.

    OF Lorenzo Cain CLE@KAN $3,600 - I may enter another lineup that overloads Royals against Kazmir, but Cain will be my sole representative for this contest.

    Kirk Nieuwenhuis PHI@NYM $2,400 - As usual, budget has to be conserved somewhere so I'll take the chance the left-handed Nieuwenhuis is in the lineup against righty Kyle Kendrick.

    Once again, my lineup features all home hitters facing hurlers of opposite handedness. It's been a successful ploy for me thus far, though I am going to design some studies to gauge its effectiveness. The results will likely be a feature for our Platinum subscribers.

    Good luck!

    Click the FanDuel logo below to enter this contest.


    SPECIAL OFFER FOR MASTERSBALL - FanDuel has set up an one day contest exclusively for Mastersball on Friday night, April 19. The entry fee is $25 and if you beat Todd's score, you'll win $5!

    Only 26 more entries will be accepted, first come, first serve so HURRY! You're allowed to edit your team through Friday night at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT so claim your spot now and you can edit your team later.

    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.


  • 1st - $300
  • 2nd - $150
  • 3rd - $100
  • 4th - $50
  • Beat Todd - $5
  • To make it even easier to beat the master, Todd is going to reveal and discuss his squad Friday morning on www.Mastersball,com.

    All you need to do to enter is click on the FanDuel banner.

    FanDuel is still offering a free Mastersball Platinum subscription to first-time FanDuel users. Click HERE for details.



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