I start my lineups these days in one place: the starting pitcher. They’re the fulcrum upon which all things must work. You can find way more diamonds in the rough among the hitters than you can on the hill, so it behooves you to focus on this position first before attacking the rest.

That doesn’t mean you can’t target hitters, especially when there are Coors games and the like, but those hitters aren’t going to lift you as high if there is a SP in your slots working a negative number.

That said, it doesn’t mean you should just pop the first two pitchers you come to in the salary list and then mine the lineups for values. That happens sometimes, but what you should really do is look at the SP trends, matchups, splits, parks, swinging strike and K-rates to whittle down the slate to a few good men you could live with for the night.

Oh I’ve gone through this process and ended up with some strange birds on the hill. There was a night this season where Joe Blanton, patron saint of gas cans, actually went into Safeco and helped me to a nice payday. Recently, even, Kris Medlen has been helpful with his low salary and decent performances, allowing me to target more prime bats.

As I look at the slate for Wednesday, I was hoping I could log on, take a quick glance and know where I was going, but I couldn’t. This was because the best two SP on the slate happened to be the highest paid as well:

David Price, SP: $12,500

Jake Arrieta, SP: $14,000

Price in Atlanta and Arrieta in Pittsburgh were, at first glance, the best SP, so I had to dig deeper just to be sure and, sure enough, they came through the process on top.

Since they are so high priced, about 6K more than I like to dedicate to the cause, I didn’t automatically ink them in the lineup until I could see if there was indeed enough value in the hitters to make it work. Looking down the list, it was clear that I could roster two or three Phillies, who can hit a lefty fairly well and have a nice home park, to make it happen. Facing Gio Gonzalez, who has a mid 4s SIERA and nearly 800 OPS vs. righties over the last 30 days also made it easy to go that route.

So I did. It looks like a newb move, rosting the top two SP of the night, but you have to trust your process. Other nights, I would lay up short well short of this $$ commitment at SP, but tonight, it’s pay up.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There are 14 games on the slate Friday night, and four of them are over an eight run number for the night. Also, there are no games less than seven runs tonight. This bodes well for DFS players who want a fat slice of those run totals for their teams. So many variables go into a big number and one is venue. The top ballparks for offense this season are: Coors Field (Rockies), Globe Life Park (Rangers), Fenway Park (Red Sox), Miller Park (Brewers), Chase Field (Diamondbacks), and the Rogers Centre (Blue Jays). Understanding what’s happening in these parks (wind, roof, etc.)  is a needed piece of prep for the night’s slate. The other is level of pitching competition. Sure, a team can go off against any old gas can, but who are they up against tonight? Finally, though this is not an exhaustive list here, a key area is the proficiency of the team at the plate. If you have a lineup full of hitters who aren’t producing, the number will reflect that. When considering this line from these agencies, one must be very diligent, watching the lineups come in and making sure you’re getting someone from that lineup into your cash games (50/50s, HTH) and making sure they are higher in the lineup in order to get extra at-bats. At DraftKings, where you aren’t penalized with negative points for outs, the extra plate appearances are definitely worth seeking out..

So choose wisely, keep an eye on the lineup as they come in on Twitter, websites and the like. Be ready to pivot to a player if he’s suddenly sitting in the 1-spot after seeing a majority of the at-bats this season a lot further down the lineup. On a night when there should be soon high scores, it’s going to pay to be on the offensive…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?