Consider ‘mini-stacks’ when setting your DFS baseball 50/50 lineups

In a 50/50 format, whether in daily fantasy baseball or any other sport, your goals are different than in a GPP, so it is wise to examine the type of roster construction that fits this format. In a 50/50, 1st pays the same as 471st, so it is generally counterproductive to be highly contrarian.

In a GPP, you are playing a high risk/high reward game and you cannot cash at the top without low ownership gambles going off. In a 50/50, on the other hand, you are trading ceiling for stability, so your roster should reflect that.

In the DraftKings roster format, you are using two starting pitchers. Due to the reduced volatility of a starting pitcher, we are looking to build our floor with good starters and pay the high salary that comes with this security.

There are differing thoughts on the use of the second SP roster spot in a 50/50, but even if salary considerations make you hesitant to roster two pitching studs (for example, on nights the very high DFS salaried Clayton Kershaw is in a good pitcher’s park against a standard opponent, and the next best SP on the slate is Zack Greinke), you should not get too contrarian at SP2.

DraftKings rewards strikeouts, so a starter slightly below the top-tier studs who projects to compile strikeouts in his matchup is a fine pivot. In a 50/50, however, you should generally not drop from a stud starter to a ‘pretty decent’ arm solely because it affords you a great hitter instead of a pretty good one. The best hitters are still underdogs to produce in any given matchup, so for example, switching from Greinke versus San Diego to Bartolo Colon on the road just so you can roster Mike Trout instead of JD Martinez would be a poor 50/50 strategy.

Again, we are looking to raise the floor instead of the ceiling, so a solid foundation at SP, by far the most dependable high-floor position, is a pretty good way to start.

In contrast to your starting pitchers, there is more wiggle room when it comes to the best plays to make when considering your hitters. In the spirit of reducing variance, it would seem logical to steer clear of lineup stacks.

You do not need every hitter in your lineup to explode in order to cash in a 50/50, and the optimal method of maximizing offensive upside is by stacking a set of teammates that you project to face a positive matchup situation. While this may be true, the reality is that MLB DFS is not a game where one hitter’s floor is negatively affected by non-performing teammates.

If you stack three linemates in an NHL contest, they are hugely dependent upon each other to generate a decent floor. If none score, you are left with nothing other than 0.5 points per shot on goal and your chances of cashing in any format are not good. A goal is rarely scored with zero assistance from a teammate.

In MLB, however, a hitter’s highest potential DFS scoring events – home runs, triples, doubles, and stolen bases (10, 8, 5, and 5 points on DK, respectively) – are not dependent upon any assistance from teammates. Therefore, on slates where you’ve identified a clear standout matchup for a lineup against a vulnerable pitcher, you should not feel hesitant to throw a few teammates into your 50/50.

Having a few different hitters taking advantage of a good pitching matchup does not increase variance and certainly does not lower your scoring floor, which is the primary concern in a 50/50 format. In MLB DFS, the increased ceiling of a ‘mini-stack’ does not directly result in a reduced floor to the degree that it does in other sports. In fact, stacking represents a bit of an edge due to the players in 50/50s who are playing it like a hockey double-up.

In summary, you will want to spend up for your starters, who will be the foundation of your 50/50 lineup, and do not be afraid to attack a good matchup with a hitter stack, even in a 50/50, as the potential upside does not come at the cost of a reduced floor.

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