A DFS aficionado knows as well as anybody, identifying undervalued, affordable producers to round out their lineup is imperative if one has the aspirations of either keeping a hot streak going, or even better, continuing to win a substantial amount of coin. Lets face it, what’s better than waking up to that congratulatory DraftKings email? Or seeing that significant spike at the bottom of your FanDuel account? Okay, maybe a few things but not many.
The point is, while yes, you will most likely need strong performances from your exorbitant, more notable players. However, complimenting them with these aforementioned productive, and hopefully relatively lower owned players, that at times, you may scroll right past when adjusting your lineup, will prove beneficial in regards to obtaining a competitive edge, which presumably you’re looking for having clicked on this post.
Of course, this is easier said than done, especially in the cruel realm that is daily fantasy sports. Fear no more, though, DRS has you covered. Through an in-depth statistical analysis, taking into account all of the vital numerical data, as well as some variables like price, an “All-Underrated” team has been comprised based off the performances of the players through the All-Star break. This will mark the first post in a seven part series where each day a player, and an honorable mention from a position, will be detailed in hopes of helping you to discover some of the less-heralded, yet effective options the next time you sit-down to construct a lineup.
Certain statistics in regards to daily fantasy sports, generally carry more weight than those of the ones baseball traditionalists’ may be accustomed to following. Because of that, some of these categories might be confusing to some. So before jumping right in, a brief explanation will be provided of each category in order to help you further understand what we looked for, when it came time to discover the undervalued gems.
wOBA: wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average, is a statistic used to assign a different value for every potential outcome that a hitter can have at a given at bat. For instance, a double, is weighted more than say a single, a triple more than a double and so forth. wOBA is generally used as a better gauge in DFS than batting average and OBP, because of its ability to combine all aspects into one metric, as opposed to making no distinction between hits, as in the cases of average and OBP. When looking at wOBA, its important to note, that any player with a wOBA above .370, is most likely having a great season both on the field, and for fantasy purposes. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a player with a wOBA under a .310, is a player presumably in the midst of a trying year, and one that avoiding, may not be the worst option.
Hard Contact %: A degree in Astrophysics is not required for one to comprehend that hard contact%, is a statistic meant to portray the percentage of balls hardly hit by a player. Quality of contact data usually makes evident which players are swinging the bat well. Clearly the hitters with a tendency of going yard or supplying extra-base-hits more often than not, will have a higher hard% than your typical end of the order player. A hard % 35% and higher is usually indicative that a player is getting the most of his swings, where a 28% or lower, might represent a player who just may have not represented himself as being a power-hitter thus far into the 2016 campaign.
Isolated Power: Not to be confused with hard Contact, Isolated power, commonly referred to as ISO, is a measure of a hitter’s power and ability to get XBH. Similar to wOBA, ISO is a statistic that takes into account all hits, the difference is that ISO is used in determining the degree to which a hitter provides those aforementioned XBH, as opposed to singles. Given that DFS is a game where XBH are rewarded a significantly higher point total than singles and walks, taking into account ISO while filling out your lineup, can prove very beneficial in the grand scheme of things. Generally speaking, a player with an ISO of .170 and higher, are players that frequently supply more than just a source of singles. A player with a 0.120 ISO or lower, is not one you should expect to give you more than a few singles here and there.
LD%: LD% or line drive% is another member of the batted ball statistical category. Not only is a players LD% a good indicator of how well they are hitting the ball, but more importantly, line drives create roughly 25.2 times more runs than ground balls. Compare that with fly balls creating only around 2.6 times more runs than ground balls and it becomes clear to see why utilizing the line drive can surely be helpful. The league average usually hovers around that of 21%, so consider anything over about 24% to be very good, and everything under 17%, to be less desirable.
BABIP: Acrimonious for, “Batting Average on Balls in Play,” BABIP, is an excellent determent on whether or not a player is living up to expectations, overachieving, or possibly even having been the recipient of some rather unfortunate events. The league average centers around .300. As is the case with most stats, players with superior talent tend to have higher BABIP’s, while your typical major leaguer will find himself around that of the average .300. However, BABIP can be a little misleading at times. For instance, although player A could be carrying a .400 BABIP, and player B on the other hand say has a .276, one can not come to the conclusion that player A, is actually hitting the ball better than player B. The reason being is that BABIP, includes factors such as defense and even luck. A player can hit a ball extremely well only to have an outfielder make an incredible diving catch to record an out. In the same scenario, a different player can hit the ball into the outfield, only to have a player with less defensive prowess make an error, or not have the ability required to make a play on the ball. Those are the type of events that can see a players BABIP ascend to an uncharacteristically high number, while a player possessing a drastically lower BABIP in comparison to his career average, can for the most part, be expected to raise it gradually as the season progresses.
Stolen Bases: At once a focal point of some offense’s, stolen bases have declined throughout the years at the professional level. However, rostering some base-thieves in your FanDuel and DraftKings lineup’s, is quite enticing actually. With base stealing as previously mentioned trending downwards, it isn’t exactly far-fetched to consider it “rare.” The element of rarity usually carries great value, and value is a term sometimes often associated with underrated. See where I am going here? This isn’t an endorsement to target only speedsters, thus passing up on power-hitter’s. Consider it more of a “recommendation,” something to take into account next time you’re filling out a lineup. Stolen bases are awarded a point total double that of a single, and when a player steals, he immediately supplants himself in scoring position, one hit away from scoring a run, which is compensated with more points. Identifying players with a good balance of speed and power is ideal, and in the event they get you a bag or two, your confidence in them will more probably than not be rewarded as evidenced by the currency in your account rising.
Price-Range/Name Recognition: Because of the nature of DFS, the prices of players often fluctuate based off factors such as ballpark, the pitcher they’re facing, a hot-streak a given player might be on etc.. Incorporating all those factors, makes it hard to pinpoint a stable price of any one player. In light of this, every player appearing on our list, will generally be outside the top tier of pricing at their respected position. Affordability plays a role in assessing a player as underrated in DFS. It seems counter-intuitive to publish an underrated-player list, solely comprised of the premier options, with the top name recognition at each position. Name recognition, brings us to our next point. Your grandmother probably wont know the names of a lot of the players, if any, that we have selected as underrated. Which of course, maybe to your grandma’s disbelief, is a good thing. Variance in lineups is paramount in order to separate from the herd. With that in mind, aside from not only being affordable, these players will almost always be under-owned, despite being in the midst of a productive season.
Now that you have been provided a brief explanation of all the statistical categories we valued when comprising our All-Underrated team, with no further adieu, we introduce to you the deserving members. Join us, as we breakdown the underrated second base DFS options.
Tampa Bay Rays: Logan Forsythe
Who? It’s okay, as is the case with most members of the Tampa Bay Rays, they are relatively unknown except for Evan Longoria. Popularity doesn’t set your lineup apart from the rest, though, and in-fact, sometimes it actually serves as a detriment when trying to separate from the herd. Second base in DFS is an interesting position. While there are definitely worthy options to choose from, people may opt to use their second baseman as another “punt” play, in order to save money to distribute throughout the rest of their lineup, as opposed to paying $4000 or more, for one of the premium options second base offers. IF, however, an economical option were to emerge, with a well-rounded skill-set somewhat comparable to the upper-echelon of choices, that would be ideal, right? Well with that being said, let me introduce to you, Logan Forsythe.
Logan Forsythe’s season took a turn for the worse when a shoulder injury saw him take an unexpected trip to the DL. Since returning, Forsythe has appeared to be fully recovered and continues to have a commendable, albeit a quiet season. As if batting lead-off wasn’t already enticing for fantasy purposes, the Rays second baseman is making the most of his opportunities that the lead-off spot can sometimes provide. Forsythe currently ranks sixth in hard % (36.0%) among second baseman with a minimum of 200 plate appearances. His BABIP which currently sits at .337 is substantially higher than that of his career average of .302, however, based off his LD% of 23.8%, Forsythe has demonstrated the ability to make solid contact all year. Because of that, it’s not inconceivable to think his BABIP could not hover around that mark throughout the season, granted he remains locked in at the dish.
Had he not missed a chunk of time with the shoulder injury, Forsythe would have presumably been able to accrue more than the 8 home-runs, 35 runs scored, and 21 RBI he has presently. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game, though, but in the case of Forsythe, him missing time could potentially be another reason he has gone under-the-radar in 2016. His versatility is unique, as he is one of the rare and in his case, relatively unknown players who can hit for power, average, and even collect rarer stats such as stolen bases and triples. While his statistics don’t exactly do much to invoke excitement from casual fans, Forsythe’s hard% and LD% are the ones that DFS players should be taking note of. As long as he remains healthy going forward, Forsythe should consistently be one of the most underrated second basemen on any slate the Rays appear on.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Jean Segura
Although the selection of Diamondbacks second basemen, Jean Segura as an honorable mention contradicts our criteria of statistics we valued when comprising the all-underrated team to an extent, it’s undeniable that there remain outliers for virtually every circumstance. Segura of course, is one of those. While he may not be a huge power threat, his knack for swiping bags and getting on base certainly maintains it’s value, especially in regards to DFS.
As the trajectory of the Diamondbacks season continues to trend downward, the play of Jean Segura, is what happens to be ascending in the opposite direction. Segura has been a constant at the top of the order the entire season for the D-Backs, and with good reason. Segura possesses elite speed, as evidenced by his 15 stolen bases, which trails only Jose Altuve among second basemen. It’s no secret you need to be able to get on base to use that speed, though, which Segura, as suggested by his batting average of .304, is frequently able to do, unlike some other speedsters *cough* Billy Hamilton.
Despite not exactly inducing the oppositions outfielder’s to move back to the warning track when he’s up, Segura’s speed, serves as a great neutralizer. For one, he’s more likely to hit a triple than most power-hitters, an outcome that trails only a homer in terms of being compensated by points with. Segura is currently tied for second with 5 on the season among second basemen. His previously established propensity for stealing bases, is yet another way, how he is able to close the gap between him and some of the power options, as a stolen base and a double for instance, are awarded the same point total. Segura isn’t completely void of power, either. He does have 7 home-runs on the season, one more than he hit last year with the Brewers. In his 398 plate appearances this year, Segura is batting .304 to go along with those 7 homers, 54 runs, and 37 RBI.
Today we took a look at two undervalued second basemen in Logan Forsythe and Jean Segura. While they may not be the flashiest options, what they lack in name recognition, they surely make up for in consistency. Often batting lead-off for their respected clubs, they generally receive an extra-at-bat during a game, as well as benefiting from hitting in-front of the players usually responsible for manufacturing runs. Opportunity, is another underrated concept in DFS. Forsythe and Segura, have proved they can capitalize on theirs for most of the year.
Stay on the lookout, as we will be revealing our underrated shortstop’s in the next portion of the series.
Nick has been an avid MLB, NBA, NFL DFS player for a little over a year now. He has played season long fantasy since the age of 13.
He hopes to one day become a general manager for a professional sports team. Aside for writing about DFS, he also writes for
the FanSided affiliate, Call to the Pen