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Starting Opposing Pitchers from Fantasy Team- Strategy

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Starting Opposing Pitchers from Fantasy Team- Strategy

Postby jrosent1 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:34 pm

Hey everyone.

This is just something I think about when I happen to have two pitchers from my fantasy team going head-to-head, facing each other in a matchup. What do you guys usually do?

I know there are a lot of factors that go into determining who to start (who the opponent is, the location, the quality of the SPs, etc.) In shallower leagues, where nearly every pitcher on the staff is very good, these other factors are less important, but in deeper leagues, it can make a bit of a difference. You certainly don't Sit a pitcher who is going to give you a great ERA/WHIP and strike out 10 batters. This is more for your league-average pitchers.

Here are some things to consider:

Assuming you're in a league with a finite number of Starts per season (usually 200), Starts are a valuable commodity, and shouldn't necessarily be wasted.

If you start two opposing SPs, you are giving yourself a 100% chance of not getting a Win from one of them.

Starting Pitchers, on average, get a WIN approximately 40% of the time.

So, if you start two opposing SPs, you're giving yourself an 80% chance of walking away from the game with 1 WIN, while using up 2 Starts.

At the same time, if those same two pitchers were pitching on the same day, but in different games, (again, all other factors being equal), the chances of you getting 1 WIN would be 40%, but you'd also have a 16% chance of getting 2 WINS from BOTH SPs.


As you can see, the primary motivation for this line of thinking would be finding the right way to Maximize Wins Per Start. Certainly when it comes to higher-quality starters, you have to take into account K rate, and ERA/WHIP as well.

So what do you tend to do when starters face each other on your fantasy team? Do you start both? Do you bench one of them? Admittedly in the past, I've shied away from conflict, not wanting to waste a Start, but I don't know if that is the correct strategy.
Last edited by jrosent1 on Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Starting Opposing Pitchers - Strategy

Postby silverZ » Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:13 pm

I don't put any weight into who the opposing pitcher is when making lineup decisions. Opposing lineup and ballpark factor are by far my main concerns. IMO going any deeper than that when making start/sit decisions leads to over managing.
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Re: Starting Opposing Pitchers - Strategy

Postby jrosent1 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:36 pm

silverZ wrote:I don't put any weight into who the opposing pitcher is when making lineup decisions. Opposing lineup and ballpark factor are by far my main concerns. IMO going any deeper than that when making start/sit decisions leads to over managing.


It's not really about who the opposing pitcher is in the actual game. It's about two starting pitchers on your fantasy team going head-to-head. Sorry if that wasn't clear in my OP.
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Re: Starting Opposing Pitchers from Fantasy Team- Strategy

Postby J35J » Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:10 pm

All I know is I would be pissed if I picked the wrong guy.

If they are on my team they are starting 96.5% of the time.
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Re: Starting Opposing Pitchers from Fantasy Team- Strategy

Postby wrveres » Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:01 pm

if you have an innings cap, and it sounds like you do, id be more worried about the k/9 versus the win. Innings caps basically turn the league into a k/9 race. That would be my major factor in whether id start em against each other, and not the win. i look at wins as a by product, like an RBI to a HR. Personally i dont think ive ever won the wins category, but im usually in the top half, and as such, i dont pay much attention to two guys facing each other.
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Re: Starting Opposing Pitchers from Fantasy Team- Strategy

Postby Skin Blues » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:25 am

jrosent1 wrote:Starting Pitchers, on average, get a WIN approximately 40% of the time.

So, if you start two opposing SPs, you're giving yourself an 80% chance of walking away from the game with 1 WIN, while using up 2 Starts.

At the same time, if those same two pitchers were pitching on the same day, but in different games, (again, all other factors being equal), the chances of you getting 1 WIN would be 40%, but you'd also have a 16% chance of getting 2 WINS from BOTH SPs.[/color]

As you can see, the primary motivation for this line of thinking would be finding the right way to Maximize Wins Per Start.

In the long-run, it's always best to start the pitchers with the best chance to win. If that means two that are facing each other, so be it. The only reason you should ever take into consideration that they are facing each other, is if you absolutely need two wins (don't pick pitchers that are facing each other), or you absolutely need one win (definitely pick pitchers that are facing each other).

Assuming 40% is the odds for all starting pitchers getting a win, the odds of getting two wins from pitchers in different games is, like you said, 16%. However, when you also say you have an 80% chance of winning one game, you are using funky math that doesn't add up since you're counting the same wins twice. If you want to look at expected wins, it breaks down like this:

2 starters A & B, not facing each other:
A wins, B doesn't win (0.4*0.6)=0.24 (the multiplier here is 0.6 because if A wins, B has a 60% chance of not winning; they are mutually exclusive)
B wins, A doesn't win (0.4*0.6)=0.24
A wins, B wins (0.4*0.4)=0.16 (mutually exclusive; odds don't affect each other)

2 starters C & D, facing each other:
C wins, D doesn't win (0.4*1.0)=0.40 (the multiplier here is 1.0 because if C wins, D has a 100% chance of not winning; they are mutually inclusive)
D wins, C doesn't win (0.4*1.0)=0.40
C wins, D wins (0.4*0.0)=0.00 (mutually inclusive; if C wins, D has a 0% chance of winning)

With two pitchers not facing each other, you have a 48% chance of getting exactly 1 win, a 16% chance of getting exactly 2 wins, and therefore a 36% chance of getting 0 wins. With two pitchers facing each other, you have an 80% chance of getting exactly 1 win, a 0% chance of getting exactly 2 wins, and therefore a 20% chance of getting 0 wins. So the expected value of total wins is 0.8 in both scenarios.
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