Thursday, April 28, 2011

ottoneu PickSix Strategy

As many of you know, ottoneu just launched a new, daily game called Pick Six. Over the past couple weeks, I have been helping test the new game and basically been throwing together lineups daily. The details on the game are explained quite well by creator Niv Shah, so I won't bore you with repetition. Instead, I will try to offer some strategic insights. 

Here are 6 (naturally) things to think about when picking your Pick Six lineup:

1) Saves are actually quite high value (5 pts, about the same as a hit which is 5.6) and so a perfect inning to close a game earns you at least 10 points (5 for IP, 5 for save) plus 2 pts per K. BUT - holds are worth 4 pts. Which significantly closes the gap between, for example, Heath Bell and Mike Adams. It also means that there is some value in relievers who go more than one inning, which closers almost never do. The point is, don't just jump at the best closer you can afford (or the closer playing the weakest opponent) - there are some very good values out there among non-closing-relievers.

2) Watch the weather forecasts. Well...maybe not...but be aware that a rain out can crush your chances of performing well. With 6 positions all expected to, on average, produce the same value, a rain out costs you about 17% of your points for the day. Take two guys from one team (and this will be tempting when, for example, the Yankees face some terrible 5th starter) and lose that game to rain and you are going to have a pretty awful night. This doesn't mean you should check the weather maps before picking your team (the whole point of Pick Six is that it should be quick and fun and easy), but if you live in Chicago (like me) and know that it is raining (like I did yesterday) and decide to take Tulo (like I did yesterday)...that just isn't smart.

3) Remember that your SP do not get credit for wins. Scared to take Kershaw cause he is facing off against Lincecum? Don't worry about it - the stats he should rack up facing the Giants lineup will be quite nice and even if Timmy throws a perfect game, it doesn't impact you at all (other than the fact that you didn't pick him on the night he threw a perfect game).

4) Beware the platoon. Since lineups lock when the first game of the day starts, you need to be careful about guys who are not everyday players. This is particularly important with catchers who take at least a day off every week. Picking a guy who ends up riding the pine for the night costs you the same 17% as a rain out. 

5) When filling out lineups, think about value guys first. Know you can get an OF you love with a great match-up for $5? Grab him before filling in the other spots. If you can lock in a couple discounted players early (say at CI and OF), when you turn to MI and realize the match-ups aren't great and you have to spend big on Cano or Tulo, you can afford it.

6) The leaderboard shows usernames, and there are a few to keep an eye out for:
  • nivshah (@ottoneu) - created and programmed the game
  • dooberfig - responsible for the birth of ottoneu six years ago and behind a lot of the math involved in valuing players in Pick Six
  • chy924 (@chadyoung) - me, purporting to be an expert, probably not actually an expert
If you happen to see that you beat any of us...well...we have been playing this game for like two weeks now and so we probably deserved to be mocked. So bring it on. We can take it. Right, Niv?

Happy picking!

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