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Beat the Computer: The Computer Strikes Back, Seeks Revenge for Slander

The faith-based holy boys took a beating from the computer last round. Can Round 3 turn things around after a postponed week?

Clayton Kershaw by Arturo Pardavilla III is licensed under CC 2.0

Beat the Computer: The Computer Strikes Back, Seeks Revenge for Slander

Estimated Reading Time: 8 Minutes

This past year, the best and brightest here at the Turf conducted a very smart, very scientific study to see how well humans fared against computers when picking DFS lineups for an entire NFL season.

TL;DR: We got smoked on a regular basis by our robot overlords.

Alas, we were bested. But we remain undeterred. With the 2021 Major League Baseball season upon us, we thought there would be no better way to get revenge on the machines than through the same contest, but in another sport. Mano a mano. Our brains versus a computer algorithm, round three.

Four of us are trying to see if we can beat a computer at Daily Fantasy Sports, specifically Daily Fantasy Baseball on DraftKings. In Week 1, we absolutely CRUSHED the computer. In Week 2, the computer got its revenge.

Both of us capitalized on Joe Musgrove‘s No-Hitter against the Texas Rangers, but our human lineup stumbled out of the gate, and things were pretty much over before they started. Julio Teheran was a late scratch from his start, and we didn’t catch wind of the switch until too late. Thankfully, we caught the beginnings of Ronald Acuña Jr’s hot streak, so we were partially bailed out. If we had an actual pitcher, things might have been different.

Week Two’s Turf Team Study Lineup

Week Two’s Computer-Generated Optimized Lineup

Study Lineups (1-0)Control Lineups (0-1)
Total Points248.60266.20
Average Points/Contest124.30133.10
Best Single Lineup126.95155.15
Worst Single Lineup121.65111.05

Round 3 Lineups

Turf Team Study Lineup

P: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets – There is no better pitcher on the planet and there is no better pitcher on the board. Jacob deGrom is an absolute lock against a Soto-less Washington Nationals team.

P: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers – We waffled back and forth between Kershaw and Yu Darvish in the late start, but ended up taking sides with the former MVP. Kershaw, much like deGrom, is dominant in the majority of his starts, and after watching Walker Buehler quiet the Padres bats last night, we’re banking on Kershaw following that trend.

C: James McCann, New York Mets – The beginning of our mini-Mets stack. McCann has been mashing lately. The only issue is that he’s been hitting ropes directly at outfielders. Can a return to Citi Field jumpstart McCann for the Mets? We hope so.

UPDATE: As McCann is sitting tonight, in favor of Tomás Nido behind the plate, the Humans have substituted Dom Nuñez of the Colorado Rockies. Our reasoning is a) COORS, b) Vince Velasquez has control issues and the Rockies could see the Phillies bullpen for a chunk of this game, and c) Nuñez loves going deep.

1B: Jesus Aguilar, Miami Marlins – If you haven’t been paying attention to the Marlins, there are two players you need to keep your eyes on. Lucky for you, we have both of them in our lineup tonight. The first is Jesus Aguilar, who is a delight to watch any time he steps on the field. Known as one of the most well-liked players in the game, when Aguilar gets hot, watch out.

2B: Jazz Chisholm, Miami Marlins – Jazz Chisholm, Jr. is going to be a star in the league over the next few years. Picking up where Dee Gordon left off in Miami, Chisholm has speed and a bat to match. Putting him at Oracle Park, where the famed Triples Alley resides, seems almost like free money. So we’re taking it and hoping Jazz can make some noise.

3B: J.D. Davis, New York Mets – Continuing the mini-Mets stack is J.D. Davis. While his glove has left many Mets fans screaming at their TVs, his bat has been anything but sluggish. Davis is 8-for-18, good enough for .444 in his 2021, which has kept him in the lineup despite his defensive shortcomings. In order to stay in the lineup, Davis is going to need that bat to stay hot.

SS: Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals – The Royals have been an exciting team to watch in the early part of this season, and one of the more interesting pieces has been the resurgence of Nicky Lopez. With Adalberto Mondesi finding himself on the IL before Opening Day, Lopez was given a roster spot after a rough Spring Training. All of that has dissipated as Lopez has been an incredible anchor for this Royals team that is starting to look like those “move the line” Royals teams of the mid-2010s.

OF: Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals – Also on the Royals is Jorge Soler. Air Soler has been very much his three-true-outcome self in 2021, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With the Royals front three ahead of him getting on base more often than not, Soler’s been seeing some solid pitches with runners on. All it takes is one swing for Soler to go off.

OF: Michael Conforto, New York Mets – Rounding out the mini-Mets stack is Michael Conforto, who is currently in the longest home run drought of his career. Conforto’s season has not gotten off to a great start, as Mets fans booed him during the last homestand. However, with the help of hitting coach Chili Davis, Conforto seems to have found a solution to his slump. Can he breakout at home against the Nationals? All signs seem to be saying so.

OF: Justin Upton, Los Angeles Angels – Yes, Justin Upton is a shell of his former self, but we’ve been seeing glimpses of that former player this season and it’s been wonderful. Going into a matchup against Zack Greinke, Upton has the upper hand. Seriously, Upton’s hitting over .300 against Greinke in his career. So we could see some fireworks in Houston if he gets his pitch.

The Computer-Generated Optimized Lineup

P: Jacob deGrom, New York Mets – Same as us, except not a forced pick. The computer knows what’s up.

P: Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays – There are a lot of solid pitchers in tonight’s slate, the best of them being deGrom, Kershaw, Darvish, and Glasnow. This is a great pick, as the majority of players might shy away from picking against the insanely potent offense of the Toronto Blue Jays. But, as you’ll see from these later picks, the computer ain’t scared of the Blue Jays.

C: Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics – The computer loves picking Sean Murphy. And I don’t blame them. This is a good matchup against a pretty rough Orioles team.

1B: Mike Ford, New York Yankees – Rough start to the season for the Yankees. Even rougher start for Jay Bruce, who opened the season at first base for the Bronx Bombers. Now with Bruce retiring, the Yankees have experimented with DJ LeMahieu and Mike Ford at first. Not a big fan of the pick, but I get the thinking, especially considering Ford’s low price point.

UPDATE: As Mike Ford is out of the Yankees Starting Lineup, the computer selected Mitch Moreland of the Oakland Athletics to take over at first base.

2B: Jazz Chisholm, Miami Marlins – Same as us.

3B: Mike Brosseau, Tampa Bay Rays – Not a terrible handcuff to Glasnow, but this feels risky considering the success the Rays have had with Adames and Wendle on the right side of the infield. But if he doesn’t get the start, there’s a ton of options around his price point.

SS: Elvis Andrus, Oakland Athletics – The computer also loves Elvis Andrus, which I would understand if it was 2010. But Andrus has 9 hits in 19 games this season, so that’s some serious faith from the computer.

UPDATE: In a corresponding move to the Mike Ford re-pick, the Computer has opted for Joey Wendle, furthering their Rays Stack.

OF: Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays – A Tampa Bay Rays stack? Against Steven Matz? Interesting. We… kinda love it? Something we don’t love? So many players in the early games. Not the biggest fan of that move.

UPDATE: In a corresponding move, the computer has dumped Arozarena to free up space for Joey Wendle at shortstop. Instead, the computer has selected Raimel Tapia of the Colorado Rockies.

OF: Manuel Margot, Tampa Bay Rays – STOLEN. BASE. CITY. Don’t hate it.

OF: Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals – Same as us.

See you next week, as the faith-based holy boys take on the computer in round three! Will the computer even up the score? Or are the fantasy boys too far ahead? Stay tuned to find out!

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