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Beat the Computer: The Diamond Hands of Fate Take Hold in Round 2

The faith-based holy boys of fantasy football are taking on the baseball diamond. Can they beat the computer algorithm?

Bryce Harper by Ian D’Andrea is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

Beat the Computer: The Diamond Hands of Fate Take Hold in Round 2

Estimated Reading Time: 6 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 are far from undeterred. With the 2021 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.

Three of us are trying to see if we can beat a computer at Daily Fantasy Sports, specifically Daily Fantasy Baseball on DraftKings. And last week, we absolutely CRUSHED the computer.

Last Week’s Turf Team Study Lineup

Last Week’s Computer-Generated Optimized Lineup

Study Lineups (1-0)Control Lineups (0-1)
Total Points126.95111.05
Average Points/Contest126.95111.05
Best Single Lineup126.95111.05
Worst Single Lineup126.95111.05

Round 2 Lineups

Turf Team Study Lineup

P: Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres – The former Pittsburgh Pirate had a fantastic debut for the Padres last week, and with the Dads heading to Texas to face a ROUGH Rangers squad, it feels like an easy pick. I’m sure the computer will also see this and go Musgrove as well. I mean, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

P: Julio Teheran, Detroit Tigers – Talk about another pitcher who was solid back in 2015. Teheran had a great first start against Cleveland, and I think he can do it again. With the Tigers getting hot and being able to provide some semblance of run support, I think Teheran’s a value pick here.

C: J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies – The beginnings of a mini-stack against Charlie Morton. Realmuto’s bat is a great thing to have in the lineup, but his speed is the real prize. If Realmuto can run on Travis d’Arnaud tonight, those points will add up.

1B: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves – Always here for Freddie. He’s an elite hitter, and he’s going up against elite pitching. With a lot of players migrating towards Zack Wheeler against the Braves, I like this pick going against the grain. Also, any time Freddie is below $5K, he’s a steal.

2B: Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds – Early in the season, it’s difficult to base a pick off numbers considering how small the sample size is. That leads to leaning into players who are hot. That’s where Jonathan India comes into play. The guy has been hitting like all of his games have been played on the surface of the Sun. Easy pick.

3B: Mike Moustakas, Cincinnati Reds – A simple Reds stack with India. Moustakas has also been raking as of late, and while big bombs get points, Arizona is Coors South, so anything in play can make trouble. We’re leaning into that with this selection.

SS: Elvis Andrus, Oakland Athletics – I never understand when people say “this guy is due.” Due what? Waiting for a player to figure it out and hit at an MLB level is a bit like doing a rain dance. If you don’t stop dancing until it rains, the rain dance has worked. If you keep saying a guy is due, he’ll eventually get a hit. Anyway, Andrus has good numbers against Lance McCullers and he “is due”, so we’re rolling with him.

OF: Ronald Acuña, Jr., Atlanta Braves – Similarly to the Freddie pick, we’re going against Wheeler. Yes, he’s expensive, but the risk is worth the reward if he is able to get to Wheeler and the Phillies bullpen once or twice.

OF: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies – In every divisional series the Phillies have this year I’m turning to Bryce Harper. The Bryce Harper Era in Philly hasn’t gone as well as some might have hoped, and that disappointment seems to have turned Bryce’s mindset in 2021. No longer is he a one-man wrecking crew, as the Phillies built around him, and have a solid offensive core. Harper’s no longer on an island, and the more he breathes into that new circumstance, the more we’ll see the former NL MVP return to his former self.

OF: David Peralta, Arizona Diamondbacks – Easy play for a post-Coors bounce. With Peralta returning to Coors Field South after a few games in Coors Field North, I expect to see some fireworks from the Arizona outfielder.

The Computer-Generated Optimized Lineup

P: Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres – Same as us. Called it. The computer algorithm loves the smell of blood in the water and will normally go after abysmal teams and pile on the pain. This move feels like that. I mean, we’re doing the same thing, so…

P: Charlie Morton, Atlanta Braves – An understandable pick. However, in our head-to-head matchup, I don’t have this much faith in Morton stopping our mini Phillies stack.

C: Wilson Ramos, Detroit Tigers – Originally this pick was Kurt Suzuki, a play against the Toronto starter, T.J. Zeuch, who is a placeholder for Robbie Ray in the Jays lineup. But with Suzuki out, the computer turned to Wilson Ramos. Frankly, I love this pick. Ramos is a good solid hitter when he’s locked in. When he’s not, it’s goose egg time. Big swing if this works out.

1B: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds – Another late switch for the computer, this pick was originally Mitch Moreland against Lance McCullers, who he has good numbers against. The computer has instead opted to double-down on their Reds stack. You’ll see what I mean.

2B: Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds – Same as us, but it should be noted this was not one of our forced picks. Those were Bryce Harper and Ronald Acuña, Jr. Seems the computer also likes what they see out of the Reds infielder.

3B: Mike Moustakas, Cincinnati Reds – Same as us, but once again not a forced pick. In fact, this pick was originally Anthony Rendon in an apparent stack with Kurt Suzuki, against Toronto. The computer has basically morphed itself into a Big Red Machine. Wild turn of events, and we’re not even done with the switches.

SS: Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds – Another mini-stack, this time with the red hot Reds offense. Another gamble on a guy with a .111 average. Yes, #SmallSampleSize, but this is a big gamble based on the possibility of the Reds staying hot. Could boom, could bust.

OF: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies – Same as us.

OF: Ronald Acuña, Jr., Atlanta Braves – Same as us.

OF: Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds – The final switch, as the computer’s OG pick, Nick Senzel, sits in Arizona. This move makes Winker, Votto and Suarez the difference makers in this matchup. With the humans playing Jonathan India and Mike Moustakas, the Reds heavy stack pushes to these three dudes. Wild stuff. Bold strategy.

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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