Getting Medieval at Daily Joust
Over the past few weeks, we've looked at a handful of the daily fantasy sites out there, such as DraftDay, Fantasy Feud, and Fanduel. As the industry has grown over the past few years, there are still quite a few more out there that we haven't covered though. Since it's the primary place that I've been playing for the past couple of weeks, we're going to have a look at some of the features over at Daily Joust today.
Reviewing Daily Joust
The lineup itself is closer to Fanduel than anything we've seen at the other sites that we've reviewed. Why? You only carry one pitcher and don't play any Utility/DH spots. All Designated Hitters are lumped in with the 1b.
- 3 OF
There are positives and negatives about the one pitcher format. If you choose poorly, it can often mean that your night is over regardless of how your hitters perform. If you pick a starter that wasn't real popular that night and he has a big night, he can carry you to a big cash payout even if you don't have a great night offensively. Since Daily Joust skews a little more heavily towards the pitching statistics than a site like Fanduel, this is far and away the most important spot on your team.
Scoring is a bit different from what we've seen at most of the other sites. Fanduel and DraftDay carry identical scoring systems for hitters, though the pitching is scored a bit differently. Daily Joust really only brings a couple of changes to the table from what we've seen.
- Walk = 1 Point
- HBP = 1 Point
- Hit = 1 Point
- Total Bases = 1 Point for each base
- Run = 2 Points
- RBI = 2 Points
- Strikeout = -1 Point
- Grounded Into Double Play = -1 Point
- Sacrifice = 1 Point
- Inning Pitched = 3 Points
- Strikeout = 1 Point
- Hit = -1 Point
- Walk = -1 Point
- Hit Batsman = -1 Point
- Earned Run = -2 Points
- Win = 7 Points
Again, some things jump off the page compared to what we've seen elsewhere. Each inning is worth 3 points. While part of the reasoning behind this may be to eliminate fractional points, it also certainly enhances the value of pitchers who work deeper into games. We can also see that pitchers are penalized more heavily, as they lose a full point for each baserunner allowed and two points for each earned run allowed. Both DraftDay and Fantasy Feud incorporate WHIP into their scoring systems, but Fanduel (which has the most similar roster) does not. This scoring system can be extremely beneficial if you pick the right pitcher - say, Dan Haren's shutout of the Mariners last week, which netted him 44 points at Joust and 28 at Fanduel. It can also be unforgiving if you don't - Derek Holland was a -19 at Joust last night, while he was a -4.34 at Fanduel... both hurt, but you're a lot more likely to overcome that -4.34 than the -19.
One of the things that I've enjoyed about playing at Daily Joust is that they have several interesting contests that I don't seem to find at other sites. With so many daily sites having popped up in recent years, there seem to be two ways for a site to thrive.
One is to be simplistic. This is the reason that a site like Fanduel has been among the most successful sites in the industry. Both the lineups (one of each) and the scoring (particularly for pitching, with only earned runs knocking scores back) are as basic as can be. Casual players, "newbies" (hey... that does include me, as I've only been playing daily for a couple of months), and yes... people who occasionally just get lucky stand a stronger chance. This pulls more people into their site than others, which is obviously the goal.
The other is to be innovative. We talked about the creativity over at DraftDay with the DOCOFS a few weeks ago. Fantasy Feud offers a couple of innovative ideas that I don't see at many other sites, including a Pick'em game that eliminates the salary cap and allows you to choose a lineup pretty quickly. Daily Joust has their own share of creative contests as well.
One of the first things I was excited to try over at Daily Joust were the solo matches. Admit it. If you're like me, you get frustrated when you put together a lineup that has a really good night only to find that fifty people stacked the Rockies (or worse... the Mariners in Arlington!) so that you either didn't cash or barely cashed. The Solo contests over at Daily Joust just have you playing against a targeted point total. If you reach that point total (currently 60) for the evening, you win.
Joust offers this to users at three different levels each night. You can play a $5, an $11, or a $22 (or all three if you choose). Any player who wins a solo event is eligible for the...
The Solo Survivor Tournaments are also a great way to both ensure repeat business (for them) and give users a shot at a nice prize pool. All players who have won (regular) solo events in the past week are allowed to enter at all three levels. Provided that you win (even if it's only at one level), you continue on to the next day. You do have to re-up every day to keep playing. That's OK, though, since the contests pay out just like a regular solo contest would ($5/$9, $11/$20, $22/$40). In other words, if you're winning, you should be able to re-up and still come out ahead.
The prize pool for the Solo Survival Tournament is $250 and a seat in the Super Joust (more on that in a bit). In order to win the prize pool, a player must win a SST contest at least four days in a row. If nobody entered in the SST meets that criteria, the $250 prize pool rolls over to next week's contest (making it a $500 prize pool). After four days, if there are still multiple players in contention, the lowest high score (above the target) each night is eliminated until there is a winner.
King Richard's 50/50 Survival Tournaments
We've talked a bit about 50/50s in this space before, but let's start with the basics. In a 50/50 league, the top half of the league will be considered the winner. If you're in a 100 player 50/50 league, everyone in the Top 50 will win exactly the same amount of money. These are offered at both DraftDay and Fanduel, so we've kind of covered them. Daily Joust puts an interesting twist on them, though.
It's $20 to enter the tournament, which is a one time entry fee. As the name would suggest, the field is trimmed each day. You begin with a 32 team field. Each Day 1 winner (Top 16) wins $5 and advances to Day 2. Each Day 2 winner (Top 8) wins $15 and advances to Day 3. Each Day 3 winner (Top 4) wins $30 and advances to Day 4. Day 4 winners net $55 and a chance to play heads up for $120 and a seat at the Super Joust tournament.
Last week, I tried playing this tournament for the first time. While I barely hung on the first couple of days, I had the best score by a substantial margin on Days 3 and 4. Unfortunately, I basically laid an egg on Sunday, creating just a 33 point lineup for the final. I'm currently heading into Day 4 of another one thanks to Paul Goldschmidt's home run Wednesday night. Day 4 should be interesting, as there are just three games Thursday.
While a $20 entry fee is a bit higher than most of the games that I've been playing, I really enjoy the format. Generally speaking, players (be they good or bad) are going to get lucky (or unlucky) every once in a while. Winning five straight days requires a little more skill in my eyes, even if "winning" really only means finishing in the top half each day.
No Stack Tournaments
These seem to be relatively new to the site. In fact, I believe that when I first saw one this weekend, it proclaimed itself the first ever no stack tournament. The title should say it all. You can take no more than three players from any one team. This format should help to eliminate one of the more frustrating areas for the hardcore daily fantasy player, the team stack. There are times when stacking is useful and makes a ton of sense. Still, quite frequently, the assumption is that you were too lazy to really research hitters at all.
Are the Rockies playing at Coors? I might as well load up on Rockies, even if we're talking about guys like Chris Nelson, Jordan Pacheco, and Todd Helton. Is Jason Marquis pitching against the Tigers today? I might as well just put Ramon Santiago in my lineup instead of actually researching to find a decent value 2b. There's a chance that Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder could drive him in if he gets lucky and has a hit or two today. When I see guys like Cesar Izturis in a winning team's lineup, I know that there are going to be at least five other Brewers and that they scored about 18 runs. There's no other logical reason to play him.
Having tournaments where team stacking is eliminated should be a nice way to reward players for doing more research on things like batter vs. pitcher, lefty/righty splits, day/night games, home/road games, etc. rather than just finding out who is in a certain lineup and grabbing six players who are in it. I don't question the effectiveness of stacking, but the effort involved.
The All Star Joust will be played on June 22. It's going to be a feast or famine event, as the "prize pool" is actually winner takes all. That prize pool is $1,500 and two tickets to the All Star game. Entry is free, but must be earned by qualifying for the tournament. You can qualify by winning the $1 Page Thomas Tournament or the $2 Squire William's Tournament. Both contests run daily.
The Super Joust will be a big week long King Richard's 50/50 tournament that runs from September 18 through September 24. Much like the All Star Joust, you have to qualify to gain entry into the tournament. The total prize pool will be $15,000. Just like the King Richard's Tournaments, it will be a 50/50 each day (save for the first day, which trims the field to 64). You win $25 if you make it to Day 2. The escalating prizes each successive day are as follows: $50/$100/$250/$500/$900/$2000. The winner will ultimately pocket $3,825 and a couple of tickets to a World Series game. You can find ways to qualify at the link above.