When I saw that DraftStreet came out with Pro Pick Em, I immediately went to put together an article about strategy. But, thankfully, I pulled the reigns back and decided to try it out a couple times before declaring myself knowledgeable on the subject. Pro Pick Em, an idea that many sites have been working on, is essentially a beginners game intended to draw in new players by making picks much simpler. All you need to do is pick which guy, in a group of between 3 and 10, will have the best night. While simple in theory, this game is sure to bring a whole new level of lineup tinkering to guys like me who sometimes have trouble making concrete decisions. It’s SO easy to switch your lineup at the last minute in this game, which brings me to my first tip.
TIP #1: STICK TO YOUR GUNS
Unless there is an injury or a blatant oversight on your part, you can’t go adjusting your lineup every time someone in the chat room says that they like a certain guy. You need to find a lineup and go with it. If you win, you win and vice-versa, but when players are so interchangeable you don’t want to find yourself thinking what your night could have been if you didn’t tinker so damn much. Good players know this already, but I like to consider myself very average so I know that players like me can fall in this trap.
TIP #2: BE WARY OF STACKING LINEUPS
One of the easiest things to do in Pro Pick ‘Em is to end up with a bunch of guys from one team in your lineup. I really don’t believe that having more than two guys from the same team can bring you DFS success in the NBA game. When you go higher than two players per team, you’re running the risk of that team having a bad night and your entire team going up in smoke. If you want to have one star and one sleeper from the same team, that’s ok. But when you start playing multiple higher tier players from the same team, you’re playing a dangerous game. The asterisk here has to be that absurd night where Kevin Durant had 50, Russell Westbrook had 40 and Serge Ibaka had a triple-double with blocks. But that will happen once in a blue moon so don’t count on it.
TIP #3: WINNING+LOSING IS SEPARATED IN THE MIDDLE GROUPS
The game is set-up with 8 groups of players, all of which consist of guys in the same price/talent range for a given night. Yes, picking the right top player will help you win and picking a good sleeper can win. But there isn’t much variance in those groupings. If there is a clear cut favorite on top, most players will take him and there won’t be a huge area to beat your opponent from that. The final group or two, your sleeper players, will most likely consist of guys who won’t carry your team but will score around the same general area. The meat of your lineup will separate winners from losers. Group 4 on Sunday Night had Brook Lopez, the popular pick, and Paul Pierce were others but for the sake of this example I’ll look at these two.) I took Lopez who put up a paltry 5.75 fantasy points. Meanwhile, Pierce dropped in 44.75 fantasy points in an impressive performance. Right there, you have a difference of 40 points to be made up if you took the wrong pick there. The point being, the most variance in scoring will come from “Tier” 2,3,4, and 5. These should be the picks you do most of your research on.
TIP #4: RISK-TAKING ISN’T AS IMPORTANT IN PICK EM AS SALARY CAP LEAGUES
This tip comes down strictly to a numbers game. In salary leagues, there are so many more options that you can take a risk on someone and still have a chance because almost everyone has at least one risk pick in each lineup. In Pro Pick Em, you don’t need to think outside the box as much. The box is made for you by the various tiers. Just take the players you like the most and don’t over complicate things. Like I said, the meat of your lineup will win you your money, so don’t out smart yourself and end up taking some scrub who will play 8 minutes the whole game. As the great Michael Scott once said, Keep It Simple Stupid. It hurt Dwight’s feelings every time.
So hopefully this all helps. I think that the game will draw beginners in at first, but don’t be surprised if the sharks start to put some money into it for two reasons.
1) They love playing against beginners because it’s easy money.
2) It’s a quick-pick game where they can throw money around fast.
Good luck and keep grinding. Feel free to post comments, opinions, etc on the board here. I’m always interested in what your opinion as well as making my blogs better.