Alt+Tab: Building a Bankroll While Looking "Busy" at Work (12/13)

I’ve been playing DFS since 2014 with varying levels of success. Despite a couple of GPP wins, I never built a consistent bankroll. I was making regular deposits into my DK account and never built a solid foundation to fund my playing. In hindsight, the problem is obvious: I wasn’t good at GPP’s and that’s all I played. I never played cash games because there wasn’t the allure of an ultra-sexy payout. As a result, any money I deposited to my account would quickly disappear and I had to start over.

Towards the end of last year’s NBA regular season, I started only playing single-entry cash games. This quickly became a much more profitable approach. I wanted to see where this strategy could take me over the course of an entire season, so I started fresh with the ’19-’20 NBA season. I wanted to write this blog to document my progress towards organically growing my bankroll. Hopefully, I can share what I’ve learned by analyzing what works and what doesn’t.

December 13th Update

Another lame 4-game slate. I really wish the NBA schedule was a little more even. I’ve started to realize how tricky a small slate can be in a cash game setting, so I’ve been scaling back my entry fees these nights. I’m clearly not entering a ton of money on normal nights, but when it’s only a few games, I keep my entries limited to $40 ($5, $10, $25 single-entry double ups).

Ownership is so heavily concentrated on these slates that you’re essentially forced into playing a few of the popular players. You have to differentiate elsewhere, and that is easier said than done when your options are so limited. Here’s a look at the top 10 highest-owned players last night (sorted by value):

This wasn’t anything too unexpected, as 4-game slates usually look like this.

Despite a lame slate, I managed to cash out again and make some modest progress. Here’s where I stand today:

YTD Deposits: ($165)
Current Bankroll Total: $544.08
Net Gain/(Loss): $379.08
Organic Growth Rate: 229.75%

I’m getting some “breathing room” to stay above the $500 mark, which feels nice. I’m no longer just barely in the $500 range.

So What Happened?

Entry Fees: ($40)
Total Winnings: $80

Everyone has those players that they just never seem to get right. For me, that’s LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, and Jabari Parker. I’ve never liked rostering LMA and I wasn’t about to start last night. I initially had DeRozan but pivoted at the last minute to Porzingis. This worked out pretty well, as both DeRozan and LMA were underwhelming. Porzingis was looking like a disaster as well, but had a strong second half and made value.

LMA met salary-based expectations, but it took him 39 minutes to do so. DeRozan fell short of the 5x mark despite also playing 39 minutes. Both players averaged less than a fantasy point per minute. They’re both capable of having huge games, but I always get them wrong, so I was determined to stay away from them last night.

Because of the size of the slate, there were a few players you couldn’t get away from. There was no way I was fading Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid (especially at his sub-$10k price point). Doncic had another otherworldly performance while dominating the Pistons. Despite the $11,400 salary, he hit 6.89x in 34 minutes. That is bananas. As I like to say, he is the cat’s pajamas (we really need to bring that phrase back).

I also don’t know why Blake Griffin was so popular. My guess is that people assumed Andre Drummond wouldn’t play? But we got news about Drummond playing with plenty of time, though, and DK has late swap as well. My only other guess is because he’s so cheap. Maybe I’m biased because I live in Detroit, but Blake Griffin has not been good this year. With Dummond playing, that removed any appeal that Griffin might have (which wasn’t a lot to begin with).

A lot of people also jumped on the Brad Wanamaker train because he was the best value-play based on the projections. I get it because value was hard to come by, but when you looked at the projections, you saw he was only projected for like 17 FPTS. Sure, 5.5x value looks great, but 17 FPTS is not good. I had no desire to play him and was really confused by his high ownership.

So What Did We Learn Today?

  • It’s typically better to limit your bankroll exposure to short slates like this.
  • Don’t roster a player you have a bad feeling about just because it’s a small slate or because they’ll be popular. Pay attention to your instinct because there are some players that you just never get right.
  • We really need to start saying the cat’s pajamas a lot more. Why is no one talking about this.

Thanks for reading and good luck tonight!

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