COAST-2-COAST: SLUMP BUSTING

Coast-to-Coast has many literal translations, but there is only one that makes sense in my world. Going coast-to-coast is a basketball term in reference to when a player grabs a defensive rebound, and then proceeds to bust loose on a dribbling expedition from at least foul line to foul line culminating in a positive play for his team, usually via either a dazzling assist to a teammate or a spectacular finish at the rim for himself. Visions of Earvin “Magic” Johnson run through my head as the poster boy for this slogan, and in today’s game, no one is more symbolic of Coast-to-Coast moreso than the Alphabet, that Freak of Greek Nature, Giannis Antetokounmpo. The aim of this bi-weekly blog is to share some of my insights into DFS basketball, from the mind of a b-ball fanatic, and an O.G. hooper. When we played ball from noon to sunset on a daily, we “hooped”. Football is my fascination, Baseball and Soccer are my hobbies, but Hoops is my passion! Welcome to the Coast-2-Coast blog!

If you play regularly, busting out of a slump is a scenario which we all face at times while playing DFS Sports, in every sport. And things can go downhill fast if we allow it, and sometimes, the best tonic is simply to take a couple days off to regroup. Our ego will tell us that the next slate is the one, so just keep hammering away and you’ll break through for a nice score. The next day comes, and just like the prior slates during this slump, once again, another day in the red as the losses keep mounting.

Wednesday night was a peculiar night, as I spent most of the day trying so hard to come up with some contrarian plays in order to fill out the rest of my linuep(s) around what I believed was a strong core, and as it turns out, the chalkiest plays worked out for the masses as the cash line for the lower-entry GPPs on both sites was very elevated. When the cash line significantly moves up, that means the chalk won. When I checked RotoGrinders player projections that day, I saw how high Carmelo Anthony was rated and I just didn’t want to buy into it, especially after finding out how chalky he would be from everyone mentioning him in their write-ups and across chat rooms and ‘twitter-verse’. Melo as chalk is something I don’t want any part of. But alas, it worked out wonderfully for all. And one of my last-ditch solutions to busting out of a slump, is to simply go back to square 1, by 1) following a trusted projection system and/or player recommendation outside of your own for a bit, at least a slate or two, and 2) sticking close to the chalk line for many or your plays, especially for the bulk your primary core, like 3/4 or 4/5 players being chalky, and lastly, 3) scaling back quite a bit. There is no need to keep dumping significant sums of your bankroll by banging your head against a wall in trying the same thing(s) over-and-over expecting a different result. That is labeled insanity, a wise man once said. And part of scaling back could include focusing more on one site as opposed to multiple sites, which can cause a bit of (unintentional) confusion with the different approaches and idiosyncracies associated with each site. So here I go, looking to bust this slump today and either way, win, lose, or draw, we’re taking a break from NBA this weekend and submitting maybe two or three lineups in NFL. So with that behind us, we make our way onto dissecting this 8-game NBA slate.

Let’s get to the picks. These are many of my top plays although breaking news and late scratches as always must be monitored and given consideration. I’ll also be including the STINGER play(s), sort of a wildcard recommendation ill-suited for the feint of heart as my risk tolerance is at least fairly high. These plays will sting one way or another, either the field gets stung by a (typically) low-owned virtuoso performance or your lineup gets stung by a massive flop.

TODAY’S PICKS (Friday 1/06 – 8 game slate) I

POINT GUARD

Isaiah Thomas ($8300 DK, $9200 FD) PHI@BOS

What a major discrepancy in pricing, with a whopping -$900 savings from FD to DK. Thomas has undoubtedly been one of the best players in all of fantasy for the past month or so, but at $9200 on FD and the Celtics 12.5 point home favorites, he is strictly a DK-only consideration for me. If Embiid is ruled OUT, all bets are off and Thomas will be out of my player pool.

Mike Conley ($6600 DK, $6900 FD) MEM@GSW

Conley and the Grizz are an enigmatic bunch who seem to play to the level of their competition. Given their matchup tonight, they will need to be at the top of their game to avoid from getting blown out. With a decisive victory over the Dubs at home earlier this season, the Grizz have shown that they can compete vs this team. While many will be avoiding players in this game, I’ll have quite a bit of Conley and a couple other players in this contest.

Tyler Johnson ($5800 DK, $6100 FD) MIA@LAL

Pricing is getting very tight all around, and it takes a tremendously favorable matchup for me to lean on a player like Johnson. Well, a most favorable matchup is what we get with the Heat visiting the Lakers who will be on a back-to-back. Johnson won’t make a lot of my lineups, but I expect to have at least a few shares.

C2C STINGER #1: Ty Lawson ($4000 DK, $4200 FD) LAC@SAC

Lawson has been seeing a healthy allotment of minutes of late, and with Rudy Gay out he has been one of their closers alongside Cousins as a top playmaker for the Kings. IF Gay is ruled OUT for this game, I will lean heavily on Lawson as a value play, of which there are very few these days.

SHOOTING GUARD

Bradley Beal ($6900 DK, $7000 FD) MIN@WAS

With a couple of days off since their last game, the injury-plagued Beal should be fresh and re-energized to put in a nice stretch of top performances in the coming games, so hopefully he starts right here. The Wolves are ranked middle-of-the-pack in SG defense over the past 4 weeks per RotoGrinders, but LaVine isn’t necessarily known for his shutdown defense. I have Beal locked and loaded in all teams tonight.

J.J. Redick ($5200 DK, $4400 FD) LAC@SAC

The expected return of Chris Paul should be a boon for several Clippers, with Redick toward the top of that list. Always a guy who plays much better with a creator/distributor next to him, Redick has also enjoyed success vs the Kings in the past, averaging 19 points and 2.5 3-Ptrs per contest across 4 games last season.

Sean Kilpatrick ($5300 DK, $4700 FD) CLE@BKN

Coming off of the bench allows Kelpatrick to be a top usage guy with the 2nd unit, so the ‘demotion’ should be just fine in this case. With the Nets expected to be huge dogs in this one (No Line currently), the Nets’ bench should be in line for major minutes.

SMALL FORWARD

Kevin Durant ($9400 DK, $9600 FD) MEM@GSW

Mr. Efficiency, Durant gets a matchup vs the likes of Chandler Parsons and James Ennis. Here’s hoping the Grizz can stay close because Parsons and the Grizz have zero shot of slowing down KD here.

Aaron Gordon ($4900 DK, $4800 FD) HOU@ORL

“AG-ent 00” has been coming on strong of late, and since he has yet to get a significant price bump I’m going to keep riding him daily. In a pace-up game for the Magic at home vs the Rockets, I expect Gordon to have fun in this wide-open game. All aboard and pretty much, you guessed it, ALL-IN!

Andrew Wiggins ($6800 DK, $6400 FD) MIN@WAS

In my favorite game of the night, Wiggins is an intriguing option for this slate as he could go somewhat overlooked as there are top end SFs like LeBron, Melo, and KD priced above him while value options like Gordon, Ariza, and Crowder are priced below him. A 103 Vegas implied total for the Wolves seems quite a bit too low in my opinion, and I expect the Wolves to blow past this number with Wiggins getting his fair share of the pie.

POWER FORWARD

Gorgui Dieng ($5800 DK, $5600 FD) MIN@WAS

Dieng gets us more exposure to my favorite game on the slate. My primary strategy will be to target the middle-value guys in this game and pay up for the big boys in other games, but this MIN-WAS game offers an attractive game stack for sure.

Jabari Parker ($7300 DK, $7000 FD) NYK@MIL

We’re going back to the well on Parker vs the Knicks again, this time with Porzingis expected to be back for the Knicks. I think that Parker is far too quick for Porzingis, especially with Zinger having a banged up hip. Parker could also see time at the ‘3’ matched up with Melo, always a plus for an offensive player the caliber of Parker.

C2C STINGER #2: Dario Saric ($4500 DK, $4200 FD) PHI@BOS

Saric may be in line for a boost here if Embiid and/or Covington get ruled OUT for this game, and his price point would certainly be appreciated on this slate where good value may be hard to come by. I believe that he is a sneaky play if only 1 of those guys gets ruled OUT, but he could reach people’s radar if both guys are ruled OUT.

CENTER

Marcin Gortat ($6200 DK, $6500 FD) MIN@WAS

I could just as easily go with KAT on the other side of this matchup, but Gortat should at least bring value and likely exceed it given his price point and minutes projection (37-41) in this home game vs the Wolves, who are surprisingly very accommodating when it comes to defending Centers. The Wolves rank 26th in fantasy points allowed to Centers over the past 4 weeks per RotoGrinders, giving up an “eye-opening” average of 51.9 points to the position. Gortat soaking up the majority of the C mins for the Wizards should allow him to eat well in this one.

DeAndre Jordan ($7100 DK, $7500 FD) LAC@SAC

Jordan piques my interest only in the event that CP3 returns for this game. If CP3 remains OUT, I will be ALL-IN on the Polish Hammer at the Center position.

In closing, I would really hate to have to resort to going “Wade Boggs” in order to break out of this slump. If you don’t get the reference, take a few moments to look into the drastic measures that the MLB HOF’er would take in order to bust a slump, note the term “Slump Buster”. But desperate times do call for desperate measures and I’m in need of a victory cigar right about now. The streak stops here!

As always, good luck to all in your NBA DFS endeavors and I look forward to seeing you just beneath me at the top of the standings in something 2nite.

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