Fading the Chalk: Avoiding Nurkic When All the Pros Loved Him
Fading the Chalk: Avoiding Nurkic When All the Pros Loved Him
I have been playing DFS just about every single day for a little over a year and a half now. I’m not good enough to be considered a grinder, but I’m also not losing money all that much either. I want to get better. I have read in a few different books that one of the best ways to get better is to take the time to go back and analyze how your choices stack up against the people who are winning the contests you are playing. Taking the time to do that research is the motivation behind these Fading the Chalk articles. If you’d like to talk more about your research process or any other aspect of DFS, hit me up on Twitter: AndyBowsersDFS.
Last night was another one of those crazy slates where nothing seemed turn out the way we expected it to. We spent all day assuming that Stephen Curry wasn’t going to play, and then he did play and the Warriors absolutely destroyed the Clippers. We thought that Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks would take it to a tired Boston team, but instead they rolled over, came back a bit, and then rolled over again. And the most frustrating aspect of the night for many people was the complete dud that Jusuf Nurkic put up starting in place of Nikola Jokic.
Thanks to some pretty smart stat guys in my group chat, I was able to avoid falling into the Nurkic trap, which was pretty much all you needed to do in order to salvage a decent night last night. And my night actually turned out to be a bit better than decent, which makes four winning nights in a row for me since changing up my approach a bit. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what I did right, and where I could have done better.
My Team: The Karl Towns All-Stars
For my lineup, everything came down to whether I was going to pay up for Karl-Anthony Towns at center or go with the bargain option in Jusuf Nurkic. Normally, I would take the obvious value, because that generally seems to be what the pros do, but my buddy @bigbuster pointed out that Nurkic did not have a track record of getting any extra mins with Jokic out. Add in the fact that Mike Malone is pretty much a loose cannon when it comes to everyone’s minutes, and Nurkic suddenly felt a lot riskier than the experts were making him out to be.
If I was going to plug in Karl Towns at center, I needed to find some value somewhere, and Jameer Nelson seemed like the obvious choice for that. I also planned on using either Jon Leuer or Derrick Favors at power forward. From there, I planned on filling in with Ricky Rubio, Devin Booker, Zach LaVine, Danilo Gallinari, Jae Crowder, and Draymond Green.
After thinking it over for a few hours, I was worried that not having Giannis Antetokounmpo in cash might end up feeling a lot like not having James Harden did on Friday. If I moved down from Ricky Rubio to Darren Collison, and also got cheaper at small forward, I found out that I had just enough to move up from Devin Booker to Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Then as I was in the middle of helping my cooks bang out the dinner rush, I saw an RG alert that Al Horford was going to sit out again with Jonas Jerebko starting in his place. Since I didn’t love either Leuer or Favors, I swapped down to Jerebko and then used the extra salary to move up from Zach LaVine to Devin Booker and to get up to Danilo Gallinari and P.J. Tucker at small forward.
Head-to-Head With the Pros
As I kind of expected, our buddy @csuram88 went down to Jusuf Nurkic at center and up to Giannis Antetokounmpo at shooting guard. He also took the value at point guard with Jameer Nelson, and then put together a three-man Timberwolves stack with Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, and Gorgui Dieng. Then he filled in Devin Booker and Draymond Green. The entire lineup performed well, but Pete wasn’t able to overcome that dud from Nurkic.
My man, @birdwings, did even worse by taking Pete’s lineup and going down to T.J. Warren in order to get up to Jabari Parker alongside Draymond Green. With both of these players posting absolute duds, there wasn’t much Ryan could do to recover.
@hoop2410 actually used this same lineup as well. I got the luckier end of the Phoenix small forwards last night, but if anyone really knows how to tell the difference between those guys, let me know.
Taking Down the Monster
Another thing we talked about in my group chat yesterday morning is how you were going to have to do something a little different if you wanted to take down a tournament last night, and @bigdrawls055 pointed out that with everyone on Towns and Nurkic, guys like DeMarcus Cousins were going to be way under-owned.
That is exactly the way that @raydevil was able to take down the $30k top prize in the Monster last night. In addition to Boogie Cousins at 17.6%, Ray also paid up for Eric Bledsoe, and got him at only 12.2% because most people thought he was priced a bit too high, even though he was in the highest total game of the night. The value plays here were the same ones that I had with Jameer Nelson and P.J. Tucker, and then Ray filled in with Dion Waiters, Jae Crowder, Gorgui Dieng, and Zach Randolph.
My Results: Another One for the Good Guys
It was another profitable night for me as I returned a little over a hundred dollars in profit on $177 of buy-ins. This was the fourth night in a row of winning about a hundred bucks for me, so things are really chugging along nicely right now, which is a far cry from how I felt at the beginning of the week. That is a good reminder that we can’t let the losing streaks get us down, but we also need to maintain some modesty during the winning streaks.
You can see here that I did much better in the 50/50s than I did in the head-to-heads. While I certainly don’t want to stop playing those head-to-heads altogether, I think that I am going to reduce the percentage of my bankroll that I commit to them as the amount I am playing each night increases.
The last four slates have turned a negative into a positive as far as my overall return since switching to this cash game strategy. It’s also interesting to note that I would be up $160 more if I avoided playing the NFL slates, and I could have avoided another $160 in losses if I didn’t play those head-to-heads.
One of the reasons that I spent the first part of this NBA season exclusively playing tournaments was that my results from last season showed that two big tournament wins was where all of my profits came from, and everything else was just noise. It’s not quite that bad this year, but I could probably fine-tune my game selection a bit by reducing the number of head-to-heads and increasing the tournament action.
Moving on to the next slate, we are going to try to make it five in a row tonight, and I have all day off to sit around and focus on who I want to roll with in my lineup. So my next stop is going to be the NBA First Look by @notorious for Vegas lines and DvP matchups. Let’s get to work on that research and see if we can’t come out on the profitable side of variance again tonight!
Also, since @joeymc301 is probably going to write a blog with his Royal Rumble predictions, I’ll add mine here as well. I’m an internet wrestling fan, so I’m pulling for either Generico (Sami Zayn) or a surprise return by Ferg (Finn Balor) where either would go on to headline Wrestlemania against FightSteenFight (Kevin Owens), but I am thinking that the Undertaker winning and challenging John Cena is a lot more likely.