Fading the Chalk: Despite the Results, LeBron Was the Right Play

By Andrew Selby (AndyBowsers), Last Updated 3 days ago

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.

I was one of the people who was fortunate to avoid rostering any of the Cleveland Cavaliers last night, but I am just as unhappy about it as those who did. Looking back on the slate with the benefit of hindsight, it is evident to me now that double punting at power forward and going to a combination of James Harden and LeBron James as your studs was the correct approach for cash games. I was apparently suffering from Nikola Jokic tunnel vision, so I didn’t see that.

Making the incorrect play might have worked out for me (kind of) last night, but those types of mistakes will crush my bankroll in the long run if they keep happening. I would rather lose making the right play than win making the wrong one because only the first option is going to be profitable in the long run.

My Lineup: The Nuggets Stack All-Stars

(align-ct)http://i.imgur.com/K2ayY3N.jpg!

My approach to lineup construction yesterday was to start at the bottom and work up from there. That was because I thought the easiest decision of the day was to lock in Mason Plumlee at center. The numbers he had put up as a starter in his previous two games made him a value at the $6k price tag. Moving up to power forward, I kept with the Nuggets and plugged in Nikola Jokic and Juancho Hernangomez. I didn’t want to be the guy that got stuck with the inevitable disappearing game from Nikola Mitotic, so he wasn’t on my radar, but I did plan on going down to Jason Smith if Markieff Morris was ruled out again.

Point guard was also an obvious position. I was locking in James Harden and had Klay Thompson as the clear number two player here. If I couldn’t afford to stick with Klay, the plan was to go down to either Will Barton or Gary Harris. Of course, to use one of those Denver guys, I would have to move down off of Juancho, so a lot depended on Jason Smith getting that start.

The reason I wasn’t going to be able to play one of the Denver shooting guards with Juancho is that I was also locking in Jamal Murray as my second point guard. I didn’t know who I was going to pair him with just yet, but Patrick Beverly, Kemba Walker, and Chris Paul were all interesting.

At this point, I realized that I wasn’t going to have any money at all left for the small forward position. Luckily, two Utah Jazz players were very cheap and also starting last night. Joe Ingles would draw the start in place of Rodney Hood, and Joe Johnson was planning to start for Derrick Favors, so I used the value there to fill out my lineup and get up to Kemba Walker as my other point guard.

When it became official that Jason Smith was going to start, I moved down to him and also came down from Klay Thompson to Will Barton to go up to Chris Paul, who I felt was drastically underpriced at $8.6k.

Head-to-Head With the Pros

Unfortunately, Pete ran into some internet issues in Miami and was unable to update his dummy lineup last night, so we aren’t going to be able to learn much from him here. However, knowing his tendencies, I would imagine that he would have gone up to LeBron and ended up finishing a bit worse if he had the chance.

As you can see, Ryan finished the night with a lower total than Pete did with only seven players. Going up to LeBron and taking a zero was devastating last night, but studying Ryan’s full lineup convinced me that this was the correct play. There was so much value available at power forward, and LeBron (had he played) offered a way to roster a small forward that wasn’t in a terrible spot or just a bad player overall. Mike went the same route as Ryan, so these guys were definitely in the right place theoretically.

Taking Down the Tournaments

Just as we saw with cash games, doing well in tournaments last night all came down to simply avoiding getting bit by the three Cavaliers starters who decided to take the night off. It also helped if you stayed away from obvious plays like Chris Paul, Kemba Walker, and Nikola Mirotic.

@reverse11 was able to take down the top prize in the Monster by going double premium at small forward with Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard, and then pairing those two with James Harden. Add in a big game from Mike Conley, and a flyer on Deron Williams since Kyrie was rumored to be resting and 307.00 was good enough for $30k.

My Results: Somehow I Just Broke Even?

Despite the fact that I incorrectly dodged a bullet with LeBron, I still only managed to cash a few dollars of profit overall. Had I not gone back to spreading my play across a variety of games this week, I would have missed the cash line completely in the $3 Shot. I was in the neighborhood of the correct cash game lineup, but I would have rather nailed the process and suffered the poor results than win a few bucks with a flawed process.

While my process was a bit off last night, it is still nice to see that losing streak start to level off. Since I took the percentage of my bankroll that I put in play every night down from 5% to 2%, I have been feeling a lot more comfortable with the risks I am taking. I’m not sure exactly how much longer I could take losing $150/night, and it’s important to realize that the stress of losing can force us into making bad decisions out of desperation.

At this point, I’m just holding out for baseball season. We are going to see more and more of these late scratches happening throughout the league as the season winds down. But there is still a five-game main slate tonight, and I still have an article to write about it tomorrow, so my next stop is going to be the NBA First Look by @notorious to check out the Vegas lines and DvP chart. Let’s get to work on that research and see if we can’t make our way over to the profitable side of variance tonight.

About the Author

  • Andrew Selby (AndyBowsers)

  • Andy is a restaurant manager that fell head-over-heels in love with the DFS world from the minute he opened his FanDuel account back in early 2015. Since he is also an accomplished freelance writer, it was only a matter of time before those two worlds collided. He currently writes a daily blog called Fading the Chalk where he breaks down his own lineup decisions along with the lineups of some the best in the business.

Comments

  • Wilk39

    I don’t think you can say playing LeBron was the correct move. In hindsight it was with all of the duds, but double punting SF was just as viable as double punting PF pre-lock. With LeBron against the slowest team in the league and with Love back (yes, on a minutes restriction), it was hard to play him when you had Jokic for $400 cheaper with their bigs out in a higher scoring game environment .

  • sochoice

    One thing that people seem to be missing is the massive disappointment that CPIII has been since he returned from injury. He constantly whiffs on value and just doesn’t look good. I’ll be fading him for the rest of this season.

  • AndyBowsers

    @Wilk39 said...

    I don’t think you can say playing LeBron was the correct move. In hindsight it was with all of the duds, but double punting SF was just as viable as double punting PF pre-lock. With LeBron against the slowest team in the league and with Love back (yes, on a minutes restriction), it was hard to play him when you had Jokic for $400 cheaper with their bigs out in a higher scoring game environment .

    That was my thinking going into it. But I think the punt PFs were still better options than the punt SFs. Also, we knew there was a chance that Kyrie would sit, which would have bumped LeBron up even further.

  • AndyBowsers

    @sochoice said...

    One thing that people seem to be missing is the massive disappointment that CPIII has been since he returned from injury. He constantly whiffs on value and just doesn’t look good. I’ll be fading him for the rest of this season.

    His previous four games were 45, 51, 18, and 42. In a big time TV game against LeBron, I thought he was a lock for 40+.

  • fightingjohn

    Yesterday was just crap all around overall. On 2 today

  • SmokestackLightning

    @AndyBowsers said...

    That was my thinking going into it. But I think the punt PFs were still better options than the punt SFs. Also, we knew there was a chance that Kyrie would sit, which would have bumped LeBron up even further.

    Yeah, I think you’re right on about LeBron. Whether or not the Clippers are slow or not doesn’t really matter with someone like him. He’s nailed value for his sky-high price in tough/negative environment matchups pretty much all season long. Add the national TV angle and a matchup against CP3, Blake, the possible Kyrie scratch, and I think he was a strong play.

    Also, like you said, the punt PFs were better than the SFs. Much higher ceilings.

    That said, double-punting SFs was still an option. There’s always more than one way to get it done.

  • SmokestackLightning

    @AndyBowsers said...

    His previous four games were 45, 51, 18, and 42. In a big time TV game against LeBron, I thought he was a lock for 40+.

    That, and you’re just asking to get burned if you don’t mix in some hopping on good/great players when the field has soured on them. You’ll always be late to the party when they inevitably turn it around.

  • orange_crush58

    I ended up with the exact same lineup as you and ended up even for the night. Love the article it’s the first thing I read after first look. Do you write the same thing for baseball season?

  • AndyBowsers

    @orange_crush58 said...

    I ended up with the exact same lineup as you and ended up even for the night. Love the article it’s the first thing I read after first look. Do you write the same thing for baseball season?

    That’s the plan. As long as the bankroll hold out I’ll keep writing baseball until we get back to basketball again in the fall.

  • ulmer_sean

    LeBron was a cash game lock last night. He is the epitome of cash game consistency and was head and shoulders ahead of Jokic last night from a cash game standpoint. There was way too much value and upside at the PF position to pay up for Jokic.

    Unfortunately, the NBA is a joke with allowing this to happen night after night. Which is even more of a reason why late swap is a 110% absolute necessity in NBA DFS right now. I enjoy reading this article every day and have used it to help my process. However, I won’t give any DFS site another dime of my money until they put late swap in to prevent getting screwed night after night by millionaires that are healthy scratches. I withdrew all my funds from PayPal and Draftkings.

    The NBA is a JOKE right now!!!!!

  • bmcdow28

    I had a lineup with Lebron and cashed in the two double ups, two triple ups and the $1k NBA Mini Shot I entered. Finished 6th and 9th in the double ups, 17th and 25th in the triple ups and 55th in the Mini Shot. Love your articles!!

  • Prophet

    Jason Smith at 22.50. I’m surprised he’s still in the winning lineup. Is this usually the case?

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