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