Fading the Chalk: Reacting to Late News While Serving Fried Fish
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.
Fridays are really tough days for me. And as someone that sells a lot of fried fish, Fridays during Lent are even worse. So when I make my DFS lineup on a Friday afternoon, I have to do so with the expectation that I won’t have even a second to check the news before lineup lock. I try to be extra cautious to avoid guys who might be question marks on these days, and that usually leads to sub-optimal lineups. But this is the life that I have chosen, so I have to do the best that I can with it for now.
Fortunately, we got some snow right around dinner time last night, so I was able to sneak away for a few minutes to scroll through the RG App Alerts on my phone. After finding out that DeMarcus Cousins and Markieff Morris were both out, I made a few small changes to my lineup. But as you will see, I could have done better by going a few other directions.
My Lineup: The Value Play All-Stars
There was value everywhere yesterday, so it didn’t look like it was going to be hard to pay up for some of the top studs on the slate. My initial plan was to use Marcus Smart at point guard, but FanDuel was one step ahead of me on that one and had him priced way up. That pushed me over to the combination of Rajon Rondo and Tyler Ulis.
There was also a ton of value guys available at small forward, so I decided to pass on T.J. Warren in order to go down to a combination of cheap rookies with Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown. From there, I was going to have no problem fitting in any two studs I wanted. For me, those studs were James Harden and Anthony Davis. I liked Giannis Antetokounmpo a lot too, but there were quite a few cheaper shooting guards that were in play, and the power forward position was not nearly as deep.
To fill in the rest of my lineup, I went with Avery Bradley, who was expected to pick up some of the offensive burden with Isaiah Thomas out. Then I went with Tobias Harris, who was named the starter for the rest of the season. And finally, I finished out the lineup with Alan Williams at center.
Head-to-Head With the Pros
Pete and Ryan both landed on the exact same lineup last night, and I was shocked to see that they chose to move up to Jimmy Butler. After trying all afternoon, I knew that it wasn’t possible to build a lineup that contained Butler along with Harden and Davis, so they had to be fading one of the big studs. It ended up that they came off of James Harden, likely because there was so much value below him with Devin Booker and Avery Bradley. The pros also took advantage of Jason Smith starting in place of Markieff Morris, but they got burned by Otto Porter.
Mike went with the same approach that I did with Harden and Davis, but he stayed with Alan Williams at center. In order to make that fit, he had to get creative with his small forward punts. That meant going with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Shabazz Muhammad, which worked out to score about four points better than my lineup.
Taking Down the Tournaments
When the news came out that DeMarcus Cousins was sitting out, I am guessing that every tout in the industry was talking up Anthony Davis. That would explain his 44% ownership in the $3 Shot. And while he didn’t have a terrible game, he didn’t crush value the way you needed him to if you want to take down the $300 Monster.
@monds6 was the big winner in the Monster last night with a lineup that took the opposite approach of the cash game pros and faded Anthony Davis for a combination of James Harden and Jimmy Butler. He went chalky up top with Tyler Ulis, Rajon Rondo, and Avery Bradley. Then the difference makers came down below with Nikola Mirotic, Richaun Holmes, and Al Horford.
My Results: Still Hanging With the Pros
I mentioned in this section yesterday that I am not losing for the same reasons that I was losing earlier in the year. Back when I first started this cash game strategy in mid-December, I would totally miss how the pros were going to respond to late news and be way off the mark from the lineups they put together. Those misses just aren’t happening anymore. On most every night, I have been in lockstep with the best players in the industry. As long as I can keep that going, I still believe that the results will take care of themselves.
After saying all of that positive stuff, we also have to be honest. The month of March has really not been kind to me. I think a part of this is the result of my shift to just playing the $3 shot when I scaled back the amount I was playing each night. Instead, I probably should have cut back to just playing 50/50s. But as long as I continue to make good decisions, I expect that those results will turn themselves around.
The best way to keep making good decisions is to dive into the NBA First Look by @notorious and get to work breaking down today’s games. So let’s get into that research and see if we can’t find a way back to the profitable side of variance tonight.