Fading the Chalk: Was TheSeige Right About Le'Veon Bell?
I have been playing DFS just about every single day for about three years 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’ve never had any success at NFL DFS. I constantly mix up cash game plays and GPP darts, and I always end up risking more of my bankroll than I should. It’s not uncommon for me to make a foolish effort to chase my losses on the primetime slate either. From the minute the games start on Sunday, I will spend the entire afternoon second guessing myself. And yesterday was no different.
I was actually scheduled to run a marathon in Erie yesterday. But as I was supposed to be heading up I-79 around 4 am yesterday morning, I missed an exit and spent about an hour cruising east on I-80 instead. And since I had my phone open to my podcast player instead of Google Maps, I didn’t realize that I was going the wrong way until it got to the point where I couldn’t make it to the race on time. Excellent work, Andrew.
Missing out on a race that I spent $85 on was super disappointing, but I’m a silver lining kind of guy. I just took it as a sign that I was supposed to spend 3+ hours in the car to get through all of the NFL podcasts (I listen at 2x speed!). I also figured it was a good excuse to head back home and spend the day watching the Red Zone channel…which is exactly what I did.
My Lineup: The Stud RB All-Stars
Since I didn’t spend close to six hours running around Lake Erie like I had planned yesterday morning, I actually had plenty of time to review and rework my cash game lineup. At that point, I had consumed the NFL Grind Down, JMtoWin’s NFL Edge, and pretty much all of the podcasts that came through the new RG Football Podcast feed.
Based on all of that research, I was fairly certain that the proper cash game roster construction was going to be locking in Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson. I was also sold on Marcus Mariota at QB, and everyone seemed to agree that Terrelle Pryor and Larry Fitzgerald were dramatically underpriced for their skill sets and matchups.
My original plan was to lock in Delanie Walker at tight end and go cheap with someone like Mohamed Sanu at wide receiver. But I also really wanted to fit Michael Crabtree as my third receiver, so after hearing Austin Hooper name pop up on multiple podcasts, I decided to pull the trigger on going that direction.
I liked the idea of playing the Rams Defense against Blake Bortles, but they were a little too pricey for me compared to the Bills Defense, who had an equally appealing matchup against the Jets. That left me just short of affording Matt Bryant, so I went down to Phil Dawson, who was kicking in a dome for a team with a high total.
Immediately after the 1 pm games kicked off, I started thinking about how TheSeige stressed that cramming in Bell and Johnson was a bad move that cost you too much in getting up to better players at your other positions. I regretted not finding a reason to move down to DeMarco Murray, Christian McCaffrey, or Jordan Howard. I regretted not finding a way up to Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, or A.J. Green.
Those feelings of regret got stronger throughout the day as Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson disappointed. But was I really wrong to play them? Lucky for me, that is exactly what we look at here.
Where Did the Pros Go?
If you’ve never read one of my NBA or MLB articles, the goal here is not to look at what we could have done differently to reach the cash lines. Rather than being results based, we focus on fine tuning the process by looking at the lineups that some of the most consistent DFS pros put together. This was especially easy yesterday since most of the guys we regularly track were showing up in my $5 50/50s.
Hoop was pretty much on the same page as me yesterday with Marcus Mariota, Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Terrelle Pryor, and the Buffalo Bills Defense. The only tweak he made was swapping to Blair Walsh at kicker and going down to Kelvin Benjamin in order to get up to Delanie Walker.
I had considered this exact lineup, but I worried that Kelvin Benjamin was a bit too inconsistent. Considering that Hoop felt comfortable with him, I was probably wrong about that.
CSURAM88 ran out a very similar lineup that included all of the same core plays. The only difference was that he went down to Charles Clay at tight end in order to move up to Aaron Rodgers at QB. He also moved up $100 to Ryan Succop at kicker.
As the early games came to an end and the afternoon games kicked off, I was frustrated with myself for not going with my gut and finding a way up to Aaron Rodgers. I was sure that he was going to outperform the game we got from Mariota. But at the end of the day, they were both within a point of each other.
One of the big sticking points for me this week was that I didn’t really love any of the quarterback options. Apparently, Birdwings felt the same, because he went all the way down to DeShone Kizer as his cash game QB. The savings there allowed him to move all the way up to Doug Baldwin as his third receiver and still fit Zach Ertz at tight end. This makes a ton of sense in theory, but it also seemed like a big tiem risk for one of the most conservative DFS pros out there.
The Big Takeaway
I spent most of the day yesterday beating myself up for being too chalky, even for cash games. I told myself that TheSeige was right about Le’Veon Bell, and that I could have gotten much better at all of my other positions if I didn’t pay up for him. I also told myself that I put too much of my bankroll at risk and that I clearly didn’t know what I was doing in building a quality NFL roster. Does that sound familiar? We all do it when we’re losing.
But after taking some time to review the lineups that the best cash game players in the industry put out there yesterday, it looks like I was actually right on the money with my approach this week. So my big takeaway from this weekend is to keep doing what I’m doing, except to play a little less volume so I don’t have to freak out when variance strikes again next weekend.
Looking Ahead: Back to Baseball
I didn’t play any of the Thursday-to-Monday slates this week, so outside of wagering a few units on the Vikings tonight, I am pretty much done with Week 1 football. That means that we are back to baseball tonight with an eight-game slate featuring Carlos Carrasco, Zack Greinke, and Kenta Maeda.
As of right now, six of the sixteen teams have Vegas totals higher than 5 runs, so we should have no problem finding some decent bats. Stacking up right-handed Diamondbacks is going to be tempting, but I’ll likely be focused on the value offered by some of the Indians, Blue Jays, and Royals.
Now that you’ve seen my lineup and a few of the pros’ lineups, what did yours look like? Would you have beat me in a head-to-head? Did you do something differently from the pros last night? Where did your lineup differ and what was your logic behind making that decision? How did those decisions work out for you? And where are you planning on going for today’s slates?