Money on the Table: Recognizing When You Don't Have a Feel for the Slate

One question I still struggle with every slate is whether or not it’s ok to have money left over. I drive myself nuts messing with my lineup to use the last few hundred dollars even when I think the cheaper lineup might be a better option. My plan for this blog is to build two lineups each night using my full salary for one and leaving money on the table for the other. Then I’ll invest in the lineup I think is better for my contests and track the results to see what we learned.

I don’t do things like this very often but I’m going to use this space today to go on a quick rant. A lot of people were burned last night when the Cavs “Big 3” were all ruled out for rest purposes shortly after lock. It blows my mind when things like this happen and the DFS community goes off on Twitter and blames the sites. I saw so many people last night calling DFS a scam and accusing the sites of withholding this information so they can take all our money. You realize they are collecting and paying out the same amount of money regardless of when this information becomes available right? Players being ruled out after lock doesn’t suddenly mean the sites are going to be more profitable now. Perhaps it means they will be taking more of YOUR money if you had exposure to those players but someone else who didn’t now just has a greater chance of winning. Even if everyone last night had 100% exposure to the players who were ruled out the sites are still going to payout the same amount of money – the winners would probably just have some ugly scores.

I’m not saying it doesn’t suck when things like this happen but stop blaming the sites when you get burned by some back luck. We’ve all been there. It’s an everyday part of DFS and NBA DFS specifically. This is why the first rule is proper bankroll management. This way when things like this happen it might mean a bad night but it doesn’t hurt your chances at long term profitability. Not to mention I’ve read dozens of articles by the RotoGrinders experts over the past couple of months warning us that March NBA DFS is ugly and things like this will happen more often as we get closer to the playoffs. I started reducing the amount I’m playing on a nightly basis several weeks ago and it’s really helped me avoid disaster on some rough slates.

If you start screaming DFS is a scam you’re going to give ammunition to the very people who are trying to shut it down and ruin it for everyone else. Instead, do what the rest of us are already doing and start counting down the days until baseball season starts. You’ll feel a lot better.

Ok rant over. With that said I didn’t even play last night. I went through my normal routine and built a handful of rosters but I just never had a feel for the slate. Most of the positions were really ugly yesterday and other than Jason Smith (once Markieff Morris had been ruled out) there wasn’t really any obvious value. I was actually hoping for news that John Wall would get rested. He’s dealing with a sprained foot and the Wizards were in the second game of a back to back. Had he sat out Brandon Jennings would have been an elite value play and then I think things would have opened up some more. Small forward and center were both awful last night as well and I kept feeling like I was having to decide between bad options no matter how much I messed with my lineups. You basically had to play LeBron James in cash last night on FanDuel. At one point I was even considering Nikola Mirotic in a matchup with the Utah Jazz as my value power forward. Either way there was a lot of uncertainty and I couldn’t get comfortable no matter how much I tried. Not a good spot for someone who mainly plays cash games. This is exactly why I typically don’t post my head to heads until closer to lock to make sure I’m confident in the direction I’m headed. Once head to heads are matched up they can’t be canceled so you’re stuck if you post them early in the day but don’t end up liking your lineup later. Bottom line: It’s ok to walk away from a slate when things don’t feel right.

Quick post today. If you’re playing tonight good luck in your contests. I’m settling in for a full day of March Madness. Go Ducks!

Thanks for reading. I’d love any feedback in the comments below or feel free to reach me on Twitter @GP_Landry.

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  • Swish65

    My gripe isn’t with DFS, as we’ve all been burned one time or another by after lock scratches, but with the NBA for allowing this garbage to continue. If they would simply put a 24hr notice by teams planning to “rest” players, and mandate teams to give ticket holders FULL refunds for these games (if they desire), I’m sure much of this nonsense would be eliminated! I’m sure these team don’t just decide minutes before a game to rest their players. They know well in advance. It’s also fishy that the Cavs would rest their players against the Clips, and NOT the following nite against the hapless Lakers!
    The NBA has gone on for decades without players “resting” or missing games with made up injuries and illnesses and these things are nothing but a black mark on the league!

  • joeymc301

    • Blogger of the Month

    Used my blog to discuss the same thing. I didn’t blame the sites. I blame the NBA because they allow this to happen. If they follow similar rules and guidelines like the NFL, people would be better informed.

  • ReconRon

    It made a lot more sense to rest players at the LAL, but that would offend the Hollywood elites etc and LA is too hip to take all your stars out of the game and disappoint the season ticket holders. I would be super pissed if I bought tickets for my family and no players playing except scrubs. You know 90% of the fans went to see Lebron.

  • kjudd67

    Imagine Phil telling Michael he was sitting for rest. Michael would’ve punched him in the face and said “I’m playing”. Same goes for Bird, Magic Clyde etc…. With my rant over, this is my solution. If the NBA is going to allow this to continue they should require the teams to report which players are going to be out after morning shoot around or by noon EST. 24 hours is to much in advance considering they play 3-4 games a week. Just my 2 cents.
    P.S.I also would’ve been upset after buying tickets at an elevated price just to hear the big 3 were sitting.

  • skitheeast224

    So in the future you plan to build these two separate lineups and compare/analyze them? I know its stated above but its not exactly clarified. Have you done this in the past?

  • wahoolady

    It’s becoming easier to predict when players might rest by looking at the schedules. When GS had a lengthy road trip, flying back and forth across the country, it made sense that players would be rested. Cavs don’t sit starters at home. Also, I suspect some teams may be sending a message by sitting star players during nationally televised games. Other than reinstating late swap, I don’t see what the sites can do about the problem.

  • dskinyg

    Bring late swap back. Then we dont get burned by players sitting if we are aware of what is going on.

  • glandry

    • Blogger of the Month

    Agree with what you guys are saying about it being a NBA problem. The Cavs didn’t just decide at the last second to rest these guys. I’d be really angry if I spent a bunch of money to bring my family and then all we got to see were a bunch of bench players.

  • glandry

    • Blogger of the Month

    @skitheeast224 said...

    So in the future you plan to build these two separate lineups and compare/analyze them? I know its stated above but its not exactly clarified. Have you done this in the past?

    Yes – this particular post went off topic. Normally I build two lineups. One using full salary and one with money left over. Then compare the results and analyze the differences between them. Here’s a better example:

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