Money on the Table: Rondo and Davis in Cash? What Could Go Wrong?
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 literally felt sick to my stomach as my lineups locked and I realized I had both Rajon Rondo and Anthony Davis in my cash games. Two of the riskiest players in NBA DFS, together, in a format that requires as much safety as possible. What am I doing? But the fact is there’s really no such thing as safety in DFS. Even the biggest locks of the night often let us down. You look at the factors such as game environment, price, DVP, usage rate, minutes, etc and pick the guys with the best chance to get you in the money. I was nervous about playing both of them but you just couldn’t argue with their potential upside last night.
Quick note: The left side is my initial player pool where I organize every player I have even remote interest in (using the NBA First Look article) by both position and salary tier. This helps me get a sense of which positions are deep and which are shallow as well as where it might make sense to save or spend money. After looking at projections, reading my favorite content and adjusting for injury news I move players over to the right side for my final player pool. Then I build my rosters.
Typically I find myself paying up at point guard on most nights but this was actually a great place to save salary last night. Rajon Rondo has started and played over 30 minutes his last two games scoring 36 and 40 FPTS in the process. With Dwayne Wade out for the season Rondo stands to take on an increased role. As long as he’s still priced under $6K he’s a steal. Similar to Rondo, Tyler Ulis is seeing an increased role as Eric Bledsoe has been shut down for the season. Ulis was in a great spot last night against the Magic who rank 24th in DVP against point guards. He’s another guy I will continue to play nightly until his price catches up with his new role. The only other point guard I considered was Jrue Holiday. He averages 38 FPTS per 36 minutes with Cousins off the floor. It was a good spot but it didn’t make sense with Rondo and Ulis being much cheaper.
The Celtics were easily the best team to target last night. They were up against our favorite opponent the Brooklyn Nets and Isaiah Thomas had been ruled out which meant there were plenty of opportunities to go around. You could make an argument for both Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart. I even considered playing them together a few times when I was building my lineup. Brooklyn plays at the fastest pace and allows the most points per game. Every Celtic was in play. After those players I had interest in Devin Booker. He sees a 36% usage rate with Bledsoe and others off the court in one of the highest scoring games of the night that was expected to stay close. Sign me up.
Small forward was a bit interesting as there were options across all three tiers. Up top Jimmy Butler is basically going to be in play now every night (depending on price) with Dwayne Wade out. The offense will funnel through him. Last night he was priced well at under $9K and there was enough value on the slate to fit him in. In the mid-tier I liked T.J. Warren. Just like Booker and Ulis, Warren is another player who sees a usage boost without Bledsoe and was in a great game environment last night. Jae Crowder was also in an excellent spot against Brooklyn and was priced under $6K. He has over a 20% usage rate when Thomas is off the floor. In the value tier Brandon Ingram is starting to heat up with over 20 FPTS in five of his last six games. As long as he stays priced in the low $4K range you have to consider him almost every slate.
Anthony Davis chalk night during the DraftKings live finals? Sure, why not? In all seriousness though once DeMarcus Cousins was ruled out Davis basically became a lock. There was enough value to fit him in on this slate and the Pelicans had the highest projected point differential on the night. Julius Randle was a solid option against a weak Bucks frontcourt ranked 17th in DVP against power forwards. I had some trouble fitting him in but he was definitely a good play. In the value tier Nikola Mirotic has been really tough to figure out along with the rest of the Chicago Bulls. He’s played minutes in the high 20s in three of his last four games. With Wade out there is plenty of usage to go around. You had to consider him, even in cash, at only $4.3K. I also liked Marquiss Chriss for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned about the Suns matchup. My concern was I didn’t want to have too much exposure to the Suns in cash with Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker and……
Alan Williams all looking like pretty strong candidates to make my lineup. He’s averaging over a fantasy point per minute and the Magic were ranked in the bottom half of both defensive efficiency and rebounding differential. Al Horford is someone I’ve never rostered this year. I’m a fan of his being from Boston but he’s definitely been disappointing more times than not this season. With that said he was coming off a strong game scoring 45 FPTS in 29 minutes against the Timberwolves. A matchup with Brooklyn was a great way to continue building momentum.
I was feeling pretty good about last night until the Suns started playing. Devin Booker and Alan Williams had disappointing fantasy nights. I went from winning almost all of my lineups to only about half by the time everything wrapped up. Rondo and Davis failed to reach value as well. The lineup on the left used my full salary and outperformed the lineup on the right which had $400 left on the table. The big differences were Avery Bradley instead of Marcus Smart, moving down to Brandon Ingram from Jae Crowder and then moving up from Alan Williams to Al Horford. Jae Crowder’s monster night was what really set them apart.
Now that I have a handful of slates under my belt since I started this blog I figured it was time to check in on the results of how the lineups have stacked up depending on how much salary was used. Obviously, right now the sample size is still pretty small. Full salary has the most data as I’ve built a full salary lineup almost every night. The rest of the amounts left on the table all have between two and three scores from which we are taking the average. The $100 dollar category is pretty skewed from that one awful slate last week where the cash line was extremely low.
Thanks for reading. I’d love any feedback in the comments below or feel free to reach me on Twitter @GP_Landry.