NBA $3 to $300 Multi-Entry Challenge: Week 21

For details of this year’s challenge, read here!

With last week being one of my worst week’s of the season, I vowed to get things back on track this week. So, let’s do just that, shall we?

Night #102: March 13th, 8-game slate

FD LINEUP RATIONALE: I’m actually going to do the unthinkable and fade Mills, because I want to see what happens with Kawhi back, but that means that spot can be Kemba if I go value with Lamb, Fournier and Zubac, and mid-range upside with Russell, Gallo, and Wiggins (nice track record against Washington despite being terrible lately). Then, it’s up for Millsap and Jokic.
FD SECONDARY LINEUP: Not too much different, but going from Kemba to Mills means I can go up from Wiggins to Kawhi (much more desirable price than on DK) and Fournier to Beal. It’s kind of crazy how much the difference in price between Kemba and Mills is, honestly, and now that I look at it a little closer, this probably should have been my primary lineup…

MINIMUM CASH: 302.3 (yikes)
BEST FINISH: 5886/29411, $2

DK LINEUP RATIONALE: Spending up for Jokic to begin with because there’s a ton of value, but I’m going to zig instead of zag with Kawhi back and put in Clarkson at PG instead of Mills, and there I seem more likely to regret using Zubac than the other way around (especially since he has a solid track record against Denver anyway), so he’s in. Then, it’s Gallo, Randle, Rubio and Dirk for some mid-range upside and that is that.
DK SECONDARY LINEUP Down to Mills and Randle becomes Millsap, which allows me to swap Rubio to Kemba. The last spot was a toss up but I ended up going with Wiggins down there… and, despite the fact that all the chaos in my life has supposedly cleared out and this is my first clear-headed entry in a long time, I see right after lineups locked that I somehow left $3700 in salary on the table, without even realizing it. Pretty sure I could have put that to decent use somewhere, and honestly have no clue how that even happens (and kind of wish I wouldn’t have even seen it, because this lineup actually doesn’t look terrible). Well, um, at least my lineup will be unique, right…? Sigh…

BEST FINISH: 6014/29411

END OF NIGHT REFLECTION: Only when you’re ice cold do you waste that low-owned Zubac game when you have it across the board. I’m just going to leave it at that because I’m honestly very, very frustrated right now. I may come back and edit my response a little bit tomorrow, but I got hosed across the board tonight, as Clarkson starting screwed me on FD but didn’t reap the benefits it should have on DK because I zigged when everyone else zagged into Patty, and if Zubac simply goes 1-2 at the line there at the end I still cash. But instead, he goes 0-2, Gallinari, Jokic, Randle, Dirk and Clarkson all play limited minutes, and I walk away with a measly minimum cash on FD on a night where I actually played pretty well. Super frustrating to say the least. Considering my lineup that left nearly 4k on the table was only 14 points outside of a cash as well, and I’m really starting to feel like I can’t get hardly anything at this point. I need a swing in a big way, my friends. I’m actually so frustrated I’m going to take one last maintenance day despite not having any conflicts, because the fact that I’m leaving salary like that on the table on DK means my head is just not in the game. So tomorrow is family time, plain and simple, and we get back on Wednesday where I’m guaranteeing a sweep and then I get this thing back where it needs to be.


Night #103: March 15th, 10-game slate

FD LINEUP RATIONALE: First of all, it is amazing how much better I feel after simply taking one day off, because I really, really needed it. I feel like I’ve essentially wasted the first half of March, which means I have a month left to get this back on track, and it starts right now with a core of Rondo (lord help me), Lamb, PG13 (mainly playing him because I love how he’s been rebounding lately, making his lines much safer than they’ve been), and WCS, who I’ve admittedly been late to the party on, but so has his price tag, so I’m okay with his floor with a nice ceiling. Then, it’s going with the obvious Zubac play, who is more likely to not help me than the other way around despite the price jump, and then midrange with Booker, Rubio and Hayward, who I like even better with Joe Johnson playing because that should help his rebound totals, too. I’ll round the lineup out with Griffin, who has kind of taken a back seat lately to CP3 but I think will bust out in a huge way tonight.
FD SECONDARY LINEUP: So, when I was playing well not too long ago, it was with Harden, so he’s in there at the SG position, which obviously means I need to save a little bit of cash somewhere, which is actually Joe Johnson himself at near-minimum salary. If I counter Zubac with Randle, then I can actually pay up slightly for Conley and a will-be-lower-owned-than-should-be Alan Williams, who should be priced about 6.5k now but somehow isn’t. I’m not going to lie: it took a minor miracle for me not to put in some Patty Mills here, but it was making me change more than the one guy and that’s the kind of move that prolongs slumps rather than stops them, so sorry Patty, no dice for you tonight.

BEST FINISH: 35/29411, $34 (one cashed $30, other two cashed $2 each)

DK LINEUP RATIONALE: A similar core in Rondo, Lamb, Zubac, Rubio and Zubac, but monster upside the rest of the way if I go gross double-double potential in MKG, as I can pay up for Blake and Conley. This lineup has 320 written all over it.
DK SECONDARY LINEUP I wasn’t planning on making a Harden lineup if I couldn’t actually have legitimate NBA players in it, but it was rurpsingly more possible than I thought if I went from MKG to Joe Johnson and Blake to Thad. That second drop-off is pretty gross but clearly Harden has more upside than anybody else on this slate, so I’ll give it a whirl and see what happens.

BEST FINISH: 5328/23529, $6 (all three cashed $2 each)

END OF NIGHT REFLECTION: There we go! Fading Zubac was a huge difference maker, and it’s funny that the Harden lineup did indeed become the good one. What’s also crazy was that my straying away from Mills was indeed important, as Rondo was great and I’m 90% sure it would have been either WCS or Alan Williams that swapped out. Honestly, I completely nailed all three of my PG’s tonight, as Conley and Rubio were superb as well, and Lamb’s dud is okay when he’s so highly owned. Heck of a time to finally go all-in on WCS, and Randle and Alan Williams were both outstanding. Honestly, that good FD lineup is really pretty to look at… too bad Harden is probably the only one who truly didn’t come through for me, but on a night where things were relatively low-scoring across the board, his 47 goes a little further than it usually would. Blake was pretty bad and Zubac was downright awful, but this night puts me back on track and finally gets me over that $200 hump, at least on FD. The one thing that stinks a little is that I didn’t play the right lineup twice (and it’s also kind of strange that my other lineup was so far above the cashline but was still a minimum cash…?), but, after a cold streak like the one I’ve had, do I really want to whine about that? I guaranteed a big night tonight… let’s double-down on tomorrow’s, shall we, and get a big one on DK, too!


Night #104: March 16th, 6-game slate

FD LINEUP RATIONALE: A smaller core than anticipated with Barton, Hayward and Speights, and then I’m going value with RHJ (with no Booker and double-doubled against them last week). After that, with all that value, I can actually pay up the rest of the way with Oladipo, Conley, Millsap, Gobert,and CP3.
FD SECONDARY LINEUP: I feel like I have to get some Westbrook exposure (because I think there’s a 20% chance CP3 DNP’s), and, since there is enough (potentially trap) value with LeVert, Hernangomez and Hernamgomez, I can pay up for a red-hot Payton and Melo. It’s actually kind of surprising that this lineup doesn’t look too bad on paper but I also think Juancho could pull a Zubac with Faried playing and get next to nothing, so that’s pretty much the only reason this is the secondary lineup rather than the primary, but having that many upside guys in a lineup with Westbrook is pretty rare.

BEST FINISH: 1538/29411, $6 (two cashed $3 each)

DK LINEUP RATIONALE: Barton, Hayward, Speights, Payton and Conley are all in, along with CP3 and Gobert, which means Juancho slide into the other F spot. I wanted RHJ there but was $100 short, so hopefully he gets the start for Gallo and gets me a 20 that pays the bills.
DK SECONDARY LINEUP Westbrook just isn’t an option here, and I’m actually only paying down for Speights. Schroder was successful in this same matchup last week, and Conley is on the other side of that fence, and that just feels like an OT kind of game for some reason to me. Barton, Hayward, Payton and Melo round out the regulars, and Mr. Double-Double Valanciunas will probably clock in at less than 5% owned despite the fact he’s been crushing value in non-blowouts pretty much since Lowry went down, and, honestly, he just kind of fits.

BEST FINISH: 1486/23529, $6 (two cashed $3 each)

END OF NIGHT REFLECTION: Speights hosed us all, and, I’m going to be honest, I really thought he would on some level but it just seemed like I was more likely to get burned by zigging (say, to Bass, who hadn’t played in five games but I thought he would play tonight) instead of zagging, so I’m okay with that. Juancho was actually better, but the RHJ play would have really been nice. Payton and Hayward were both rather unimpressive, and Millsap was hot garbage, but huge games (and large shares of the being in the same lineups) from Conley, CP3, Barton and a much lower-owned than anticipated Gobert made this another solid night. I know tonight wasn’t that big, but get this: These two $3 cashes are my biggest on DK this entire month, so the night was honestly better than the small bankroll boost implies. It’s not enough, though: Tomorrow I am really going to make a huge splash… I can just feel it!


Night #105: March 17th, 8-game slate

FD LINEUP RATIONALE: What a difference a few days makes! I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do even before I researched on this one, and my research just clarified my thoughts. I actually am not going big anywhere other than Butler, and I’m not really plunging into the value too deeply either with Rondo, Ulis and Williams being my only guys under 6k. Then, it’s just upside galore with Bradley and Booker’s matchups and responsibility, and Warren, Randle and Dario for upside. Every single one of these guys has massive upside for their price point and, if the Houston/NO game is a blowout like I kind of think it will be, this will give me a big leg up on the competition that’s paying up for Harden and Brow. This does give me a lot of exposure to the Suns, but I feel fairly blowout proof as Ulis, Warren and Williams should play a lot regardless of the score.
FD SECONDARY LINEUP: …BUT, if that game somehow stays close, I’ll see what happens, so I’ll keep Rondo, Ulis and Warren and then go value with Zubac, RHJ and Dieng (with no Bjelica to steal his minutes) and pay up for Brow and Alphabet. I originally felt better about this one, but I really just can’t go all-in on Brow when the dude is heading to the locker room every game now, even without Boogie around.

BEST FINISH: 15408/29411

DK LINEUP RATIONALE: Just like on FD, I had a pretty good idea originally, as Rondo, Smart, Butler, and Rozier were locked in, and then it was upside the rest of the way with Vucevic and Alphabet. The last spot was kind of a toss-up but I ended up going with Capela, who should play 30 minutes (which he rarely does) which I think gives him great upside for his price point, and I think most people will go Ulis in that price range (and honestly, I would have too, but was just short).
DK SECONDARY LINEUP This one was a bit tricky, but I opted to roll out Jason Smith to help with the value brigade, which meant I could work my way up with Ulis in that UTIL spot, and even pay up for Brow and Dario. With all the random value available tonight, the key is to focus in on guys who can actually do something with it, and I’ve played this game long enough to understand that value G’s with decent minutes don’t burn you too often, and Jason Smith has actually been a decent pro for a while now and was a borderline must-play at times last season in Orlando, so the (admittedly limited) upside is there for simply 3k. I’d honestly be shocked if him and Rozier don’t combine for 40, which would be nearly 7x value… now, if Brow can just stay on the floor…

MINIMUM CASH: 272.75 (frowney face)
BEST FINISH: 4918/17647

END OF NIGHT REFLECTION: The last thing you want is a notification that one of your players has randomly been downgraded, so I assumed Vucevic was going to DNP like Tyreke did last Friday, but he not only played but played well, so that was a pleasant surprise (also just goes to show how things work when you’re playing well versus not playing well). BUT, despite his massive outing and an absolute gem by Jason Smith (who everybody will be on tomorrow if no Markieff, including me)……. and the reality is I just didn’t really have it tonight, especially on FD. Why a guy like Dieng made it into my lineup in a full slate with lots of actual options is beyond me, and I clearly gave too much credit to Rondo despite the fact that a small game sample size doesn’t undo the fact that he’s been more or less terrible for a few years now. I’m cool with tonight, though, and it doesn’t faze me in the least because I think, especially on FD, those picks were relatively solid and I took a stab at avoiding Harden when others didn’t, and it probably wouldn’t have mattered what I did anyway with his massive line, so, lesson learned and, at first glance, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be too tough to fit him in tomorrow on either site so we’ll make that money back then!


Night #106: March 18th, 6-game slate

FD LINEUP RATIONALE: I tinkered around here quite a bit with a Rondo and LeBron lineup that had RoLopez at C, but decided against it, so going with value SF’s in JJ and Ariza and PF’s and with Jason Smith and Juancho. If I go midrange with Plumlee, then I can pay up just a bit for Klay (who has a 85% lifetime rate of hosing me) and Wall versus Kemba, hoping that I can get a PG battle with a few OT’s there… and I can even fit in Harden. I’m not gonna lie, playing Klay makes me about as comfortable as wearing a wool turtleneck, but the shot volume and surprising amount of auxiliary stats the last four games make me willing to give him a shot (as you’ll also see on DK).
FD SECONDARY LINEUP: Kemba, Harden (nobody else even sniffs his upside on this slate, so I’m not messing around there), the value SF combo of Joe Johnson and Ariza (since I don’t love any of the other SF’s other than LeBron, but how often do you see me play him?) and Jason Smith will be mainstays and then, if I go value with Mirotic and his recent hot-streak, I can actually go big with Barton, Gobert and CP3. Here’s to hoping CP3 doesn’t get Pop’d!

BEST FINISH: 2391/29411, $5 (two lineups cashed $2.50 each)

DK LINEUP RATIONALE: Honestly it’s crazy that Harden fits in so easily here, but I’m not going to question it. So, with Smith, Mirotic and RoLopez (even if he goes like 10-6 it works at this price), I can pay up the rest of the way with Ariza, Plumlee, Barton and even CP3.
DK SECONDARY LINEUP I’ll admit, this is a “gut play” lineup more than anything with Conley and Rondo but, if I slide Barton to SF and bump that pesky Ariza out of there, I can move in Klay as long as I pay down slightly to Joe Johnson, who I’ve actually (quietly) had great luck with this year.

MINIMUM CASH: 248.5 (again)
BEST FINISH: 4773/17647

END OF NIGHT REFLECTION: To start the night off with big news (Big Three sitting) and little news (Mirotic starting) that both seem to help you on paper was nice, but unfortunately too much mediocrity and a dunce move on DK didn’t make it very profitable. Remember how, on Tuesday, I mentioned that last second random changes are the thing that prolong coldstreaks? Well, on DK, with less than two minutes left, I switched Ariza to Barton… and Gobert to Rondo. It was the difference between not cashing by a point and cashing $3. Now, $3 isn’t much, obviously… but, as I said the other day, it would be tied for my largest DK cash this month (which I wholeheartedly admit is completely ridiculous). So, despite the fact I’ve turned it around on FD, I managed to second guess myself to close the week out on DK, keeping that one pretty frosty and somehow making it 4/5 nights barely missing the cutline, which is actually pretty impressive in all honesty. On FD, though, despite a lot of mediocrity pretty much across the board, Klay actually proved to be a nice difference maker late, overcoming an 0-1 with nothing else first quarter to garbage-time his way to making it an okay night on there (and nearly bringing my lineup from the ashes on DK, too). Now, if only I could have gotten an OT from that Nuggets/Rockets game…..


Now, that’s more like it, as far as FD is concerned. And honestly? Despite the fact that DK looks like a total loss, if you were keeping track at home, I was a total of 3.25 DK points away from sweeping the week. That’s actually… insane. But, things are about to turn my way, because we’ve all played this game long enough to know that swings come and go, and this rough one is finally working it’s way out the door and good old Mr. Hotstreak will be here soon! Next week could be interesting because we are moving into our new house, but enough excuses: It’s time to buckle down and get grindin’. See you then!

About the Author

  • Jim Hill (jimfred82)

  • Jim Hill, aka jimfred82, is a happily married father and teacher who has been playing fantasy sports since 2001. He began his DFS career in the pioneer days when $5 was the minimum contest entry and nobody had even heard of 50/50’s. He mainly plays low-dollar NFL and NBA, and has been blogging for RotoGrinders since 2011, publishing hundreds of blogs with a variety of content ranging from NFL, NBA, bankroll challenges, and his lifelong disdain for Kendrick Perkins.


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