NBA $3 to $300 Multi-Entry Challenge: Week 25
For details of this year’s challenge, read here!
Thanks to an incredible push on FD, I’ve actually managed to put myself in a position to meet my goal this year, for the first time in the last three seasons. However, I only have four nights available to make that happen, and it’s easily the most random point in the season, as the last few nights are unpredictable to say the least. Thankfully, I have a few extra bucks left over from limited action last week that I’ll put to good use with some extra shots, but this means I’m probably going to have to get a bit more creative in tackling multiple slates each day… and not losing my money in the process. Wish me luck!
Night #124: April 9th, 2-game slate for each (early) and 5-game slate (FD) and 4-game slate (DK) (late)
FD EARLY LINEUP RATIONALE: First of all, wtf are FD and DK doing today? Four different starting times? Come on, man… anyway, on FD, I’m going to toss in one of those extra bucks and load up on Knicks value with Ndour, Holiday and Willy, and also Prince, and then go midrange with (what should be a relatively low-owned) Schroder and Love. After that, I can spend up the rest of the way with Lowry, DeRozan and LeBron, who will probably be 100% owned but you pretty much have to take him here.
FD LATE LINEUP RATIONALES: There isn’t much across the board here as I’m trying to keep things fresh, so the only all-in guys are the criminally underpriced Boban and Warren. Then, it’s two shares of Westbrook and Rubio along with value shares of Murray and Lawson, some Brussino, Harden, Booker and even a stab at Lou Williams (hoping for more usage with no Eric Gordon). At the SF spot, it’s two shares of Gallo and one to counter him with Chandler, and some Jokic, Nance, Dieng and I’ll take a stab at Green. Squeezing in Westbrook and Harden in the same lineup feels silly but nobody else in there is a silly punt, so I’ll go for it.
MINIMUM CASH: 307.1 and 323.3
BEST FINISH: 892/5882, $2.50 and 857/17647, $6.50 (one cashed $2.50, and the other two cashed $2 each)
DK EARLY LINEUP RATIONALE: I’m so far off on my goal I’m going to shoot for the moon here and do the unthinkable, fading both LeBron and Westbrook. That means I can go pretty much huge upside if I get the value plays of Prince and Frye, meaning everybody else has legitimate 40+ upside the rest of the way. This is definitely a long-shot but man, those Westbrook lineups just looked gross today with no Spurs to let us squeeze him in…
DK LATE LINEUP RATIONALES Conley, Booker, Wiggins and Rubio make up a tight core of mid-range upside, and then it’s shuffling in shares of Brussino, value PF’s of Green, Ellenson, Skal and WCS, and center shares of Boban and Gasol.
END OF NIGHT REFLECTION: The early FD lineup actually was hurt by OT, as Schroder and Prince didn’t play, Lebron fouled out, and Love just got rebounds and turned the ball over immediately, so that did actually cost me 50 cents (and nearly a cash!). The DK one had no chance with no Westbrook (or Lebron) but hey, at least I went for it. As far as late games go, DK was a joke, but my FD lineups were actually all three sitting pretty with two shares of Rubio, Dieng and Nance, but man, I did not anticipate that big of a crap job by Rubio, putting a bit of a damper on what was actually a pretty solid start to the night. I actually had some nice plays there, though, as those scores are nothing to laugh at, and I even had a few sneaky plays like Lawson…. it’s just too bad he was in the Westbrook fade lineup, which meant there was just no way I was going to make it work pretty much no matter what else happened from there. I also got a bit hurt by minutes, as Booker didn’t play past four minutes into the third quarter, and Lawson, Warren and Green sat the whole fourth. It was a nice day overall on FD, cashing on four out of four lineups, but a pretty bad one on DK, going oh-fer. It’s really kind of incredible how these two have pulled such a 180, but whatever. Man, this is really, really going to come down to the wire, isn’t it…?
NEW FD BALANCE: $281.59
NEW DK BALANCE: $162.71
Night #125: April 11th, 9-game slate (early) and 2-game slate (late)
FD EARLY LINEUPS RATIONALE: So funny story here: I almost went with the dummy lineup I put in, because all the matchups actually made sense. Be that as it may, I decided to keep at least a few of the guys in Gordon (Harden’s going to have to get scaled back at some point, right?), Alphabet, Johnson and Boban. Then, if I go super-value at PG in Jennings and Deron, I can pay up for Butler and Love who should be able to come through for once. The other one is basically the same but Bradley instead of Gordon and Holmes instead of Love.
FD LATE LINEUP RATIONALE: I said I’d toss in these extra bucks, so here’s one of them: This one actually took more thinking than the first one, believe it or not. I’m opting to fade the Brow for the same reasons I faded him early, which means value galore at SG. I’m also going to double-dip Jazz value at SF and put in Harrell, which means I can go big the rest of the way with Curry, CP3, Blake and Gobert.
MINIMUM CASH: 290.6 and 256.8
BEST FINISHES: 4002/23529, $4 (two lineups cashed $2 each) and 3/294, $11
DK EARLY LINEUPS RATIONALE: Going with a core of Napier, George, Jennings and Alphabet, I’m going to plug in Turner and Ellenson for value and, thanks to roster flexiblity, play James Johnson at C (which is kind of silly). Then, I can go way up for CP3. The other lineup will have Ingles at SG, Gordon at PF, Love at C and Deron at PG, meaning this has three value PG’s and some guys with monster upside surrounding them.
DK LATE LINEUP RATIONALE: Similar rationale here with the monster PG duo, but I’m shuffling guys around a bit so that Anderson sneaks in as value and I can’t quite pay up for Gobert, so Jordan gets the start. Debated putting in Durant instead of Blake but just couldn’t quite pull the trigger.
END OF NIGHT REFLECTION: Early slate wise, it’s actually a little bit disappointing that I wasn’t able to do more damage considering I had so many shares of the (surprisingly low owned) bargain PG’s that just crushed it. But, due to relatively disappointing high-dollar plays and some average PF play (although you do realize James Johnson was at 8 fantasy points at the end of the third quarter, right?), it wasn’t as good as it should have been. It’s really too bad I couldn’t have shuffled some guys around in those two DK lineups to really do some damage, as that great one had Aaron Gordon turd in it and the other had Ellenson. On the late slate on FD, it’s obviously nice to get a big cash this late in the game when I absolutely needed it as Harrell’s (surprisingly low owned) magical fourth quarter did me a lot of good when most people had nobody going (other than the Crawford owners), but one thing that’s a bit of a bummer is that, had Redick even gone 5 for 12 instead of 4 for 12, I would actually have met my $300 goal tonight. Oh yeah, and the difference between Blake and Durant on DK was the difference from my $3.50 cash… and a $17.50 cash. That’s a pretty rough swing for a $1 entry. Two nights left….!
NEW FD BALANCE: $292.59
NEW DK BALANCE: $172.21
Night #126: April 11th, 5-game slate (early) and 2-game slate (late)
FD EARLY LINEUPS RATIONALE: So I’m kind of in an interesting position in here where I’m almost sort of looking to… play it safe? I don’t know how else to explain it. But, the reality is I can’t get super crazy here because losing money will really hurt me, but I also need to win. I’ll fully admit the crunchtime of this situation is making it a bit harder to focus than usual, and the 6:30 pm lock time is throwing me off a bit as well. I initially thought a five game slate would be music to my ears, but I’m having a lot more questions than answers when I look at it… anyway, I’m going to have a relatively tight core of a super-underpriced Crawford and then, since there aren’t a ton of big-guns available, I’ll go with Jokic and Towns. Then, it’s just putting in a mixture of PG’s I like (Lawson and Ulis) with a few others that have upside (Rubio and Murray). The other SG will be two shares of Brussino, who has treated me well lately (and nobody else seems to ever use) and I’ll pay up for Oladipo in one of them, since he hypothetically should be the man tonight. I’ll also have a few shares of Kanter as well for the same reason, and the other PF will be Skal. Finally, at SF, I’ll stagger my shares of Wiggins, Warren and Chandler. I just feel like I don’t have a good grasp of this slate, and this is not the feeling I wanted to have going into the penultimate night of the season.
FD LATE LINEUPS RATIONALE: Okay, so I planned on tossing in a late buck here, but, with Jokic across the board, it’s not looking good… and then I have a pretty big dilemma: I didn’t know tomorrow’s games start an hour late. This is a pretty serious dilemma because I’m participating in our fund raiser faculty basketball game that starts at 6 pm, so I will not be able to be around my phone in arguably the most important night for late news of the entire season. Therefore, I’m going all-in here, and putting my remaining $3 from carry over into three separate late contests (which also means I could potentially go $6 down on the night, which would probably be a death knell at this point). Salary obviously isn’t an issue as it’s actually impossible to spend all of it, so I’m going to have a huge core of Ulis, Crawford, Hield (who I never play, if you haven’t noticed), Warren, Ingram (gross, but there’s nobody else that even makes sense) WCS (I’m going to trust my gut that he’s going to outscore Skal tonight) and, out of all the wasteland centers available, Ajinca seems to have the best matchup and safest minute path (which isn’t saying much). Then, I’ll go with two shares of Jrue and one of Lawson, and two shares of Randle and one of Nance. This honestly feels like a Hail Mary, but, as hot as I’ve been on these two game slates lately (and, quite honestly, all season long), I’m just going to let it fly and see what happens….. gulp
MINIMUM CASH: 262.7
BEST FINISH: 1885/23529, $4 (two cashed $2 each) and 5/294, $12 (one cashed $7, other two cashed $2.50 each)
DK EARLY LINEUPS RATIONALE: Ulis, Warren and Towns make up a core that I’ll surround with various value PF’s, some guards I like (Lawson, Rubio, Murray, Oladipo and Clarkson), some Chandler, and a share each of Jokic and Kanter. Paying up for Rubio both feels smart and silly because of all the guard value available, but, just like on FD, I’ll take a stab at it and see what happens…
DK LATE LINEUP RATIONALE: Jrue’s roster flexiblity gives me a slightly different look than everybody going Crawford here, and I’ll pair him with Lawson and Ulis. Then, other value in Ajinca means I can go relatively big the rest of the way with Warren, Randle, WCS… and Hield, who was kind of a “Why not” addition that just kind of felt right.
END OF NIGHT REFLECTION: Well, tonight’s early slates can best be summed up by “Mike Miller nearly triple-doubled and Ty Lawson actually did,” as it was very counter-logic. Luckily, I had enough shares of Lawson (as well as Ulis) to actually have a profitable night despite a lot of mediocrity, but this is a time where hindsight is “no duh” on Chandler and Jokic when we had the quote about “playing the young guys” earlier in the day…. but I honestly am not sure how Jokic isn’t one of those young guys! In the late slates, though…. YES! Going for it was the right call tonight on FD, but cashing in 3/3 FD lineups and having a big one on DK? I honestly cannot believe the cash rate I’ve had on FD for nearly the last month now, as this heater should have ended long ago… but man, it feels good to actually meet this goal. Really, really good. It’s kind of hard not to give Ty Lawson the MVP at this point considering how integral he was in my success tonight. This was a heck of a way to meet my goal on FD with really just throwing everything at it at once, and the best part is that it takes all of the pressure off of tomorrow night, which we all know will be super goofy. Hey, at least Kobe isn’t playing this year…
NEW FD BALANCE: $302.59 GOAL MET!!!!
NEW DK BALANCE: $175.51
Night #127: April 13th, 14-game slate and 3-game slate (late DK)_
FD LINEUP RATIONALE: I’m going to admit it, I’m going to go full on safe here, with only entering $2 just in case. I mean, statistically, given the last four weeks of action, one of these two will cash… but I just can’t stomach the chance I fall below that $300 goal. So, just $2 on FD tonight, and no late-slate. I’m going to just go all-value at the guard spots, with Brogdan (no friends around, Napier (not enough of a price hike to scare me away considering he did that against the Spurs), and the value SG combo (why on earth has Crawford’s price not risen?). Brussino is kind of a “well, it hasn’t hurt me yet” kind of guy and I think it would be silly to shy away now. I’ll go big at SF with the Butler/PG13 combo (again) and midrange with Johnson. Nance is kind of like Crawford in that his price doesn’t make sense, and then I can also pay way up for KAT, who is arguably the safest guy to pay up for tonight. Now,
FD SECONDARY LINEUP: So, what if Westbrook not only plays, but goes off? Well, this is a chance to have him arguably the lowest ownership all year, so he slides instead of Brogdan, which means a lot of shuffling is in order. Butler becomes RHJ, and the PF combo chances way down to Smith and Powell. Now, let’s just hope all these guys actually play tonight!
MINIMUM CASH: 290.4
BEST FINISH: 256/23529, $8 (maybe I should have put in an extra dollar, whoops!)
DK LINEUP RATIONALE: Brogdan, Crawford, Towns and RHJ (who should finally get minute) make up a core that will then have Brussino (SF?). Beasley, Diallo, and, call me crazy, but this is probably the only time I’ll ever have to get Westbrook at low ownership, so I’ll take a chance and see what happens.
DK SECONDARY LINEUP: No Westbrook means lots of money, so PG13, Nance, Shabazz… and I’ll take a flyer on Jason Smith, who has treated me fairly well in the past and will probably be low-owned.
DK LATE RATIONALE: Just trying to maximize minutes and upside here, so Ennis, Shabazz, Crawford and Ajinca give me lots of room to spend up on Randle, DeAndre, Blake and even KD. This one feels pretty good, which is nice after those disappointing early games.
END OF NIGHT REFLECTION: In hindsight, I should have considered the odds were in my favor to cash on FD, but I was still shocked that both Napier and Nance were less than ten percent owned, especially on a night like this where there were definite studs to pay up for and not as much random value as we’re used to on these last nights of the season. I don’t really have any complaints about my good FD lineup (other than not putting in enough action) and my DK lineups, as per typical, just didn’t quite have enough juice in the tank to really help anybody out, bringing a very anticlimatic end to that journey that’s basically been stuck in the mud for the second half of the season. I do think my Westbrook play was pretty sneaky, but it just didn’t pan out. Despite DK’s mediocrity though, this was a very satisfying end to the season, walking way with a nice cash on FD… and not getting any DNP’s! Heck, I even won my season long league tonight, too, so all-in-all, a nice end to a fun season.
NEW FD BALANCE: $308.59
NEW DK BALANCE: $172.51
To add some icing to the cake, Thursday evening at 6:40 pm, we checked into the hospital, as my wife started having contractions… and 32 short (and incredibly intense) minutes later, we welcomed our second son, Sebastian, into the world. Everyone is doing well and now we’re all home in our new house, remembering what it’s like to not sleep more than 1.5 hours at a time again!
And with that, my fifth year in this challenge comes to a close, with actually meeting my goal. Sure, I would have loved to have met my goal on both of these sites, but FD is the one that started it all, and this year, unlike my second when I also met my $1 to $100 challenge, it was never really a big one that made up a huge chunk of my salary. To put that in perspective, that year, I had one night where I cashed $63. Sure, I had one of these this year too, but the ante had been upped a bit, so this was truly a grind. The fact that I truly grinded my way to the $300 threshold is something I’m actually quite proud of, and the fact that I was able to sustain such an incredible run for the last month of the season almost leaves me speechless, and these cash rates that I assumed would be unsustainable proved to not only be sustainable, but even beatable. I’ll be back for one last blog next week with some data analysis, but thank you to those of you who have followed along this entire journey. Your words of encouragement were really helpful during the bleak times, and I can’t thank you enough for all your support throughout the last six months.
Thanks again for reading, and see you next week!