NBA FanDuel Small Slate Challenge: Week 21
For full details of this year’s challenge, click here.
NIGHT #94: 3-5-18, 2-game slate
CORE RATIONALE: Well, considering Favors was one of my core plays, you can imagine that things got a bit interesting once he was ruled out. I knew I wanted Lillard in there, as well as Mitchell, and, with the uncertainty of Harkless playing or not eliminating both him and Turner, I ended up overpaying for Ingles and hoping Simmons’ minutes will allow him to produce in what is easily one of the grossest SF pools in recent memory. I also wanted Randle and, as numbers would have it, with Vuc and Gobert both overpriced, I ended up going all-in on Nurk with my fingers crossed he can’t flop three games in a row.
SECONDARY RATIONALE: Since I liked Favors, I’ll toss in a near-min priced Jerebko, which allows me to pay up for Garbonzo and McCollum. On the other side, though, I’m going to give Kuzma a chance to fill in as SF, which means down to KCP and (* gulp *) Thomas, who I’m even plugging into my season long team tonight so hopefully he doesn’t make me look like an idiot…
MINIMUM CASH: 288.9
BEST FINISH: 5/297, $7 and 33/297, $2.50
REFLECTION: So after finishing the stupid Bachelor pseudo-finale (ah, married life), I was pretty much done with the day and decided to head to bed. It was halftime of the second game and I was sitting in about 80th and 100th, respectively, so I figured I’d end up with a decent cash, but I definitely exceed those expectations. Really, Simmons was terrible but was cheap and over-owned anyway and going all-in on Nurk did indeed end up being a good play. Getting a decent game out of Jerebko was also key and IT, despite being a brickmaster, ended up being better than an over-owned Garbonzo, leading to a nice double-cash and a great start to the week. I was also shocked to see A) Favors 15% owned and B) Lillard less than 80% owned based on his recent play and random price reduction, but I’m not complaining! Lastly, it would be unfair for me to not mention that amazing game from Ingles after I called him overpriced. Joke’s on me!
NIGHT #95: 3-6-18, 2-game slate
CORE RATIONALE: Tonight was nearly as much of a struggle as last night to come up with a solid lineup and it had more to do with finding a way to put in the Brow and dodge overpriced players while also deciding which 4k potential landmines I was going to jump and hope they were duds. But, when the smoke finally cleared, I ended up with a core of a suddenly motivated Rondo (yikes!), Iguodala (double yikes, but he’s been playing pretty consistently in the mid 20’s now and fills it up enough for me to take a chance), and the previously mentioned Brow. The core is small so the lineups will be pretty different, but there just aren’t a ton of guys I feel great about tonight…
SECONDARY RATIONALE:… so I split my lineups into the “The Nets get smashed” lineup and “The Nets keep it close” lineup. With the smashed lineup, I’m going to go with the two bench guys in RHJ and LeVert, which means, if I put in 3-twan and his massive minute workload, I can pay up for Rivers, Sweet Lou and DeAndre. On the “Keep it Close” lineup, I’ll actually pay up for Russell, Carroll and Allen, which means going down to Milos and Harrell, who I’m hoping plays a few more minutes with the size of the Pelicans.
MINIMUM CASH: 315.7
BEST FINISH: 10/297, $5
REFLECTION: Paying up for the Brow was key tonight, and I feel like, even though he’s brittle, there just weren’t a lot of guys paying for with his upside (and recent consistency). Sure, Durant and Curry can get you 50, but not 70+, so I was surprised to see him not higher owned. Really, my good lineup was a thing of beauty… and then you see a whopping turd from Allen. It was also nice to see my other lineup step up, but I could have used a few more points from RHJ to make this a double cash. Either way, not a bad follow-up to yesterday’s performance… but the bad news is, I was finally back to the point where the double cash tonight would have put me at 50% cash rate on the season, and it just wasn’t meant to be… Good news, though? Tonight was my 100th cash!
NIGHT #96: 3-7-18, 2-game slate
CORE RATIONALE: For the third consecutive night, I really, really struggled to put together a lineup I felt good about, so I may have to take a breather after tonight to get myself back mentally. I’m not really sure what it is, and it’s odd because I am playing well, but I’m tinkering way more than I should be this late in the season. But, despite that absurdity, I ended up setting on a core of Hill against the Nuggets, Fournier, Chandler (finally settling in on the right price), Julius and Vucevic.
SECONDARY RATIONALE: I’m never team LeBron, but completely fading him is silly… but it makes the rest of the lineup a bit tricky, so I’m going down with Augustin and Hood, and then going with Plumlee, who was going to be Isaac if he was starting, but, since he’s not, Plumlee gets the nod. Speaking of Isaac, with him not yet starting, I’ll go way down to Simmons, and then up for Lonzo, Harris and the barely-fits Nance.
MINIMUM CASH: 286.3
BEST FINISH: 124/297
REFLECTION: This was an odd one because both my lineups were over 150 in the first half but fell flat late. The Fournier injury right away in the third didn’t help much, but the reality is, I just didn’t quite have enough firepower (and no Aaron Gordon, most of all) to make this a third straight night of cashing. I’m definitely taking tomorrow off, so we’ll see you Friday, when hopefully I can get these lineups to come together a bit easier!
NIGHT #97A: 3-8-18, 5-game slate
CORE RATIONALE: Well, despite saying I wasn’t playing, here I am… and it’s because I liked the lineup I was able to put together with the later slate (see below) and was just planning on plugging it into the main slate just in case it hit big. Kind of an odd strategy, I know, but I felt pretty good about the lineup focusing on the middle games in the late slate, so basically I just plugged it in. But, that lineup had TJ Warren in it, so that made things a bit goofy (especially with how late it was) and then I somehow brainfarted around like crazy and had 1:28 to make changes. So, things got pretty weird and I can’t even really tell you what happened except Corey Brewer went in at the other SF spot, Warren becamse Jackson, RHJ somehow got in there and then I did a mental toss-up between Whiteside and Adams and went with Whiteside because he has more upside despite sometimes playing about 15 minutes.
SECONDARY RATIONALE: N/A
MINIMUM CASH: 287.2
BEST FINISH: 3590/19048, $2
REFLECTION: The Jackson injury didn’t help, but the last second Brewer, RHJ and Whiteside plays were basically the reason I cashed, which was cool. But, having so many chips in the OKC/Suns basket cost me four quarters of play and, when combined with Jackson not playing in the second half, a fairly competitive team lost about seven quarters of points. Yuck. Not only that, but, not playing in the Dribblers anymore really was hit home when I didn’t even look at the payout scale… and now that I look at it, this has to be one of the worst payout structures I’ve seen in the history of DFS. I will not be playing those again anytime soon!
NIGHT #97B: 3-7-18, 2-game slate
CORE RATIONALE: As I mentioned earlier, this is how I started things off except I had much more time to react to the Warren news. So, from the first lineup on, I moved Warren to Jackson but, this time, I decided to stay away from Corey Brewer just in case he’s still Corey Brewer (likely), so, when I moved Warren to Jackson and Wiggins down to Crawford (the minutes have been there in abundance and I don’t see two consecutive duds from him), then I can pay up for Adams and have a team that I like pretty well.
SECONDARY RATIONALE: N/A
MINIMUM CASH: 274.2
BEST FINISH: 30/297, $2.50
REFLECTION: Once again, many minutes lost, and Payton could have been Teague, which could have helped. But, still, I’m never going to whine too much when I get the random blowup game, which in this case was Bjelica, and, considering I didn’t even feel like playing tonight and was still successful, I’ll take the small profit and call it a night!
NIGHT #98: 3-9-18, 2-game slate
CORE RATIONALE: It’s a little bit strange that the Cavs/Clippers game isn’t included in this slate, but that’s okay, as I think I have a pretty good feel for it (finally!). However, this means that I have a fairly massive core of seven guys, with Frank, Aminu and Mario in as the cheap guys, and then paying up for Lillard, McCollum, Draymond (underpriced, which is rare… I mean, $1200 more than Skal?), and Durant.
SECONDARY RATIONALE: So obviously, not a lot of wiggle room here. I love Vucevic but I don’t love the price tag; in fact, putting him in there means I’m kicking the tires on Swaggy P, who should have minutes in the mid 20’s tonight and, at minimum price, I’ll take a 15 or so from him as long as Vucevic crushes. Then, on the other side, I don’t love Klay and I don’t love Nurk, so I’ll pair them together and maybe it will be the “don’t like it but it works” lineup that we’ve all had success with a few times throughout our grinding careers. I don’t exactly love having 7/9 guys being the same but, with the exception of Aminu (who can’t have four crappy games in a row, right?), I feel really good about six of them, so this will either be a great night… or an oh-fer. But, let’s shoot for great!
MINIMUM CASH: 298.3
BEST FINISH: 72/297
REFLECTION: Minutes were the culprit here, as my main lineup was actually halfway decent… but Aminu and Nurk only combined for 42 minutes. Also, Super Mario took a backseat to a highly-owned Simmons (who I should have anticipated would capitalize on Fournier’s absence) and overall I just didn’t have much to differentiate myself from the rest of the pack. Combine this disappointing loss with a yahoo team that saw 7/8 of my players absolutely tank, and I’m definitely taking that rest day off that I planned on taking earlier this week!
More steady progress, but this is also the point in the season where it sometimes feels like a bit of a grind. I’m looking forward to taking a day or two off to recharge my batteries so I can knock out this last month on a positive note; if I’m to meet my secondary goal, I’m going to need to do a bit better than moving the needle $10 each week. Hopefully, that can be arranged in the near future… like next week!