The Gut Check for August 10, 2020

Hope everyone enjoyed Joel Embiid impression of Anthony Davis last night, this is the Gut Check. My name is Shawn Cripps and I’m a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) by day and a DFS player by night. I’ve been playing DFS for the past 5-6 years, mostly on FanDuel, but I’ve started to dabble a bit with DraftKings over the past year. I’ve played mostly NFL, NBA and MLB but have tried other sports like KBO, PGA, NASCAR and MMA (especially during the pandemic). I’m not a high stakes player by any means, just really doing this for the fun of it (at most, probably $50-$200 a night with most of my action in GPPs). I’ve won a few GPPs with my approach over the years and hopefully you can take something away from what I write! I find that this blog is a great way to start your day. Now let’s get started!

I’ve mostly been a single entry style of player over the years but have now dabbled into multi-entering 20-max contests like the $2.22 Pick ‘N Roll and the $1 And-One among other GPPs. Overall, I’ve been pretty consistent. Not winning anything big by any stretch (and not losing a lot either) but if you decide to take the multi-entry plunge, I highly recommend using any lineup builder and building your own projections into your process. Staying on top of news is also very important and vital to your success in DFS. I use RotoGrinders and Twitter notifications on my phone to keep me up-to-date throughout the day, a highly recommended part of my process. For NBA, you have to be able to adapt to breaking news in a quick fashion and lineup optimizers certainly help in that regard.

The blog will be used to look back at the previous slate, my player exposures, and where I and/or the public went right or wrong. It goes without saying that news comes fast and furious throughout the day and can change pretty much everything in a given slate. If you enjoy the blog, feel free to drop a comment or a like. For past blog posts, feel free to look at my profile under my username srcripps. If you’re a Twitter user like myself, feel free to look me up at @CpaCripps.

Yesterday’s Results

Last night, I played 20 lineups in the 150-max $3.00 Clutch Shot and the $2.22 Pick ‘n Roll (no $1 100-man leagues as I didn’t have enough time to reserve those entries). I also played 20 lineups in the $1 And One on Draftkings. Total fees paid across both sites were $124.40 ($104.40 on FanDuel and $20.00 on Draftkings). I ended up winning $42.50 total for a loss of $81.90 ($15.00 on FanDuel and $27.50 on Draftkings) for a negative ROI of 65.83%. After Saturday night, it’s no surprise that I ended up on the losing end. Again my strategy has been to do just 20 lineups max (even for a 25-max tournament like the Pick ‘N Roll, or a 150-max tournament like the Clutch Shot) and enter it in some low-level stakes trying just to consistently cash (nothing big, nothing flashy). The bump-up to the $3.00 Clutch Shot for a chance at a $100K top prize (as opposed to the $2.22 where top prize was $2K) was worth the risk in my opinion because of the bankroll. Since I had the bankroll to play both contests, this was a good way to analyze results and payouts between the two. And for those who are wondering, I do use a lineup optimizer for my lineup builds. I just find it easier to do my 20 lineups this way and gives me time to analyze what it’s spitting out. I highly recommend it if you’re entering multi-entry tournaments (anything to save me time is well worth the price). I’ve been more successful on FanDuel with this strategy than I have been with DraftKings but I can tell you that right now combined, my account balances are a little over $480.00 (after a $1,200 withdrawal yesterday). For the type of small stakes player that I am, this is a great start to the NBA restart for me. If you’ve been a regular reader of the blog since the month of January, I have had some good nights that have offset more of the bad ones. I’m not here to tell you that it’s a perfect strategy but I can tell you that it’s working for me right now. 2020 hasn’t been that bad overall as I’ve been able to withdraw more this year than any of my previous years. Consistency has been the key for me.

Here’s a look at my top 5 player exposures from last night’s main slates:

For FD:

James Harden (80%)
Kawhi Leonard (80%)
Marcus Morris (80%)
Reggie Jackson (75%)
Danuel House Jr. (75%)
32 players in my player pool for a 6-game slate

For DK:

James Harden (100%)
Nikola Vucevic (95%)
Mike Muscala (90%)
Robert Covington (75%)
Ben McLemore (70%)
20 players in my player pool for a 7-game slate

My best lineup on FD in the $3.00 Clutch Shot was 11,184th out of 119,047 entries (ended up winning $6.00 in the Clutch, cashing this 1 lineup of my 20 lineups overall)

PG Ja Morant 35.8 (16.7% owned)
PG Reggie Jackson 9.7 (21.8% owned)
SG James Harden 60.1 (68.1% owned)
SG Bogdan Bogdanovic 33.0 (22.6% owned)
SF Kawhi Leonard 60.4 (25.0% owned)
SF Rudy Gay 39.5 (18.5% owned)
PF Robert Covington 38.6 (29.9% owned)
PF Marcus Morris 24.8 (25.8% owned)
C Nikola Vucevic 38.7 (18.0% owned)

Total 340.6 (Winning Lineup was 428.3, cash line was 321.9)

My best lineup on DK in the $1 And One was for 1,853rd out of 35,671 entries (ended up winning $2.00, cashing 16 of my 20 lineups overall)

PG Chris Paul 44.5 (8.3% owned)
SG James Harden 60.0 (60.0% owned)
SF James Ennis III 27.0 (7.3% owned)
PF Darius Bazley 37.25 (4.8% owned)
C Mike Muscala 20.25 (5.8% owned)
G De’Aaron Fox 45.5 (29.3% owned)
F Ben McLemore 27.75 (38.7% owned)
UTIL Nikola Vucevic 43.25 (11.2% owned)

Total 305.5 (Winning Lineup was 372.75, cash line was 273.0)

A couple of notes to take away from last night: I was actually impressed that I was able to cash 16 out of 20 lineups on DK with such a tight core group of players. It’s not often that I get my player pool down to 20 players especially for a full 7-game slate. News came about 10 minutes before lock that Nerlens Noel and Steven Adams were sitting out. I bumped up Muscala and Bazley’s projections in my model and re-crunched some lineups. I had Bazley at about 19 FPTS and Muscala at 23 FPTS, so for minimum price, they were going to be popular for me. Good thing they worked out. FanDuel was disappointing but not overly surprising as the day went on. I wasn’t on J.J. Redick, Serge Ibaka, Dillon Brooks or Josh Richardson early on as I had most of my exposure to the Houston/Sacramento game and the LA Clippers side of their game with Brooklyn. Joel Embiid going down hurt me on FD as I had 30% of him there. Harden and Leonard were my most popular combination but I wish I had more Damian Lillard. Since Portland is pushing hard for that 8th place spot, you have to consider Lillard a lock going forward. He is phenomenal at carrying a team when it needs to be done and if he stays below $10K, I’d make it a point to roster him. Austin Rivers going off for 41 real-life points was a GPP-winning play but I wouldn’t expect that again anytime soon. I’ll let the public go for him, I’m still staying away.

Today’s Slate

We have 5 games today starting at 2:30pm EST. We’ve got about two games left for each team so the playoff push in the West is heating up! I’ll go game-by-game to give you some initial thoughts, core and secondary plays, and see if we can unlock some fantasy goodness.

The first game out of the gate pits Oklahoma City vs Phoenix with the Suns favored by 5 with a 224.5 Vegas total. Phoenix needs this game to keep their playoff hopes alive. They’re the only team left that’s gone undefeated in the bubble at 5-0 and they sit in 11th place in the West, 1.5 games back of 9th place Portland. OKC has Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel listed as questionable to play today and if they do sit, Deandre Ayton is a fantastic option at center for the Suns. Devin Booker continues to shoot the ball a ton for the Suns and Cameron Johnson has been a nice surprise since he’s started in the bubble. Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continue to lead the charge for the Thunder but they really have nothing to play for. They could fall down to 6th in the West with a loss, but that wouldn’t be so bad as you avoid Houston in the first round of the playoffs. Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazley, Mike Muscala and Hamidou Diallo have been playing well and are nice cheap value options, but I’d only consider them if Adams and Noel sit out.

Dallas vs Utah with Utah favored by 6 with a 228.5 Vegas total. Dallas will be sitting their big 2 starters, Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis along with Dorian Finney-Smith today. They have the 7th seed in the West wrapped up. That means we should see more minutes out of Trey Burke, Seth Curry, Justin Jackson and Maxi Kleber today. At their price points, they should be very popular plays. Donovan Mitchell is listed as questionable with a lower leg strain, so Utah could sit him out today. Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley would lead the offense for the Jazz but I wouldn’t sleep on Joe Ingles (who’s heating up after a slow start), Royce O’Neale or Jordan Clarkson.

Toronto vs Milwaukee with no Vegas total at the time of writing. There is no word as of yet if anyone is sitting for the Raptors or the Bucks. Both teams have their playoff positions locked as No.1 & No.2 seeds, so this could be just a tune-up for a potential Eastern Conference Final showdown. The Raptors lost both games they’ve played Milwaukee this year and the games played haven’t gone over 220. I’ll be curious to hear any news coming out of Milwaukee if Giannis Antetokounmpo and/or Khris Middleton will have a minutes restriction if they play. Giannis has played 30 and 33 minutes over his past two games but it’s been Middleton who has recorded an average of 45 FD FPTS and 49 DK FPTS over his past two games while playing 36 and 34 minutes. Both men should have a tougher time against the Raptors to reach their ceilings but I will have some shares nonetheless. Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam will have to play well to defeat the Bucks, but again the chances of a ceiling game from the Raptors are low. Getting this game right will be important to your success tonight.

Indiana vs Miami with no Vegas total at the time of writing. Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic are probable to play tonight which probably takes Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson off my radar. Both teams are tied for the 4th seed in the East so chances are that this is a potential first round matchup. Both teams want to stay healthy heading into the playoffs. T.J. Warren is listed as questionable. He’s been unreal in the bubble and I would expect to have some shares of him regardless of the questionable tag. Malcolm Brogdon has backed up Warren nicely over his past two games and is worth a spot in my player pool. Myles Turner and Bam Adebayo will go at it in the paint. Aaron Holiday, Victor Oladipo and Jae Crowder will draw some interest but are tier 2 plays for me at the moment.

The late-night hammer pits Denver vs the LA Lakers with the Lakers favored by 5.5 with a 220.5 Vegas total. The Lakers have wrapped up 1st place in the West while Denver has an outside shot at the 2nd seed, one game back of the LA Clippers. Anthony Davis has struggled in his past three games and he’s going to be counted on to help LeBron bring a title to Hollywood. Denver is solid defensively but have started to hit their stride offensively as well. Jamal Murray made his return in a big way on Saturday in their double OT win over Utah, with 50.4 FD FPTS and 53.5 DK FPTS. I expect Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic to have a good game against LeBron James and the Lakers. I’m surprised that it’s a 5.5 point advantage for the Lakers as I’d take the Nuggets straight up right now. They’re faster than the Lakers and should be able to control the pace. If I was a Lakers fan, I’d be concerned as they look to be limping into the playoffs. However, I’ll be looking forward to a LA Lakers/Portland first round matchup.

Those are my initial takes on the slate. Feel free to leave a like/comment/question if you like the blog. Best of luck Grinders. Let’s win that DFS money!!!

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