The Gut Check for August 11, 2020

Hope everyone enjoyed the Chris Boucher career game 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 $3.33 Clutch Shot, the $2.22 Pick ‘n Roll and several $1 & $2 100-man leagues. I also played 20 lineups in the $1 And One on Draftkings. Total fees paid across both sites were $185.00 ($165.00 on FanDuel and $20.00 on Draftkings). I ended up winning $232.30 total for a profit of $47.30 ($227.80 on FanDuel and $4.50 on Draftkings) for a positive ROI of 25.57%. That makes it six days out of eight in positive territory. 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 $3.33 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 $625.00. 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:

Tim Hardaway Jr. (100%)
Anthony Davis (95%)
Chris Paul (95%)
Jimmy Butler (75%)
Mike Conley, Bam Adebayo & Darius Bazley (70%)
28 players in my player pool for a 5-game slate

For DK:

Rudy Gobert (100%)
Mike Conley (95%)
Darius Bazley (85%)
Jimmy Butler (70%)
Hamidou Diallo (65%)
23 players in my player pool for a 5-game slate

My best lineup on FD in the $3.33 Clutch Shot was 4,443rd out of 134,778 entries (ended up winning $8.00 in the Clutch, cashing 14 of my 20 lineups overall)

PG Chris Paul 32.5 (43.7% owned)
PG Mike Conley 16.4 (19.4% owned)
SG Norman Powell 47.1 (7.4% owned)
SG Jimmy Butler 52.7 (26.7% owned)
SF Tim Hardaway Jr. 36.6 (31.8% owned)
SF Darius Bazley 43.5 (27.9% owned)
PF Anthony Davis 54.7 (38.5% owned)
PF Bam Adebayo 33.8 (46.0% owned)
C Rudy Gobert 22.5 (21.9% owned)

Total 339.8 (Winning Lineup was 395.4, cash line was 297.1)

My best lineup on DK in the $1 And One was for 10,151st out of 54,457 entries (ended up winning $1.50, cashing only 3 of my 20 lineups overall)

PG Chris Paul 33.25 (23.5% owned)
SG Seth Curry 27.75 (7.2% owned)
SF Tim Hardaway Jr. 38.25 (27.1% owned)
PF Darius Bazley 45.0 (33.8% owned)
C Rudy Gobert 21.75 (26.5% owned)
G Mike Conley 17.5 (25.5% owned)
F Jimmy Butler 50.75 (26.7% owned)
UTIL Bam Adebayo 32.25 (14.8% owned)

Total 266.5 (Winning Lineup was 365.0, cash line was 253.5)

A couple of notes to take away from last night: Well I think we can safely say that we’ve entered the twilight zone part of the regular season. From those of you who aren’t familiar with the end of the regular season, I highly recommend that if you’re unable to keep up with news literally minutes before game time, do not bother playing ANYTHING NBA until the playoffs. Deandre Ayton news came out three minutes before game time yesterday afternoon and I had 85% exposure on DK. I was able to global swap him out of my lineups but he was between 20 to 40% owned in most GPPs on both sites. The Utah Jazz decided to rest their starters after the first half and screwed a lot of people, myself included. Considering the heavy exposure I had to them on DK especially, I knew that my DK lineups weren’t going to be salvageable. I took a heavy stand with Darius Bazley on both sites and was rewarded for his 43.5 FD FPTS, 45 DK FPTS performance. With Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka sitting, I did pivot some to Norman Powell, Khris Middleton ($400 more expensive than VanVleet on FD), and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. RHJ had a good game but nothing compared to Chris Boucher, who even outperformed Boban Marjanovic at 0.6% FD ownership and 1.1% DK ownership. If you had Boucher in your lineups, you stood a good chance of winning a GPP last night.

Today’s Slate

We have 7 games today starting at 1:00pm EST. FanDuel decided to split up the slate with the two early games and the five main slate games starting at 4:30pm EST. We are bound to see some crazy starting lineups and rotations today but 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 Brooklyn vs Orlando with no Vegas total at the time of writing. Brooklyn is playing without three of their starters (Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris) as they have nothing to really play for. Brooklyn has locked up 7th place and Orlando 8th place in the East. Orlando will be without Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross for this one so Nikola Vucevic stands front and center. How many minutes will he play, that’s the big question. I would take a few shots at Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Rodions Kurucs for the Nets.

Houston vs San Antonio with Houston favored by 1 with a slate-high 232.5 Vegas total. James Harden will not suit up for the Rockets so this is Russell Westbrook team to lead. This should be a fast-paced game. Houston is within a game of 3rd place Denver and San Antonio is in a dogfight for the 9th place spot in the West. San Antonio is one of four teams fighting for two spots and all four teams are separated by one game. They need this win, so I expect a full allotment of minutes for Dejounte Murray, DeMar DeRozan and Derrick White (who is listed as questionable). Rudy Gay has emerged as a viable threat off the bench for Gregg Popovich. If White sits out, look for Lonnie Walker IV to step up and assume more of a role in the offense. Danuel House Jr. is listed as questionable for Houston so if he sits, I would expect Austin Rivers to get a start at guard and move Ben McLemore to the small forward spot. Rivers had a career game but like I said yesterday, I’m not buying into the hype. Westbrook will be the primary focus of the offense and he takes away so much usage from Rivers that I believe it’s a trap play. I may be wrong on that assumption (especially if Mike D’Antoni sits Westbrook in the second half and runs Rivers all game long) but I’m willing to fade Rivers in this spot.

The 4:30 FD main slate starts with Phoenix vs Philadelphia with Phoenix favored by 7 with a 224.5 Vegas total. Phoenix needs this win to keep pace with San Antonio, Memphis and Portland. Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton would be my focus here but don’t count out Ricky Rubio, Mikal Bridges or Cameron Johnson. A lower-owned GPP play would be Cameron Payne who has emerged as a viable player to roster in the bubble. Philadelphia will be without Joel Embiid, Joel Richardson and Ben Simmons so it’s a skeleton lineup against the Suns. Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Alec Burks and Shake Milton would be the go-to players to roster but I expect this game won’t be a close one. If Phoenix ends up blowing the 76ers out, I expect Booker and Ayton to not get a full run of minutes. That’s something to keep in mind.

Boston vs Memphis with Boston favored by 4 with a 224.5 Vegas total. There has been no indication from Brad Stevens whether any of Boston’s players will be resting tonight. The Celtics have 3rd place in the East wrapped up and have won three straight games in the bubble. I can see them resting their starters today to be honest. Memphis needs this game. They are 1-5 in the bubble barely hanging on to the 8th spot in the West. I expect a full allotment of minutes from Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, and Jonas Valanciunas but if Boston plays their starters today, they may have a tough time. The Celtics are good with their perimeter defense and will give Brooks and Morant fits on the floor. JoVal should be fine in the paint against Daniel Theis. Watch for news out of Boston. If the starters sit, expect Marcus Smart, Brad Wanamaker, and Robert Williams III to get plenty of run.

Portland vs Dallas with no Vegas total at the time of writing. If I’m sitting down to watch a game tonight, it would be this one. There has been no indication of Luka Doncic or Kristaps Porzingis sitting this game out as they sat out yesterday’s game. A nationally televised game on a national stage. Damian Lillard against Luka Doncic. Jusuf Nurkic against Kristaps Porzingis. I expect to have a ton of those four in my lineups tonight. Portland has everything to play for, Dallas is sitting pretty in the 7th spot in the West. Hopefully Rick Carlisle plays Doncic and Porzingis 30+ minutes but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t get all of those minutes. I’ll have shares of C.J. McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Dorian Finney-Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Gary Trent Jr. as well. I can see myself having the most exposure to this game.

Milwaukee vs Washington with Milwaukee favored by 8 with a 229.5 Vegas total. Washington is just playing for pride now while Milwaukee has the No.1 seed in the East already wrapped up. I expect Giannis Antetokounmpo to play but I don’t think it’ll be for his full 30-35 minutes. At his price point, he’s a fade for me. Eric Bledsoe continues to play his way back up to 30 minutes and he’s a viable play at his price point. Thomas Bryant, Troy Brown Jr., Ish Smith and Jerome Robinson would be the only Wizards I’d roster at this point. There’s just not a lot to safely consider from this game, considering nothing is really at stake.

New Orleans vs Sacramento with no Vegas total at the time of writing. This is the epitome of a throwaway game. Nothing to play for here as both teams are going to miss the postseason. Shutdown mode is officially on for these teams as Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Jrue Holiday, De’Aaron Fox and Richaun Holmes are sitting this one out. If I was to roster anyone, I’d consider Josh Hart, J.J. Redick, Nicolo Melli, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica. I can certainly see the possibility of a GPP-winning play from this game but it’s a dart throw like Nickeil Alexander-Walker or DaQuan Jeffries at very low ownership if you’re willing to roll the dice.

Those are my initial takes on the slate. Be aware of your bankroll as you venture through this last week of the regular season. Don’t risk more than you’re willing to lose. 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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