The Gut Check for August 12, 2020

Hope everyone enjoyed the Portland/Dallas barnburner 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 $191.00 ($171.00 on FanDuel and $20.00 on Draftkings). I ended up winning $143.00 total for a loss of $48.00 ($139.50 on FanDuel and $3.50 on Draftkings) for a negative ROI of 25.13%. I basically lost what I won the day before, but that makes it 6 out of the past 9 slates 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 (hence why I play more on FanDuel than Draftkings) but I can tell you that right now combined, my account balances are a little over $575.00. 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:

Troy Brown Jr. (85%)
Kristaps Porzingis (80%)
Frank Mason III (70%)
Harry Giles (70%)
Luka Doncic (55%)
29 players in my player pool for a 5-game slate

For DK:

Nikola Vucevic (100%)
Russell Westbrook (100%)
Chris Chiozza (80%)
Luka Doncic (55%)
Markelle Fultz and Bogdan Bogdanovic (45%)
26 players in my player pool for a 7-game slate

My best lineup on FD in the $3.33 Clutch Shot was 2,180th out of 139,843 entries (ended up winning $10.00 in the Clutch, cashing 10 of my 20 lineups overall)

PG Damian Lillard 79.0 (76.0% owned)
PG George Hill 18.4 (4.7% owned)
SG Luka Doncic 46.6 (52.2% owned)
SG Devin Booker 57.3 (48.5% owned)
SF Carmelo Anthony 43.6 (22.2% owned)
SF Troy Brown Jr. 19.7 (28.5% owned)
PF Kristaps Porzingis 47.2 (60.2% owned)
PF Harry Giles 31.7 (3.2% owned)
C Kyle O’Quinn 45.5 (10.1% owned)

Total 389.0 (Winning Lineup was 444.1, cash line was 334.2)

My best lineup on DK in the $1 And One was for 3,815th out of 47,562 entries (ended up winning $2.00, cashing only 2 of my 20 lineups overall)

PG Chris Chiozza 22.75 (11.8% owned)
SG Alec Burks 34.5 (19.0% owned)
SF Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot 35.25 (29.3% owned)
PF Harry Giles 33.75 (1.6% owned)
C Nikola Vucevic 29.5 (21.2% owned)
G Russell Westbrook 34.75 (54.3% owned)
F Bogdan Bogdanovic 36.5 (34.2% owned)
UTIL Damian Lillard 84.25 (45.5% owned)

Total 311.25 (Winning Lineup was 391.0, cash line was 284.5)

A couple of notes to take away from last night: I mentioned that the Portland/Dallas game would be full of fantasy goodness. Both teams left it all out on the floor and gave the audience a very entertaining basketball game. DFS players seemed to agree with me as ownership on Doncic, Lillard and Porzingis were in the high 50-60% range on FanDuel and 30-40% range on Draftkings. It was certainly a stars and scrubs night as you could easily roster the three of them along with Ja Morant and Devin Booker and still roster two or three low-priced plays like Harry Giles, Kyle O’Quinn, Jeremiah Martin, Frank Mason III or Keldon Johnson. As we approach the playoffs, we’re going to see a lot of backups playing significant minutes and become fantasy viable. If you played Giannis Antetokounmpo who doesn’t really have anything to play for until the playoffs, you run the risk of him busting at a very high salary. I had him in 50% of my FanDuel lineups, but I also had 50% of Damian Lillard, Devin Booker and Ja Morant to offset. My punt plays of Frank Mason III (70% exposure compared to 2.7% ownership), Harry Giles (70% exposure compared to 3.2% ownership) and Kyle O’Quinn (20% exposure compared to 10.1% ownership) almost got my head above water, but I also took some shots with Nicolo Melli (30% exposure compared to 13.2% ownership) and Alex Len (5% exposure compared to 1.3% ownership) that didn’t pay off. That’s going to happen with these last few days of the regular season but hopefully we salvage something out of this.

Today’s Slate

We have 4 games today starting at 4:00pm EST. We are bound to see some crazy starting lineups and rotations today, especially since there’s nothing to play for for all 8 teams involved 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 Indiana vs Houston with no Vegas total at the time of writing. James Harden should suit up for this game but I don’t expect a full 35-37 minute performance from him tonight. Russell Westbrook is not expected to play after he played against the Spurs yesterday. There’s a chance that Eric Gordon will make his debut inside the bubble, so that should lower the outlook for Ben McLemore and Austin Rivers. Danuel House Jr. and Robert Covington are viable options but again I think we’ll see some crazy rotations where no one gets more than 30 minutes. Jeff Green has been a consistent option off the bench and I certainly don’t hate the play at $4.0K on FD, $4.4K on DK. Malcolm Brogdon, Victor Oladipo, and Myles Turner are listed as questionable for the Pacers while T.J. Warren has already been ruled out. The Pacers are probably looking ahead to their matchup against the Miami Heat on Friday, so they’ll be cautious with their starters. I expect big minutes out of T.J. McConnell, Doug McDermott, Aaron Holiday, Justin Holiday and JaKarr Sampson if Nate McMillan decides to sit his stars.

Toronto vs Philadelphia with no Vegas total at the time of writing. Philadelphia is one game back of 5th place Indiana and Toronto has already locked up the 2nd seed in the East. There’s been no mention out of both clubs if they plan to sit their starters. Joel Embiid could be back tonight but I wouldn’t expect a full run even if he starts. Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris and Al Horford missed yesterday’s game against the Suns so they could very well get some run. If all four play, that leaves little for the bench players. Kyle O’Quinn played very well with his 32 minutes yesterday. Alec Burks would still be viable off the bench as he’s been getting high 20’s minutes regardless and is relatively cheap. Toronto tends to go with a tight rotation of players and Nick Nurse tends to not sit players out mid-game. Toronto will have a day off tomorrow before playing again on Friday so we should have word beforehand if Nurse decides to sit some players out. If Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and/or OG Anunoby sits, fire up Norman Powell, Matt Thomas and Terrence Davis. If Marc Gasol sits, fire up Serge Ibaka. If Ibaka sits, Chris Boucher would be the option (and a popular one). I don’t expect Pascal Siakam to sit but if he does, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson should get a higher load of his minutes. Toronto has a good bench so this is a good problem to have if you’re the Raptors.

Miami vs Oklahoma City with no Vegas total at the time of writing. OKC sat out most of their starters on Monday and they just look to keep everyone healthy entering the postseason. Darius Bazley has played very well over his past three games and is worth a look if Danilo Gallinari is somewhat limited. Luguentz Dort, Hamidou Diallo and Abdel Nader could be viable plays if Billy Donovan rests his starters once again. Miami hasn’t indicated that they’re sitting out their starters so I expect mid 20’s to 30 minutes out of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and company. They’re probably looking ahead to Indiana on Friday so this could be the game that we see more of Derrick Jones Jr., Andre Iguodala and Tyler Herro. Goran Dragic got the start in place of Kendrick Nunn against Indiana but I would expect a similar workload for him again.

The late-night hammer pits the LA Clippers vs Denver with no Vegas total at the time of writing. Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet and Patrick Beverley will not be available for tonight, so I expect a full run out of Reggie Jackson and Ivica Zubac. There’s been no word on Kawhi Leonard, Paul George or Marcus Morris so I expect them to play their full compliment of minutes. They play again on Friday, so it’s not a back-to-back situation either. I would expect the same thing out of the Nuggets as they make their way to the postseason. They played the Lakers on Monday, the Clippers tonight and the Raptors on Friday so that’s a good stretch of games to find out what you’re made of. Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr., and Jamal Murray would be my primary targets here but out of all the games, this one is the most attractive in terms of starters getting a full run of minutes in my opinion.

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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