The Gut Check for August 13, 2020
Hope everyone enjoyed keeping up with breaking lineup news 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.
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 $171.32 total for a loss of $19.68 ($137.42 on FanDuel and $33.90 on Draftkings) for a negative ROI of 10.30%. It could’ve been a lot worse, but that makes it 6 out of the past 10 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 $555.00. 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:
My best lineup on FD in the $3.33 Clutch Shot was 618th out of 119,514 entries (ended up winning $15.00 in the Clutch, cashing 7 of my 20 lineups overall)
PG Chris Paul 26.4 (25.3% owned)
PG Goran Dragic 36.0 (28.4% owned)
SG James Harden 81.9 (68.6% owned)
SG Victor Oladipo 31.7 (23.5% owned)
SF Kawhi Leonard 41.5 (60.4% owned)
SF Darius Bazley 42.8 (16.5% owned)
PF Michael Porter Jr. 25.0 (33.1% owned)
PF Jeff Green 21.1 (16.5% owned)
C Chris Boucher 40.8 (10.6% owned)
Total 347.2 (Winning Lineup was 371.5, cash line was 297.0)
At the time of writing, there were some technical issues on Draftkings’ website to get the results from last night. So unfortunately, there will not be a lineup breakdown but I did manage to profit $33.90 out of the $20 I spent, cashing 9 of my 20 lineups overall.
A couple of notes to take away from last night: If you were not up-to-date on the news throughout the day/evening, you probably didn’t cash. News broke that OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka were going to sit about an hour before gametime. This opened up Chris Boucher and Norman Powell. Now I had my shooting guards on FanDuel pretty much locked with James Harden and Victor Oladipo, so Powell was off the table pretty much. I had 80% Joel Embiid but did manage to get some of that and some of Nikola Jokic and switch over to Chris Boucher (ended up with about 30% exposure on FanDuel). Draftkings was a bit easier as I ended up with 50% Boucher and 30% Powell. I had 90% exposure to Mason Plumlee so I managed to manually adjust my lineups to get more Boucher in. Thank God that news came out an hour before. It took me about 20 minutes of manually adjusting my lineups on both sites, but I’m glad I did it that way as opposed to global swapping. I really didn’t have a lot of success on FanDuel but the one lineup above managed to win me $95 between the two GPPs and two 100-man contests. We should be prepared for more wackiness over the next two days, so let’s get to it!
We have 7 games today starting at 12:00pm EST. Both sites have split up the slate with two early games and five games in the main slate. 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 Washington vs Boston with Boston favored by 1 with a 230.5 Vegas total. The first two games of the slate don’t mean much to anyone other than DFS players. Robert Williams III is probably the most intriguing play in this game as he has been a monster producer when he gets the minutes. I expect a lot from him today. Jerome Robinson should get some good run for the Wizards, as should Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant. With Boston’s starters resting today, I expect to see a lot of Brad Wanamaker and Romeo Langford lineups today. Lower-owned plays include Grant Williams, Semi Ojeleye, Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters. It’s like throwing a dart, really it is.
The second game of the early slate pits Sacramento vs LA Lakers with no Vegas total at the time of writing. There’s been no word on keeping LeBron James and Anthony Davis out of the lineup for a meaningless game. I would certainly suspect that they don’t play, in which case Kyle Kuzma is going to be in all of my lineups for the early slate. De’Aaron Fox has been ruled out, so I would go to Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield as my main Sacramento pieces. You can certainly go to Nemanja Bjelica and Harry Giles who will be matching up with Kuzma in the paint. Dion Waiters and Danny Green will get some run for the Lakers, but I would suspect that Quinn Cook, Talen Horton-Tucker, Markieff Morris and J.R. Smith will get the backup run when called upon today.
The main slate starts at 4:00pm EST with two games that have some significance for the 8th and 9th place seeds in the West. Milwaukee vs Memphis with no Vegas total at the time of writing. If Memphis wins today, they’ve clinched at least the 9th seed for the play-in games. Ja Morant will make the majority of my lineups today, no question about it. The Grizzlies are playing to win this, bottom line. I expect a lot of Jonas Valanciunas, Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke throughout the industry today. I would suspect that Mike Budenholzer will rest Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe today, so you would see a lot of Frank Mason III, Pat Connaughton, Kyle Korver and Sterling Brown.
Dallas vs Phoenix with no Vegas total at the time of writing. Phoenix needs to win this game and hope that either Memphis or Portland loses today. If that scenario happens, they’re in. Devin Booker will be a lock in my lineups regardless, as he should be in this spot. Deandre Ayton has struggled mightily over his past three games but this could be a great game for him to get back on track. Ricky Rubio, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson will be in my player pool as well. Dario Saric has played very well replacing Ayton as his backup. He might go low owned and is worthy of a cheap value play option. There’s been no word out of Dallas whether Luka Doncic and/or Kristaps Porzingis are going to sit out this game. I would suspect that they will sit, in which case you will see some J.J. Barea, Trey Burke, Maxi Kleber, Delon Wright and Justin Jackson for a heavy dose of this game. You may even see Boban Marjanovic on the floor, who is a great FPTS/minute producer.
San Antonio vs Utah with no Vegas total at the time of writing. Depending on the outcome of the two previous games, San Antonio would have a shot at the 9th seed. First step, they have to win against Utah. The next step is the Memphis, Phoenix and Portland component. Two of these three teams have to lose in order for San Antonio to get in. Either way you look at it, the 4pm games are crucial because even if one of them loses, the Spurs would still be alive. That’ll mean a full boatload of minutes for their starters. DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and Rudy Gay are the main focus of this offense. Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles and Royce O’Neale are the only starters that aren’t on the injury report for Utah so you would think that they’ll at least get one half out of them. Emmanuel Mudiay and Tony Bradley will get some run as they replace Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert in the starting lineup. Rayjon Tucker will backup Mudiay and should be considered a nice cheap value play.
The late-night hammers pit Portland vs Brooklyn with Portland favored by 9 with a 237 Vegas total. This game will decide the slate. Portland is in the driver’s seat in 8th place right now. What’s important to consider is that if Phoenix, San Antonio and Memphis lose two out of the three games, Portland will be in the play-in game(s). That’s significant for DFS because Terry Stotts could decide to rest Damian Lillard who will be in the majority of DFS lineups today. I would certainly plan if you are playing multiple lineups to have a Plan B, especially on FanDuel where you need two point guards. Ja Morant and Damian Lillard should be the most popular option at PG today but you do have some plays from those earlier games that you might want to take advantage of, like Ricky Rubio, Dejounte Murray or Derrick White. If this game plays out, Lillard is the preferred option, but I wouldn’t sleep on C.J. McCollum, Carmelo Anthony or Jusuf Nurkic. Brooklyn hasn’t mentioned whether or not they’ll sit Caris LeVert or Jarrett Allen in a meaningless game for them. The Vegas total suggests that they’ll play some significant minutes but that could easily change. LeVert and Allen would be contrarian plays to consider in a large-field GPP.
The last game pits two teams with nothing to play for as New Orleans vs Orlando with no Vegas total at the time of writing. Everyone will mostly stay away but you could take a cheap value option like Josh Hart, E’Twaun Moore, Frank Jackson, Jahlil Okafor, Nickeil Alexander-Walker or Nicolo Melli for the Pelicans. Orlando will just try to stay healthy for this one, so I would expect Khem Birch, Markelle Fultz and Wes Iwundu to play mid 20’s minutes but are certainly not must plays on this slate.
Those are my initial takes on the slate. Be aware of your bankroll as you venture through this last few days 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!!!