The Gut Check for August 9, 2020: Nice Night in the Bubble
Hope everyone enjoyed the two overtime games 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.
I enjoy doing this blog but I was just unable to do one yesterday morning. Friday was still a successful night, winning about $230 on $130 in entry fees. 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 $1,626.72 total for a profit of $1,502.32 ($1,526.72 on FanDuel and $100.00 on Draftkings) for a positive ROI of 1,207.65%. That makes it five out of the past six days in the black. 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 $1.5K) 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 $1,900.00. I think I’ll be withdrawing some to enjoy. Always celebrate the small victories! Big props to a couple of my DFS friends Dbl11Dwn and Jenstar who texted me back and forth during the late-night sweat. Jenstar did quite well herself last night so it was nice getting back to that, post-quarantine. 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 $3.00 Clutch Shot was 81st out of 153,422 entries (ended up winning $75.00 in the Clutch, but $750.00 for 2nd place in the Pick ‘N Roll, cashing 15 of my 20 lineups overall)
PG Malcolm Brogdon 37.0 (31.6% owned)
PG Reggie Jackson 25.9 (23.7% owned)
SG Luka Doncic 82.3 (26.7% owned)
SG Tyler Herro 47.6 (25.6% owned)
SF Carmelo Anthony 31.4 (23.7% owned)
SF Jae Crowder 26.9 (25.5% owned)
PF Kristaps Porzingis 46.7 (28.6% owned)
PF Bam Adebayo 46.9 (43.1% owned)
C Nikola Jokic 58.7 (7.7% owned)
Total 403.4 (Winning Lineup was 425.8, cash line was 335.4)
My best lineup on DK in the $1 And One was for 31st out of 35,671 entries (ended up winning $60.00, cashing 15 of my 20 lineups overall)
PG Aaron Holiday 32.5 (6.7% owned)
SG Tyler Herro 51.0 (43.9% owned)
SF Marcus Morris 28.0 (33.2% owned)
PF Michael Porter Jr. 47.25 (32.1% owned)
C Bam Adebayo 45.75 (30.1% owned)
G Luka Doncic 89.0 (19.6% owned)
F Kelly Olynyk 22.5 (49.9% owned)
UTIL Brook Lopez 49.75 (11.5% owned)
Total 365.75 (Winning Lineup was 381.5, cash line was 300.0)
A couple of notes to take away from last night: LUCHA, LUCHA, LUCHA…………oh I’m sorry, wrong sport. LUKA, LUKA, LUKA…..that’s more like it! We all know that Doncic is capable of a triple-double every time he takes the court, but that was quite the display against the Bucks. I had 80% on FD and 50% Luka on DK. Certainly if you stacked Dallas/Milwaukee and the Denver/Utah game, you were sitting pretty by the end of the night. A few days ago, I decided to enter both the Clutch Shot and the Pick ‘N Roll and compare results. This slate provides the perfect example of contest selection. In The Clutch, my 20 lineups cashed for $251.72. In the Pick ‘N Roll, my 20 lineups cashed for $1,275.00 (claiming 2nd, 3rd & 9th place). Contests like the Clutch are so top-heavy that you really need a top 10 to get anything half decent and you’re competing against so many more entries (153,422 compared to the Pick ‘ N Roll’s 8,043 entries). Most of the pros are going to max enter the Clutch, so you’re competing with 150 lineups compared to my 20. The chances of me hitting the nuts are less likely than someone who is max entering at 150. But this presents an opportunity to increase your bankroll by entering the Pick ‘N Roll with 20 lineups. Again, it’s a comfort level for me that I like. I like 20 lineups, and I’ve been consistent with it. You may just be comfortable playing with one lineup, or five, or ten. Either way, find a contest that matches what you’re comfortable with and build your bankroll that way.
We have 7 games today starting at 12:30pm EST but the Washington/Oklahoma City early game is not on the main slate tonight on FanDuel. Thank God FanDuel has instituted late swap to their NBA product. It does make life easier for late news when it comes in. 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.
Washington vs Oklahoma City with OKC favored by 9.5 with a 224 Vegas total. Nerlens Noel will get another start for OKC and at $3.9K on DK, he’s a viable cheap option. He should be quite popular though and rightfully so. Washington gives up a ton of points and play little defense. Thomas Bryant, Troy Brown Jr., Jerome Robinson and Ish Smith are the only Washington players I’ll consider in my player pool. Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari will see their share of ownership but I don’t mind going to Luguentz Dort for a cheap value play. He’s played over 30 minutes in all four games for the Thunder so I’d say he’s viable, especially if you want to avoid the Noel chalk.
Memphis vs Toronto with the Raptors favored by 6.5 with a 220 Vegas total. With Memphis’ win against OKC, they’re now 1-4 in the bubble. With a win over Toronto, they’ll be two games up on Portland for 8th in the West. Can they pull off the upset? They’ll need a huge game out of Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas for it to happen. Toronto will be led by Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet to put a dagger in Memphis’ playoff chances. Nick Nurse doesn’t look to rest anybody today but keep track of news notifications to make sure.
San Antonio vs New Orleans with the Pelicans favored by 3 with a slate-high 239.5 Vegas total. A Memphis loss and a San Antonio win will greatly help the Spurs’ chances of getting to the 9th place spot. I certainly don’t think the Pelicans have a shot of 9th place with the way they play defense. San Antonio should be able to exploit this and put on an offensive explosion to sink the Pelicans. DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White would be my primary targets but I wouldn’t hesitate rostering Rudy Gay or Jakob Poeltl in this spot. Zion Williamson is expected to play for the Pelicans and they’ll need a huge effort from him to compete today. Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday are also viable plays. Brandon Ingram loses some value with Williamson back so I won’t be rostering him.
Orlando vs Boston with no Vegas total at the time of writing. With no Aaron Gordon, this is Nikola Vucevic team. Evan Fournier has struggled so far in the bubble but I’ll still take some shots with him. Boston is getting to full strength right now and Kemba Walker is expected to get up to 30-32 minutes before the playoffs. He looks to be viable today against the Magic. Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum will be sprinkled in my lineups as well.
Philadelphia vs Portland with Portland favored by 3 with a 228.5 Vegas total. Portland is fighting to get that 8th spot and Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, Carmelo Anthony, C.J. McCollum and Gary Trent Jr. are all viable plays today. Philadelphia is without Ben Simmons, so it’s up to Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris to carry the load for the 76ers. This could be an underrated game to target as both teams tend to put up points in buckets. If it ends up being a double OT game like the Jazz/Nuggets yesterday, a game stack could win you a GPP.
Houston vs Sacramento with Houston favored by 5.5 with a 230.5 Vegas total. Two more explosive offenses to target as Houston looks to end Sacramento’s run for 9th place. James Harden and De’Aaron Fox should be the focus of the DFS public, but I’ll definitely add Bogdan Bogdanovic, Robert Covington, Danuel House Jr., and Ben McLemore to my player pool. Richaun Holmes is not expected to play so Alex Len should get the start. Since Houston plays small, Len looks to be a trap play as he should just be run off the court. It would be nice if Harry Giles would get the start and the minutes as he’s more athletic than Len and is able to keep up with the Rockets.
The late-night hammer pits Brooklyn vs the LA Clippers with no Vegas total at the time of writing. Brooklyn is resting a lot of their starters once again so Rodions Kurucs, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Garrett Temple would be the only viable Nets to roster (and that’s even a stretch). There’s no word if Paul George and/or Kawhi Leonard plan to sit out or have limited minutes tonight, but both are great options if they’re available. Reggie Jackson continues to be a cheaper point guard play who will be a part of my player pool.
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!!!