The Gut Check for February 12, 2020
Hope everyone is enjoying the last week before the All-Star Break, 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. I’ve played mostly NFL, NBA and MLB but have tried other sports like WNBA, PGA and MMA. 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! 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 the $0.25 Fadeaway and the $0.50 Mini-Max 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 those of you who remember my blogs from 2018, you’ll realize that I do this blog as simply a first-look approach with no big statistical reference to back up my plays. The blog will also be used to look back at the previous slate, my player exposures, and where I 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.
Last night, I entered my 20 lineups in the $2.22 Pick ‘N Roll, the $2 100-man contests (top 12 get paid), and the $0.25 satellite for MLB Opening Day (top 50 get tickets). I also maxed out the 20-max $1 And One on DK. Total fees paid across both sites $111.40 ($91.40 on FD and $20.00 on DK). I won $34.09 total for a loss of $77.31 (-69.40% ROI) ($13.00 won on FD and $21.09 won on DK). That makes it eight out of the past nine slates on the losing end. Considering I haven’t had to redeposit on either site since January 2nd, I feel like I’m doing the Quest for $1,000 challenge that Jim Hill (AKA jimfred82) has embarked on in his blog series. February hasn’t been a kind month at all for me, but I really think I can chalk that up to variance more than anything else. I’m sure that you’ve been there too but most slates I’ve been maybe a move or two away from having a profitable night. Hopefully the All-Star Break will give me some time to rest and relax before moving back into the daily grind of DFS. Or I’ll just focus on the NHL using the same 20 lineup strategy. Again my strategy has been to do just 20 lineups max (even for a 25-max tournament like the Pick ‘N Roll) and enter it in some low-level stakes trying just to consistently cash (nothing big, nothing flashy, not trying to hit the big payday). 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 combined my account balances are a little over $450 after just a little over one month and a week, but it’s dropped about $350 since the big losing streak (a week and a half ago). 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.
Here’s a look at my top 5 player exposures from last night:
My best lineup on FD in the $2.22 Pick ‘N Roll was 2,030th out of 24,131 entries (ended up winning $5.00, but only cashed 3 of my 20 lineups overall)
PG Russell Westbrook 57.5 (25.2% owned)
PG Derrick White 36.8 (5.2% owned)
SG Bradley Beal 44.3 (14.4% owned)
SG C.J. McCollum 23.7 (29.3% owned)
SF Gordon Hayward 39.6 (29.2% owned)
SF Chandler Hutchison 18.3 (36.3% owned)
PF Zion Williamson 50.3 (36.4% owned)
PF Robert Covington 43.9 (11.8% owned)
C Steven Adams 36.0 (22.4% owned)
Total 350.4 (Winning Lineup was 405.5, cash line was 330.5)
My best lineup on DK in the $1 And-One was 1,531st out of 47,562 entries (ended up winning $4.00, but cashed 9 of my 20 lineups overall)
PG Tomas Satoransky 33.5 (16.9% owned)
SG Zach LaVine 63.75 (34.4% owned)
SF Danilo Gallinari 32.0 (35.8% owned)
PF Moritz Wagner 21.25 (12.4% owned)
C Rui Hachimura 36.5 (19.6% owned)
G Chris Paul 49.5 (17.5% owned)
F LaMarcus Aldridge 51.5 (45.1% owned)
UTIL Hassan Whiteside 41.5 (25.7% owned)
Total 329.5 (Winning Lineup was 369.25, cash line was 298.75)
A couple of notes to take away from all this: Well the tilting continues as Chandler Hutchison underperformed and sunk most of my lineups with him. Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Jaylen Brown didn’t help things either at least on FanDuel. I also underestimated the Spurs last night. In my lineup crunches, I set a max of 1 Spur per lineup. I don’t usually do that as I like to have at least 2 players from each team in my lineup crunches. What that essentially did was cap my exposure and my thought process was that maybe LaMarcus Aldridge or Derrick White or Dejounte Murray would have a good game but not all three. Come to find out, all three had good games and that limited my overall lineup upside across the board. Lesson learned to not underestimate a team on a B2B ever again. My DK lineups are actually doing better over this losing streak since I’ve concentrated on the $1 And-One and stayed away from the $4 GPP. I’m slowly building my bankroll back up on DK and having it in the $1 where the top 25% get paid has worked out better than the top 21% payout in the $4. The All-Star break is around the corner, so my goal is to finish strong!
We have a 11-game slate tonight starting at 7:00 pm EST. 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.
Atlanta visits Cleveland with Atlanta favored by 1 with a 233 Vegas total. We start off hot right out of the gate with the second-highest Vegas total on the slate. Trae Young, John Collins, and Kevin Huerter are all viable plays against the Cavs. Kevin Love is questionable for this last game before the break so it wouldn’t surprise me if he sits. If he does, Larry Nance Jr. should get the start and is a nice option at his $4.5K on FD, $5.1K on DK price tags. Andre Drummond should have an easy time in the paint as well. Collin Sexton has been consistently good, so he’ll be in my player pool tonight as a secondary play.
Detroit visits Orlando with Orlando favored by 7 with a slate-low 206.5 Vegas total. And now we go to the most unappealing game of the slate. That low total tells me that there will be fewer possessions (Orlando plays slow as does Detroit, and Orlando doesn’t turn the ball over a lot either) so no one is a core play for me. Christian Wood and Reggie Jackson have been priced down thanks to the stinker they had against Charlotte last game. Nikola Vucevic is priced up to $9.4K on FD, $9.0K on DK, a little too high for my liking. I wouldn’t prioritize any Orlando players as their prices are up since they last played Atlanta, they are overpriced for the matchup in my opinion.
Toronto visits Brooklyn with Brooklyn favored by 2 with a 221.5 Vegas total. That’s surprising considering the 15-game winning streak for the Raptors but this should make for a competitive game. Toronto squeezed out a one-point victory in Toronto just four days ago. They may be without Serge Ibaka, so we could get another start for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. RHJ will be playing in front of his previous team on their home court so there’s a revenge narrative there if you believe in that sort of thing. He’s $4.3K on FD, $4.4K on DK, so if he gets the start, he’ll be worth the risk. Kyle Lowry missed that game against Brooklyn and he will be part of my player pool tonight, as will Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Taurean Prince and DeAndre Jordan had nice games against the Raptors and I would add them to my player pool.
Milwaukee visits Indiana with Milwaukee favored by 2 with a 222.5 Vegas total. Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton will be in the 50% and higher ownership range tonight. Their prices haven’t shot up and they are essentially the offense for Milwaukee with Giannis Antetokounmpo out. As I’ve mentioned before, Ersan Ilyasova has been hit and miss when he starts. Brook Lopez is another option to consider as his 3-point shooting will keep Myles Turner honest. Domantas Sabonis is $8.1K on FD and is in play there for me. He’s $9.8K on DK, just a bit too much in my opinion there. Malcolm Brogdon is more of a secondary play for me.
Washington (on a B2B) visits New York with New York favored by 2 with a 228.5 Vegas total. Two teams that don’t play a lot of defense square off at Madison Square Garden. Bradley Beal plays monster minutes and shoots the ball a ton. If his shot is falling, he can break the slate. He’s got some nice complimentary pieces around him like Moritz Wagner, Davis Bertans, Ish Smith and Rui Hachimura that will be spread around my lineups. New York is led by Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton. Mitchell Robinson had himself a nice game last time out with a double-double and is priced up to $5.7K on FD, $5.0K on DK. He might be worth a shot or two against this bad Washington defense.
Portland (on a B2B) visits Memphis with Memphis favored by 4 with a slate-high 235 Vegas total. Portland is now playign their third game in four nights so fatigue may be setting in for them. Damian Lillard played only 29 minutes last night as the Trailblazers were blown out by the Pelicans 138-117. It was a fast-paced matchup last night and this one will be no different. Ja Morant, Jonas Valanciunas, Dillon Brooks, and Jaren Jackson Jr. would be core plays for me while Lillard, Hassan Whiteside, C.J. McCollum, Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza make up my Portland exposure. Memphis’ bench is deep too so you could get some exposure to De’Anthony Melton and Brandon Clarke as well.
Charlotte visits Minnesota with Minnesota favored by 7 with a 225 Vegas total. Can Minnesota bring a serviceable game out of Charlotte as it seems that Minnesota has been scoring at will since D’Angelo Russell came over. Charlotte will lean on Devonte Graham, Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges for the most part but Minnesota has Karl Anthony-Towns in the paint and he should be able to get whatever he wants. Along with Russell and Towns, I would include Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez in my player pool.
Sacramento visits Dallas with Dallas favored by 7 with a 227 Vegas total. Luka Doncic is listed as questionable but he fully intends to play tonight as he went through a full practice with no issues. He’s priced at $9.7K on FD, $10.9K on DK, so if I was to play him, I’d play him on FD. Hopefully he wouldn’t be on any minute restriction and he’s fully ready to go as this could be a GPP-winning play. He won’t be priced that low for very long and he does have triple-double upside in a fast-paced matchup. Sacramento will have to keep up and De’Aaron Fox is certainly capable of answering the bell and leading this offense. Harrison Barnes has played well over his past two games and returns to his old stomping grounds in Dallas. I’d also include Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica in my player pool as secondary options.
Golden State visits Phoenix with Phoenix favored by 7 with a 226.5 Vegas total. Devin Booker gets to matchup against Andrew Wiggins. Deandre Ayton is listed as questionable and he could sit out this one before the All-Star break to give him even more rest. Cheick Diallo becomes an attractive min priced option if we get this news before lock. Hopefully Kelly Oubre Jr. is out of the coach’s doghouse enough to get a start at his $6.9K FD, $7.2K DK price tags. Draymond Green, Marquese Chriss and Damion Lee join Wiggins as the only Golden State players in my player pool.
Miami visits Utah with Utah favored by 4 with a 217.5 Vegas total. Jimmy Butler came back from a two-game absence against the Warriors and got 53.5 FD FPTS and 51.5 DK FPTS. I would think he’ll have a tougher time against the Jazz but he and Bam Adebayo are very much in play tonight. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell will have to be at the top of their games tonight to win this one. Two players I really like though with their new roles are Jae Crowder with the Heat and Jordan Clarkson with the Jazz. They have been on fire off the bench for their clubs and I will continue to ride the hot hand with those two players.
The final game on the slate pits the LA Lakers visiting Denver with LA favored by 1 with a 219.5 Vegas total. This should be a playoff preview as both teams have played really well so far in the first half of the season. LeBron James and Anthony Davis matching up against Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. I’ll also include Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap, Jerami Grant, Gary Harris, Torrey Craig and Jordan McRae as complimentary plays.
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!!!!