The Gut Check for January 22, 2020
Hope everyone is looking forward to Zion’s debut as much as I am, 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.
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.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I don’t try to do too many lineups in a 1-game slate as I find it to be -EV overall. I did enter one lineup in the $9.99 Shot on FD and the $15.00 Fadeaway on DK. These are multi-entry contests with the big $100K top prize to 1st. Everyone would tell you that it’s not recommended to go to these 150-max contests and fire one shot at the top prize but it does happen that a single bullet takes down 1st in some of these GPPs. I’ve done it on more than one occasion, so I’m living proof. I was willing to take the risk of trying to chop 1st place with one bullet.
My FD lineup in the $9.99 Shot was 17,009th out of 41,708 entries (ended up not cashing that entry)
Total 288.15 (Winning Lineup was 314.35 chopped 14 ways, cash line was 293.05)
My DK lineup in the $15.00 Fadeaway was 707th out of 27,450 entries (ended up winning $36.59 on that entry)
CPT Kawhi Leonard 96.375 (31.8% owned in the CPT spot)
UTIL Patrick Beverley 20.5 (32.8% owned)
UTIL Jalen Brunson 17.75 (27.9% owned)
UTIL Luka Doncic 67.0 (90.7% owned)
UTIL Landry Shamet 25.25 (42.2% owned)
UTIL Lou Williams 32.25 (46.6% owned)
Total 259.12 (Winning Lineup was 273.12 chopped 31 ways, cash line was 245.75)
A couple of notes to take away from all this: Showdown slates are almost impossible to predict. If they were predictable, Luka and Kawhi would’ve been 100% owned. The ones who faded them would’ve had to hope for an injury to occur and that they had the right replacement. For those players that rostered Boban Marjanovic after Dwight Powell went down with his ACL injury, you’re probably sitting in the money this morning. He was 8.8% owned on DK and 2.4% owned on FD. That’s a GPP winning play right there. I had 4 of the 5 on FD. If I would’ve rostered Boban instead of Harkless, I’d be $11K richer this morning. But with a single bullet, I took a stand with Harkless who was starting and was going to get 20+ minutes. I don’t hate my pick but Boban was the ultimate high risk GPP play.
Before we get into the analysis of today’s slate, I’m really excited for tonight because of a strategy I used near the end of 2019. On FanDuel, they were having a 150-max entry satellite for a chance at getting 1,000 tickets to tonight’s slate. All it cost was $0.03 a lineup. This contest ran on December 29th and it didn’t max out. There were 58,959 lineups, all you needed was top 1,000. All I needed was one entry and I doubled my money. Sounded like a good deal so I got in it. The next night on December 30th, they ran another $0.03 satellite but for top 500 tickets. This contest had 70,447 lineups (so word got out pretty quickly). All and all with essentially $9.00 spent, I managed to grab 17 tickets for tonight’s $9.00 Legendary Layup. Now word to the wise, if you ever see another $0.03 satellite contest for a slate, you take the plunge and roll the dice. I’m essentially playing 17 lineups tonight for the cost of 1, which I wouldn’t have normally been able to do.
Now, we have a 12-game slate tonight with the debut of Zion Williamson for the Pelicans. I’ll get to him in a moment but I like to go game-by-game and see if we can unlock some fantasy goodness.
Sacramento visits Detroit with Detroit favored by 1 with a 222 Vegas total. Andre Drummond is listed as questionable with a cut lip after losing a tooth on Monday night. He should be able to play through it and looks good in a matchup against the Kings’ frontcourt. Derrick Rose has started the past three games and has looked really good especially at his $7K price points on both sites. On the Sacramento side, De’Aaron Fox has the upside to take over any game and despite his recent struggles, he’ll be worth a look tonight. Marvin Bagley III and Nemanja Bjelica will be the ones responsible for slowing down Drummond and if Drummond struggles, it’ll be because of the two of them. Buddy Hield is priced down on FD to $5.3K despite his 51.9 FPT performance against Miami (priced up to $6.8K on DK, less prohibitive). I’ll be willing to go there on FD at that price point.
Oklahoma City visits Orlando with Orlando favored by 1 with a slate-low 209 Vegas total. The Vegas total gives me pause about using anyone from this game as it will be a slower paced matchup for both teams. Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel are both questionable for this game so if they both don’t suit up, Mike Muscala ($4.1K on FD, $3.5K on DK) would be asked to play some big minutes against Nikola Vucevic. Both men tend to shoot the three allowing Aaron Gordon and Danilo Gallanari more opportunities at rebounding the ball. Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroder, Markelle Fultz and Evan Fournier could have good games but are secondary options for me at the moment.
Philadelphia visits Toronto with Toronto favored by 6 with a 217.5 Vegas total. Philadelphia will be without Joel Embiid again tonight so it’s basically Ben Simmons, Al Horford, Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson taking all the usage. Matisse Thybulle is a defensive-minded player who’s come into his own since he’s been in the starting lineup but the matchup is tough all around for the 76ers tonight. Toronto is back at full strength but the prices of most of the Raptors are down across the board. Kyle Lowry is down to $6.6K on DK (from $8K a game ago). In fact, DK has dropped Lowry, Ibaka, Gasol and Anunoby by over $1K each since the last game. I guess that’s based on the nature of the matchup as Toronto generally spreads the usage around. If I was to guess which Raptor should have a great game, I’d go with Pascal Siakam as he causes matchup problems with the current state of the 76ers frontcourt. No Embiid, less rim protection overall which fits Siakam’s style of play.
The LA Clippers (on a B2B) visit Atlanta with the Clippers favored by 4 with a 232.5 Vegas total. Paul George is a game-time decision to play tonight and if he does, there’s a possibility that Kawhi Leonard sits out on the back end of a back-to-back. Atlanta is lead by Trae Young and if the Clippers can contain him, they’ve got a good chance of winning this game. The Clippers’ defense is tough as they proved last night in Dallas against Luka Doncic, holding him somewhat in check. I’m interested in the sixth-man combination of Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell. They have great matchups against the Hawks and should provide most of the scoring if George is on a minute restriction of some kind. If Patrick Beverley doesn’t suit up tonight because of his groin issue, I’d take a flier on Landry Shamet at $3.5K on FD, $3.8K on DK as a guy who will be guaranteed 30+ minutes in a fast-paced matchup.
Memphis visits Boston with Boston favored by 7 with a 233 Vegas total. Kemba Walker is listed as probable and Jaylen Brown is listed as questionable for tonight’s game. I like Jaylen Brown price on FD at $5.9K ($6.7K on DK) as he should have over 30 minutes in this matchup. He gets a lot of peripheral stats which you’ll be able to get with a faster-paced Memphis team that is prone to turnovers. Jonas Valanciunas is priced up to $6.8K on FD, $6.7K on DK. The matchup is tough against Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter but he should still pay off his salary. Ja Morant would have an easier time if Kemba sits but if Memphis was to pull off the upset, it’ll be on the backs of Morant, Valanciunas, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks.
Washington visits Miami with Miami favored by 10 with a 227.5 Vegas total. Miami has several players as questionable for this game. Jimmy Butler (probable), Goran Dragic (probable), Duncan Robinson (questionable) and Justise Winslow (out) are all walking wounded, but they shouldn’t have too much of an issue with Washington and their lack of defense. I’d be willing to roster Butler and Bam Adebayo as primary plays. For Washington, Bradley Beal price continues to drop as it’s now down to $7.2K on both sites. He seems disinterested on the court, just going through the motions but if Washington is to be competitive in this game, it’ll be Beal that will be the beneficiary. You can certainly get an outlier game from any Washington player but for right now, they’re merely dart throws. It’s hard to tell who could go off, so I’d rather just stay away.
The LA Lakers visit the New York Knicks with LA favored by 11 with a 223.5 Vegas total. It’s LeBron James and Anthony Davis facing Julius Randle and………..Elfrid Payton I guess. Not exactly an even matchup but I would think Julius Randle will be motivated to stick it to the Lakers. He could have a ceiling game but it would be really hard to get there. If NY won this game, it’ll be Randle that goes off. I know it’s hard to predict a blowout, but this looks to be a candidate. That’ll mean that LeBron and AD won’t get a full game in, which is prohibitive at their price points. I could see me going back to Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee on DK at their $4.5K and $4.4K price points.
Minnesota visits Chicago with Chicago favored by 1 with a 219 Vegas total. Zach LaVine ($8.8K on FD, $9.0K on DK) has been scorching hot through the month of January and that could very well continue against the Timberwolves. You could take a GPP flier on Thaddeus Young, Luke Kornet or Coby White but they aren’t core plays for me. On the Minnesota side, Karl Anthony-Towns looks to be back to full health after his over 50 FPT performance and 35 minutes of action against Denver. There’s no one on the Bulls that can stop him, so I’d be willing to have him as a core play tonight. I would have Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington and Shabazz Napier as secondary plays but this will probably be the KAT and LaVine show tonight.
Denver visits Houston with Houston favored by 8 with a 228.5 Vegas total. I’m kinda surprised that Houston is favored here as Denver is a solid defensive team with Nikola Jokic and Will Barton. It’s probably because of the injuries that Houston is favored and the fact that Houston did beat the Nuggets 130-104 on New Years Eve. I’ll have James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Clint Capela in my player pool but they’re not primary plays at their price points. Of course, they could all break the slate and I’ll have some shares no question. I like Will Barton especially with his ball-handling role right now and his mid $6K price point. Jokic will be in my player pool along with Michael Porter Jr. who has been given more responsibilities since the Millsap injury. He’s worth a GPP flier or two.
Indiana visits Phoenix with Phoenix favored by 1 with a 221.5 Vegas total. This is setting up to be a Domantas Sabonis game with no Aron Baynes tonight. Deandre Ayton should have a decent game himself but Sabonis should have no problem scoring on Ayton all night long. Devin Booker can take over a game by himself and put up slate-breaking stats in a hurry. Kelly Oubre Jr. is in my player pool despite his inconsistency. Ricky Rubio and Malcolm Brogdon are interesting at their $6K price points. This game could be a hidden gem for fantasy goodness.
San Antonio visits New Orleans with NO favored by 3 with a slate-high 237 Vegas total. We’ve finally gotten to the debut of Zion Williamson in a prime time matchup tonight. He’s reasonably priced at $4.5K on FD, $5.0K on DK. There are a lot of unknowns as to whether he will play a lot of minutes. The price points seem to indicate that he won’t play a full allotment of minutes and for that reason, I’ll be fading him. That could change as news trickles out throughout the day but for me, I’ll putting a complete fade. Since we won’t know the full rotation, most Pelicans will be off the table for me except for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Derrick Favors. But overall, I’ll be under the field on the Pels. San Antonio begins and ends with DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge and they’re only secondary plays for me. Despite the high slate total, I think this game will underwhelm from a fantasy perspective. But it would be nice to see Zion debut and put on a good show for the national audience.
The late-night hammer pits Utah visiting Golden State with Utah favored by 9 with a 216.5 Vegas total. Rudy Gobert has been on a tear for the past two weeks and gets a cakewalk matchup with Golden State. I see 40 FPTS being his floor tonight with upside for 50-60 FPTS. At a $10K price point on FD, he’ll be a secondary play but at $8.5K on DK, this might be too much to pass up. Donovan Mitchell has been inconsistent but at $6.2K on FD, he’s got tremendous upside (a little more prohibitive on DK at $7.8K). Golden State has been pretty much a mess all season long as Draymond Green was scratched after lock on Monday night. It’s hard to trust anyone but D’Angelo Russell is about as safe as you can get at $7.7K on FD, $8K on DK. He’s very much scoring dependent and will have a tough time against Mitchell but can have a GPP-winning game at any time. Alec Burks and Eric Paschall have shown flashes of brilliance lately but are risky plays nonetheless.
Those are my initial takes on the slate. Best of luck tonight Grinders. Let’s win that DFS money!!!!