The Gut Check for July 30, 2020: The NBA Returns

Hope my 10 or so blog readers survived the pandemic unscathed, 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 (especially during the pandemic) like MMA, KBO, PGA and NASCAR. 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.

It’s great being back blogging about the NBA, by far my most profitable sport. I’m glad to see some familiar bloggers back like The Data Detective and sochoice. Please check them out and for consistency, I won’t write about MLB too much. I’ll leave that to our resident Data Detective.

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.

Today’s Slate

FanDuel and Draftkings have gone out of their way to get us back to playing DFS. It certainly has been touch and go for the past week with MLB, but hopefully they’ll be able to finish the season and get the playoffs underway. The scrimmages for the NBA have been entertaining as well with some nice surprises like Bol Bol of Denver (super excited to see him play a regular game). We have a two-game slate to start us off today. I’ve got 14 tickets in the FD $4 The Return Shot, right around my 20-lineup output that I like. 2-gamers are really hard to win outright but I wouldn’t mind tying for 1st and splitting the $1 million prize. I’ll play 20 lineups in the $1 And One on DK. I’ll be playing MLB too, so it’s a busy day for DFS action in the Cripps household. Hopefully my kids will leave me alone long enough to get my lineups in.

Utah vs New Orleans (225 game total, New Orleans favored by 2.5)

If you’re a regular reader, I like to go through game-by-game and talk about specific plays to consider. The big thing to consider is the status of Zion Williamson. He left the Orlando bubble but came back and is a game-time decision. My thoughts are that he’ll play and will probably play his usual 30-35 minutes tonight. New Orleans will be playing with a sense of urgency, sitting in 10th place in the Western Conference, 3.5 games back of 8th place Portland. They need to win this game so I expect huge contributions from Zion, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday. They will be chalky plays no doubt but I feel rather safe rostering them tonight. Utah has clinched a playoff berth, currently sitting 4th in the Western Conference, 1.5 games back of Denver for 3rd and only 1 game up on Oklahoma City and Houston. Playoff seeding is important too and this is an important test for Utah. Will Rudy Gobert have the trust of his teammates since that fateful day in March? I like Gobert in his matchup down low against Derrick Favors. Donovan Mitchell is a catalyst for this team but had struggled mightily before the break. I can see Jordan Clarkson being an important player for the Jazz in the next 8 or so games. If I had to pick a winner, I’d favor New Orleans as they like to push the pace. More possessions equals more fantasy value from a DFS perspective.

LA Lakers vs LA Clippers (216 game total, Lakers favored by 4)

This is a potential preview of the Western Conference Finals as you have the top 2 seeds playing against each other tonight. The media likes to hype up this game but I’m seeing it as just a tune-up between two really good teams. Considering it’s the 1st game back of a 8-game sprint to the playoffs, I can see some conservative time management going on here. Now I could be wrong with this assumption but I’m thinking that LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard see their 30 minutes but probably not much more than that. Now, they can all do a lot of damage with 30 minutes, but it’ll be the role players they use that will separate someone for $1 million tonight. Also note, Paul George is listed as a shooting guard on FanDuel tonight and listed as a small forward on Draftkings. Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams will miss tonight’s game for the Clippers, so that’ll mean extra minutes for Reggie Jackson, JaMychal Green and Joakim Noah. Patrick Beverley is questionable so Landry Shamet should see extra minutes. For the Lakers, I’m willing to take some shots on Alex Caruso, Dion Waiters, and Quinn Cook as they’ll be asked to replace Rajon Rondo minutes. They won’t be as popular as other plays but you have to be different in a big field GPP.

Those are my takes for the 1st day of the NBA restart. Enjoy tonight’s action and let’s win that DFS money!

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