The Gut Check for July 31, 2020

Hope everyone enjoyed the Zion Williamson “floor game” 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. I’ve played mostly NFL, NBA and MLB but have tried other sports like KBO, 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! 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, sochoice and GuarGuar (forgot to give you a shout-out yesterday GG, love your NBA blog). 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.

Yesterday’s Results

Last night, I played basically for free on FanDuel with 16 satellite-entry lineups in the $4.00 Return Shot and I also played 20 lineups in the 150-max $4 Return Millionaire on DraftKings. Sometimes I just can’t resist the chance for $1 million even though I never put in the 150 lineups necessary to make it worthwhile. Total fees paid across both sites was $80.00 ($0.00 on FD and $80.00 on DK). I won $105.38 total for a small profit of $25.38 (31.72% ROI) ($58.00 won on FD and $47.38 won on DK). 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 Return Shot) 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 right now combined, my account balances are a little over $200. 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’s main slates:

For FD:

Brandon Ingram (100%)
Reggie Jackson (87%)
Zion Williamson (80%)
Jordan Clarkson (73%)
Mike Conley (73%)
22 players in my player pool for a 2-game slate

For DK:

Rudy Gobert (85%)
Jordan Clarkson (80%)
Paul George (75%)
Ivica Zubac (60%)
Brandon Ingram & Donovan Mitchell (50%)
25 players in my player pool for a 2-game slate

My best lineup on FD in the $4.00 Return Shot was 6,303rd out of 570,813 entries (ended up winning $58.00, cashing 8 of my 20 lineups overall)

PG Mike Conley 31.2 (57.9% owned)
PG Alex Caruso 17.8 (21.1% owned)
SG Paul George 44.5 (55.7% owned)
SG Jordan Clarkson 37.5 (28.7% owned)
SF Kawhi Leonard 46.6 (52.7% owned)
SF Brandon Ingram 34.6 (54.2% owned)
PF Anthony Davis 45.6 (58.3% owned)
PF JaMychal Green 15.8 (17.1% owned)
C Rudy Gobert 34.4 (37.6% owned)

Total 308.0 (Winning Lineup was 312.8, cash line was 265.4)

My best lineup on DK in the $4 Return Millionaire was for 11,623rd out of 482,734 entries (ended up winning $15.00, cashing only 6 of my 20 lineups overall)

PG Jordan Clarkson 37.25 (48.6% owned)
SG J.J. Redick 30.5 (21.8% owned)
SF Paul George 47.25 (58.1% owned)
PF Brandon Ingram 35.5 (31.0% owned)
C Rudy Gobert 35.0 (49.0% owned)
G Donovan Mitchell 41.75 (57.5% owned)
F Kawhi Leonard 45.75 (33.0% owned)
UTIL Landry Shamet 4.75 (7.4% owned)

Total 277.75 (Winning Lineup was 306.0, cash line was 242.0)

A couple of notes to take away from last night: I was clearly disappointed with Zion playing as little as he did last night. News broke early on that he was on a minutes restriction where he would be playing in short spurts. Generally, he’s able to fill the stat sheet when he’s on the floor and the Pelicans did have a great first half. They deviated from their game plan in the second half and I believe if he took the floor in those closing minutes, the Pelicans would’ve won that game. Sometimes “load management” just doesn’t work well. The Pelicans squandered this game and they needed it. Another disappointment was Ivica Zubac. I expected the majority of the center minutes would go to him. Instead, we got the return of Joakim Noah and I underestimated what impact he would’ve had on Zubac’s minutes. Doc Rivers also had JaMychal Green and Patrick Patterson playing more minutes than Zubac at the 5, so the center rotation will be something to monitor as the games progress. I should’ve had more Kyle Kuzma and Royce O’Neale but again, it’s hard to gauge the first game back off of a four-month layoff. Nailing down these rotations will be key to DFS success.

Today’s Slate

We have 6 games today starting at 2:30pm 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.

Orlando vs Brooklyn with Orlando favored by 7 with a 212.0 Vegas total. Nailing down the Nets rotations will be the key here as no one really knows how the minute distribution will play out. We know that Kyrie Irving is sitting this bubble out, along with Spencer Dinwiddie. Caris LeVert should be the biggest beneficiary of this, so I expect his usage to be through the roof. Jarrett Allen, Garrett Temple and Joe Harris should get a decent amount of run. It’ll be interesting to see how the bench minutes play out. Orlando is more straight forward with Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic leading the way. I love Vucevic in this spot as the big man should be able to handle Allen inside. I’d love to get an indication on the minutes for Jonathan Isaac (he’s questionable as of now) because he is a great point-per-minute producer when he’s on the court.

Memphis vs Portland with Portland favored by 3 with a 223.5 Vegas total. This should be a fast-paced game between two good teams. Both are fighting for the 8th seed in the West so I expect them to go all-out to get a victory. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Zach Collins appear to be mispriced on both sites, so I expect to get a lot of them in my lineups today. It’ll be interesting to see who starts at center for the Trailblazers as Jusuf Nurkic has started the three exhibition games during the bubble. He’s working himself back into game shape, but I would roll out Hassan Whiteside against Jonas Valanciunas in the early going. Whiteside has played very well this season. I’ll have shares of Ja Morant and Damian Lillard as both are capable of carrying their team to victory.

Phoenix vs Washington with Phoenix favored by 7 with a 224 Vegas total. Another fast-paced matchup that should favor Deandre Ayton in the paint. Washington is another team where it’ll be hard to nail down the minute rotation and will be key to DFS success today. I love Gary Payton II price on DK at $3K and on FD at $3.7K, especially if he starts. Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant should get starting nods today. Ish Smith and Shabazz Napier should split the point guard minutes and you’re getting Smith at a bit of a discount on both sites. If Smith starts, he’s worth a roster spot in your lineups. Phoenix should destroy Washington especially without Bradley Beal, so I expect a lot of Devin Booker, Ricky Rubio and Ayton in my lineups.

Boston vs Milwaukee with Milwaukee favored by 5 with a 218.5 Vegas total. Kemba Walker will have a minutes restriction today so he’s not making my lineups against a tough Bucks squad. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a great play if he gets 30+ minutes. There’s no indication of a minutes restriction with him so I expect him to go all out. The Bucks and Celtics have locked up playoff spots so we may not get the sense of urgency that we would normally get. Both teams may just be conservative in their approaches. George Hill is expected to start in place of Eric Bledsoe and he’s underpriced at $3.8K on both sites. I’ll have shares of Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis, Khris Middleton, Giannis, Hill and Brook Lopez all throughout my lineups.

Sacramento vs San Antonio with Sacramento favored by 4 with a 221 Vegas total. Gregg Popovich is our favorite head coach (favorite headache maybe!) when it comes to minutes and DFS. He keeps things close to the vest, so it’ll be interesting to gauge what he does on the floor tonight. DeMar DeRozan will get his 30-35 minutes, but other than that, everything is up in the air. Lonnie Walker IV may start and at close to minimum price across the two sites, I’ll have plenty of shares. I love the Sacramento side tonight as De’Aaron Fox, Nemanja Bjelica and Richaun Holmes will be in the bulk of my lineups.

The late-night hammer pits Houston against Dallas with Dallas favored by 1.5 with a slate-high 228.5 Vegas total. The small-lineup of Houston against Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Houston’s starting five will be playing a lot of minutes tonight so I expect 35+ minutes for James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Robert Covington. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, this is your daily reminder to NOT roster P.J. Tucker (even at $3.9K on FD, $4.2K on DK). Besides Doncic and Porzingis, I’d consider rostering Seth Curry, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Maxi Kleber at their price points. Danuel House Jr. should get a lot of minutes in place of Eric Gordon. I like him more on DK at $3.8K where you get bonus points for 3-pointers, and I’d roster him more than I would Tucker.

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!!!!

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