The Hazy Way - Breaking Down the Showdown Slate

Well hey there everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog here at RotoGrinders, but that’s mainly because I’ve been busy providing content and writing articles for the site. I wanted to talk about my process for the Showdown Slates for NBA though and we don’t really have a place to put that on the site, so here I am, back with a blog. The blogging program is great here – it’s actually how I got my foot in the door with RotoGrinders, so keep at it and you never know… you could be writing front page articles for RotoGrinders someday!

The process started with the research I do for the Premium article I write Wednesday-Sunday, the Playoff Primer. There’s actually a lot more to what goes into the article then what I write, but typically I am most concerned with two things. One, who is going to play. Two, how the people that are playing are going to perform when they play. Much of what I do is data driven. NBA is a fairly predictable sport. We have a lot of data that tells us how a player will typically do (there are of course outliers) when they are on the court. If we can accurately project how much they will play, we can usually have a good range of outcomes for that player. We then need to factor in the price the DFS sites have assigned to that player and figure out if a player is a viable option for our DFS lineups.

I had 60 entries in the Showdown contests on DraftKings last night. I’d been doing well in these over the past month so decided to take a bigger step up and play the higher buy-in contest (the $18) as well as the typical $4 and $1 entries I had been playing. All told I had $460 on the line with 20 entries in each contest. Many would just put together 20 lineups and enter the same 20 in all contests, but I’m really just trying to hit the one lineup that provides me with the biggest return so I wanted as many possible combinations as possible. There were a few lineups I really liked and I entered those more than once, but all in all I think I ended up with about 50 unique lineups. Here is how my player allocation’s went (the DK pOWN is from the $18 contest):

Player Name My pOWN DK pOWN
LeBron James 82% 68%
Kevin Love 82% 42%
Draymond Green 75% 50%
Kevin Durant 65% 73%
J.R. Smith 60% 36%
Stephen Curry 58% 68%
George Hill 38% 32%
Shaun Livingston 32% 21%
Kevon Looney 30% 22%
Jordan Bell 25% 33%
Klay Thompson 18% 49%
Jordan Clarkson 17% 12%
David West 12% 5%
Nick Young 7% 8%
Tristan Thompson 0% 19%
Jeff Green 0% 20%
Larry Nance 0% 11%
Kyle Korver 0% 22%
Quinn Cook 0% 2%
Cedi Osman 0% 0%
Patrick McCaw 0% 2%
Rodney Hood 0% 3%

Here was my Captain Mode breakdown (out of 60 lineups):

Kevin Love 12
Draymond Green 11
Kevin Durant 10
Stephen Curry 6
LeBron James 6
J.R. Smith 4
George Hill 4
Jordan Bell 3
Shaun Livingston 2
Kevon Looney 2

One thing will probably stand out to you and that is the fact that I had 82% LeBron James but he was only in 10% of my Captain spots. Makes no sense right? Perhaps not if you think about the math behind it. With LeBron already carrying a massive price tag, taking it up an additional 1.5 times means you’re relegated to lineups that are limited because of remaining salary cap. Let’s look at the 6 LeBron lineups I did utilize him in the Captain slot.

LeBron JamesKevin DurantDraymond GreenShaun LivingstonKevon LooneyJ.R. Smith 278.50 (times 2)

LeBron JamesJordan BellStephen CurryDraymond GreenShaun Livingston -J.R. Smith 272.25

LeBron JamesJordan ClarksonStephen CurryDraymond GreenKevon LooneyJ.R. Smith 270.0

LeBron JamesJordan BellStephen CurryKevon LooneyKevin LoveJ.R. Smith 252.75

LeBron JamesJordan BellKevin DurantGeorge HillKevin LoveJ.R. Smith 252.50

Now let’s look at the winning lineup (it was the same for all three) for the three contests that I took part in (I took 23rd in one – the 278.50 above actually was a top 100 lineup so it’s not like you were doomed for failure if you used LeBron in the Captain spot).

$18 buy-in Draymond GreenJordan ClarksonKevin DurantLeBron JamesShaun Livingston -Kevin Love 284.38

My best lineup was 283.62 (top 25 in the $1) – the one difference was Stephen Curry instead of Kevin Durant.

So let’s examine the differences. In the Lebron James lineups, we see a common theme. LeBron and two other star players. That’s all you can afford with him at the Captain. With a different star player in the Captain though you can LeBron AND two other star players and only have to rely on two “scrubs” to perform. Remember, production is consistent usually in NBA. If we can get four players with high usage roles in a lineup, it’s probably going to perform better then one that has only three, even if LeBron James goes for nearly 80 standard fantasy points. Let that be a lesson for everyone moving forward. Can you win with LeBron at Captain? Yes – but you’re likely going to need down games from the majority of the remaining “stars” in order to do so.

Now back to my player allocation. I was overweight on LeBron relatively speaking. Way overweight on Kevin Love who I figured would be the difference maker due to people being scared off by his concussion. I was also overweight somewhat with Draymond Green and near field with Curry and Durant. My big fade was Klay Thompson who I was under by 30% on. I also completely faded players I projected to under produce relative to their price in Tristan Thompson, Jeff Green, Kyle Korver, and Larry Nance. Only Nance would hurt me there.

If you refer to my DraftKings projections from my article you’d see that Klay Thompson was my lowest point per dollar play from the “stars” group and the four “scrubs” fades were my lowest projected scrubs that I projected to score double digit fantasy points. I was relying on my research and projections to drive my lineup builds.

How did I end up doing? I cashed for $857.50 – nearly a $400 profit. Not bad for a day’s work. Make sure to check out my Finals Primer Article this Sunday for my minutes and projections and always feel free to ask me questions in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.

About the Author

  • Aaron Hendrix (thehazyone)

  • Aaron Hendrix is a former professional poker player who made the transition from season long fantasy sports to DFS in October of 2014. He used to cover poker tournaments for a living until stepping into his current role at RotoGrinders. He can be found on Twitter at @aaronhendrix

Comments

  • flashman888

    • 971

      RG Overall Ranking

    Great piece, man. Love the post-mortem of those lineups. (Big upvote for more of that on the site in general.)

    Can/would you explain the rationale behind putting guys like Livingston and Bell in the Captain spot? Seems like Livingston’s ceiling would have been a generous 45? Given his UTIL price, so many other guys exceed his Captain potential. (Or, perhaps it makes sense to build a few lineups under the assumption that couple of the bigger guys will lay eggs due to injury or something?)

  • thehazyone

    RG Contributor

    • Blogger of the Month

    @flashman888 said...

    Great piece, man. Love the post-mortem of those lineups. (Big upvote for more of that on the site in general.)

    Can/would you explain the rationale behind putting guys like Livingston and Bell in the Captain spot? Seems like Livingston’s ceiling would have been a generous 45? Given his UTIL price, so many other guys exceed his Captain potential. (Or, perhaps it makes sense to build a few lineups under the assumption that couple of the bigger guys will lay eggs due to injury or something?)

    Really the main reason is to differentiate and hope for a blowout type game where they hit massive upside. (sorry it took so long to get back to you – just saw this comment now)

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