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  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    Hey there everybody! I’m Justin Van Zuiden, one of the Rotogrinders hosts and writers. I go by the handle ‘stlcardinals84’ on most DFS sites (stlcardinalsfan84 on FanDuel) and am ranked in the top-50 overall. The folks at Rotogrinders wondered if I was willing to do an AMA, so I obliged.

    Some basic info about me:
    -I started working at Rotogrinders in August of 2013 (over three years now!)

    -I started playing DFS in January of 2012.

    -I am a CPA licensed in the state of Illinois and maintain a full time job as a CPA.

    -I like the St. Louis Cardinals, of course. Baseball is my favorite sport.

    -I have a Bachelors and a Masters Degree in Accounting from Northern Illinois University

    -My wife Shannon has somehow been married to me for eight years.

    -We have two children, both boys, Landon (6) and Noah (3).

    That about covers the basics. Fire away any questions you may have. I did one of these about three years ago, but times have changed since then!

  • BogeyTMF

    Justin, how do you calculate ceiling and floor in your spreadsheets?

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @BogeyTMF said...

    Justin, how do you calculate ceiling and floor in your spreadsheets?

    This isn’t an exact science, and you generally get a “feel” for floor and ceiling over time.

    If you are looking for hard numbers, in NBA for example, I would do the following:

    If a player has a 30 game sample size, I would average the 3 best performances and call that a general ceiling. I would average the 3 worst performances and call that a general floor. You also have to account for games that might have been due to injury / blowout / foul trouble, etc… and also account for matchup on that particular day.

    Like I said, this is far from an exact science. If you don’t have the time to do all that, I don’t think it’s the most mission critical aspect of DFS. Generally understanding floor and ceiling is more important than hard numbers on the matter.

  • dictator_teddy

    • 2017 DraftKings FHWC Finalist

    Hi Justin,

    How are you able to maintain a full time job + raising kids and still be able to put in the hours needed to be such a successful DFS player? When do you get time to do your DFS research? Do you work for yourself so that you can set your own schedule and so that your busy season is not horribly time consuming?

  • rjgboom

    How has DFS changed your perspective as a sports fan?

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @dictator_teddy said...

    Hi Justin,

    How are you able to maintain a full time job + raising kids and still be able to put in the hours needed to be such a successful DFS player? When do you get time to do your DFS research? Do you work for yourself so that you can set your own schedule and so that your busy season is not horribly time consuming?

    This is a common question that people ask me, and it’s certainly not easy.

    The #1 aspect, by far, is time management. I plan out my weeks (roughly) every Sunday night. That includes most activities for the entire week ahead – RG articles, shows, work, kids’ activities, free time, etc… It helps immensely. In addition, I keep a notepad on my nightstand with a list of all the things I want to accomplish in the coming day, and I check them off when I get them done. It takes about ten minutes to compile that list each night, and it probably saves me 30 minutes the next day.

    My kids get up around 5:30 AM every day, so that’s when most of my research gets done for the daily sports. I’ll give things a look from 5:30 AM to 7 AM before I head off to work. Of course, weekly sports like golf and football are much easier than NBA and MLB.

    I do work for a firm, but the hours as a CPA are very flexible. As long as the work gets done, you’re good. That might mean early mornings or late nights, especially during busy season. I generally cut back on my RG work in February, March, and April, too. That’s easy because NFL is over and MLB hasn’t started yet, so we only have NBA going on at that time (and golf).

    My life is certainly busy, but being a planner certainly helps with that. It also helps to have a wife that is very supportive. We have our spats at times, but that happens… maybe once a month, and she usually doesn’t make me sleep on the couch even when that happens.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @rjgboom said...

    How has DFS changed your perspective as a sports fan?

    It has certainly changed it some, but not a lot. I’m still a die hard Cardinals fan, but I do a decent job of separating my Cardinals love from DFS (i.e. = I don’t irrationally over-load my lineups with Cardinals players).

    As for the other sports, I don’t really have an NBA team, so I am strictly DFS-focused there. I’m somewhat partial to the Ravens in football, but I’ll take a GPP win over a Ravens win any day of the week.

    In other words, the priority is the Redbirds and my DFS lineups. Before DFS, it was pretty much just the Redbirds. Not much has changed!

  • skeeter1114

    • Blogger of the Month

    1. Are you in training to walk the hills at the John Deere Classic this year? (Great meeting you there).
    2. With Fantasy Golf, is there a boom in the future or will it remain a small, niche DFS sport?
    3. Have you asked your local city council to invest in a Chic-Fil-A there? I mean if it works in Peoria, it’s time to expand north.
    4. Culvers: Great, Average, or Overrated?

  • Brodero

    Where do you think this industry is in 5 years? Still growing or barely staying a float?

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @skeeter1114 said...

    1. Are you in training to walk the hills at the John Deere Classic this year? (Great meeting you there).
    2. With Fantasy Golf, is there a boom in the future or will it remain a small, niche DFS sport?
    3. Have you asked your local city council to invest in a Chic-Fil-A there? I mean if it works in Peoria, it’s time to expand north.
    4. Culvers: Great, Average, or Overrated?

    1) I’m not in training right now. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s about negative eleventy billion degrees these days. However, I shall return to tame the hills again in 2017. (It was nice to meet you as well!)

    2) I think the potential is there, but sites need to promote it and size the tournaments appropriately. During NFL season, DraftKings inexplicably ignores the golf game. When GPPs get small, people start ignoring it.

    3) It’s time. I have not petitioned the council, but it’s time. We do have a Pizza Ranch coming in the Spring. That doesn’t really excite me too much though.

    4) Between “great” and “average” – I’m a fan.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @Brodero said...

    Where do you think this industry is in 5 years? Still growing or barely staying a float?

    I think the massive growth stage is pretty clearly over. Any “new” customers are probably just enough to replace those who decide to stop playing – whether due to losses or disinterest.

    That said, there’s a market for DFS long-term. Even though the majority of people lose, it’s a form of entertainment. If you have some disposable income and decide to use it on DFS instead of going to see movies or going to the mall or whatever recreational activity you want, at the end of the day you had fun. If you win a big prize, that’s a great bonus, and you are likely to stay invested long-term!

    In short – not really still growing, but not struggling to stay afloat either. It will just be a part of the fantasy sports marketplace!

  • Zieg30

    Hi Justin,

    Two questions.

    1. What are your thoughts about the proposed DK/FD merger and how it may alter our day-to-day DFS’ing?

    2. Ever thought about giving NHL DFS a try?

  • don_cubano

    1. What does your daily morning research consist of?
    2. What do you look for in players during this research?

  • firemedicpat

    Hey Justin,

    First, you are my hero. Second, thanks for doing this.

    1. What are your thoughts on using cash games to supplement the GPP buy-ins long term? Is this a necessity in your mind?
    2. Do you typically satellite into the large qualifiers or is it a little bit of both? Is it cost effective to chase tickets rather than just pay the larger fees?
    3. Besides the obvious massive amount of money you win at times, how do you go about keeping the wifey content when you spend so much of your free time doing research?
    4. I have a daughter due in May, and I am looking for name advice. Your boys have awesome names.

    Really appreciate it man. I feel like you are the most level headed pro on this site.

  • sjs1890

    • 2013 DraftStreet DSBC Finalist

    Hi Justin,

    1. If the massive growth stage is over and the majority of players lose at dfs then whats the point of top heavy contests like the milly maker? Wouldnt it make sense to have a more sustainable model for the dfs ecosystem?

    2. What are your thoughts on the upcoming merger? Will it be more of the same of really top heavy payouts with huge entries or will FD/DK make a concerted effort to have a more sustainable product?

  • sonicattack

    Justin,

    Do you think that a low bankroll grinder can still grind their way to profits via a cash game heavy process over the long-term or would it be better to mix in more and more GPP play? Also do you think single entry GPPs are viable for low bankroll grinders or should that action be put into multi entry GPPs with low entry limits?

    Reasoning for asking – noticing that the plays tend to be sharper and scores can sometimes be lower in higher cost GPPs than they are in the lower cost GPPs. (Though obviously due to variance this isn’t a constant).

    Also, one other question – do you think your profession of being an accountant has helped your abilities in DFS? Or do you think the DFS abilities were there all along? I’ve noticed there frequently is a correlation between those who work in financial sectors or those who work with data/numbers/etc for a living and those who are proficient in DFS.

    Thanks for what you do!

  • SelfCharmer

    Simple lighter Q to answer: Favourite Cardinal of all time?

    Question where there isn’t a definitive answer: If a grinder who took it seriously (not as a profession etc.) started with $1k, and played an average of 1 slate a week (sometimes 2/3). What Bankroll would you say was a reasonable target. (assuming they are at least a winning player and all other necessary assumptions whilst excluding huge GPP binks)

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @Zieg30 said...

    Hi Justin,

    Two questions.

    1. What are your thoughts about the proposed DK/FD merger and how it may alter our day-to-day DFS’ing?

    2. Ever thought about giving NHL DFS a try?

    1. I still don’t know how this will affect DFS long-term. They may rebrand the whole thing under a new umbrella after the merger. I like having options, so hopefully another site can step up and become a major player in the industry. It’s still too early to tell a whole lot.

    2. Of course. I have dabbled a few times on nights with big GPPs. The biggest detractor for me is time. I simply don’t have enough time to devote the proper research to NHL these days. I might dabble a bit after NFL is over, especially since CBB is gone now.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @don_cubano said...

    1. What does your daily morning research consist of?
    2. What do you look for in players during this research?

    1. I usually read most of the free and incentives stuff on here. The first look and grind down articles that Notorious does (for NBA) are great. Of course, the grind down that I do for NFL is great too!! (shameless plug). I will check the news wires for injuries and monitor that throughout the day. It’s basically just an information gathering time for me.

    2. Matchups, injuries, and the like are the main things. Monitoring injuries, especially in the NBA, is huge. I will always review the previous night box scores to see whose minutes are trending upward or downward. That’s a big piece.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @sjs1890 said...

    Hi Justin,

    1. If the massive growth stage is over and the majority of players lose at dfs then whats the point of top heavy contests like the milly maker? Wouldnt it make sense to have a more sustainable model for the dfs ecosystem?

    2. What are your thoughts on the upcoming merger? Will it be more of the same of really top heavy payouts with huge entries or will FD/DK make a concerted effort to have a more sustainable product?

    1. I don’t like the structure of the Milly Maker. I have stopped playing it – way too top-heavy for me. I think we need the big prize pools, though, because that’s what most recreational players are chasing. I think there’s a balance somewhere below the Milly Maker and above your “normal’ GPPs. That’s where I think the sweet spot is for ecosystem sustainability.

    2. I am nervous about it. Like anyone, I hate change, but as I posted above, it’s too early to tell how this will impact us going forward. I think the sites are definitely being more conscious about things these days, so hopefully that is positive going forward.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @sonicattack said...

    Justin,

    Do you think that a low bankroll grinder can still grind their way to profits via a cash game heavy process over the long-term or would it be better to mix in more and more GPP play? Also do you think single entry GPPs are viable for low bankroll grinders or should that action be put into multi entry GPPs with low entry limits?

    Reasoning for asking – noticing that the plays tend to be sharper and scores can sometimes be lower in higher cost GPPs than they are in the lower cost GPPs. (Though obviously due to variance this isn’t a constant).

    Also, one other question – do you think your profession of being an accountant has helped your abilities in DFS? Or do you think the DFS abilities were there all along? I’ve noticed there frequently is a correlation between those who work in financial sectors or those who work with data/numbers/etc for a living and those who are proficient in DFS.

    Thanks for what you do!

    As for the low bankroll person, I really think the only way to sustain an edge is with GPPs. There is only a small subset of DFS players that can profit at a big time level in cash games. You’re not going to go from $100 to $5,000 via cash games. As you mention, the cash lines are often lower in GPPs than double ups these days. I think you could probably ut a cash game type lineup in GPPs and have just as much chance at success with the way the ecosystem is these days.

    I do think that being an accountant helps, not necessarily because I am a CPA, but because I have an affinity for numbers, spreadsheets, data crunching, etc…

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @SelfCharmer said...

    Simple lighter Q to answer: Favourite Cardinal of all time?

    Question where there isn’t a definitive answer: If a grinder who took it seriously (not as a profession etc.) started with $1k, and played an average of 1 slate a week (sometimes 2/3). What Bankroll would you say was a reasonable target. (assuming they are at least a winning player and all other necessary assumptions whilst excluding huge GPP binks)

    Because of my age, it pretty much has to be Albert Pujols. He was an icon for my late teens and twenties, and the Cardinals won two World Series, primarily thanks to him. Runner up mentions to Adam Wainwright and Jim Edmonds. I was always an Edmonds fan.

    I wouldn’t shoot for a necessary bankroll target. Focus on each night’s slate and hope the balance goes up over time. If you turn that $1,000 to $1,500 in six months, that’s a fantastic result (excluding GPP wins).

  • PigskinaBlanket

    • 195

      RG Overall Ranking

    • x2

      2016 DraftKings FGWC Finalist

    • x3

      2019 DraftKings FGWC Finalist

    Best St. Louis Cardinals Team of All-Time? McGee or VanSlyke as in CF?

  • WidumBoise

    What amount of money would you have to win from DFS to consider quitting your career as a CPA?

  • wlecates

    Will you make Dean a shirt that says, “All in on Fournier!”?

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 302

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @PigskinaBlanket said...

    Best St. Louis Cardinals Team of All-Time? McGee or VanSlyke as in CF?

    Can’t go wrong with Willie McGee.

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