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  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      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!

  • yountingly

    • 391

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #42

      RG Tiered Ranking

    You are one of my favorites and I thank you for all you do around here, especially the grinders live golf. I had not followed the sport since I was an avid golfer myself until 12 years ago. So, until I relearned the players, etc, I relied heavily on things like your grinders live to thanks to you and the crew for that. I’m had a few nice hits in golf so thanks for the insight on there.

    I’m a pharmacist and so I have little to no time to work on a lineup at all during work. I work until 9pm eastern 10 times a month on average so I will tinker on a late scratch, news, etc and that’s usually it but often skip nights when I work late since I just can’t research. I work 4 days a week so I often skip those days/nights on the daily sports unless I’m up early enough and can make some lus early in the morning.

    1) Am I losing an edge and hurting myself by playing NBA and/or NHL part time and not every day? I was figuring out a way to play NHL almost daily until the last few weeks and, now, the days I am playing, I have not been doing well. Am I maybe out of the loop because I’m not in it daily. My “feel” is maybe off. I will add that after doing well in the first 2 months of NFL, the last month has been mostly bad. Overall, I could just be in a bad rut and currently in the worst rut of the year. Ironically, right after I made a large withdrawal (considering I’m small time) from my FD account, I went into this tailspin. In fact, NFL was so bad again this past week, I will need to deposit today for this week.

    2) Since I am in the worst rut of the year on FD (dk been holding steady), do you recommend something I do differently to get out of it or stay the process. Would you try another site? I have only ever played on DK and FD. For maybe the first in a long time. I am just not interested in playing DFS due to my bad streak but feel like I need to stay in it, at least, for NFL because I’m due to turn it around.

    3) Part of my issue, I think, is that I viewed DFS as my hobby in my first year or so of playing even though I was mostly a break even, if that, player. I wasn’t good at baseball but played it for fun. This was pure fun and enjoyment and it still is. But now that I’ve made money and like paid for spring break vacation with wife and kids with dfs money, my mindset has changed in that I expect to win and continue to be profitable. I feel like I need to change my mindset back to the casual , “this is fun”, hobby outlook instead of focusing on the winning part. Thoughts on that.

    Thanks for doing this. I am enjoying your responses. I hope I wasn’t too long winded.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @WidumBoise said...

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

    It’s not about the money. It’s about the legal clarity. Things are still unsettled here in Illinois, so that’s the key piece to me.

    Also, I like my gig as a CPA, so it would definitely take a lot of things to break the right way.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @wlecates said...

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

    Sure. I’ll include a Google Image too.

  • draped

    Hey Justin!

    I know some players (like Jonathan Bales) put a lot of emphasis on non-player data for MLB. Do you also heavily factor in weather (temp, humidity, air pressure), umpires, and other non-player factors into your evaluations? Or are these more of a side factor? Which of these do you tend to value if any?

    Thank you and good luck on the upcoming season. Lets go Mets!

  • Ross

    How quickly would you trade Adam Wainwright for Bartolo Colon?

  • steelcitydozer

    How much did you lose before becoming profitable ,or did you hit the ground running with profit and never looked back?

  • Pitch120

    1) If you were only allowed to make one lineup a day/night per sport (and everyone else had to do the same thing), do you think you’d perform better? worse? the same?

    2) What is the benefit, from your perspective, of top DFS players giving away their information on sites like RG, etc? Isn’t it a disavantage to giveaway your plays?

    3) Following up on this, do you think there are players that hold back some plays or mislead the public for the benefit of their lineups?

  • jjwd

    Cards, I really appreciate your humble attitude. And your vast knowledge, of course. What are your current thoughts on NBA stacking? Is it still a grey area in terms of tournament EV?

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @yountingly said...

    You are one of my favorites and I thank you for all you do around here, especially the grinders live golf. I had not followed the sport since I was an avid golfer myself until 12 years ago. So, until I relearned the players, etc, I relied heavily on things like your grinders live to thanks to you and the crew for that. I’m had a few nice hits in golf so thanks for the insight on there.

    I’m a pharmacist and so I have little to no time to work on a lineup at all during work. I work until 9pm eastern 10 times a month on average so I will tinker on a late scratch, news, etc and that’s usually it but often skip nights when I work late since I just can’t research. I work 4 days a week so I often skip those days/nights on the daily sports unless I’m up early enough and can make some lus early in the morning.

    1) Am I losing an edge and hurting myself by playing NBA and/or NHL part time and not every day? I was figuring out a way to play NHL almost daily until the last few weeks and, now, the days I am playing, I have not been doing well. Am I maybe out of the loop because I’m not in it daily. My “feel” is maybe off. I will add that after doing well in the first 2 months of NFL, the last month has been mostly bad. Overall, I could just be in a bad rut and currently in the worst rut of the year. Ironically, right after I made a large withdrawal (considering I’m small time) from my FD account, I went into this tailspin. In fact, NFL was so bad again this past week, I will need to deposit today for this week.

    2) Since I am in the worst rut of the year on FD (dk been holding steady), do you recommend something I do differently to get out of it or stay the process. Would you try another site? I have only ever played on DK and FD. For maybe the first in a long time. I am just not interested in playing DFS due to my bad streak but feel like I need to stay in it, at least, for NFL because I’m due to turn it around.

    3) Part of my issue, I think, is that I viewed DFS as my hobby in my first year or so of playing even though I was mostly a break even, if that, player. I wasn’t good at baseball but played it for fun. This was pure fun and enjoyment and it still is. But now that I’ve made money and like paid for spring break vacation with wife and kids with dfs money, my mindset has changed in that I expect to win and continue to be profitable. I feel like I need to change my mindset back to the casual , “this is fun”, hobby outlook instead of focusing on the winning part. Thoughts on that.

    Thanks for doing this. I am enjoying your responses. I hope I wasn’t too long winded.

    I don’t think you lose any edge by playing part time. As long as you catch up on the news on the days that you play, you’ll be fine on the days that you do play. The most important consideration is to only play on the nights that you feel comfortable, and it sounds like you are doing that.

    Don’t be discouraged by the cold streak; everyone has them. The key is to stay level-headed during the ups and downs of DFS. If you need to take a break for a few weeks, that can definitely be helpful. I wouldn’t change your process just yet.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @draped said...

    Hey Justin!

    I know some players (like Jonathan Bales) put a lot of emphasis on non-player data for MLB. Do you also heavily factor in weather (temp, humidity, air pressure), umpires, and other non-player factors into your evaluations? Or are these more of a side factor? Which of these do you tend to value if any?

    Thank you and good luck on the upcoming season. Lets go Mets!

    Personally, I think these elements are a little bit over-rated. Everyone is searching for an edge at this point, so we can look to this as a potential edge. The problem is that I think we end up placing more weight on those factors because of it.

    It’s definitely more of a side factor to me. The humidity/air pressure factor gets built into Vegas lines, so I don’t know how much edge we really get from that. The umpire factor is something that I will probably look at more in 2017 than I have in the past.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @Ross said...

    How quickly would you trade Adam Wainwright for Bartolo Colon?

    Hi Ross!

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @steelcitydozer said...

    How much did you lose before becoming profitable ,or did you hit the ground running with profit and never looked back?

    I lost my first $100 deposit on Daily Joust back in 2012. I made another $100 deposit, and I’ve been playing with profit ever since.

    Now, I’ve obviously withdrawn some of that profit and re-deposited it at times, because I don’t keep huge balances on the sites, but it’s all been gravy since that second deposit in 2012.

  • timusbr

    I am also an Illinois native and resident. Respect to you on your DFS career longevity. I remember playing against you in my earlier days. I was always a $1 5 and 10 player contest entrant. In the earlier days you participated in those but not anymore.
    1) was that a conscience effort to not appear like a shark swimming for fish food?
    2) What will you do if Illinois bans DFS?, I dont think it will happen but I also didnt think Trump would be president or the cubs win the world series.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @Pitch120 said...

    1) If you were only allowed to make one lineup a day/night per sport (and everyone else had to do the same thing), do you think you’d perform better? worse? the same?

    2) What is the benefit, from your perspective, of top DFS players giving away their information on sites like RG, etc? Isn’t it a disavantage to giveaway your plays?

    3) Following up on this, do you think there are players that hold back some plays or mislead the public for the benefit of their lineups?

    1) I think I would do about the same. I am not naive enough to think that I am any better than the other good players out there with my one best lineup.

    2) It’s obviously a financial benefit. DFS play is inherently unpredictable to some degree, so it makes sense to monetize some of that knowledge with a more stable income. We don’t move ownership enough individually for it to really affect the ROI a whole lot.

    3) There might be a few people that hold back some plays, but I think 95% of all “touts” are genuine and give you the advice to the best of their abilities.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @jjwd said...

    Cards, I really appreciate your humble attitude. And your vast knowledge, of course. What are your current thoughts on NBA stacking? Is it still a grey area in terms of tournament EV?

    I don’t think NBA stacking really works out unless you get an overtime or double overtime game.

    In the long term, it might be +EV, but it could take a long time to realize that value. It’s really tough to get it to work out in the short term, and I don’t think you really lose out by not doing it.

  • tubbysmith

    Do tax implications factor into how much money and what types of contests you play this time of year, or are you consistent with your bankroll management in December regardless of your winnings/losses for the year? Also, is it possible to offset DFS winnings from a previous tax year with losses from current year activity?

    Thanks for all the great work you do!

  • nvalencia30

    • x2

      2014 FAFC Finalist

    • 2015 FAWBC Finalist

    If you could only play one sport on one site, what sport and site would you choose and why?

  • zillano9

    What’s your take on all of the information being analyzied so much these days with all the expert sites? I feel you can really make just about any player seem like a good option on a week by week basis if you ignore some trends and play up others.

    On another not an easy one…lol. Kap or Hyde this week? Interesting matchup with the ATL.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @timusbr said...

    I am also an Illinois native and resident. Respect to you on your DFS career longevity. I remember playing against you in my earlier days. I was always a $1 5 and 10 player contest entrant. In the earlier days you participated in those but not anymore.
    1) was that a conscience effort to not appear like a shark swimming for fish food?
    2) What will you do if Illinois bans DFS?, I dont think it will happen but I also didnt think Trump would be president or the cubs win the world series.

    1) I generally don’t play in cash games, especially of $3 or less. It’s just not right, in my opinion. It is important for new players or low bankroll guys to have fun, too.

    2) I don’t want to think about that. Fortunately, I am not too far away from Wisconsin, so I could probably make a trip there to do the weekly sports like NFL and golf. I haven’t even thought about moving, mainly because of the day job. Let’s hope it never comes to that!

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @tubbysmith said...

    Do tax implications factor into how much money and what types of contests you play this time of year, or are you consistent with your bankroll management in December regardless of your winnings/losses for the year? Also, is it possible to offset DFS winnings from a previous tax year with losses from current year activity?

    Thanks for all the great work you do!

    You cannot offset losses across years. I generally keep my bankroll management intact, but sometimes I don’t mind taking a few more chances in December if I have had a really good year. It doesn’t change my play a whole lot, though.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @nvalencia30 said...

    If you could only play one sport on one site, what sport and site would you choose and why?

    Probably golf on DK, because it’s a four day sweat, and they play golf for about 40 weeks out of the year. That would get the most utility out of my dollars!

    After that, it’s MLB on any site, because I really like baseball, of course!

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @zillano9 said...

    What’s your take on all of the information being analyzied so much these days with all the expert sites? I feel you can really make just about any player seem like a good option on a week by week basis if you ignore some trends and play up others.

    On another not an easy one…lol. Kap or Hyde this week? Interesting matchup with the ATL.

    I’ll have exposure to both Kaepernick and Hyde, for sure. Tough call between the two. I wouldn’t play them on the same lineup, though…

    As for all the expert sites, you just have to find people you trust. I trust almost everybody here, and of course there are a few others that I like to read. You really do have to guard against “information overload” from a lot of different people!

  • firemedicpat

    • 751

      RG Overall Ranking

    Justin, I think I got skipped. Is this personal?? haha.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 287

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @firemedicpat said...

    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.

    Sorry for skipping you! I guess I am not your hero anymore!

    1. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary if you don’t mind the risk. If you are trying to steadily grow your bankroll, it’s probably still a good idea.

    2. Generally, I don’t play a ton of satellites because they are often double-raked (i.e. the satellite has rake and then the main event has rake). I don’t think the average player realizes that they are kind of getting the short end of the stick with satellites.

    3. Hallmark Channel

    4. If my wife and I ever had a girl, we were going to name her Audrina, if that helps :)

    Good luck, and congrats on the upcoming arrival!

  • kaetorade

    • 2013 DraftStreet DSBBC Finalist

    @stlcardinals84 said...

    1) I generally don’t play in cash games, especially of $3 or less.

    Can you clarify? Based on that response, it seems that you have given up cash games as part of your routine. If so, I’m quite surprised.

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