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  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 299

      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!

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 299

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @kaetorade said...

    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.

    Yeah, I re-worded the statement after I originally wrote it and it ended up coming off the wrong way.

    “I generally don’t play cash games with buy-ins of $3 or less” is how that should have read.

  • firemedicpat

    • 960

      RG Overall Ranking

    @stlcardinals84 said...

    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!

    HAHA, thanks for the reply man!

    Very interesting about the satellites.

    Aurdina is pretty awesome too. Adding it to the list.

  • baseballs

    Hi Justin – Christmas is right around the corner and I’d like to surprise my wife with an autograph from the 46th ranked DFS player. How might I go about obtaining that?

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 299

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @baseballs said...

    Hi Justin – Christmas is right around the corner and I’d like to surprise my wife with an autograph from the 46th ranked DFS player. How might I go about obtaining that?

  • wilsonda1

    Thanks for taking our question Justin – are you more of a “feel” or “algo” player? Do you make custom projections and stick with metrics or go about an NFL slate like a story (the way I read JM’s awesome article is like a story, poor defense and lots of plays given up to a good player. . . .) and feel your way thru it for your selections?

    Same question for MLB ? thanks

  • NowImSerious

    Hey Whats up Cards, Thanks for the time. Is Nurkic/Jokic on DK a bad GPP look against Portland? Not sure how Portland runs as far as size. Where can’t find info like that. Thanks again if you can get to this question!

  • Quirkyturtle

    Hi Justin,

    Thanks for doing this. As an experienced DFS player, what would you say are the a couple things most new players overlook in researching, in general. Also, what are a couple things new players spend too much time researching?

  • tonedefrob

    Thanks for doing this Justin. You, Noto, Dean, JM and Levitan are my favorite DFS minds.

    You are soley responsible for my first big GPP wins on MLB Opening Day 2014 (Phillies vs. the Colby Lewis led Rangers if I recall correctly…you were big on the Phils in your write ups that day…stacked them and they were super low owned).

    With covering so many sports, do you ever feel like you’re mailing it in on any one of them? I follow your baseball advice religiously and almost always generally agree with you. I’m the same way with Noto/Dean in NBA and JM/Levitan in football.

    Does the content grind, in addition to the DFS grind, CPA job and family obligations ever get to be too much?

  • ZookeeperKills

    How has your background in accounting influenced the way you approach picking players for your lineups? Do you attribute your current DFS success to having an accounting background?

    Other than courses related to accounting, what was your favorite discipline to study?

  • tristanwolf

    @stlcardinals84 said...

    Merry Christmas!

    lmao. these ama’s are great. yours and crains have provided a lot of interesting thoughts (example the double rake on satellites, never thought about that but i try to only enter last minute satellites that are less full in general). but thanks for doing these.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 299

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @wilsonda1 said...

    Thanks for taking our question Justin – are you more of a “feel” or “algo” player? Do you make custom projections and stick with metrics or go about an NFL slate like a story (the way I read JM’s awesome article is like a story, poor defense and lots of plays given up to a good player. . . .) and feel your way thru it for your selections?

    Same question for MLB ? thanks

    I am a little bit of both. I certainly use statistics, but I am not going to absolutely stick to a guy just because a statistical model tells me he is going to score 1.5 more fantasy points if I like the “other” guy in that scenario. There’s definitely a feel element. Of course, I run multiple lineups in GPPs, so that helps me get exposure to different players. Those would be the hardest adjustments to make in a single entry type setting, especially since I am so used to my GPP lineup building routine.

    Baseball is a little different, simply because of the stacking element in tournaments. I go on feel and ownership much more for MLB, because it inherently has MUCH more variance than a sport like NBA or NFL.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 299

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @NowImSerious said...

    Hey Whats up Cards, Thanks for the time. Is Nurkic/Jokic on DK a bad GPP look against Portland? Not sure how Portland runs as far as size. Where can’t find info like that. Thanks again if you can get to this question!

    Sorry, I just saw this. We generally try to stick more to strategy in these, since there are plenty of other places where you can find picks on the site. Check out the free Grind Down articles every day on the home page, or give a peek at the premium content, which has a 7 day free trial. Good luck!

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 299

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @Quirkyturtle said...

    Hi Justin,

    Thanks for doing this. As an experienced DFS player, what would you say are the a couple things most new players overlook in researching, in general. Also, what are a couple things new players spend too much time researching?

    This is hard to say, since I am not a new player, and I don’t see the day to day workings of a lot of new players. It seems to me that new players love to go with the stars and scrubs strategy. I will see new players with top-loaded lineups. For example, they have Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard at point guard in their NBA lineups, and then by the time they get to power forward and center, they just have cheap guys. You can tell that the lineup was built from top to bottom, and they just made the guys work as they go along.

    The same goes for NFL – you will see a team with Tom Brady, David Johnson, and Le’Veon Bell to start, and then five scrubs. Obviously, sometimes this is warranted, and my examples are extreme. However, you have to make sure you look at every spot it your lineup and analyze it critically. Don’t settle.

    I think people tend to freak out about the weather too much. Don’t do that; that’s what Kevin Roth is for! Let him be your guide with the forecasts.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 299

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @tonedefrob said...

    Thanks for doing this Justin. You, Noto, Dean, JM and Levitan are my favorite DFS minds.

    You are soley responsible for my first big GPP wins on MLB Opening Day 2014 (Phillies vs. the Colby Lewis led Rangers if I recall correctly…you were big on the Phils in your write ups that day…stacked them and they were super low owned).

    With covering so many sports, do you ever feel like you’re mailing it in on any one of them? I follow your baseball advice religiously and almost always generally agree with you. I’m the same way with Noto/Dean in NBA and JM/Levitan in football.

    Does the content grind, in addition to the DFS grind, CPA job and family obligations ever get to be too much?

    Ahhhh yes. Never forget

    That was a great day. I think I won about $70,000 that day. Outside of the big golf GPP win this year, that was my biggest single day in DFS. It was glorious because it was Opening Day, too. Thanks for the trip down memory lane — AND for mentioning that it was in my write-ups that day. That is important for those that think we don’t play our picks.

    I generally don’t feel like I am mailing it in. Golf and football are only once a week. Once football is over, it becomes easy with just NBA and golf until baseball starts. Admittedly, baseball and golf are my favorites to cover and write about, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the others. I would never do anything that I wasn’t passionate about.

    Of course, I get overwhelmed at times just like everyone else. There are only 24 hours in a day, but there is no use worrying about it! Things get done, and schedules are flexible. Time management is one of my biggest strengths.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 299

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @ZookeeperKills said...

    How has your background in accounting influenced the way you approach picking players for your lineups? Do you attribute your current DFS success to having an accounting background?

    Other than courses related to accounting, what was your favorite discipline to study?

    I wouldn’t say that the accounting background changes my approach to picking players in and of itself. It simply helps me analyze, sort, and organize data to be able to pick out the most relevant pieces. That’s the biggest benefit that it provides.

    Outside of accounting… I almost majored in finance and enjoy things like the stock market, so any course related to finance would catch my eye. It’s completely unrelated, but I also love weather. I didn’t study it, but it would be on the Family Feud board of career choices for me. I am fascinated by tornadoes, hurricanes, etc… and would love to be part of a tornado chasing team at some point.

  • stlcardinals84

    Leading RG Analyst

    • 299

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    @tristanwolf said...

    lmao. these ama’s are great. yours and crains have provided a lot of interesting thoughts (example the double rake on satellites, never thought about that but i try to only enter last minute satellites that are less full in general). but thanks for doing these.

    I am glad you enjoy them! Thanks for checking it out!

  • SnowShark

    What percent of your bankroll do you normally play in tournaments and cash games in NBA? I am thinking of transitioning from a cash game only grinder to a tournament player in NBA specifically because these edge seems to be gone in cash games. Am I crazy to think cash games in sports other then NFL will be only +ev when new money enters the market? (either another marketing push or when other seasons merge)

    Thanks!!

  • shiller32

    Justin how do you deal with indecisiveness in lineups? Whenever I lose it’s because I make a change at the last minute because I wasn’t sure about a player.

  • dean78904

    Grinders Live Host

    • 251

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #15

      RG Tiered Ranking

    • x2

      2017 CVR Baseball

    • x2

      2016 CVR Baseball

    Hey Cards. Thanks for taking the time for this.

    Can you please rank the following movies from your favorite to least favorite? Thanks.

    1 Leprechaun
    2 Leprechaun 2
    3 Leprechaun 3
    4 Leprechaun 4: In Space
    5 Leprechaun In the Hood
    6 Leprechaun 2: Back 2 tha Hood
    7 Leprechaun: Origins
    8 Major League
    9 Major League: Back to the Minors
    10 Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman

    Thanks again.

  • Thedub784

    Your accounting background and degree are the same as mine except I am a CPA in TX. Do you work for a firm as well as doing DFS. How do you have time? :)

  • Sax0

    Thanks for doing this Cards! Love seeing your answers to all these questions.

    What’s your personal stance on DJ and Bell this week in NFL? Are they still worth paying up for? To clarify, I am mainly sticking to 100-400 person contests on DK this week and am wondering if I should stray away from locking them both in or if their floor is just too good, and hope that I hit with the cheapy WR’s. Maybe play one with ODB and mid-range value?

  • kdjac0434

    Hello Cards,

    Perfect time for this AMA for me. For me DFS hasn’t been “fun” for a little while and its because I have put too much pressure on myself to win. I have been profitable but the grind has worn me down. With that I’m hoping your insight can help make things fun again.

    I am (was) a cash game grinder that has grown frustrated with how hard it has been and how one player can make or break your day. I would like to switch to GPPs but I don’t know which ones to play. I typically played $100 a night on DK and FD with almost all in cash games. Having said that, what are your recommendations for GPPs to play; size, buy in levels, entry limits, etc and how many lineups should one play. Along the same lines do you like or recommend scripting the entries or hand built lineups.

    Thanks in advance.

  • timusbr

    Just have to ask…..

    DFS makes us all general managers in our own little world.

    Dexter Fowler 82M, is this an obvious pass or are you happy to roster him for the year?

  • MrFantasy

    At what rake % would you quit playing cash games and what % for GPPs?

  • killab2482

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    • x2

      2013 FanDuel WFFC Finalist

    “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.”

    I use to have this exact same thinking, but now i look at it differently. A satellite should be looked at just like a smaller tourney in general. Every league, tourney, satellite, etc. is rakedanyways. There really is no different in winning a 10 man $5 wiinner take all format for $50 or a $5 satellite where you a hypothetically win a $50 ticket as long as this $$ earned was going to be reinvested back into DFS. Satellites you will usually find weaker competition and potentially overlay. If you were planning on playing the second leg of the satellite then you might as well play the satellites. The only true downside is you are forced to play these tickets on a specific date on Fanduel, whereas Draftkings allows you to redeem earned tickets on your own time as they usually give you an expiration date on them.

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