A Tale of Two Very Different Nights

I can’t lie; the past week has been the most fun DFS week I’ve ever had, with four consecutive days of $1,000+ wins including a $12,800 day. At the request of a few subscribers, here’s a breakdown of those winning lineups. To make things a little extra fun, I will then breakdown an absolutely atrocious set of lineups from a couple nights later. The idea here is to provide a window into the nuance of my GPP philosophy, centered around a three-lineup core.

Contest Selection

As I mentioned, I make three main lineups, with one Single Entry line. As such, my contests consist of a single entry, three 3-entry, and 3 bigger field (usually 20-max) entries. On this night, I was in the $100 SE, with three entries in the $20 Buzzer-Beater, and three entries in the $4 Four Point Play.

Core Plays

For many people, “core plays” are those with the highest expectation vs their price, and thus they are often chalky. For me, core plays are about balancing expectation with ceiling potential and projected ownership.

Around 6:30pm ET, Anthony Davis was ruled out. This changed the entire slate for me. I was already heavily considering Elfrid Payton as an option, as I had him projected for a 4.6 possession pace boost after riding his 5% owned triple double the game before. With Davis (and Jrue) out, Payton suddenly became a core play and I loved the idea of adding a little correlation with Julius Randle. I knew most would be building around Harden, Embiid, and/or Drummond at the top, so Randle was a guarantee to come in fairly low owned with a ceiling as high as any (which we had seen numerous times this year with AD out).

With one high-priced contrarian player, I decided to run 2/3 out of Harden, Embiid, and Drummond in every line, a round-robin of sorts.

Now, to fit all of them, I needed some value. Aminu, with no Evan Turner or Moe Harkless and the largest pace boost on the slate, was an easy one and I was extremely comfortable with Caruso as the other given his playing time the previous few games and the absences of Josh Hart and Lance Stephenson.

The Good Lines

Harden & Embiid – With next to no salary left, I went with KCP and Biyombo to fill the final two spots. I was fine with both as Biyombo was starting against the undersized Washington frontcourt and KCP was sure to get decent minutes. They were both serviceable, not great.

Harden & Drummond – This combo left me just enough to get Reggie Jackson instead of Biyombo. Reggie Jackson and Drummond are highly correlated, and Jackson’s price was down because of limited minutes in recent blowouts. I felt he was risky with Ish Smith eating into his minutes so I actually went Mudiay over Jackson in my winning Single Entry line. While Mudiay didn’t cost me in the SE, he would have in the Buzzer Beater. Fortunately, I went Jackson there and got the win. This line also got 2nd in the Four Point Play.

Drummond & Embiid – Getting Mudiay and Gordon in these final two spots made me really excited. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the $100 to use Jackson in the Four point Play entry like I did with the Harden & Drummond line.

I think a huge key here was that the contrarian core of Payton/Randle/Aminu meant I could focus solely on expectation and ceiling in my remaining spots, instead of having to find other places to get contrarian.

The Comically Bad Lines

Facing Sacramento, Chicago had the largest pace boost of the night and they’ve been a much better team since trading for Otto Porter. I knew they would be low owned, so I loved the upside Lavine and Otto gave me as a core. With Markkanen struggling to fit beside Lopez, I felt Lavine was the obvious leading candidate for an offensive explosion, while Otto’s defensive upside and rebounding was maximized by the pace. Fox was projected really well and too cheap, even regardless of the matchup, so he rounded out my core with a mini game-stack.

The rest of the lines were centered around the uncertainy of James Harden. If Harden was ruled out, I wanted to lock in Chris Paul, but didn’t want him if Harden was active (oops). Therefore, I faded Vucevic for Towns because 1. I loved KAT’s ceiling in a leverage situation over Vuc and 2. he gave me late-swap flexibility to fit Paul. Tyus was an obvious pairing given his extra expected playing time. I believe all of this was solid process, but maybe unnecessary. Taj has been excellent per minute since moving to to a bench role and I felt strong enough about him that I feel I should have made him a core play and gotten off Faried a bit.

However, the rest of the decision making clearly didn’t work out and was bad process.

I liked Faried’s chances to play 20+ minutes against a team that plays a true power forward. D’Antoni has shown a willingness to play him alongside Capela. I genuinely didn’t even consider the fact that Faried might not play. Simply put, I missed something here.

The other reason I say these lines were bad process is because I didn’t feel strongly about the other final pieces. Bog-Bog, Zubac, WCS, and Jarrett Allen were all “meh” plays that I just went with to get the rest. If I could do it again, I would trust in my Chicago core by eating the chalk of Vuc and CP3 in hopes that Harden would be ruled out.

Ultimately, Chicago struggled from the get-go which led to a night-killing blowout, and Faried’s goose-egg meant it wouldn’t have even mattered if my contrarian core smashed.

Fantasy Basketball

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