FanDuel Diary: Renewed Optimism in Week 5

Last Monday, in the middle of a losing streak, I wondered if I was any good at daily fantasy basketball. One good night (like I enjoyed on Friday) makes a big difference in a sample size this small; a $100 profit in Week 4 made the season numbers look much better.

Years of results suggest I’m an above-average player over a long Roto season and slightly stronger in Head-to-Head leagues, which are a series of mini-seasons. Daily leagues are different; no matter how solid your handicapping, no matter how inspired the hunches, you need some luck to win on any given day.

Until he was a late scratch with a sore back, LaMarcus Aldridge looked like a terrific start yesterday. He was in six of my seven FanDuel lineups, for a $19 loss and no exciting scoreboard-watching. Obviously, anyone who didn’t use LMA on Sunday had their odds of winning improve just as much. In a way, I made a contribution to their good fortune and that’s the price of playing.

Consistency is the lesson. Still trying to learn which types of leagues and tournaments I like best, I’m starting each week with the idea that a $100 is less than $15 a day. Entering three teams each day in the $2 Shot (last week’s decision to diversify paid off) and one in the $1 Dribbler costs seven bucks; a 50/50 league for $5 and a couple more $1 and $2 leagues is typical of my other regular plays.

FanDuel 15Nov. 26
StarsOver $7,000
Kevin Durant$9,900
Russell Westbrook$9,600
Al Jefferson$8,400
Zach Randolph$7,300
Greg Monroe$8,100
ScrubsUnder $5,000
Richard Hamilton$4,800
Beno Udrih$4,200
Jeremy Pargo$4,000
Danny Green$4,900
Randy Foye$4,100
Starters$5,000 to $7,000
Carlos Boozer$6,300
Kenneth Faried$6,400
J.J. Hickson$5,800
Joe Johnson$5,800
Andre Iguodala$6,700

Eight NBA games is a good-sized player pool to select from tonight. Our daily chart offers a few possibilities in each of three price ranges, and there are many other solid choices.

Here’s my morning lineup, but you can make unlimited roster moves until 7:00 EST.

PG Mike Conley CLE@MEM $6,500
PG Beno Udrih MIL@CHI $4,200
SG Joe Johnson NY@BKN $5,800
SG Wesley Matthews POR@DET $6,900
SF Rudy Gay CLE@MEM $7,200
SF Luol Deng MIL@CHI $7,100
PF Zach Randolph CLE@MEM $7,300
PF Carlos Boozer MIL@CHI $6,300
C Al Jefferson DEN@UTA $8,400

Udrih is a hunch play; if Brandon Jennings can’t go, Beno should start and put up decent numbers. Using two Bulls against the depleted Bucks seems logical and my three Grizzlies are the core of the team. Randy Foye, another ‘Scrub’ by price, was the starting SG and leading Jazz scorer on Saturday. I might start him instead of Udrih in one variation.

Daily leagues are a lot of fun even when you don’t win. Setting your lineup is like drafting every day, and making those ‘tweaks’ is as satisfying as a good trade. See you at FanDuel!

Today’s Fantasy Spin previews all eight Monday night games in more detail and reviews what happened on Sunday.

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