Draft Street Diary: Anything Can Happen on a Given Night

It’s not quite time to quit my day job, but I’m having a lot of fun playing daily fantasy hoops and for the second straight week, made a small profit, thanks to some luck on Thursday. It only took one winning night out of seven to finish in the black.

Among the many things I’ve learned in this ongoing experiment is that ‘certainty’ is a mirage. In season-long drafts, a ‘confidence factor’ is applied to my player rankings. You can be fairly sure of what a healthy, consistent veteran is worth over 82 games, though there are always surprises and disappointments, like Kevin Love. On any single day, there’s going to be far more volatility in any player’s performance. Minor injuries, foul trouble and garbage time are some of the factors that ‘even out’ in Roto but are greatly magnified in a one-day contest.

Also, in traditional leagues, if Kobe Bryant goes 11-for-26 like he did last night, you still reap the benefits of his 29 points, but in daily leagues, those 15 missed shots are costly. I was right to ignore the prohibitively-expensive and banged-up LeBron James yesterday, and quite happy about using Chris Bosh and Greg Monroe, but cashed with only one of nine teams, winning $17.55 in a 6-man Snake draft. I’m not blaming Mamba; it’s my own fault for being ‘too sure’ he would score 40.

We reset the bankroll to $100 every Monday and there’s some tricky handicapping this evening, as some of the most expensive players have question marks. Will DeMarcus Cousins stay hot vs. the stifling Memphis defense? Will Kevin Durant play enough minutes to warrant his salary if the Thunder has a 30-point lead? Nobody really knows — that’s why the game is so challenging.

DraftStreet 15Jan. 7
StarsOver $13,000
Carmelo Anthony$20,008
Kevin Durant$19,083
DeMarcus Cousins$19,332
LaMarcus Aldridge$16,021
Al Jefferson$16,059
ScrubsUnder $9,000
Kevin Martin$8,720
Richard Hamilton$7,491
Nick Collison$8,563
Jamaal Tinsley$8,055
Marvin Williams$6,231
Starters$9,000 to $13,000
Damian Lillard$12,888
Kevin Garnett$12,602
Dirk Nowitzki$11,900
Wesley Matthews$10,522
Kevin Seraphin$9,313

Every morning, we make five suggestions in each of three price ranges. Lineups can be changed until 7:00 EST, but for now I’m going to enter this one (and two others) in the $1,000 GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool ) for $2 each.

F1 LaMarcus Aldridge (POR-F) $16,021
F2 Nicolas Batum (POR-F) $15,085
G1 Rajon Rondo (BOS-G) $15,448
G2 Jamaal Tinsley (UTA-G) $8,055
C1 Al Jefferson (UTA-C) $16,059
C2 J.J. Hickson (POR-C) $13,065
U1 Marvin Williams (UTA-F) $6,231
U2 Taj Gibson (CHI-F) $9,886

We’re planning another Freeroll for you on Friday, and working on a contest where there will be a fairly steep entry fee, a very limited number of teams and a large prize pool, including bonus cash just for beating me, which really isn’t that difficult. Check in tomorrow for more info.

If you still haven’t tried daily fantasy hoops, you’re missing a lot of excitement.Click here to join DraftStreet, open a free account and try their free leagues to learn the various types of games. Pick ‘Em and Snake drafts are just as interesting as the Salary Cap contests.

The Fantasy Spin, published by 9:00 every morning, previews all of tonight’s games and looks back on Sunday’s NBA action.

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