Publisher Chris Sheridan confirms the degree of skill vs. luck required to profit at daily fantasy. Like most great games, it’s a mixture of both. Fortune favors the well-prepared, but you also need to avoid injuries, illnesses, ejections, foul trouble and other surprises that hurt your score.
Last night, before his eagerly-anticipated return to Dallas, Rajon Rondo was scratched with back spasms. Astute owners like “kimbro23” installed Darren Collison at PG, Marco Belinelli at SG and DeMarcus Cousins at PF — a skill-based roster move — then celebrated as the game went two overtime periods. That was good luck. Extra fantasy points in those ten minutes made the difference between a decent consolation prize (for example, 25th place earned $500) and his $20,000 payday.
This has enhanced, not replaced, traditional Roto and Head-to-Head leagues for me. The same scrutiny of games on TV, box scores and breaking news that keeps you competitive in season-long fantasy often pays off in daily play. My predictive skills were slightly off-target on Tuesday — thought the Hawks would beat the Knicks — so my team finished behind kimbro and 13,578 others. 310.5 points was still worth seven bucks, a 133% return on our $3 investment. Close counts, in horseshoes and DFS.
Plays of the Day
The $325K Sharpshooter is only a $3 buy-in (FREE with your initial deposit at DraftKings) where the top 26,263 finishers (from up to 124,582 teams) win cash. First place is worth $25,000. Enter before it fills; you can make unlimited lineup changes (even after the 7:00 EST deadline) until each player’s game begins.
After prevailing in 58 minutes last night, the Mavericks must travel to New Orleans. Anthony Davis $10300 and Jrue Holiday $5400 led the Pelicans to an upset in Dallas on Saturday; Norris Cole $4500 got the start in place of Tyreke Evans $7700 (knee) who is expected to return.
The Raptors try to halt a two-game slide with DeMarre Carroll (knee surgery) out indefinitely. James Johnson $3200 (quiet on Sunday vs. LeBron James $9500) will start again and Terrence Ross $3900 gets extra run. The mismatches are Kyle Lowry $8300 vs. Shane Larkin $4500 and DeMar DeRozan $8100 against Bojan Bogdanovic $4700, especially if Joe Johnson $5000 (quad) sits out. Brooklyn’s advantage is up front with Thaddeus Young $7400 and Brook Lopez $7700.
Grizzlies at Thunder is a tossup if Kevin Durant $10000 (toe) can’t play. Russell Westbrook $11600 has to triple-double to justify that salary, and he might. Serge Ibaka $6600 is a more attractive price and backup PG Cameron Payne $3300 is for real. Anthony Morrow $3700 was sharp in a spot start for KD on Monday.
Chris Paul $9200, DeAndre Jordan $7800 and J.J. Redick $5500 are constants, while Paul Pierce $4200, Wesley Johnson $3600, Austin Rivers $3500 and Jamal Crawford $4000 have taken turns contributing to a six-game Clippers win streak. The Blazers scored just 78 points on Monday as Damian Lillard $8700 (foot) returned and C.J. McCollum $7600 cooled off. Their big men were horrible; Al-Farouq Aminu $5100 was the best value.
Scott Skiles has ended his banishment of Victor Oladipo $5800 to the second unit; a slumping Elfrid Payton (ankle) is now hurt, so Shabazz Napier $3300 is the backup. Nikola Vucevic $7300 is also worth using, as Jordan Hill $4600 may be the best value among Indiana’s bigs. George Hill $5300 (illness) is questionable but Paul George $9100 is back — three straight games of 30+ points, hitting threes and getting to the line.
Cleveland is at full strength and rolling into a six-game road trip. John Wall $9600 vs. Kyrie Irving $6500 might favor Washington but Otto Porter $5900 can’t cope with the King. With two straight double-doubles, Tristan Thompson $5200 remains affordable in a battle with Marcin Gortat $7000.
Two surprising playoff contenders meet in Boston. Evan Turner $5600 will start until Avery Bradley (hip) returns, and might get extra touches with Isaiah Thomas $7800 (hand) less than 100%. Jae Crowder $6400 has been consistently good for some time. Andre Drummond $9000 can overpower any of the Celtics’ big men.
Perfect at home, the versatile Spurs can toy with the injury-plagued Jazz. We don’t care who wins, of course. Jeff Withey $4600 has been a pleasant surprise while Derrick Favors (back) is sidelined and Rodney Hood $5800 has scored 55 in his last two games.
In this back-to-back for the Knicks, there’s a change of focus for Miami with Chris Bosh $7900 playing more center until Hassan Whiteside $7400 (knee) can go. Dwyane Wade $6900 can still rise to the occasion and Goran Dragic $5800 is trending up.
A pair of 12-23 teams have some fantasy upside as the Nuggets try to snap a six-game slide. Danilo Gallinari $6900 looks great and Kenneth Faried $6200 avoided injury in a scary fall. Jusuf Nurkic $4700 had 12 points, 8 rebounds and a block in less than 15 minutes and will be needed more against Karl-Anthony Towns $7200. We touted Shabazz Muhammad $3700 last game, he scored a season-high 20 and the price remains low.
The .500 Hornets are underrated, having lost four in a row to excellent teams. The Suns are in free fall with nine straight losses and a lame-duck coach. Rock bottom was a 22-point first half in Sunday’s ugly loss to the Lakers. There are better games, but Brandon Knight $7400 and Kemba Walker $8200 are possibilities.
|PG||Russell Westbrook $11600||Kyle Lowry $8300||Jrue Holiday $5400|
|SG||DeMar DeRozan $8100||Victor Oladipo $5800||Anthony Morrow $3700|
|SF||Paul George $9100||Danilo Gallinari $6900||S.Muhammad $3700|
|PF||Anthony Davis $10300||Chris Bosh $7900||Tristan Thompson $5200|
|C||Andre Drummond $9000||DeAndre Jordan $7800||Jeff Withey $4600|
The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.