I have been doing business with DraftKings for the better part of 4 1/2 years since launching this site, and I have been playing fantasy basketball for more than two decades. I am 50 (despite what Google says), which makes me old enough to have once traded Dino Radja for Fat Lever, who latter of which was the last NBA guard to grab 20 rebounds in a single game — although Russell Westbrook came close last night with 19.
You might think it is easy to play fantasy sports this season given what has been going on. If you just pick Westbrook and Draymond Green and build a team around them, you are golden as you sit back and watch the triple-doubles roll in.
Yeah, if only it was that easy.
I play in a $3 entry fee league at DraftKings every night, and last night I had both Draymond (12 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds, five blocks) and Klay Thompson (24 points) as the Warriors and Wizards ran up the score in Golden State’s 45th victory, combining for 255 points in the early ESPN game. But taking those two guys tapped out most of my salary cap money, and the rest of my team (Darren Collison, Kent Bazemore, Bradley Beal, Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic and Joe Johnson) was solid but not spectacular in accumulating 259.25 DK points, which left me in 19,424th place — about 2,000 spots out of the money (the top 17,345 got paid.)
The winning entry, from a player with the username “mamandus,” took home the top prize of $15,000 by building his team around Stephen Curry (51 points), Westbrook (24 points, 19 rebounds, 14 assists) and John Wall (41 points, 10 assists), who accumulated 212.25 DK points all by themselves. The winner had a supporting cast of Joe Johnson 20 points, nine assists), who is consistently underpriced by the DK pricesetters, E’Twawn Moore (25 points, five rebounds, four assists while filling in for the injured Jimmy Butler), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (11 points, 13 rebounds as the Hornets stunned the Cavs), Tyler Zeller (6 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks) and Jonas Jerebko (4 points, 5 rebounds for a paltry 9.75 DK points.
So yes, it is possible to win 15 grand while using the likes of Jerebko.
That’s why you gotta love Daily Fantasy Sports.
Today, in an effort to introduce DraftKings to some new players, we are giving you a choice: You can throw away $3 this morning on a cup of Starbucks or an Egg McMuffin; or you can take that same $3 and make an investment.
Throw that $3 down on a team at DraftKings, and you will get your money back if you can put together a better team than the one I will be fielding in this contest. There are only four games on the NBA slate tonight, and there is nobody out there who is a triple-double machine, so there is going to be a lot of skill (along with some luck) involved in selecting the best combination of eight players: A point guard, a shooting guard, a small forward, a power forward, a center, a third guard, a third forward and that all-important eighth player, who can play any position.
It’s your choice: That cup of Starbucks or that EggMcMuffin insures little more than an unhealthy breakfast and a mid-morning trip to the bathroom; whereas a $3 DK investment can pay off in a top prize of $10,000. All you have to do to cash out is finish among the top 17,775 among the 76,600 entrants — and don’t forget that our chums at DraftKings will toss you an extra $3 if you can defeat me — and you are a new registrant. Click here to enter.
For the uninitiated, here is how the scoring works:
You have to build your team using an imaginary salary cap of $50,000, and the highest-priced player on the board is James Harden ($10,800), who is going to run roughshod over what remains of the Phoenix Suns in a game where Vegas has set the over/under at 213. The second-highest price tag belongs to Anthony Davis ($10,000) as the Pelicans play the Lakers in a TNT nightcap that will put Charles Barkley to sleep.
I like guys who are going to be logging major minutes, which is why I am going with this lineup (subject to last-minute changes in the event of late scratches. UPDATE: With the news that Kobe Bryant will play against the Pelicans, I subbed him in for Archie Goodwin -CS … 6:52 p.m. EST.).
PG: Reggie Jackson, Pistons, $6,800. Should be unstoppable against the Knicks, who can’t stop opposing PGs even when they start lead-footed Jose Calderon, who may or may not return from a four-game absence due to a groin strain.
Archie Goodwin, Suns, $5,900. Had 18 points and 12 assists in a team-high 45 minutes two nights ago against the Raptors. Yes, 45 minutes. Will be looking for a ton of garbage time production against Houston’s reserves in the fourth. I subbed in Kobe. Hoping his shoulder will hold up. If Archie Goodwin has a better night than Kobe Bryant, the world will have officially turned upside-down.-CS 6:55 p.m. EST.)
SF: P.J. Tucker, Suns, $5,400. Now that T.J. Warren is out for the season with a broken foot, this guy is going to be playing 40 minutes per night for Earl Watson.
PF: Anthony Davis, Pelicans, $10,000. With the Pelicans slipping from playoff contention, they will lean heavily on a guy whose numbers against the Spurs on Wednesday were beastly: 28 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, four steals, and four blocks in 37 minutes. He is my anchor.
C: Andre Drummond, Pistons, $8,600. You can book another 20-20 game for him (he is overdue), especially going up against Robin Lopez. There is no penalty at DraftKings for missed free throws.
G: Ty Lawson, Rockets, $3,800. My bargain basement pick. I had the option of using Brandon Jennings (listed below) as my extra guard and using Roy Hibbert or Omer Asik as my utility guy, but the thinking here is that a) Hibbert and Asik both suck and are stealing money, and I hate thieves; and b) there will be plenty of garbage time minutes for this guy against the Suns’ tuckered out backcourt, who will be using all of their fourth quarter energy trying to pad the stat sheet rather than trying to defend a pair of fresh legs like Lawson will have.
F: Markieff Morris, Suns, $5,700. Went for 20, 11 and 6 two nights ago while logging 41 minutes as a starter, and since the Suns have nobody left who is healthy and sane, I am hoping for another insane outing at what looks like a bargain price.
UTIL: Brandon Jennings, $4,000. This is a risky pick, because the Pistons are shopping Jennings hard and do not want to overextend him, yet still want to give him enough minutes in order to get someone to trade for him. Even if he is limited to 24 minutes or less, he still may have more points and assists than any of New York’s startng backcourt players. He might play alongside Jackson, too, with Kantavious Caldwell-Pope out with an injury.
Good luck to everyone, and thanks for your support of DraftKings and SheridanHoops.
Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.