PACKHAM'S PUNCH: MARCH MADNESS STRATEGY
This is a column to discuss my thoughts regarding playing cash games. Cash games are generally considered to be Head to Head, Double Ups, 50/50’s, Triple-ups, as well as small multi-player (3-20 players) games where your chances of cashing are 33% or higher.
March madness strategy
Hello fellow Jurors and slackers! It's time for the 2nd annual MARCH MADNESS DG courtroom extravaganza. Last year I made it to the round of 8 before being beaten by a single point by the eventual winner so I’m planning on taking this thing down this coming year.
So what is it? The Tournament is a Tournament-style, single elimination, head-to-head DFS contest that THE JUDGE runs on both DK and FanDuel. He puts the brackets together based on how players have done in chambers that year. Obviously the higher the seed the better the player was in League style format but this is h2h which can be a completely different beast so I’m hoping to shed a little light on how to build a proper Head-to-Head Lineup in DFS…
Here are the Keys to Success or at least Competitiveness:
Remember… this is single lineup. Before you even start… Don’t forget the basics of Checking the slate (Large, Medium, Small), checking the injury news, and checking vegas. And Narrow it Down!... THEN
1. Build a core. With half of your salary (25K on DK, 30K on FD) with 5x quality, CONSISTENT players. Look at last 10 games. Is the player hitting 5x of their salary consistently? This can be 2-5 players depending on their prices. For Example…. Right Now Bjelica would fit this mold. He does a little of everything and Thibs plays him 40 minutes a game. Perfect Cash game player. For that matter most of the Wolves are perfect for this type of H2H cash core.
2. Look for value at all price levels. This is important. Nobody every thinks of AD as value but when he is 10.8 in a good matchup that is value. He will probably go for 70. If Ben Simmons drops to 7.5K, he’s a value. So this is more of price checking and playing the value plays. I know that value is traditionally defined as cheap with high minutes but this can actually play out everywhere on your roster. Again, continue to put a premium on minutes, unage and consistency.
3. PLAY THE CHALK. Especially on smaller slates play 2-3 chalk plays. You are trying to beat one player. Not 1000. Don’t try to get too crazy. If the chalk makes sense, play them. If your opponent also plays them… fine! Who cares! You just need to beat them on One less decision. You are better anyways. That takes out less chances for them to get lucky on you. You have just increased your odds of winning.
4. It’s March. There are Several teams tanking. There are several teams in the West and in the east fighting for a playoff spots. Attack games that both teams want to win. Even such, make sure both teams have a chance. For Example, the other night Spurs played Houston and even though both are in the playoff race this had the earmarks of a blowout. San Antonio was not playing LMA and the Rockets were healthy. That is an avoid if possible. Be smart. Don’t regret your play later going.. “I shoulda known that game wasn’t going to be competitive”. One exception right now… Toronto 2nd unit. Those guys are balling especially in blowouts. So on Tuesday… as I’m writing this… I played Fred VanFleet against Brooklyn hoping he gets 24 minutes in a blowout at 4.4k.
5. Which star and how many. I like stars more on the road in a tougher game with a ou over 212. Spread under 7. On large slates going balanced usually works just fine and may bring a higher floor. The only answer lies in how much low value is available. If there are 2-3 value spots that open up then you have the option to squish in 2 studs. Picking the Star is always up for debate. Usually they are matchup proof. Again… I prefer road games… tough matchup so they don’t get as much help from the supporting cast.
6. Floor vs ceiling. In h2h (unlike gpp), it’s about the floor. You can’t afford a player to throw up a 2-3x unless he is the chalk. Your non-chalk picks must have at least 4x floor and prefer 5x. Look for guards and wings that get higher usage. (I tend to look at FGA over usage % and like my guys to get 10+ FGA’s per game). Look for front court players (PF’s and C’s) with a good chance for a double-double. This generally leads to higher floors. HOWEVER… watch out for 1-trick pony or players on streaks with HIGHER then expected shooting percentages. Always great to get peripheral stats and dudes that are pretty consistent on their percentages and not at magic mountain.
7. If possible… study your opponent. The one reason I like to play big field cash games is I can go back and find a certain opponent’s lineups the past few nights if they also play large field. You can see if they are a risk taker or a chalk player. I’m not sure if this helps you build a lineup but it sounds fun.
8. Use data. But which data? Box scores help… but dig a little deeper on the players you want to play. Are you playing a center against Milwaukee because you’ve heard all year that Centers crush Milwaukee? OK. Did you know that Milwaukee has improved on that over the last 2-3 weeks? Hmm. Make sure you are not still playing off of November & December data. Also, Check the website http://popcornmachine.net/ for team rotations over the past several games to see who is starting, who’s getting subbed for who, and who is finishing. Sometimes it helps when an injury pops up.
9. Keep abreast of last minute injuries and lineup changes. This goes without saying in NBA but don’t go crazy on your lineup unless it’s a major change. Which brings us to my last point.
10. DON’T TINKER…. Too much. I can’t tell you how many times I was on a player all day and then changed him last minute for some whimsical reason only to regret it an hour later. You’ve been preparing all day for this lineup and there is probably a very good reason you landed on that player. Changing him last minute because one of your buddies in Slack said he was playing him is not a good enough reason if you already looked at him earlier in the day and chose not to play him. Be careful in the crunch.
OK Jurors! Good luck… and I hope one of you achieves that “ONE SHINING MOMENT” in the next few weeks!
You can reach Craig on twitter @cpackham007 or on the slack chat. You can also email him at email@example.com. He’d love to hear your takes as well.