After two back-to-back attempts that didn’t go as planned, I bounced back with nice finish on my next attempt. I decided to get a lineup in during the 10-game slate on Wednesday. There were many options available and I was able to find some mid-level players that were affordable and not much of a risk. Below I’ll go over my lineup.
Last Night’s Lineup
PG- Michael Carter-Williams – He had strung together several solid outings heading into this game and his price didn’t increase. In fact, it remained the same from his previous game. The matchup was also one that I believed he could exploit as the Magic are vulnerable defensively against opposing point guards. Carter-Williams had topped 29 fantasy points in four of five games prior to this one, including three 33+ point performances. At $6,500 it wasn’t a huge hit on my salary cap. Lastly, I felt I’d be one of the few that owned him and was wrong about that as three other teams had him in their lineups as well.
SG- James Harden – I decided to roll with Harden as my stud to build around. Prior to this game, Harden had topped 49 fantasy points in three of four games. The matchup was also one that was in his favor. He played the Blazers, a team he’s had success against this season. I also thought that most people would have Westbrook in their lineups and less would steer towards Harden. Westbrook was owned in 50% of the teams, while Harden was owned in 30% of the teams. However, Harden did not top 40 fantasy points and didn’t get near what I was expecting.
SF- Nicolas Batum – Batum averages 27.3 fantasy points per game for the season, but heading into this game, he had topped 30 fantasy points in five of his last seven games. For lack of a better word, he’s been balling. He also had a matchup that was beneficial as he took on the Rockets who yield the fifth most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards (40.7). Once again, I chose I player with a mid-level salary that wouldn’t break the bank, but had been consistent enough in recent games to plug in. He got 39.75 fantasy points and I was the only team that had him rostered.
PF- Marcus Morris – He was moved into the starting lineup and had a great matchup. Not to mention he was only $3,800. He was one of my risky picks, but I thought it would be very difficult for him to not hit value. The Timberwolves surrender the fourth most fantasy points per game to power forwards (46.2). This was a good situation and the risk I was taking was minimal as far as salary was concerned. The last two games he played 30+ minutes, he scored at least 23 fantasy points. All he needed to hit value was 20.9 and fortunately he exceed that and scored 29.75. Two other teams played him as well.
C- Brook Lopez – The Heat were going to be without Hassan Whiteside, so I thought Lopez was going to take full advantage of that situation. Not to mention, once again I’m targeting a player who isn’t going to break my bank as he was $6,100. Lopez scored more than 33 fantasy points in three consecutive games heading into this one, along with two double-doubles in that span. It’s safe to say he was playing well and another big game wasn’t out of the question. After all, he was going be covered by Chris Anderson that night. Lopez was owned by half of the teams and scored 37.5 fantasy points. I was happy with this choice.
G- Kyle Korver – He needed about 26 points to hit value and I thought it was very doable against the Nuggets. Denver gives up 2.5 three pointers per game to shooting guards and that’s where Korver excels. In addition, they surrender the sixth most fantasy points per game to shooting guards (44.3). His $4,900 salary, matchup, and the possibility that I’d be the lone owner of Korver in this tournament were the ultimate determining factors. He exceeded value by a point and was owned by two other teams.
F – Tobias Harris – If you’ve read some of my previous articles on this subject, you’ll know that I emphasize consistency as one of the things I look for in cash games as far as a player is concerned. Well, Harris is very consistent and was also at a very economical price of $6,900. Prior to this game, he had topped 31 points in four of his last five games. His floor is stable and also relatively high. He ended up topping 31 fantasy points again.
UTIL – Luc Richard Mbah a Moute – Here’s my “what was I thinking?” moment. To be honest, I was very apprehensive about playing Mbah a Moute, but went against my gut feeling and plugged him into my starting lineup any way. I focused on his recent performances as he had topped 22 fantasy points in four straight games. It ended up being a bad decision as he didn’t even finish the night with 20 fantasy points.
What I Learned
This time around I went back to my initial approach and it worked. I may sound repetitive, but balance and consistency are key. Something I did differently was look for players that were cheaper than $7,000, but still provided a high enough floor, as well as a decent ceiling. Batum, Harris, Carter-Williams, and Lopez are prime examples of that. I did take my chances with some players, but I felt that the situation was good for the price I was paying and my expected value. I still have to find ways to minimize my risk taking. Mbah a Moute is far too inconsistent to consider in a steps. One thing I did do was change my approach at differentiation. Instead of going with Westbrook, I went with Harden. First, Westbrook’s salary was through the roof and while Harden’s ceiling may not be as high as Westbrook’s, his floor isn’t that much lower. With that said, Harden was $1,700 cheaper. By saving that money, I was able to target some other players and not be exposed to too many hit or miss guys. Another thing I’d suggest is to take your time in creating these lineups. It’s important to look for the best values in all positions while also thinking outside the box. If you’ll notice in my first lineups, I went with David West and Tim Duncan in some. Those are steady but not flashy players, which is very similar to the style of some of the players on this roster. I’ll take a similar approach in my next attempt and see how it works.
Results: I came in fourth place and won a Step 1 ticket.
Total Fantasy Points (this round): 256.25
Days Played: 5 Days
Money Spent: $4 in Entries
Current Step: Step One
I’ll remain firing one lineup at a time for the time being, but look forward to continuing to share my experience with you. If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @Armando_Marsal. Until next time!