FCK DraftKings NBA Challenge: Day 1 Recap
FCK DraftKings NBA Challenge: Day 1 Recap
I am pretty excited (and nervous) to be competing in the FCK NBA challenge. For those unfamiliar with the FCK challenge, it's an NBA DFS competition started by Michael Hofeld (FCK). The goals are to determine the best single entry NBA DFS player and to provide a forum for us all to make fun of TommyG. You can read about the challenge in FCK's forum post here.
The nitty gritty:
-20 $200 GPPs
-$20,500 prize pool for overall winners
-Overall winners determined by a combined power rankings system (half the rankings is total money won, half the rankings is cumulative score with one drop)
Day 1 of the FCK challenge started last night. It might sound silly to say that I was nervous for a DFS competition (it's not like you are doing anything different than you do every day), but it's the truth. DailyRoto co-founder Drew Dinkmeyer won the first two FCK challenges (this is it's third year of existence). So I think there's some pressure for:
1-DailyRoto to represent well (Drew is in the competition again defending his title)
2-To prove myself. As a mid-high stakes player, my name is often absent from some of the higher stakes contests, particularly the qualifiers that draw the most attention. The FCK challenge gives me a forum to test myself against some of the best players, and I'm excited to do so. But it's certainly a little daunting looking at all the participants and knowing there will be no hiding from any results.
Enough of my babble, though, let's review day 1. As often as possible I want to review the competition – go through my thought process in making lineups, try and figure out what the field was thinking, and celebrate the nightly winners. It's an interesting competition as it's a single-entry GPP but a rather small field. You can do well with a cash game lineup construction as a result, but with so many sharps on the same guys, going contrarian in just one or two of the right spots can really vault you ahead of the field (as we'll see in the Day 1 results). Last night was a particularly interesting night, since it was a pretty chalky night from the outset with all of the great, cheap plays found in the PHX-PHI game, and the ease with which you could pay up for a red hot DeMarcus Cousins. As I said previously, I was a little nervous. I didn't know what to expect in terms of other people's lineups and their construction. I also didn't want to get too cute and fall behind from the get go. As a result, I simply decided to use my cash game lineup and see how things played out before possibly adjusting my strategy moving forward.
PG – Ish Smith (great matchup, Okafor out stabilizes usage, Canaan possibly not playing just adds to the safety/upside)
SG – Archie Goodwin (super chalk but just way too cheap for a 36 minute a night point guard with SG eligibility)
SF- Robert Covington (increased playing time and shooting slump behind him made the price right; matchup and teammate absences were the tipping point)
PF – Nerlens Noel (with Okafor out, usage/rebounding/minutes all got a boost and the position wasn't that great)
G – Lou Williams (started with Deron Williams in a good matchup but expectations weren't very high, he simply fit and along with my FLEX spot gave me late game flexibility; pivoted to Lou Williams once Kobe Bryant was out)
F – DeMarcus Cousins (knew there was rest concern and decided it was worth it given elite usage rate, Rudy Gay out, and a fairly positive matchup; also, since I stacked an early game, it would be easy to pivot to a different, lower owned combination in my three flex spots if I got off to a bad start)
U – Salah Mejri (really small sample but per minute production combined with Lakers matchup made him a lock in my eyes; possible pivot to a DAL G if behind or DAL rests some starters)
The PHI-PHX game stack went splendidly, and getting Len at roughly half the ownership of Chandler, who scored just 13.75 Fantasy point, was huge. As a result, I didn't late swap off Cousins/Mejri. I did move from Deron Williams to Lou Williams for additional upside when Bryant went out.
What went wrong?
Basically, I underestimated the fatigue factor for Cousins. Hindsight is always 20/20, but if you watched the game you could tell he was simply gassed. The effort and usage was there, but the efficiency waned, and a blowout followed. Outside of that, everything else went pretty much as planned. Williams failed to hit value, but I wasn't counting on a ton from that spot. Mejri played a little less than I thought, but 15 points out of a $3,500 certainly didn't sink me with such a strong start.
Enough about me….Who won and how?
STLCardinals84 took down Day 1 with a score of 301.5. Here is the link to the entire scoreboard and a screenshot of the winning lineup:
Earlier I referenced the ability to make up a lot of ground in this competition by being smart contrarian in one or two spots. Seeing the ownership percentages at lock certainly drove this home. A lot of my players' percentages were actually higher in this contest than they were in cash games, which I found interesting. STLCardinals84 had a pretty straightforward lineup, but he made one very conscious contrarian decision: fade DeMarcus Cousins. He went all in on this move by:
1-Playing Willie Cauley-Stein at center
2-Still paying up for a forward (Kevin Durant)
These types of moves won't always work out, but this was a great game theory decision, not just because of the results. Cards was able to play Kevin Durant at 4.9 percent ownership and $1,200 less dollars, while DeMarcus Cousins was 73.2 percent owned. That in it of itself created a lot of leverage on the field, but Cards doubled down, playing Willie Cauley-Stein at center. It was a viable option even if Cousins did well, but there was certainly additional upside in the event that Cousins' minutes were reduced.
It played out pretty much perfectly, as the gap between Durant and Cousins ended up being a whopping 44.25 DraftKings points. With a smart, chalk lineup surrounding this contrarian move (four players at 60-plus percent ownership, and grabbed two somewhat lower ownerships on Lillard and Booker, two strong plays from the outset, but were just tough to fit) Cards took this down pretty easily.
1-Fading a highly owned player, particularly one with such a high cost as DeMarcus Cousins, is a smart game theory approach in a tournament setting. Variance is a thing ladies and gents. Injuries happen. Foul trouble happens. Players get tired or simply shoot poorly. Aside from STLCards winning, the top six scoring teams all faded DeMarcus Cousins. This isn't exactly anything new, but it's easier said than done.
2-Day 1 was chalky. Perhaps people were a little nervous like me and playing it safe to start the tournament. I expected quite a few people to be bold and fade DeMarcus Cousins. Well, look at the ownership percentages of my team in the giant $100 double up:
You'll notice that Ish Smith, Archie Goodwin, Robert Covington, Nerlens Noel, and DeMarcus Cousins all had higher ownership percentages in the FCK Challenge, while my other three players all had similar ownership percentages. This is definitely a surprise to me, and telling me I have to be a little more daring with my lineups in this challenge moving forward, something that has always been a weakness of mine.
Shout out to STLCardinals84 for taking down the tournament day 1 and to FCK and DraftKings for setting this up for us! It was the first of many fun days, and I'm looking forward to kicking some ass (particularly DraftCheat's) moving forward. Best of luck to all the competitors.
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