¨Merry Christmas, Carl!
– Frank W. Abignale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can, one of my all-time favorite movies
What a day! College Football is back… and I´m in Argentina where I probably will get to watch zero of it. We´ll see though.
In celebration of the day and my committment to expanding into the college football DFS world, I´m submitting this as entry #1 of my college football DFS diary. Inspired by the transparency of some of the professional podcasters I´ve been listening to, who literally publish a monthly report with full detail of their financial matters, I´m keeping this log to document the plays I make, why I make them and the financial outcomes that follow.
Because times are little tight after four months of travel without a source of income (except for a Gus Johnson article), I´m starting the season with $100 in my CFB budget. FYI, I´ll be doing this same thing for NFL, also with $100. I hope that the relatively small numbers that ensue won´t dissuade you from engaging with me in the process of weekly improvement.
Speaking of finances, one of the key themes that comes up over and over again in DFS, poker, sports betting and life (but under the name ¨budget¨) is bankroll management. In episode 10 of Rotoviz Radio the Millionaire Maker winner Drew Dinkmeyer outlined his strategy for management which goes something like this…
play 10% of your bankroll each week
of that amount, put 70% into 50-50s…
20% into multipliers…
and 10% into tournaments.
As tempting as it´s going to be to break that rule and swing for the fences, I´m committing to the process to see how I can grow my bankroll throughout the season. If I´m being honest with myself, I know that downside management is as important as upside potential.
With that said, here´s a snapshot of my week one budget (I know a colon should go right here, but the puncuation is different on a Spanish-language keyboard, so just be patient with me. Thanks.)
Week 1 Allocation – $10
Tournaments – $1
Multipliers – $2
50-50s – $7
All of these contests are being played at DraftKings, which has become my preferred platform in recent years. If you want to support my work and get a sign-up bonus, join DraftKings through this link.
None of this should be construed as advice for how to build your DFS teams. The intentions of this recurring blog are to document my plays & processes ahead of time so that I can learn from them each week and grow as a player.
Today´s Allocation of Weekly Budget – $0.25 ($0.75 on Saturday)
The three teams expected to score the most points tonight are Arizona (Anu Solomon), Oklahoma State (Mason Rudolph) and TCU (Trevone Boykin). I´m staying away from Anu in tournaments because Arizona is expected to score 70% of the points in that game, which could mean an early exit for such a valuable player. For OK State, I´ll get my exposure to them in the run game, but don´t want Rudolph because of the strong possibility of rain. Finally, Boykin is such a household name that I feel many people will take him and I need to create separation in a tournament setting.
The first QB I selected was Connor Mitch from South Carolina, which is expected to be the fourth-highest scoring team of the night. Playing in good weather conditions against a North Carolina team that ranks as Phil Steele´s fourth worst DLine in the ACC, worst LB core and fifth-worst DBs, I´ll take my chance on Mitch to have a solid debut.
From here, there´s a strong cluster of team point totals in the 29-32 range including…
WKU, who is possibly without their top returning receiver and, I think, will not possess the ball that much
Ohio, who I expect to run the ball a ton, but more on that in a minute
UNC, while I like Marquise Williams, I don´t like the matchup against SC and I feel his premium price will be constraining
Vandy, who I expect to run the ball a ton, but more on that in a minute
UCF, strong possibility of rain
Duke, which is where I´ll pull my second QB, Thomas Sirk. Last year Sirk was a dual-threat, redzone specialist QB who inherits the full time job this year. His matchup is relatively favorable as a Power 5 QB taking on a smaller conference defense, albeit on the road (in a dome). Also, I´m a little more comfortable with him being a ¨new starter¨since he has seen adequate game action in the past.
Oklahoma State has the second-highest team total of the night, but the weather in Mt. Pleasant calls for a 48% chance of rain, so I´m thinking that the passing game will suffer a bit. Moreover, it has been my observation that in early season Power 5 vs. small conference games, the line play is where the difference shows up. Chris Carson is a highly touted JUCO transfer and I´m going to lean on him to breakthrough in his debut. I was tempted to play Rennie Childs, who is his backup and may thrive in mop up duty.
Vanderbilt, which I mentioned a minute ago, has a new OC that is expected to heavily feature the RB. Ralph Webb is clearly that guy and I expect him to have a strong night as Vandy attempts to assert themselves in a new regime and keep the ball away from a strong WKU offense.
For the tournament setting, I wanted to stack my quarterbacks with wide receivers from their team. For South Carolina, I was tempted to go with Pharoh Cooper, but his premium price would have created constraints elsewhere. Instead I picked Deebo Samuel, who is the #2 option and should benefit from UNC´s efforts to slow his dynamic counterpart, Cooper.
With Duke, they appear to be operating with two established receivers Johnell Barnes and Max McCaffrey – and many question marks behind them. In this instance, I opted for Max McCaffrey who is $500 cheaper, more experienced and bigger. Maybe those are trivial, but in a situation where it´s not obvious that one is preferred, why not take the guy that has those things going for him?
My third WR, who I was put onto by Dan Hindery, is David Ungerer from Idaho. Ungerer has a minimum salary (at this point I have $9,700 left and one WR position and one Flex to fill) and is expected to be one Idaho´s favorite pass catchers in the game. He has drawn positive reviews all summer for his mental and physical maturation and was trusted by the coaching staff last year to be their top punt returner as a freshman. I´ll kick the tires.
Last year Ohio ran the ball 47 times in their game vs. Idaho to the tune of 5+ yards per carry. According to Phil Steele, Ohio has the third-best OLine in the MAC, compared to Idaho having the third-worst DLine in the Sun Belt. With the sixth-highest team total of the night, in what should be a relatively close game, I´m happy to bet on A.J. Oullette to get plenty of touches. I also like that this is probably the most obscure game of the night.
The last roster spot I filled was with William Stanback from UCF, whose game I have written about before, and who is expected to receive the lion´s share of carries for a run-heavy team. With rain in the forecast and 29 points expected for his team, it wouldn´t surprise me if Stanback found the end zone multiple times.
Today´s Allocation of Weekly Budget – $1 ($1 on Saturday)
For the same reasons as before, I went with Connor Mitch, but this time I paired him with Marquise Williams, who he´ll be playing against tonight. Of the five passers priced over $8,000, Williams is the one for whom I´m most willing to pay. The idea here is that I´ve got a little higher floor than the tournament lineup, but still some nice upside for my money, especially if this game turns into a back-and-forth contest.
Again, I´m rolling with Ralph Webb, but this time pairing him with Michigan´s De´Veon Smith, who will be the starter tonight against Utah. While I don´t love the matchup, I expect the game to a slug fest with a heavy dose of running, which I think bodes well for Smith.
Deebo Samuel is again my pairing with Connor Mitch, but this time it´s more forced due to budget constraints from the Marquise Williams expenditure. Speaking of Williams, I´m pairing him with Ryan Switzer, who is the second most expensive Tar Heel, but one who I slightly prefer due to his utilization and the PPR scoring. At this point I´m getting pretty tight on my budget and WKU´s Antwane Grant could be a great value, especially if top returning receiver Jared Dangerfield misses the game.
As I previously mentioned, I´m intrigued by the OK State run game tonight, but this time I roll with Rennie Childs, who could easily get as many touches as Chris Carson, but comes at a discounted price. Finally, Ty Slanina offers some exposure to the TCU pass game as their slot receiver. Until a usage pattern becomes more established for this season, I don´t see a reason why, on this night, Slanina couldn´t be the team´s leading receiver, but comes at the third-highest price point.
Today´s Allocation of Weekly Budget – $3 ($4 on Saturday)
Shifting to a mindset of higher-floor players, I started this off with Marquise Williams at QB because of his dual threat ability. RB Aaron Green followed, as he´s a way to get exposure to the TCU offense without having to guess on receivers, or pay top dollar for Trevone Boykin. Then, Ralph Webb, because I just can´t get away from the idea that tonight is an ¨attitude game¨ for a veteran Vandy line/team after a tough 2014. Thomas Sirk again shows up as I like his dual-threat ability. Looking for a little volatility, I added pass catchers for both QBs in the form of Johnell Barnes (Duke) and Ryan Switzer (UNC). RB De´Veon Smith again makes an appearance as, what looks to be, a cheap source of touches. At this point, I have $7,300 left and two spots to fill. I fall back on David Ungerer (this dude is going to kill me or make me look awesome) because he´s cheap and should get targets in a reasonably competitive, indoor game. Finally, with $4,200 left I went with tight end phenom, Jonnu Smith. FIU is only expected to score 16 points as a team, but I feel like Jonnu is probably the best bet to score a touchdown from that offense and should receive ample targets.
With the highest team total of the night, I couldn´t help but get a share of Anu Solomon from Arizona. Here´s hoping that game doesn´t get ugly early leading to him playing for only a half. The RB tandem is the same as before, as are pass catchers Ungerer and Jonnu. As I mentioned before, Antwane Grant should be a solid play either way, but with even more upside if Dangerfield is out. The final three spots I filled were with Tanner Lee, a second year QB from Tulane, who was about as cheap as I could get. That´s what I get for spending elsewhere. Then, I really wanted to get A.J. Ouellette in my lineup again, as I like his floor. Finally, for some UNC passing game exposure, I added WR Mack Hollins.
Realizing that I still haven´t touched two of the marquee players on the board, I started this lineup off with Trevone Boykin and Devontae Booker. Because I´m overloaded with Ralph Webb, I got away from him here in favor of AJ Ouellette. Three players in and I´m already feeling crunched on my budget. I immediately went with Grant, Jonnu and Ungerer since I like them all okay and knew they could cheaply get me to my flex spots. Kolby Listenbee provided some upside volatility paired with Boykin. Finally, De´Veon Smith was a good option for the remaining dollars I had.
One last thing
Because I had some change left in my account for whatever reason, I entered the following lineup into a Millionaire Maker sattelite tournament for $0.25 as well as a free roll game. I think I´ve covered all the players at this point, except for maybe Cayleb Jones, who is Arizona´s top target and would seem like the best candidate to blow up in an Anu Solomon stack.
(I just realized that I said in the intro that I was going to avoid Anu in tournaments. I made this lineup before I wrote that and don´t feel like changing things at this point).
Total Shares of Players (6 possible lineups)
Thomas Sirk – 3
Connor Mitch – 2
Marquise Williams – 2
Anu Solomon – 2
Tanner Lee – 2
Trevone Boykin – 1
Ralph Webb – 5
A.J. Oullette – 3
De´Veon Smith – 3
Aaron Green – 3
Chris Carson – 1
William Stanback – 1
Rennie Childs – 1
Devontae Booker – 1
David Ungerer – 5
Antwane Grant – 4
Ryan Switzer – 3
Jonnu Smith – 3
Max McCaffrey – 2
Deebo Samuel – 2
Ty Slanina – 1
Johnell Barnes – 1
Mack Hollins – 1
Kolby Listenbee – 1
Cayleb Jones – 1
Alright, so now here is the fun part… you get to tell me where you agree or disagree with my thought process, player selection, etc., so go ahead and leave a comment.