Thursday, Sep 5th
Monday, Sep 9th

NBA Development Workbook ???? Chapter 5


Chapter 5

Q&A w/Pawel

This week I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to ask Pawel (Pah-vel) some questions on his DFS play. Pawel has proven to be a top NBA player, winning an $88 buyin GPP last NBA season, good for $50k! Pawel also wrote a great article, Pawel’s Process Toward NBA Profit, for OWS. A couple things really stuck out to me after reading his article and asking him a few of the questions below.  He is really on top of the daily news considering this isn’t his day job and has become comfortable adjusting projections based on news, a knowledge of coaches, and player rotations.  Enjoy!

  1.  How long have you been playing DFS and how did you get started? 

I started in 2014 after I saw my friend post a Fanduel lineup where KD scored 70 points. I asked him what that was and soon thereafter I chopped 2nd place in the $2 GPP to reel me in forever. (Fun fact, I got 2nd with a 284….) 

I’ve been watching basketball since I was a kid, it’s pretty much the thing I love most. I have the NBA League Pass and I am always following the stats. If I’m not working, I am researching, arguing, or watching basketball. 

  1.   What is your favorite or most profitable sport and why?

NBA DFS and NFL bestball. I finally hit a 50k winner last year in the $88 GPP on DraftKings. I barely held off a chain of Papagates and Chipotleaddict lineups. I had been very close so many times, it was a surreal feeling. 

When there is no basketball, I am grinding NFL bestball drafts. From February until August, I am doing 10/12 man cash game drafts and every tournament available. I haven’t hit big in a tournament yet, but my ROI in cash games was over 20% this season. I can’t even explain how fun drafting NFL bestballs are for me, every draft is a unique game to be figured out!

  1.  In your article, “Pawel’s Process Toward NBA Profit” you talked about keeping up with the news throughout the day and adjusting player minutes as news comes out. I assume you’re manually adjusting player minutes on your own?  If so, how long did it take you to get comfortable doing this?

I have an understanding of team rotations and (some) coaches decision making. There are also situations that occur during the year that will give you insight into how a situation may work out later. Think players who sit consistently like Westbrook, Leonard, Embiid or the teams short handed due to covid.

For me, it was a pretty easy thing for me to figure out but no one can truly decipher what the likes of Kidd and Mike Malone will do. But experience is the only thing that will make you more comfortable so really take every slate as a learning opportunity. I really invest my time into research. 

  1.  Do you normally stick with one set of projections or are you weighting different sets?

I look at all the projections I can, but truthfully most are within the same range of each other. It’s really what player each site is spotlighting more. I start with the baseline projections provided and individually update each player’s projection based on my thoughts. The best way to truly differentiate yourself is to manually edit the projections to your best guess. For example, last night Eric Paschall was the chalk, I had a feeling he was going to bust as he has in prior situations where he was available more minutes so I limited my exposure to only 15% and prioritized Green. Ended up with slight profit because I missed the big FVV game.

  1. Besides winning scores increasing, what changes have you seen in NBA DFS over the years?

The casual player can identify the best plays much easier. Chalk gets to 60-80% creating true contrarian leverage situations. The Dwight Howard/Tony Bradley situation has been extremely frustrating; Whoever starts tends to bust at higher ownership. Next time Embiid is out instead of being 80% of the starter, I may play 40% of each guy or go all in the non starter since it’s been the guy off the bench who has done well. 

  1. Without using the words “optimizer” or “projections,” what’s the most important piece of advice you would give a beginner starting NBA DFS?

I have 2.

  1. If a player was a solid play and he burned you that night, don’t immediately count him out. These are excellent leverage situations in GPPs. For example, two games ago Keldon Johnson was playing the Grizzlies. He was a fantastic play at a weak position, underpriced, and in a great matchup. He played 21 mins and stunk. All too many times I will see novice players say something like “he’s dead to me, never playing him again.” Instead, analyze why he had a clunker – the Spurs got blown out. Next game against the same opponent, he drops 48.5 points at a lower ownership. 
  1. Don’t play a player just because he fits that last spot of your lineup. Don’t be afraid to leave money on the table for a better play. Salary cap is just constructed by the sites, I’ve left up to $600-800 on the table on a bigger slate and even more on a small slate. It is a great way to differentiate. And just because a player costs more doesn’t mean he’s a better play. 

How Last Week Went :: 

Last week I pretty much took off from playing NBA.  With the NFL season wrapping up and a couple losing weeks in NBA, I thought a quick little break would go a long way in keeping my mind fresh and keeping me motivated.

I also watched more basketball and even though it’s not as fun without money on the line, it was good because sometimes I find myself mainly paying attention to the players I have in my lineups from each game and not really paying attention to how the coaches are trying to win. I’ve been jotting down some notes and organizing them by team which will be good references while building lineups in the future.

What I’m Working on This Week ::

This week I’m going to spend a little time going back and reviewing the previous weeks to see if I can dig up on anything when comparing my winning weeks to my losing ones. Off the top of my head, I know I was able to play more main slates in the beginning of the season. Lately, I have been playing smaller slates that tip off after the featured slate. It will be interesting to go back and check this out and share next week!

Collective Questions ::

I’m looking for some more NBA DFS players to interview.  Do you have anything you would like to share with the OWS community?  Drop a line or two below (or reach out in private)!