Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015-2016 NFL Week 2 Daily Fantasy Sleepers (sport, gambling)

Whether it be chalk plays or value plays, there's plenty of advice out there regarding skill position players. So I'll focus on the other positions, the ones that other people believe are mostly random, but in fact weigh in heavily as to who wins in daily fantasy.

As always, if you do decide to give daily fantasy sports a try, please use my referral links below:

Kicker - Dan Bailey (FD $5000)
Even without Dez Bryant, the Cowboys should be able to move the ball with their stacked offensive line, especially against this Eagles defense. Last season, Bailey was significantly better on the road than at home, and I expect that to continue today against Chip Kelly's "bend but don't break" attitude on defense.

Defense - Washington Redskins (DK $2700, FD $4100, Yahoo $11)
It's weird picking the Redskins for anything, let alone against a team that put up over 30 points against the vaunted Seahawks defense. But Washington has a stout rushing defense, and I don't trust the Rams offense on the road. Besides, even in that week 1 upset victory, St Louis turned the ball over 3 times.

Random Sleeper - Chris Johnson (DK $3800, FD $5700, Yahoo $10)
Everyone was targeting Eddie Lacy against the Bears in week 1. This week gives us a super cheap running back against that same defense, who will get a bulk of the work with Ellington out and a rookie backing him up.

Good luck to all!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

First Week of 2015 NFL Daily Fantasy (sport, gambling)

First of all, if any readers haven't signed up for daily fantasy sites yet, please do so through my referral links. By doing so, you support me without losing out on anything for yourself.

Week 1 Performance

I was aiming for the top prizes, so I fielded about 50+ teams (usually various combinations of core players I liked), spearheaded by 4 different quarterbacks. Unfortunately, none of the quarterbacks performed particularly well (Ryan, Cutler, Flacco, Eli). It was actually the peripheral positions that salvaged my week from being a complete loss, with tight end Jason Witten, kicker Brandon McManus, and splitting the defense between the Rams and the Titans. I ended up losing about 60% of my entries, which seemed about right.

Lessons From Week 1

1. The top heavy tournament payouts means that the cash line returns a paltry 150-160% of entry fees rather than a more standard number closer to 2x.

2. DraftKings salaries are generally softer by design. As they continue to focus on a 500k entrant "millionaire maker", the salaries have to be lower than a more properly priced game because they have to increase the number of possible combinations.

3. The toughest salaries are on Yahoo. I don't really trust Yahoo's team, so I'll attribute it to a lack of design. The salaries are priced in a similar fashion to Fanduel's, except you have to fit in an extra flex spot like on DraftKings. Tight ends were also priced much more in line with wide receivers, meaning that you pretty much have to pick at least two underdog/longshot players and have one of them hit to field a competitive team.

4. Look out for second versions of large Fanduel tournaments. Fanduel filled its $5 230k entrant contest by Thursday, and started another one. The second one ended up with only 180k entrants, so if you canceled your entries in the first contest to enter the second contest, you theoretically had a much better chance to win something.

Looking Forward to Week 2

It's a bit too early to really study players, but I do think I will switch back to playing just one team instead of a large number, focusing primarily on cash games (50/50s, double ups) and tossing in the occasional GPP ticket.

Monday Night Effect

Because salaries come out for the subsequent week's games prior to Monday night games, Monday night performances are not factored into those salary calculations. If you end up playing a cash game on DraftKings, you pretty much have to roster Carlos Hyde at $5100. On Fanduel it's a little more debateable at $7100, but he'll likely have a high ownership percentage regardless.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Carbone NYC... the prices... but the food... (food)

Carbone is one of the more divisive restaurants in NYC, with many fans as well as many who proclaim it to be a showy/touristy rip-off. The pricey Italian-American restaurant is almost more famous for its prices than its food, but I did find the food excellent on a recent visit.

So was it worth the hefty price tag? I would say that a lot depends on how well you order and how hungry you are, but there are certainly values on the menu.

These delicious morsels are provided gratis, and certainly help the value proposition. The bread basket contains garlic bread, regular focaccia, and "grandma" bread (focaccia with a light spread of tomato sauce).

We were indulging that night, and this delicious barolo fit the theme nicely.

The huge caesar salad was done in a traditional table-side manner with three anchovy filets on the side. I didn't have any but was told it was very good. The clams and caprese were probably the best values on the entire menu, as they were both delicious and served in sizeable portions. Unlike baked clams I've had at other places, the clams underneath the topping were extremely meaty and juicy, and comparable to something that would be served at a fancy raw bar for $2-3 each as is. The caprese salad just exuded freshness, featuring delicious heirloom tomatoes, aromatic basil, and warm, fresh mozzarella. I could easily see a portion half the size selling for $12 at a "small plates" restaurant, with mozzarella nowhere near as wonderful as the one served here.

The pasta section was probably the most disappointing section of the menu, based on these two dishes and what I read from other reviews. These weren't bad, but at these prices just pale in comparison to the many great pasta dishes found all over the city.

The ribeye Diana was awesome, featuring a perfectly cooked medium rare (closer to rare) ribeye steak in a rich, sticky, sweet and herby reduction. The dover sole, expertly filleted at the table, was served with some pickled peppers that had just the right amount of tart and heat to enhance the flavor of the fish without overpowering it. The problem here, is the price, considering one can get a much bigger steak at many fine steakhouses in NYC for the same price, and that the entire dinner prix-fixe at La Grenouille, including the dover sole supplement, costs $126.

The corn was the single most revelatory dish of the night, as shaved truffle with corn was a pairing that was hard to stop eating by the spoonful. The escarole, on the other hand, epitomized the "we don't need to order this here at these prices" dish.

The carrot cake, served with ginger ice cream, was delicious, moist, and extremely well made. However, at this price, I wouldn't go out of my way to order it. The weird shape of the cut may have thrown me off, but I also felt that it was a smaller portion than I was expecting.