We are not here to grind out cash games day-to-day week-to-week, we’re here for the big win! Our sole focus will be taking down a large field GPP tournament. Please keep in mind this is not going to be bankroll advice.
In order to win you must be willing to take chances, be contrarian, and separate yourself from the field. There will be times that searching for a unique angle makes you look a fool, but hitting the long odds could very well be life changing. If averaging 140 points a week for you means focusing on hitting 140 points every week, switch to H2H or 50/50 games. If you want that same 140 point average to mean weeks of 80 points and weeks of 200 point lineups then you have come to the right place. All my dreams end with me alone at the top holding all the cash! What do yours look like?
We love Daily Fantasy Sports. If you're reading this, we believe you do as well. There is not much we enjoy more than completely burying ourselves in a slate of games, analyzing everything and anything from any piece of information we can get my hands on. We truly love it. However, what we don’t love is when we pick our head up from my laptop after several hours to see our families packed up and going to the in-laws for the weekend mad as hell.
Let's be honest. It is impossible for the normal DFS player to commit the hours necessary to do the research to be fully informed going into a particular slate of games. Have you ever heard the expression, “Work smarter not harder!”? Well that is basis for this Commandment. It takes hours upon hours per week to break down an NFL slate. Let us do the grunt work and you reap the rewards.
What you will need to do is:
Doing these few things will separate you from the small fish in the pond.
Our model is based off of multiple lineups in a given GPP contest. The flaw we see a lot of people doing with this strategy is thinning themselves out too much. You need to trust and still be on your core players. There is a reason your core players have hit all the metrics we use to predict player projections. Trust it.
One of the most essential strategies to building lineups is stacking. Stacking is pairing players from the same team in the hopes that they score points in correlation with one another. There are positives and negatives to stacking. Rotoviz did a correlation study on this very thing as shown in the graph below.
So what stacks do we want? The most popular is the QB/WR correlation and with good reason. It seems clear that they would have a positive correlation seeing that when a WR catches a touchdown both the QB and WR receive points. The exact opposite can be said about WR/RB in that when one has success it takes away from the opportunities for success of the other.
As each football week progresses we will examine the top stacks to be on and the ones to avoid. We wanted to give an introduction to it because it should be a staple in lineup building. Say, for example, we are building 20 lineups. We would tend to have two to three QB/WR stacks spread throughout all the lineups. People tend to scare from QB/WR/WR stacks, but that may just prove to be the most winning GPP stack of them all.
We will talk more of this, but the idea is to establish your core players and build almost all of your lineups with them. Then diversify yourself with a number of different fillers in the hopes that one combination of them will go off as well as your core, essentially boosting you to the top of the GPP pool.
Like we mentioned earlier. This is not a bankroll strategy, we are going for that one big week, that one big payday. Maintaining this strategy means only putting your money in when the payouts are premium. It is essential to stick to your guns on this! Putting in 20 lineups at $3/per into a small GPP for a max payout of $1000 is not what we are looking for. Those small hitters build up throughout the season if you don’t win.
Best case scenario is obviously to hit a big payout early in the season. However, it could take the whole season to get that one great day. Make sure you don’t spend over your means playing at the kiddy table and not have enough to enter when the big game comes to town.
Early in the season everyone is mad crazy because they have been waiting so long for the football season to return. The temptation is to overextend yourself early due to excitement. Remember, early in the season is when we have the least amount of data to go off of to predict player performances. This benefits the uninformed. That will not be us.
Oh yes, does the weather ever matter. Draftkings is forced to price players far in advance of their game times. This forces them to base salaries on predictive data, and what weather report is accurate six days in advance?
It seems obvious, but you would be so surprised how many players don’t change their lineups due to weather. For example, a QB should be downgraded significantly if game time wind speed is over 15mph or if the game time temperature is below freezing. Not only is it more difficult to throw the ball, but they are likely to have less opportunities since there will be more focus on running the ball. Since we also learned in Commandment #3 that there is a positive correlation between QB and WR, then we know that this will also bring down WR points.
Of course there is going to be that day that Tom Brady had a while back with something like 6 touchdowns and a 60 to nothing route over Tennessee in a blizzard. Since we remember it, we are sure others do as well. We usually encourage our friends when they say they are going to play the QB/WR stack in a blizzard to be contrarian, when secretly we giggle thinking thanks for the donation.
We are constantly searching for ways to be contrarian. There are good ways and bad ways to do this. Like above don’t base contrarian decisions on mother nature or her healing power for that matter.
Say for instance, all week there is talk of Calvin Johnson having back tightness or cramping or whatever it may be. He goes all week with that dreaded game time decision tag. He's playing a weak defensive secondary, and boom lineups are released and he is active! Lock him in right? Wrong. In the long run there are much better ways to be contrarian. We need to find angles that no one else sees. Every weak player thinks this is an angle they can use. Sure, Megatron could go off for 200 yards and 2 scores, but you absolutely lose when he is just there for a decoy. It is hard enough to win a GPP without being shorthanded.
Not much drives us more crazy then seeing players make decisions based on maxing the $50,000 salary cap. I see so many times a player switches out a guy he doesn’t like as much because he has $500 left and he must be better because he costs more.
Let me fill you in on a little secret. DraftKings salary pricing department is not VEGAS! Draftkings loses exactly $0 if a player under or over performed their salary. They do their best job usually six days or so before kickoff to price players and are locked in exactly then.
If we said you can only use 99% of your DraftKings salary you would say, “Sure, no problem”, but when you have $500 left over, people seem to freak out. For those not as quick on the math and no calculator in sight, 99% is $49,500. Base decisions on your projections, not on pricing.
As we mentioned earlier. DraftKings is locked into their player pricing well in advance of kickoff. This opens the door to extreme value plays when game time decisions are made or news breaks of a player benching late in the week. We need to see these opportunities and take advantage of them. We will discuss player ownership below, but you really shouldn’t care if a RB is going to be highly owned if he costs $3000 and is assured 50-75% of the team’s snaps that day due to a late breaking news.
It is also very important to build your lineups with late tweaking in mind. One key thing we will always do is fill our flex spot with the player that has the latest game. If you’re in the hunt of a big GPP come Sunday or Monday night, it is usually pretty easy to predict the player your opponents have remaining.
Say, for example, you’re in 10th place in the Milly Maker and you flexed the best running back in the Monday night game. If there are two guys above you both with just a RB left and you know their salary remaining indicates it is the same RB you have, then you have decisions to make. You know you have a 0% chance of winning it all if you keep your guy in. You also may assume the second of the two above you will switch to the cheaper second best RB in the game because they only have the RB spot available. Maybe you keep it the same to secure your spot or even pass one of them, or maybe you’re willing to risk dropping a few places by switching your flex to a WR or TE in order to give yourself a shot at the million. DraftKings allows late swapping, so we need to take advantage, or at least give ourselves the most possibilities for an optimal outcome.
Don’t misunderstand this Commandment. Low ownership is necessary to win a big GPP, however basing lineup decisions on ownership prediction gets quite tricky. Ownership prediction should be valued as an art not a science. There is no exact science on predicting it, thus should be considered, but not depended on.
If you have two players with the same point predictions, then use the "art" of ownership prediction and choose the player you think will be less owned. However, if you’re valuing players more because you believe they will have lower ownership then you are doing it wrong.
The masses are usually right when it comes to ownership percentage. Especially in the NFL where there is a full week of expert opinions and analysis on players, you will see considerably more press for one player than the other. But it is usually for good reason. Bad defense vs. position, high Vegas total, lots of targets, etc. When the chalk guy goes off, because he is the chalk guy then you need him in your lineup even at undesirable ownership.
There are so many ways to differentiate yourself from the field that it is almost hard not to when you build a lineup. There are thousands upon thousands of unique lineup possibilities in a full slate of games. Trust that somehow your lineup will find diversity without forcing it by sacrificing player data and projections.
If chasing points wasn’t a thing, then the phrase “chasing points” wouldn’t exist. As clear as the definition is, maybe it’s not so clear in reality.
If the top WR in the league, say Julio Jones, goes off for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, picking him next week would not be considered chasing points. Especially if the matchup, target projections, and his salary remain similar to the previous week.
However, if a backup running back costing $3000 was inserted into the lineup due to injury and he goes off for 100+ yards and 2 touchdowns, picking him next week even though he is still starting is chasing points. There are two main reasons we want to avoid doing this:
The key is to know when to "chase points" and when to not "chase points" and to understand the difference.