Today is the last Sunday without football until February. Fantasy drafts are wrapping up this week and many of us are full of confidence while others (like myself) are full of stress. If you read my previous fantasy article, I laid out some advice for fantasy drafts. Unfortunately, I did not follow any of my own advice, let’s see if that pays off. But the fantasy fun does not stop here. For the next sixteen weeks I will be providing you with players to focus on every week for a dominant DraftKings daily fantasy lineup. Let’s see what strategies can win us some money this year.
For my first post, I will be focusing on the Sunday slate that includes the 1 PM EST games along with the 4 PM EST games which features a total of 12 games this week. That will be posted some time this week between Thursday and Saturday while my Thursday night slate analysis will be posted between today and Thursday. But before I dive into which players are worth the price and which players have high value, which is what my future posts will consist of, I want to share the different approaches for some of you who may be less experienced DFS players.
Cash games are easier to win money from because there is often a 50-50 chance of cashing out. The rule of thumb is to spend the majority of your bank roll on these games rather than tournaments. Some people do 90-10, some do 80-20, and some do 70-30 with the majority of the money being spent on cash games. Personally, I like to use 70 percent of my bankroll for cash games while using the other 30 percent for GPPs. Of course when everyone thinks of DFS they think about Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs) because of the chance of winning thousands from a $5 lineup, but I’ll get to those later. Included in these cash games are Head to Heads, Double Ups, and 50-50s. You do not need the best lineup in these contests you just need a better lineup. If you have more points than half the field or your opponent then you will double your money. This means you want to target solid players who will reach at least 2.5X value. For example, if you pay $5,000 for a player, they should score at least 12.5 points in order to reach their value. The exception to this strategy are quarterbacks. You want your quarterbacks to get you at least three and a half times their salary. This is because quarterbacks are typically priced lower overall than receivers and running backsTherefore, if I pay $7,000 for a QB, I should get at least 24.5 points from them that week. In summary, you want 3.5X for QBs and 2.5X for RBs, WRs, and TEs.
Here are some examples from week 1:
The quarterback I have the most exposure to in week 1 is Jameis Winston (I’ll explain why later this week). His salary for week 1 is $6,600 on DraftKings. Which means I am expecting him to score at least 23.1 points. His current projection is 21.23 fantasy points which is still close to his estimated value and he is in a situation where he can throw the ball 40+ times in week 1.
6.6 x 3.5 = 23.1
Simple enough, right? Here’s an example for a RB that I have in every single lineup for week 1: Saquon Barkley.
His salary is $9,000 (9) and in order for him to catch value he needs to score two and a half times his salary (2.5).
9 x 2.5 = 22.5
Saquon Barkley will need to score 22.5 fantasy points to reach his value and I expect him to exceed this mark, making him a very valuable choice for week 1. His current projections are 23.51 points making him more than worthy of his $9,000 price tag.
That is pretty much the basics for cash games. If you have any questions about cash games shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, comment below, or tweet us @GameWinningTO. Now, let’s move on to the games that can make you rich quick, GPPs.
Guaranteed Prize Pools
I will never forget the feeling of instant gratification from winning $200 from a $3 NBA lineup in a beginner’s only tournament. I’ve been chasing that same feeling ever since (I’ll post an article about NBA DFS closer to the season but for now let’s stick to NFL). But I will warn those of you looking to make a lot of money from one lineup that winning these is almost like winning the lottery. So don’t expect to win the Millionaire Maker with your foolproof lineup because chances are, it won’t win. But it is that small chance that we can win hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands that keeps us playing. For these games you most certainly need the best lineup unlike cash games.
The approach to salaries is similar to those of cash games except the estimated value will be higher in GPPs. You want a RB, WR, or TE to score 3.5X their salary while you want your QB to score 4.5X their salary. For example, if you pay $6,000 for a RB, WR, or TE, you’ll want them to score 21.5 points. For a QB that costs $6,000, you’ll want them to score 27 points. This is where searching for value can either make or break your lineup.
You will also want a contrarian lineup so when your opponents have the same player putting up 25-30 points but you have a lesser owned player with the same amount of points, it could put you ahead of the pack. In GPPs you want to avoid “chalk.” Chalk is a slang DFS term for players who have a high projected ownership (in cash games chalk is your friend). Therefore, if you avoid chalky players and find value in lesser-owned players, you will have a GPP lineup with a good chance of being in the money.
Here is an example of a player I am targeting for a week 1 GPP:
QB Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills has a matchup against the Jets who have a subpar defense. Josh Allen led all QBs in fantasy points in the last six weeks of last year’s season. He is a cheaper QB at $5,600 and he has running ability which could lead to a rushing touchdown which is six points opposed to the four points received for a passing touchdown. Another QB in a similar situation is Kyler Murray who is priced the same and will probably be owned by a lower percentage of players because he hasn’t started an NFL game before.
Josh Allen’s current projection is 17.5 points. In order for him to reach 4.5X his value he needs to score 25.2 points which is an attainable total for his situation.
5.6 x 4.5 = 25.2
A non-QB player I like week one is WR John Brown also of the Buffalo Bills. One reason is because of using him to complete a stack with Josh Allen and the other reason being his low price with the potential of a high value. Brown’s is priced at $4,300 and is listed as the Bills’ number one receiver. In order for him to reach his 3.5X value, he will need to score 15.05 points.
4.3 x 3.5 = 15.05
Other Strategies to Consider
Notice how I mentioned stacking by pairing together Allen and Brown. This strategy is useful in both daily fantasy and season long fantasy. I went more in depth about this strategy in my previous article about a season long fantasy draft approach. For more information on stacking, check out my previous article.
Another very helpful strategy is to check sportsbooks and looking at which games have the highest over/unders. If you target a game that is likely to be a shootout, target both teams from that game and you should see a lot of points in your lineup. But beware of games that are likely to be one sided. Make sure it is a matchup that will remain close for most of the game. My usual strategy is to look at the three games with the highest over/unders and go from there. By using that strategy for week 1 I can conclude that the three highest scoring games in Sunday’s slate are projected to be Kansas City vs. Jacksonville (O/U 52), Los Angeles Rams vs. Carolina (O/U 50), and San Francisco vs. Tampa Bay (O/U 50). Looking at these games, my favorite game of the three is San Francisco vs. Tampa Bay because there will be a lot of offense combined with minuscule defense. I believe that this game will in fact hit the over for those of you out there that are bettors. Targeting any one of these games can be helpful but the difficult part is picking the right game.
Hopefully this article provided you with some insight about how to approach your daily fantasy lineups. If you have any questions. comments, or concerns be sure to comment, email us, or tweet us. Good luck this season. In the words of Randy Moss, let’s get some “straight cash homie.”