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Beginner NFL DFS: Salary cap

We continue our breakdown of the basics for NFL DFS. In this section, we look at salary cap, with definitions and some basic strategy.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens throws a 12-yard touchdown to running back Mark Ingram in the third quarter of a game against the Cleveland Browns on December 22, 2019 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Baltimore won 31-15. Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

In daily fantasy football, like in most things, getting the fundamentals down is integral toward laying a foundation of knowledge to build from as you progress as a player. For DFS, that means understanding the salary cap.

Salary cap

Definition

As in every DFS sport, you start with a certain amount of “cash” to spend on your lineup. For football on DraftKings, you’ll start with $50,000 and need to fill nine positions, QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, Flex, DST. That gives us an average of $5,555 to spend on each position, but actually allocating those funds to build the most-efficient lineup will spread that money out in some predictable ways.

Strategy

Cash

Allocating your money to the most predictable positions is always the best way to go in cash games. In the NFL, those are usually going to be quarterbacks and running backs. We know they are going to touch the ball with regularity, which means, if they are good, they should put up consistent DraftKings points.

Who you invest the most salary cap into should be based on a consistent, high statistical floor. The players you end up paying up for will also be players that your competitors will also pay up for. That sounds bad, but remember, you only need to outscore 50 percent of your competition to cash in cash. Slow and steady wins the race.

GPP

In The Tortoise and the Hare, the tortoise is the cash play and the hare is the GPP play. We know the hare can be volatile. He might take a nap or find a field of lettuce that must be eaten instead of easily beating the tortoise in a race. We know Hare has insane upside, but some days he just doesn’t show up. Those are the kinds of players you want in GPPs, as they have the ability to put up huge numbers but aren’t consistent enough to be heavily rostered.

The most volatile position is wide receiver. One 80 yard touchdown makes the majority of receivers a good play, but those huge plays aren’t going to happen consistently. Even when you pay up for wide receiver, you can’t feel as safe as you do when paying up for running back or quarterback. But, in GPPs, bucking the trend at those safer positions will differentiate you from the crowd.