Winning in DFS isn’t simply about picking the right players. Game selection is a huge part of it as well.
Game selection is a complicated topic because everyone should have different goals. The overwhelming majority of people should be playing DFS football for pure fun. A small percentage of people can treat DFS as a side job, looking to generate a small amount of extra income. And a tiny, infinitesimal percentage of the player pool is trying to play for a living.
The game selection advice below is for people who want to have a solid amount of fun but also want to give themselves a realistic chance at finishing the season in the black. The best way to do this is not by exclusively playing the extreme large-field tournaments, as a massive amount of the prize pool goes to the top three places and the inherent variance is astronomical. It’s very easy — even for the best DFS players — to go through an entire season (or multiple seasons) without getting into those top three places. When that happens, you’re very likely to finish the year in the red. You need to add some cash games* to your arsenal if you’re going to have a positive expectation (Of course this assumes that you’re working hard, grasp cash-game concepts and have a positive expectation in them).
All that said, I know a lot of people just want to take a little bit of money and try to turn it into a lot. They don’t care about having a negative expectation over the course of the season. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all — in fact, I think most people should have that attitude. So if you just want to play some lineups in the Fantasy Football Millionaire every week with dreams of turning $20 into $1,000,000, don’t let me stop you. In fact, that does sound like great fun.
Again, the below is for people who want to mix fun while giving themselves a chance to actually have a positive expectation each week.
*Cash games refer to any contest in which roughly 50% of the field gets paid out, such as head-to-heads, double ups and 50/50s.
IF YOU WANT TO PLAY $20 IN A WEEK
Goal: Use your small bankroll to your advantage. That means finding low-stakes contests where a majority of your opponents are not working as hard as you. They’re not following the news closely, they’re not making necessary adjustments around lock and they’re not being thoughtful about lineup construction.
* Sixteen GPP lineups in the $0.25 Quarter Jukebox. This is the preferred large-field tournament over the mini-MAX because entries are capped at 20.
* One cash lineup in the Single Entry $2 Double-Up and the same cash lineup in the Giant Single Entry $5 Double-Up. We always want to be entering the largest-field, single-entry Double-Ups. We want to avoid multi-entry double-ups as the solid players can enter 150 lineups in them. The large-field sing entries by nature feature fewer solid lineups because there simply aren’t enough solid players in the field to fill the contest. Weaker players will seep in.
* One GPP lineup in the $1 Daily Dollar. We don’t want to put our cash lineup in here as a min-cash only pays 1.5x our buy-in and almost 16% of the prize pool goes to the top-10 spots out of 17,835 entries. We do want to enter a correlated lineup that has a bit of leverage against a few popular plays we don’t feel good about.
* One GPP lineup in the $3 Pylon. This should be a different lineup than what we played in the $1 Daily Dollar.
* Five $1 head-to-head games using our same cash lineup. Create the head-to-head contests yourself. Be sure to click the box that limits the number of times one person can play against you to one. Also if you notice any “pros” scooping your contests, add them to your block list. You can do this by going to Account Information, Preferences, Head-to-Head Settings.
IF YOU WANT TO PLAY $200 IN A WEEK
Goal: Continue to play as many micro-stakes contests as you can, but add in some more variance through higher-stakes, single-entry Double-Ups and Tournaments.
* All of the above. Plus the below.
* Forty-seven $1 head-to-head games using your cash lineup.
* One cash lineup in the $10 Giant Single Entry Double-Up with 5,747 entries.
* Same cash lineup in the $10 Giant Single Entry Double-Up with 2,873 entries.
* Same cash lineup in the $25 Massive Single Entry Double Up with 4,597 entries.
* Slightly pivoted cash lineup 10 times in the $2 Big Booster. The top 750 entries out of 8,823 in this contest win $20. We mostly can use our core cash plays here and still show a profit with a reasonable chance to turn $20 into $400.
* Take the 16 lineups we put in the $0.25 Quarter Jukebox and add them to both the $2 Safety and the $1 First Down. Again, these tournaments cap entries per person at 20 and we get the added benefit of 2x min-cash, plus a reasonable 8% to first place.
* One very unique, correlated GPP lineup in the $20 Fantasy Football Millionaire. Everyone needs to have a little fun even though it’s a negative-EV entry in a vacuum. Note 20% of the prize pool goes to first place out of 294K entries.
IF YOU WANT TO PLAY $1,000 IN A WEEK
Goal: Add in more upside through well-structured GPPs. Use cash games as your bankroll-builder to allow for these high-variance tournament shots.
* All of the above. Plus the below.
* Forty $2 head-to-head games using your cash lineup.
* Forty-two $3 head-to-head games using your cash lineup.
* Forty $5 head-to-head games using your cash lineup. We now should have $458 total in head-to-head games. You notice a heavy emphasis here because it allows us to smooth out variance. Unlike Double-Ups or 50/50s, we can have a 30th-percentile lineup and still live to fight another day.
* Take those 16 GPP lineups you put in the Quarter Jukebox, First Down and Safety, and add them to both the $5 Flea Flicker and the $9 Slant. You now have $17.25 on each of those GPP lineups for a total of $276.
* Add another lineup to the $20 Fantasy Football Millionaire. For the fun, of course.
* One cash lineup in the Giant $100 Single Entry Double-Up. Competition is tougher, but still 833 entries and we ramp up the variance a bit to complement our head-to-head action. The outcome will either be -$100 or +100, nothing in between.
* One GPP team in the $50 Red Zone. Many people will simply put their cash team in this, giving you a higher chance at first place with a thoughtful tournament construction.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is adamlevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.