In this chapter, we’re here to break down the basic tenant of the game itself – how to get points from your lineup. Further, we’ll look at how to build your team to maximize your chances of winning your contests, no matter what kind they might be.
There are several ways to build your lineup in order to suit the kind of contest you’re trying to win – the “safe” lineup for head to head, double or triple ups; the “risk positive” kind of setup that you want to put into a tournament or a qualifier; stacking a team on a slate with positive plays elsewhere in order to ride a potential one-sided affair; and a combination of those in order for you to maximize the ceiling of your players.
One way to build a team is a combination of “mini-stacks.” This is a combination of two or three teams and two or three players from each club in your lineup. You can go several ways within this scenario: stacking your keeper and defenders based on the potential of getting a clean sheet bonus en masse; pairing a midfielder and forward from teams in order to capitalize on players getting points on top of each other; or (a popular tactic of players) selecting a third defender in a Flex spot in order to save salary in order to spend up elsewhere.
These mini-stacks are based on the players themselves and the matchups they have on a particular day. While superstar-caliber players can be used regardless of matchup, it’s in your best interest, as with any DFS sport, to study matchups and exploit the mismatches. Not only to “prey” upon weaker teams/players, but also to find the right players within that subgroup.
It’s easy to stack players from the top clubs each and every day, but finding the right combination of those players is the tough part. In order to gain the value needed from the salary “cost” of building your lineup, you need to figure out what options have the best chances to amass points – be it a winger that can get points from crosses, a low cost striker or midfielder who could get a goal, or a defender than might be in line for a clean sheet.
You also need to balance the likely high-end salaries of these mini-stacks against players from other clubs, or lesser options from the same clubs, in order to get your team under the salary cap. It’s a fine balance between buying up for the top end strikers paired with a defensive midfielder for a minimum cost that will likely garner you little in the way of points and not buying into the top end players in order to have a very balanced lineup that has little in the way of a high ceiling.
Here is the trick: balance is necessary. It’s nearly impossible to win a large GPP with a player in your lineup that doesn’t provide much scoring output. A lot of winning GPP entries have included a third defender in their roster because of their value when it comes to their lower-to-mid-level salary. These players can sometimes provide double digit point production, either through a clean sheet and crosses or a goal from a set piece. Using a third defender usually will end up costing $5,000 or less, and it allows you to spend up on at least two spots amongst midfield and forwards. This can allow a much better option than putting risk into a low-end defender at one spot or a minimum cost value at midfield or striker. Going with the latter option will likely put you in a place where you’re dependent on a younger, untested player or someone coming off a long-term injury who is unlikely to play a full 90 minutes. As best as you can, you need to project players that will play a full match into your lineups in order to get points.
For your team, you’ll want to find the right combination of players in order to maximize your ceiling. You can build a team that takes players from a variety of teams that eschews the stacking concept, but it’s a fine line – one wrong decision, and you’re sitting on a single-digit number that sinks your lineup. Going contrarian may work from time to time, and finding the best spots and the players on those teams will work for you in the end.