NFL DFS – GPP vs Cash Game Strategy
NFL DFS is a beast, and it presents us with a multitude of places to put our bankroll week in and week out. The biggest contests on every site are during football season, and it can be overwhelming deciding which sites to play, where to allocate your bankroll, whether to play GPP’s or Cash Games, and whether or not to play Qualifiers to major finals. Ultimately, how you decide to allocate your bankroll will be up to you, of course (read this bankroll management guide for ideas, link), but this article will give you appropriate strategies to successfully attack both Cash games and GPP’s.
Cash Games Strategy
Volume and opportunity, opportunity and volume. Those are the buzzwords (and rightfully so) when thinking about your NFL cash games. Which players are going to get the opportunity to produce fantasy points by receiving a high volume of touches or targets? In general, in our NFL cash games, we want to target players that will receive a large amount of volume and opportunity in comparison to their cost to our salary cap. While there is certainly something to be said for accurately judging the talent level of individual players, and the quality of the match-ups those players will be playing in during the next week’s games, that is a much trickier task than being able to project who will be on the field and receiving carries and targets.
Oftentimes, and more so than in any other sport, injuries will occur that vault players up the point-per-dollar rankings. Did a team lose their starting running back mid-week? Can we project who will pick up the extra carries and targets in their absence? If so (and we usually can, to a certain degree), that player will often be very under priced and thus present a tremendous value to the savvy DFS player. The same, of course applies to wide receiver. If a team’s #1 WR goes down and will miss time, someone will have to fill the void not only in the starting lineup, but the targets that each receiver typically receives will also be redistributed. Projecting where those targets will go and finding the undervalued assets (players) is what cash game success is all about.
Beyond injury, we should in general be targeting “safe” players for our NFL cash games and trying to build as high of a floor as we can with our lineup. That often means spending up at running back, as there are very few true “bell-cow” backs left in the league, and if you can project with a reasonable degree of confidence that a running back will receive 20+ touches that player generally gives you a very nice floor from which to build. For wide receivers and tight ends, we want to target players in our cash games that generally receive a lot of targets (and in particular, red zone targets). Especially in point-per-reception (PPR) leagues, getting a high volume of targets helps ensure our players will help us raise our floor and give us a better chance of hitting the cash lines in our 50/50s, double-ups, and head-to-head contests.
While the general tenets of successful cash game play also apply got GPP strategy, there are other components to consider as well. Volume and opportunity are great, but if we are trying to win a GPP, we need to hit some home runs. Whereas in our cash games we might typically avoid a wide receiver who scores a large percentage of their fantasy points via the big play (think DeSean Jackson), in GPP’s we want to embrace and even seek out the variance that such a player provides. At season’s end, a player like DeSean Jackson may end up with a similar amount of fantasy points per game as a possession slot receiver, but Jackson will have scored his points in bunches, when compared on a week-to-week basis. Perhaps a 4-game sample size of fantasy points for a player like Jackson might look like 6.4 – 23.2 – 8.1 – 18.7, whereas the possession receiver may have a much more balanced distribution of 9.2 – 13.4 – 15.6 – 12.4.
While both players scored a similar amount of fantasy points over the four week period, Jackson helped you win a GPP one week while burning you on a couple of weeks, and the consistent receiver never killed you, but also likely didn’t score enough fantasy points in any of the weeks to put you over the top in a tournament.