After establishing scoring settings, player pools, and implied point totals you can select the strategy that best suits your particular contest and now it’s time to build your lineup. The names associated with each particular play will change from week to week but the general strategy is the same. Find value, use implied point totals to identify positive game scripts, key on specific stacks, and combine those with “comebackers” to create a lineup that can take down even the most competitive of tournaments.
For the purposes of this article we will focus on points per reception (PPR) scoring, large tournament formats, a small percentage of entire payouts, with a 50,000 salary cap and 1 qb, 2 rb, 3 wr, 1 te, 1 flex, 1 defense roster settings. Some players start with those that they are willing to pay up for and then look for value plays that fit within their remaining budget. Others feel it is best to start with those value plays and build from the bottom up. Both strategies can be effective however those that listen to Cash Crusade, our DFS podcast, know that we tend to start from the bottom up.
A value play is considered any flex play (rb, wr, te) that gets 3.0-3.5x his salary in points or 4x the salary in points for a quarterback. Value plays can be found all over the board but the two positions that are crucial to find value in are the tight end and defense positions. Tight ends, outside of Travis Kelce, is a waste land and can feel somewhat random. Game script and targets (specifically red zone targets) are popular statistics to key on but touchdown equity is the biggest factor. Simply put most tight ends need a touchdown to be relevant. Defenses on the other hand need to make plays such as sacks, forcing turnovers, and scoring themselves to stand out from the rest of the field. The match up is the biggest factor to take into account. Playing against a high scoring offense is clearly not ideal, while playing against an offense that runs heavily is also not generally effective. You want to play against a team that is going to take chances, throw a lot to create the opportunity for sacks, and that has sub par quarterback play. Although it is true that some defenses stand out from the rest due to their own talent, the funds that you can save and funnel into another position can greatly increase your lineup’s overall scoring.
Once those value plays have been established and you’re looking to spend the remainder of your budget it is important to key on a few games. Implied point totals are a major factor in these decisions. If you take the Vegas over/under and use the point spread you can easily calculate what the professional oddsmakers expect each team to score in each game. You simply take the point total, divide it in half, take the spread and divide it in half, and add them together. (O/Ux0.5+Spread/2=IPT) For example the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing the Kansas City Chiefs and the over/under is 56 according to MyBookie.com going into week 12. The chiefs have a spread of -3, so if you take 56 and divide it in half, and add 1.5 points to the chiefs you will have an implied total of 29.5.
IPT will result in two strategies, one being stacks and the other being comebackers. A stack is simply combining the quarterback of a team with a high IPT with one of their pass catchers. Many times a wide receiver is the main option but it could be a tight end or running back. The ability to get double points from the same play is huge in any fantasy football lineup but much more so in large DFS tournaments. If the quarterback throws a touchdown not only do you receive points for the quarterback position but also a reception, yards, and the TD for your pass catcher. The less plays it takes to increase your point total the better as it can raise your ceiling tremendously.
The NFL is largely competitive and even if a team is heavily favored the other team still attempts to catch up and this can be crucial to a DFS lineup. “Comebackers” would be players from the losing team in games with a high point total and will be in a positive game script. Positive game script for a specific player is based on total opportunity. Run heavy teams with a projected lead are more likely to incorporate the running back while those expected to be trailing would incorporate the pass catchers. For example, if the one team is heavily favored, a great “comebacker” would be a lead receiving option for their opposing team. Identifying stacks on one specific game with a high implied point total combined with a “comebacker” can secure a floor while capitalizing on a tournament winning ceiling.
Combining the strategies highlighted above will give you an edge over your competition. Start with those value plays to open up extra salary for your studs, buy into those games with high scoring totals, combine stacks with comebackers, sit back on Sunday and watch your DraftKings balance grow.