One of the big keys to becoming a successful DFS player, no matter the sport, is to have a repeatable process when building lineups for the day. It takes time to find what sort of games you excel at, (cash, GPP’s, etc.) but once you have a process you like down, it greatly reduces the amount of time and more importantly, the guesswork put into researching the slate.
I’ll go through some of my process of building cash lineups that hopefully give you a few good ideas to add to your own roster building. Let’s get right into it:
- Start with the top game totals of the day
Unless there’s a blatantly obvious play plug and play, (like Anthony Towns against the Lakers or Kidd-Gilchrist against the Lakers a few games earlier) start your research with the top game totals of the day. Most of the time, the top building block players and value guys will be in these games and are players you will want to take advantage of. It’s extremely rare that any of your rosters, cash or GPP, will be without at least one or two plays in the highest game totals on the slate.
- Diagnose the injury news
Injury news updates throughout the day, but it’s important to sift through what information you do have when you’re building your lineups. Don’t just look at injury news through one scope though; view it through every possible angle. For instance, if Hassan Whiteside is out, the value opens up for guys like Chris Bosh, but also Justice Winslow and Amare Stoudemire. Their role and minutes increase in a big way, which opens up quality value. Also, understand how the other team is affected as well and who stands to gain the most on their team from Whiteside being out. Being able to correctly analyze injuries will make or break your lineups.
- Key in on exploitable match-ups to find the “chalk”
On every slate, there will be overwhelmingly favorable match-ups with tons of fantasy goodness. Being able to identify where the chalk will be for the slate is crucial for both your cash and GPP rosters. With a good understanding of ownership percentages, it’ll help you understand which spots you can roll with the chalk and which spots you can fade. For tournaments, it greatly helps you differentiate lineups to find some low-ownership plays.
- Listen to news around the industry
This one is a little more difficult for a majority of casual players as you won’t have hours and hours to sort through all the different information about the slate. It is important though to get at least some exposure to who people are talking about; even if it’s just listening to a 15 minutes of a podcast or reading an article or two. No matter how much information you take in for a certain slate, always be sure to have your plays lined up first so you aren’t overly influenced by everyone else. It’s great that there’s so many resources available for DFS players, but coming up with your own picks first is needed to develop your own process.
- Use a notepad and write down plays you’re interested in
Writing down my plays was one of the best changes I’ve made over the last couple months and it’s really helped in keeping my thoughts and plays organized. It can be as simple as: “James Harden, Up-tempo match-up, huge total.” What I found myself doing far too often was favoring plays, especially value ones towards the end of my research as opposed to ones I did at the beginning. Having everything written down keeps me from forgetting about anybody and organized when I start looking into who everyone else is targeting.
- Keep reworking your process
The most frustrating part about DFS is that all the great match-ups and research can easily go out the window on any given slate. All we can do is put ourselves in the best possible situations and hope for favorable outcomes. Keep experimenting with how you build lineups and what you want to focus on in your roster construction. Even the top pros have as many misses as they do hits. What separates them from everyone else is they’re always looking for an edge and looking to get better. Always strive to find what works for you and improve on that process.