Introduction to Cash Games

consistency-is-key

It’s difficult to not get caught up in the dream of winning a big DFS tournament, but when trying to build your bankroll consistency is key.  By their nature tournaments have much greater volatility than cash games.  In cash games around 50% of the field is paid while in tournaments only around 20% is paid.  This of course leads to cashing in Cash Games more frequently than Tournaments.  If you insist on playing tournaments while trying to build a bankroll and learn DFS I would highly recommend allocating just a small portion of your daily investment into them.

For the purpose of this article we’ll be discussing the basics of the Head to Head and Double Up Format.  Multipliers, Boosters, and the like are sometimes also grouped under the Cash Game umbrella, but like tournaments these contests carry more risk because a lower percentage of the field is paid.

Double Ups (50/50s)

When playing tournaments your goal is to create a line up that has the ability to win a tournament.  There is a benefit to having low owned high variance players because they give you the greatest chance to score fantasy points few other line ups will also score.

In Doubles Ups you’re goal should not be to have the highest score in that contest, but rather to create a line up that will cash in top 50% (roughly) of the contest.  If a score of 250 fantasy points is required to cash in tonight’s NBA double ups, there is no benefit to scoring 330 points.  If you score 330 points you are still only paid double the entry fee you paid to buy into the contest.  If you score under 250 fantasy points or lower you lose your entire entry fee.

How does this affect our player selection?

We need to look for players who not only project to have good value, but also players who’s range of performances is closest to that projection.  There are many factors that can contribute to consistent fantasy projection including consistency in opportunity, role consistency, and Vegas lines.

Let’s say you’re deciding between Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones for the flex spot of your DraftKings double up lineup.  For the sake of this example they both project to score the same number of points, are in neutral match ups, and have the same salary.  Which would you pick for your double up line up?

The answer is Devonta Freeman.  The reason for this lies in their consistency of opportunities.  Running backs have more consistency due to more opportunities.  Last year Freeman had 265 rushing attempts and was targeted on passes 97 times for a combined 362 opportunities to score fantasy points.  Julio Jones was targeted 204 times on passes and had no rush attempts.  Julio Jones had around 56% of the opportunities that freeman had on the season.

Not only were Jones’ opportunities lower, but the quality of them was less consistent.  Jones relied on catching passes for his fantasy production.  This means that he needed to get open, be targeted, have an accurate throw come his way, and catch the pass.  Freeman received most of his opportunities on hand offs which only requires taking the ball out of your quarterbacks hand.  Obviously there are way less variables in Freeman’s opportunities.

I second guessed whether or not I wanted to use this example with Julio Jones being the freak of nature league leading receiver he is, but then I realized this outlier should do a tremendous job of proving the point I’m making.  Even as the league leader in almost all receiving categories he still only had an opportunity to score fantasy points on roughly 20% of the Falcons’ plays while freeman had an opportunity to do so about 35% of the plays.  Obviously as receivers become less elite the opportunities lessen while a RB1 will typically have very consistent opportunities.

Head to Head

The strategy in line up creation is mostly the same in Head to Head and Double Up formats.  One part of Cash Game strategy that is more vital in Head to Head than in Double Ups is game selection.  There are now only two players in the contest.  This means the difficulty of the contest is entirely dependent on one other player.  What can you do to maximize profitability of your head to head games?

  • Avoid players who are sitting a large number of contest as they are likely to be sharks waiting for players to join their contests.
  • Create your own contests to encourage softer opponents to sit you.
  • On sites like DraftKings you have the ability to block up to 3 players from joining you in Head to Head contests.  To do this on DraftKings go to your preferences in your ‘My Account’ page.  You can use this to block sharks from sitting you.
  • Look for players you don’t recognize or players who are sitting few contests as they are likely to be a softer opponent.

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