Multiple Cash Game Lineups - Fanduel - NFL Week 2

Should I enter multiple cash game lineups for NFL?

If you ask this question, most advocate a single cash game lineup. When I searched for the theory behind this, I did find some notable DFS veterans on the other side of the argument.

Why limit yourself to 100% or 0% exposure in your cash lineups? If you play Head to Head games, a single lineup may make sense – you limit your losses if you have a lineup outside of the top 50%. But in Double Ups or 50/50’s, it’s pretty much an all or nothing proposition. Most weeks, with a single lineup you will win every contest or lose every one..rarely do you fall right on the line.

I entered a single lineup in week 1 and lost. It was at this moment that I realized putting my entire week of profits on a single lineup lends itself to all sorts of variance. NFL is only 17 weeks. 17 lineups isn’t enough to overcome variance. I also did not want to spread out my play on different slates/sites at this point. So I decided to enter multiple 50/50 lineups.

I downloaded my results from my relatively limited NFL DFS experience

2014 – profited in 50/50 4 out of 6 weeks 60%
2015 – profited in 50/50 8 out of 10 weeks 80%

Due to poor bankroll management – (I was wildly inconsistent with the amount I would put in play each week), I only saw a ROI of 8.6%.

My Process – Single lineup

I always start with consensus projections. You can compile these from many different sources. But I generally follow the “Wisdom of the Crowd”. I load those projections into a spreadsheet to determine an optimal lineup based on those projections. (I recommend learning how to use the solver add in for Excel).

I always play around with these projections to get what I feel is a safe lineup for cash game play. I may force in a player that I know will be highly owned – and typically make sure I don’t have two negatively correlated players on the roster or too much exposure to one game.

My Process – Multiple Lineups

The same as above, but I start by choosing my QB, and build a lineup around that position. I will try to pick at least 4 QBs to have exposure to each week from a range of salaries. By selecting quarterbacks from different salary ranges, it will make it simpler to diversify the rest of the lineups.

In week 2, I entered a total of 11 cash game lineups. At the quarterback position, I had exposure to the following QBs:

4 lineups – Cam Newton
2 lineups – Carson Palmer
2 lineups – Sam Bradford
1 lineup – Trevor Siemien
2 lineups – Eli Manning

I built optimal lineups around each QB, and then modified the lineups to spread out exposure. I limited the amount of times I had the same pairings as much as possible. I didn’t want to have the same players overlap in multiple lineups more than a couple of times. I also didn’t have 50% or greater exposure to any single player.

But won’t you be fielding sub-optimal lineups?

The reality is, that no projections are perfect. None of my lineups projected more than 5 points lower than than my optimal lineup in week 2.

I also threw each of these lineups into the $1 Dive (Just in Case).

The Results – Week 2

11 lineups – $20 entered into 50/50 per lineup. $220 total entries.

Lineup 1 (Siemien) 127.14 pts. $16 Profit
Lineup 6 (Newton 130.92 pts. $16 Profit
Lineup 2 (Newton) 101.62 pts. $20 Loss
Lineup 11 (Newton) 120.12 pts $16 Profit
Lineup 9 (Newton) 113.92 pts $16 Profit
Lineup 3 (Palmer) 103.42 pts $12.80 Loss
Lineup 8 (Palmer) 124.02 pts $16 Profit
Lineup 4 (Manning) 114.82 pts $16 Profit
Lineup 5 (Manning) 93.62 pts $20 Loss
Lineup 7 (Stafford) 99.7 pts $20 Loss
Lineup 10 (Stafford) 135.4 pts $16 Profit

Total (50/50 Only) $39.20 Profit.
Total GPP Entries $0.50 Profit

Grand Total $39.70 Profit

Other Notes

My ‘optimal lineup’ was the one with Cam that scored 130.92 pts. So, I would have won regardless. However, the plan is, that utilizing this strategy of lineup diversification, I will put more into play each week than I would with a single cash lineup, since it would be much less likely to lose 100% of weekly entries. As I am more comfortable with the proper balance and my process of lineup building, I will plan to slowly increase my play.

The amount of play will also depend on the week, and how many players I feel comfortable with having exposure to each week.

I am not claiming to be an expert, but by putting my results out here each week, I hope that it will be beneficial to the community – whether I win or lose.

About the Author


  • sirdubs

    • Blogger of the Month

    Last week I did a pretty long write up exploring the idea of going with 3 cash line ups instead of 1 for that week. My personal hang up when it comes to multiple cash lineups is that I usually want to take a high enough exposure to some players that if they fail my cash line ups are in some serious jeopardy anyway. Another thing is the list of players I have high confidence in to return 2x value week to week ends up being very short.

    Another thing is you had 11 line ups and you needed 6 of them to place in order to be just barely short of break even and it’s not until you have 7 lineups profit that you hit your profit of. In a mathematically easy world where your line ups either win in every 50/50 or lose in every 50/50 If you did actually play these line ups $20 each then 7 winning line ups pay off $140 × 1.8 or $252 for a gain of $32 or 14.5% ROI which would be a reasonably good ROI to pull in on a weekly basis.

    In your case though you had 7 lineups win all their 50/50s 3 lineups lose altogether and a 4th that lost 12.80 to turn a 17.2% ROI which is pretty high. You were able to reach an average score of 114 which if you can replicate week to week should lead you to long term profitability. It also makes a lot more sense to do in your situation because you’re taking 100% exposure to 50/50 line ups. The single line up approach is best for H2H match ups where there’s the most safety as it’s very unlikely you will lose 100% of your entries.

    There’s two reasons I wouldn’t be able to take this approach to my cash games. The first is you need 6 winning line ups and a 7th that at least cashes in some entries in order to be profitable. The second is really more about personal taste as it adds this whole extra level of uncertainty in terms of which guys to take more or less exposure to and all that. Hope your success continues into week 3, if you keep posting results I’ll keep reading!

  • Dmurphy104

    • Blogger of the Month

    I am running on a couple of assumptions.

    1. Each of the lineups are equally as likely to cash. The projected totals vary by about 5 points total. Projections aren’t perfect. I am trying to put together lineups that I would be confident in running as a single cash game lineup. Forcing myself to diversify makes this imperfect – but I still have a pretty tight core of players.

    2. Running a binomial distribution, The probablility is high in profiting in a week with multiple lineups (or taking a very small loss). This is making an estimate based on past win% of 50/50s.

    Also, winning 6 of 11 would be basically breakeven (-$3.00 – not including the $1 GPP add ons).

    If you have a 60% expected win rate, and the binomial distribution holds, there is a 75% chance of winning 6 or more with 11 entries and a 90% chance of winning 5 or more. My historical win % is greater than 60%, but the sample is small.

    I am up early now spreading out my exposure a bit. I am OK with 50% + exposure to players like Diggs – because he will be over 50% owned by the field. But I initially had too high of exposure to David Johnson and Antonio Brown. I am more woried about exposure to the same groupings of players in multiple lineups though.

  • sirdubs

    • Blogger of the Month

    Well I can say I was inspired by your approach and tried my own variation of it this week where I happened to have a great deal of success and nearly doubled my entry fees for the week. The main difference is I spread my exposure across H2H, 50/50 and double up entries with a couple 10-100 player tournaments mixed in as well as a couple low $ GPP entries. I’m going to post a detailed write up at the end of tonight’s game when I’m sure what my final payout will be. Without your write up I never would have taken a shot on it. Funny coincidence the line up I would have entered as my single cash line up this week scored under 90 points and would have completely screwed me.

    I’ll be giving you a shout out in the write up! Hope your week 3 was a success as well

  • Dmurphy104

    • Blogger of the Month

    Glad it worked out for you. I lost what I won in the first week of this experiment. But it could have been worse. If you see above – reducing my exposure to Johnson didn’t really pan out. I forced too much D Williams into my lineups. If Zeke had gotten just 1 score, I would have profited. I believe my initial ‘optimal’ lineup would have lost. So for this week even though I didn’t win, I was better off than if I had played one cash lineup. I may tighten up my player pool just a bit. DeAngelo was really forced in..just didn’t work out.

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