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Building GPP Lineups: The Single-Entry Approach

Justin Van Zuiden (stlcardinals84)

Justin Van Zuiden, aka stlcardinals84, is a popular RotoGrinders contributor and GrindersLive host who routinely finishes in the top 10 of the TPOY race. He’s appeared in numerous live finals and has logged countless six-figure wins in a host of different sports, including five in PGA. Justin is also a main contributor of sports betting picks at ScoresAndOdds.

At my core, I am a multi-entry player. It’s where I have logged much of my success. However, the single-entry approach suits me better in NBA than it does in other sports. The fact that NBA has much less variance helps the single-entry player. Therefore, don’t feel like you are left out in the cold if you are a one-entry kind of DFS player. NBA could definitely be the sport that suits you if you take this approach, and there are specific things you can do to attack tournaments with just a single entry. I will talk about several of them in this lesson.

The first hurdle you have to climb if you want to be successful in NBA GPP’s is to believe that you can be successful as a single-entry player. This sounds cliché, but it is extremely important. Many players fall into the trap that “they can’t compete with the mass multi-entry players,” and that simply isn’t true. If you want to feel like you aren’t at a disadvantage, you can opt to play single-entry tournaments, where no player is allowed more than one entry. Otherwise, you have to overcome this hurdle. Obviously, players with multiple entries are going to be more likely to win the tournament. That’s simple math. If I have 50 entries in a tournament, I am more likely to win than a person with one entry. However, I am also more susceptible to a big loss. I have given up this fight, but I tend to argue that a person with one entry in a tournament that allows multiple entries has greater odds to win than a person with one entry in a tournament that is single entry, assuming the same number of total entrants. Multi-entry players often build their lineups around a core of players, and that limits the number of unique possible combinations that the single-entry player is going up against. Whatever the case may be, you have to overcome the mental hurdle saying that you cannot succeed with a single entry. That statement is simply false. If you don’t get past that, you’re never going to have success with this approach.

Now, let’s say you are ready to go. You’ve got your engine started and you are ready to compete with a single entry in some NBA GPP’s. Now what do you do? The good news about the NBA is that it often doesn’t hurt you to use a cash game lineup as a tournament lineup. The good plays are the good plays, and there’s no need to “stack” in basketball, as I wrote in the last lesson. In fact, some people just play their cash lineup as their tournament lineup. This approach is somewhat simplistic, but it works for some. I like to apply a few criteria to my tournament approach when I am using just a single entry, and it will end up varying some from my cash game squad. Here are a few tidbits to note:

• If there is a no-brainer play of the day, play him.

o Often in daily fantasy sports, we talk about the merits of “fading” the highly-owned play of the day. There is certainly merit to doing this in a tournament, as you benefit greatly if you don’t take the guy that is 50% owned and he flops that night. The problem is that these players usually don’t flop at a higher rate than their ownership percentage. That means you are behind the eight ball if you don’t play these players on a daily basis. Lock in the top play, and then choose to differentiate your lineup at other spots.

• If a value play pops up with late-breaking news, play him too.

o One of the most imperative tenets of daily fantasy basketball is that you must pay attention to late-breaking news (discussed in Lesson #1). The issue is that a lot of players are not fans of making late lineup changes. There is always the worry that the newly constructed team “won’t be as good as the original team.” That’s another mental hurdle to overcome. Take advantage of the late news. If a team has two starting guards out and will be forced to play a backup for 40 minutes, and he is a minimum-salary DFS play, use this to give yourself an edge over the field.

• Don’t expect to win every night.

o GPP’s are fickle. When you are playing just one entry every night, you’re not going to win all the time. You’re not even going to cash a majority of the time. The goal is to cash sometimes, and hit it big every once in a while. Patience is a virtue. Remember, you’re playing with just one entry, so you aren’t risking the life savings every night, either. Learn to deal with the ebbs and flows of tournament play, as the mental swings can be very difficult to handle at times. Don’t be afraid to take a few days off when you hit a rough patch, too.

• Look for “high-ceiling” players

o This is my favorite way to differentiate my GPP lineups from my cash game lineups. A lot of times, I will round out my cash games with “high-floor” plays that are relatively safe. Remember back in Lesson #1, where I discussed four of the key principles to success? One of them was differentiating between “high-floor, low-ceiling” and “low-floor, high0ceiling” players. Your tournament lineups are a great place to put one or two of those low-floor, high-ceiling weapons. If you use two of them and they both have big games on the same night, you are looking good for a top-shelf GPP cash.

• Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.

o If you only have one entry in a large tournament, it’s easy to overthink things. It’s easy to convince yourself that you shouldn’t play LeBron James or Kevin Durant because they are going to be highly owned. Try not to worry about that too much. This is where the “over-thinking” aspect comes in. Again, get past the mental hurdle that you can’t succeed with a single entry.

If you approach your single-entry lineup building while keeping these five tips in mind, you should be able to find success in NBA GPP’s. Again, success does not happen overnight with a single-entry approach. It takes discipline, diligence, a sound process, and patience. Stick to your bankroll management techniques and play the same contests every night. Don’t chase losses. Keep a level head, and you can be on your way to success. If you choose to go the multiple-entry route, I will discuss those approaches in the next lesson. See you there!

At my core, I am a multi-entry player. It’s where I have logged much of my success. However, the single-entry approach suits me better in NBA than it does in other sports. The fact that NBA has much less variance helps the single-entry player. Therefore, don’t feel like you are left out in the cold if you are a one-entry kind of DFS player. NBA could definitely be the sport that suits you if you take this approach, and there are specific things you can do to attack tournaments with just a single entry. I will talk about several of them in this lesson.

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About the Author

  • Justin Van Zuiden (stlcardinals84)

  • Justin Van Zuiden, aka stlcardinals84, is a popular RotoGrinders contributor and GrindersLive host who routinely finishes in the top 10 of the TPOY race. He’s appeared in numerous live finals and has logged countless six-figure wins in a host of different sports, including five in PGA. Justin is also a main contributor of sports betting picks at ScoresAndOdds.

Instructor

Justin Van Zuiden, aka stlcardinals84, is a popular RotoGrinders contributor and GrindersLive host who routinely finishes in the top 10 of the TPOY race. He’s appeared in numerous live finals and has logged countless six-figure wins in a host of different sports, including five in PGA. Justin is also a main contributor of sports betting picks at ScoresAndOdds.

RotoGrinders.com is the home of the daily fantasy sports community. Our content, rankings, member blogs, promotions and forum discussion all cater to the players that like to create a new fantasy team every day of the week.

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