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  • Mo Money, Mo Problems: Notorious' NFL Strategy Guide

Cash Game Strategy

Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in RotoGrinders.com’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

Michael Scott: “What was the most inspiring thing I’ve ever said to you?”

Dwight Schrute: “Don’t be an idiot. Changed my life. Whenever I’m about to do something, I think, Would an idiot do that? And if they would, I do not do that thing.”

-The Office

Don’t be an idiot. That may be the best advice that you will ever find for cash games.

In general, we refer to a cash game as any contest that pays out at least 33 percent of the field. This includes head-to-heads, double-ups, 50/50’s, and triple-ups. Cash games do not have tiered payouts, which means the person that finishes first gets the same payout as the person that finishes in the very last payout spot. Due to the nature of the payout structure in cash games, our goal is to maximize our floor, giving us a chance to finish in the top half of the field (or top third in triple-ups) as often as possible.

If we try to maximize our ceiling, or upside, we will have more volatile results week to week. This is a better strategy for tournaments, but it will also lead to riskier lineups, which leads to less cashes in double-ups and head-to-head contests. For example, let’s say that is takes 125 fantasy points to cash in an NFL double-up. Our goal is to maximize our floor, so that we can reach that 125-point mark as often as possible. Here is an example of a three-week stretch that produces varying results.

• In the first example, we will try to maximize our team’s floor by taking a safer route with our lineup building. Let’s say that in the three-week stretch, we score 135, 130, and 120 fantasy points. We will cash in two out of the three weeks, even though our average score was only 130 fantasy points.
• In the second example, we will try to maximize our team’s ceiling by targeting riskier plays with greater upside. In this three-week stretch, we score 175, 115, and 110 fantasy points. While our average score of 133 was higher than in the first example, we only cashed in one of the three weeks.

This is a very basic example to point out that you need to adjust your lineup-building strategy based on the type of contest that you are entering. In cash games, you want to maximize your floor rather than your ceiling, because your goal is to beat out 50-percent-plus of the competition. It’s much different than tournaments in that you don’t have to beat out 99 percent of the field to achieve your goal.

Importance of Head-to-Head Games

If you are new to daily fantasy sports, odds are that you haven’t ventured too deep into the world of head-to-head contests. It’s a lot easier to join a double-up and take your chances trying to finish in the top half of the field. If you throw out a random head-to-head matchup, there is a chance that a shark could come in and scoop up your league. There are certainly ways around this, but if you are new, head-to-head contests are more of an option than a necessity. Once you start to increase your volume of play, it becomes critical to include head-to-head matchups in your cash game allocation of your bankroll.

The reasoning is simple: head-to-head play reduces your variance week in and week out. It allows your bad weeks to not hurt as bad, because it gives you a more “true” payout of how your team actually fared compared to the rest of your opponents. In a 50/50, if you beat 45 percent of the field and finish just outside of the money, you get paid the exact same as if you finished DFL (dead f*cking last). In contract, if you beat 40 percent of your opponents in head-to-heads, you will get a sizable portion of your investment back.

Cash Game Lineup Building

We know that our goal is to maximize our floor in cash games, but how on Earth do we do that? While pricing dictates everything in daily fantasy sports, there are certain positions and rules that we should follow when building our cash game lineups. These are not steadfast rules that can never be broken, but in general, I’ve found a few nuggets of advice that have helped me improve my cash game play.

In a volatile sport, the first step to maximize our floor is to find the most consistent fantasy positions and go from there. Quarterbacks and running backs touch the ball more than any other position on the field. Quarterbacks see 30-plus pass attempts per game, while most first-string running backs see 20-plus touches per game. Thanks to greater opportunity, quarterbacks and running backs are more consistent week to week than wide receivers and tight ends. This lends itself to employing a strategy to pay up for the consistent positions whenever possible.

In terms of individual players, I like to target those that see a lot of touches each and every week. It’s hard to predict big plays, but we can predict opportunity. Those players who consistently see a lot of pass attempts, rushes, or targets are the ones who you want to target in cash games. Players who rely on big plays for their fantasy production are better targets for tournaments.

Additionally, I like to place an emphasis on targeting the players who rank highly in consensus picks and in the $/point projections. We aren’t concerned with ownership in cash games, so having a herd mentality isn’t the worst approach. You should never fade a player in cash games just because you expect him to be highly owned. Like Michael Scott says, “don’t be an idiot.”

Michael Scott: “What was the most inspiring thing I’ve ever said to you?”

Dwight Schrute: “Don’t be an idiot. Changed my life. Whenever I’m about to do something, I think, Would an idiot do that? And if they would, I do not do that thing.”

-The Office

Don’t be an idiot. That may be the best advice that you will ever find for cash games.

In general, we refer to a cash game as any contest that pays out at least 33 percent of the field. This includes head-to-heads, double-ups, 50/50’s, and triple-ups. Cash games do not have tiered payouts, which means the person that finishes first gets the same payout as the person that finishes in the very last payout spot. Due to the nature of the payout structure in cash games, our goal is to maximize our floor, giving us a chance to finish in the top half of the field (or top third in triple-ups) as often as possible.

If we try to maximize our ceiling, or upside, we will have more volatile results week to week. This is a better strategy for tournaments, but it will also lead to riskier lineups, which leads to less cashes in double-ups and head-to-head contests. For example, let’s say that is takes 125 fantasy points to cash in an NFL double-up. Our goal is to maximize our floor, so that we can reach that 125-point mark as often as possible. Here is an example of a three-week stretch that produces varying results.

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About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in RotoGrinders.com’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

Instructor

Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in RotoGrinders.com’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

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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