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Lesson 2: Top-Heavy Payout Structures and the Desire for Risk/Reward

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.

It’s not easy to win a tournament in daily fantasy sports.

This is perhaps the biggest misconception that new GPP players have. Regardless of whether or not you have had previous success in cash game formats, winning a tournament is no small task. You will have to have a good stroke of luck somewhere along the way in order to beat thousands of other entrants in any DFS contest.

However, realizing what plays are optimal and what plays are suboptimal will put you in the best opportunity for success. If you do that, you can realize positive expected value in the long run… but just remember:

It’s not easy to win a tournament in daily fantasy sports.

This dovetails into an important discussion of bankroll management, but I’ll address that in the next lesson. For now, let’s stick to how to optimally approach tournament lineup building.

The biggest key here is to understand the extreme risk/reward nature of tournament play. You are not necessarily looking for “safe” plays when you are building GPP rosters, as I touched on in the last lesson. Sure, safe plays give you a nice floor and a better chance of cashing in general, but minimum payouts in GPPs these days are sometimes only 1.5x your buy-in amount.

If you’re looking to play it safe, this is not the path for you to take. Tournament play is all about upside, upside, upside.

For example, let’s take a look at two profiles:

Receiver A had 112 catches for 987 yards in 2017, with six receptions going for 20+ yards.

Receiver B had 75 catches for 1,183 yards in 2017, with fifteen receptions going for 20+ yards.

It’s obvious to most people that “Receiver B” is the guy you want to target for upside in tournament formats. (For reference, Receiver A was Jarvis Landry, and receiver B was Tyreek Hill). This is one simple example, but it goes to show the mindset that you need to take when building GPP rosters.

Upisde guys like Hill, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, and the like can be frustrating at times, but the ceiling is what you seek in tournaments.

Are you going to whiff with these picks sometimes? Yes. Don’t be discouraged by that! 99 whiffs followed by one big GPP score will have you better off than 50 minimum cashes. This is a key mental concept to understand as you look to tackle tournaments. Understand the nature of risk/reward play, and shoot for the stars with upside. T

his is especially true when players are projected to be available at low ownership. Don’t be scared by that. In fact, low ownership is what you want on these players at the end of the day.

The payouts in most NFL tournament contests tend to be top-heavy in nature. That’s another reason why you want to shoot for the stars with upside and not worry about low ownership on a given player. It gives you more LEVERAGE on the field, and that’s a fantastic position to be in. However, as I mentioned above, the risk/reward nature of GPP play lends itself to a necessary topic of bankroll management.

Let’s tackle that now.

It’s not easy to win a daily fantasy tournament contest.

This is perhaps the biggest misconception that new GPP players have. Regardless of whether or not you have had previous success in cash game formats, winning a tournament is no small task. You will have to have a good stroke of luck somewhere along the way in order to beat thousands of other entrants in any DFS contest.

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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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