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Lesson 5: How to Create Leverage in Tournaments

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.

Interview after $100,000 Win

The final lesson will be a bit shorter in length, but it may have the most value. My grand hope for this course is that all of it is valuable, but this last lesson is the most specific to NBA DFS. We’ve talked quite a bit how you need to put together the best possible team in cash games. Your goal is to finish inside of the cash line, which generally means that you have to finish in the top half of the field.

In tournaments (especially large-field ones), more goes into it than just taking the best plays. In order to finish in the top 1% of the field, we have to differentiate a bit. You will always hear about projected ownerships (which are important to keep in mind), but very few talk about creating a unique lineup construction rather than using one or two contrarian plays.

More often than not, we can get a sense of what the public is going to do in a given slate. When you know who the most popular plays are going to be, you can start to see the route that everyone is going to take when building lineups. For instance, there might be three great value plays in a slate thanks to a few injuries. All three are going to be highly owned, which means DFS players are going to have extra cap space to spend up on superstars.

This will lead to a very common lineup construction. Rather than taking the three values and a couple of superstars like everyone else, we can look to pivot off of that approach. We may not want to fade the great value plays completely, but we can potentially play two of them and look to play a more balanced lineup. If you can find ways to create unique lineup builds, it doesn’t really matter how chalky each individual play is because most people won’t have the same grouping of players. Additionally, we don’t have to worry about ownership because by default you are taking the path less traveled, which means at least a few of your plays will be lower owned.

The other approach that I like to use when making GPP lineups is to create stories in my head about how each game is going to play out. For example, let’s say that you have James Harden pegged as a core play that you want to use in a number of lineups. It doesn’t take a perfect scenario for him to exceed value, but you might also like a player from the other side of the ball. If you are using one player from each team, then what likely has to happen for them to reach value? It likely means that the game needs to be competitive (non-blowout) and that the game will be high scoring (if Harden has a big game, it’s not likely that the score will be 90-85). If you need the game to be close and high scoring, then you might want to think about making a game stack.

This sounds simple enough, but most people just blindly plug in their favorite plays at each position and they don’t realize how their lineup works together. For another example, let’s say that the Thunder are facing the Nuggets and you love the matchup so much that you want to play both Russell Westbrook and Paul George. In tournaments, you should automatically think about what has to happen for them to both reach GPP value. Once again, you’ll want a close, high-scoring game. If that happens, then you are going to want some exposure to the Nuggets’ side of the ball to pair with your two Thunder players.

This philosophy isn’t just for stacking games; you can use it in a number of ways. Let’s say that you notice a trend that DeMarcus Cousins draws more fouls than any other center in the league. Let’s say that Cousins is facing Joel Embiid, who is always popular in DFS. If you create a story about how the game would play out if Embiid gets into foul trouble, then you may want to target a couple of his teammates. Embiid’s absence would open up more usage, rebounds, etc. for his teammates. If you create these stories, you will put yourself into position to capitalize on them if and when they come to fruition.

Well, that’s all folks. I really appreciate you purchasing the course and hope that it was worth your while. If you ever have any questions about the course or about anything strategy related, feel free to shoot me a message on RotoGrinders.

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.

    Interview after $100,000 Win

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. Our goal is to help all of our members make more money playing daily fantasy sports!

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