Upside/Risk vs. Consistency
This lesson applies to two different areas of daily fantasy sports. The first section will discuss the risk vs. consistency in different types of league offerings such as a 50/50 vs. a GPP. The second section will discuss the upside vs. consistency of individual players and how you should go about making lineups based on which type of league you are in.
What is Upside?
Upside is a term used to describe a player’s ceiling, meaning that player’s maximum fantasy output. An easier way to describe it is to say that it is a player’s potential. If a player has a big upside, that player has the potential to have a big game. In daily fantasy sports, upside is extremely important because there are certain instances where you want to take players that have that high ceiling.
An example of a player with high upside in MLB would be a hitter that has the potential to hit 2 HR’s on any given night. This could be a player like Miguel Cabrera when he is facing a bad pitcher. He has a lot more upside that night compared to an average player that doesn’t have as good of a matchup.
Another example would be in the NFL, a player with a big upside would be a player that can potentially have a monster game with more than one TD. This could be Adrian Peterson facing a bad run defense. In both of these situations, upside is used to describe a player that could potentially have a big game.
League Types – Risk vs. Consistency
We’ve touched on this topic in a few of the other lessons, but will go over it again here because understanding the different types of leagues you can play is critical if you want to be a successful daily fantasy player. The two main types of leagues that we have discussed are GPP’s and H2H’s. GPP’s are large tournaments that have big payouts and only pay out the top 10-15% of the entrants. However, H2H’s and 50/50’s pay out 50% of the entrants.
Obviously, a GPP is going to be more risky and a H2H or 50/50 is going to provide you with more consistency. If you are a GPP player, you know that you have the potential to win a piece of those large prize pools. Playing strictly GPP’s can be tough to provide you with a consistent return, but you do have the upside of potentially hitting it big and winning one of these big payouts.
On the other hand, H2H and 50/50 games allow you to control your variance a lot more and allow you to have a much more consistent win rate. While you don’t have the upside of winning a GPP and getting a huge payout, you can maintain a consistent win % over the long run. Your bankroll management strategy should be consistent with the type of leagues that you are playing.
Roster Selection – Upside vs. Consistency
There are a lot of different strategies when it comes to roster selection, but everyone agrees on the fact that you strategy should match the type of league that you are playing in. In a GPP, you want to take players that have big upside because you need to beat out 99% of opponents in order for you to win that league. You need to put up an extremely high score and in order to do that you need players that have that upside.
However, if you are in a H2H or 50/50 league, you may want to lean toward more consistent players instead of rolling the dice on the riskier players that have bigger upside. The reason for this is that in a H2H, you only have to do beat out 50% of your competition in order to win that league.
That being said, I don’t think it’s necessary to go with all upside or all consistent players regardless of the league type you are in. I think a mix between the two is often the best. You don’t want a roster full of boom or bust players and you conversely don’t want a lineup full of players that aren’t able to put together those great games. Just remember to match your roster selection strategy with your league type. If you are playing a GPP, lean toward the players with better upside. If you are playing a H2H, lean toward the players with the best value.
Which Strategy is Best for You?
There is no right or wrong answer here. If you find yourself often finishing at the very top of your leagues, you may want to consider chasing the GPP’s. If you are a player that often finishes in the top half of your leagues, but never really crack the top 10, then consider going the route of 50/50 and H2H leagues.
There are great players that are strictly GPP players, there are great players that are strictly H2H and 50/50 players, and there are players that like to have a mix of both. Try out all of the different types of leagues to find out which type of league best suits your play. Once you have that, you can determine whether you should be choosing the riskier players with upside or the more consistent player with value.