2020 NFL Draft Guide: DFS Contest Selection
Jon Impemba offers suggestions on the best way to pick your NFL DFS contests each week.
Are you ready? Can you feel it? The start of the NFL season is upon us and with many of us wrapping up or seasonal fantasy football drafts we now turn our focus to the DFS game. There are a ton of different strategies on how to build your lineups and how to manage your money but none of that matters until you understand the contests that are available to you and that’s what we will be breaking down here. The common types of DFS contests and what makes them appealing to play. Which are the best to consistently make money and which are for the dreamers looking to hit the lottery. Let’s get it started!
Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP)
You will often hear the term GPP thrown about DFS conversation. The GPP contests have huge guaranteed prizes put up by the DFS platform and they will payout whether the contest fills or not. Typically, these contests payout somewhere in the range of 20% of the playing field with tiered payouts. There are few different forms of GPP contests with the most popular being the mass multi-entry GPP in which a single player can sometimes enter upwards of 150 lineups. There are then limit-entry GPP contests which allow players to enter multiple lineups but with a cap. The most common types you will see for limit-entry are two-entry, three-entry, five-entry and 20-entry max contests. The final GPP type is the single-entry contest. The mass multi-entry GPP contests are the lottery ticket contests. They often boast first place prizes as high as $1,000,000 like the DraftKings Millionaire contest which has 294,100 entrants vying for that top prize. Limit-entry contests allow for the “casual” player to get creative with lineup builds on a more even playing field as they may not have the bankroll to build 150 lineups at $20 a pop but could easily make three lineups at $20 each like the rest of the field. Single-entry GPP is just that, a single entry. Your best or most creative lineup against the field’s lone lineup. Often the single-entry GPP’s will not have the payouts as high as the mass multi-entry GPP or limit-entry GPP but it’s often considered to be the most level playing field and where your research and lineup building ability really shines through.
When the term “Cash Game” is referenced in DFS chatter it is typically referring to 50/50 and double-up contests. Those two should be pretty self-explanatory – the 50/50 contest will pay out 50-percent of the field. If 100 players enter a $5 50/50 contest, then the top 50 players will win $9. In a double-up if 100 people enter a $5 contest then the top 44 players will win $10. The idea is for the Cash Game contests to be a bankroll stabilizer. This is touched upon in the Bankroll Management article in this series but typically the idea is that you should have 80% of the money spent in Cash Games and 20% in GPPs on a given day. If you spend $100 on Sunday, $80 in double-ups and $20 in GPP’s. With GPP’s typically paying out somewhere in the range of 20% the fact that you may only need to come in the top 50% of a contest to win money is a smart move.
I consider Multiplier contests to be mixture of GPP and Cash game contests. These contests will pay out 3x, 4x, 5x 10x your buy-in much like Cash Games but as I said with a GPP twist as the payout margin in terms of field size decreases as the multiplier goes up but the payouts as you can see are fixed based off your buy-in. These contests are pretty risky but popular if you find the right contests size. In terms of lineup building I go about these with GPP style builds.
The name says it all. Your lineup vs another person’s lineup. Winner take all. Often the winner of these will come down to a player or to as roster overlap is almost a guarantee as the chalk players cancel each other out. I’m certainly not fading the chalk here, but you will need at least a little contrarian exposure here in hopes to separate yourself from your opponent.
These are single-game contests where you forego the traditional lineup builds and depending on the site you play on you will build a roster with an MVP or King that offers a multiplier on that players points for the night and an assortment of flex spots. These can certainly be fun to play on a Sunday, Monday or Thursday night but ultimately these are also just lottery ticket contests in which the top prizes are usually split between hundreds of players who have the same lineup.
So, there you have it, those are the primary DFS contests you will find yourself coming across. I suggest giving them all a go. See what works, see what doesn’t and go from there. September 10th can not come soon enough!