?The Fantasy Alarm DFS Playbook Pro is a great one-stop shopping tool for all your DFS needs. Last week, we posted a step-by-step manual to maximize your experience. In short, each step pares down the inventory until you have a roster you're confident will succeed. Over my years of playing DFS football, I've developed a process that I use that even further increases the efficiency of using the DFS Playbook, which I will share below.
However, first it's necessary to explain that my primary focus is on cash games. I'll play some tournaments and some qualifiers, but my primary focus is on building a bankroll playing chiefly 50/50s and double-ups. I know I should play more head-to-head, and likely will once baseball is finished.
I won't regurgitate all the cash game principles but I will reiterate a few that are central to my thinking and process.
1. Build around reliable and consistent players whose production isn't completely driven by the game's flow - Perhaps the second part of this follows from the first, perhaps not. The idea some players will get their production regardless if the game is close or a blow-out. They're integral parts of the game-plan regardless of what transpires throughout the course of the contest. They may not have the upside of other players whose production is wholly tied to the game going in a certain direction but their floor is high and consistent, irrespective of what happens.
2. Don't force using a high-priced quarterback but don't shy away from one either - Due to the nature of the position, top tier quarterbacks often fulfill the first criteria so they are almost always in play for cash games. In fact, some will say to always use a stud quarterback in cash. I don't like using always of never when it comes to stuff like this as everything has context. Yeah, more often than not I'll use a top quarterback in cash action - not because he's a top quarterback but rather because a top quarterback usually profiles best for cash. There's a difference. It may be subtle, but it's important.
3. Spread usage around, OK with QB and WR/TE from same team, otherwise try to avoid players on the same team - Game theory correlation could be more important in tournament play than cash but it's still important. Hopefully, it's obvious that stacking isn't optimal in cash play and should be avoided. Some will even suggest not to pair up a quarterback and wide receiver in cash play but I have no issue with it if the receiver fulfills the top criteria. The rest is contextual and usually driven by price. I prefer to eschew using a stud runner and receiver from the same team but if one or the other is reliable and still under-priced, they're in play.
With that as a backdrop, I find trusting group-think to be paramount to DFS success. Don't worry, ultimately the decision is mine (and hopefully yours) but there's nothing wrong with group-sourcing to narrow down the inventory. The idea is simple. Almost always, if you average together a group of projections, that's more accurate than any of the individual sources.
Instead of projections I use rankings. The key is to use rankings for seasonal play. The reason for that is, as you'll see, I'm looking for players whose DFS price is out of whack with the expected performance. If I use DFS ranking, the price may have already been factored in. Not to mention, sometimes it isn't clear if the ranking is intended for cash or tourney action.
Of course I'll start with the Fantasy Alarm rankings. I'll then include a handful of other sources I trust. I'll compute an average ranking much like average draft position is done. If a player is ranked 4, 11, 7, 5, 8 by my five sources then his average rank is 35 (4+11+7+5+8)/5. I'll then set up average ranks for each position and compare that to the rankings based on the pricing on the DFS sites. If a player's average rank is ten and he's the fifth most expensive player at the position, I'll cross him off the list. On the other hand, if he's the 15th more expensive, he's on my list to further research using the DFS Playbook Pro. I usually have five or six players at each position that make the cut, often ranging from a top-five ranking to mid-twenties. This allows me to go in whatever direction I want in terms of which positions I pay up for and which I look to save.
By means of example, here's how the quarterbacks flesh out this week.
|Aaron Rodgers||1||1||1||1||1||1||In play|
|Cam Newton||3||3||3||3||3||6||Strong candidate|
|Andrew Luck||6||2||2||2||3||2||No thanks|
|Matt Ryan||2||5||4||4||3.8||8||Good candidate|
|Russell Wilson||9||4||4||6||5.8||5||In play|
|Carson Palmer||5||7||4||9||6.3||9||Good candidate|
|Peyton Manning||7||6||7||5||6.3||4||No thanks|
|Andy Dalton||4||8||11||13||9||12||Good candidate|
|Philip Rivers||8||11||9||8||9||10||In play|
|Tyrod Taylor||10||10||8||11||9.8||13||Good candidate|
|Derek Carr||12||9||12||12||11||20||Strong candidate|
|Eli Manning||11||14||14||7||12||6||No thanks|
|Sam Bradford||14||13||15||10||13||11||No thanks|
|Colin Kaepernick||13||12||13||16||14||17||In play|
|Drew Brees||15||17||10||19||15||3||No thanks|
|Alex Smith||16||16||18||18||17||16||No thanks|
|Matthew Stafford||18||20||16||15||17||14||No thanks|
|Blake Bortles||21||15||17||20||18||22||In play|
|Brandon Weeden||19||23||22||14||20||22||In play|
|Ryan Mallett||25||19||20||17||20||27||Good candidate|
|Kirk Cousins||20||18||23||21||21||19||No thanks|
|Teddy Bridgewater||24||22||19||22||22||14||No thanks|
|Jameis Winston||22||21||21||24||22||22||No thanks|
|Josh McCown||17||25||25||25||23||22||No thanks|
|Nick Foles||23||26||24||23||24||22||No thanks|
|Jimmy Clausen||26||24||25||26||25||27||In play|
A-D are various site rankings, AVE is the average of the four sites while DK is the quarterback's rank on DraftKings. The comments relate to viability in cash game play. If the composite rank is better than the site rank, he's an option.
There are seven quarterbacks that are good or strong candidates. This is where I'll focus the rest of my research using the tools in DFS Playbrook PRO. I'll have the list of in play candidates handy in case I come across their names in my research and may add them to those being considered if apropos.
For those curious if there is any utility for tournament play, I indeed identify the options with the biggest deltas between composite rank and pricing with Carr and Mallett leading the way for my GPP signal callers this week..
Going forward, each week I'll identify the players at each position that are in play for me along with a new DFS strategy tip. On Sunday, I'll pop back and post my squad in the comments and invite you to do the same.