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It's currently around 12:30 AM, and I have nothing to do, so why not write a quick beginner's guide to constructing cash-game lineups on FanDuel.

I'm going to share a couple of the basic strategies I use when I build such lineups. I'll be contributing NBA DFS strategy articles to RotoBaller, ranging from beginner to advanced tactics, so stay tuned and check back daily.

We'll start with a couple rules I like to call the 4x vs 6x rule and opportunity cost.


The 4x vs. 6x Rule

I've been playing cash games for a few months now, and in the last full month before I took a temporary hiatus, I cashed double ups and 50/50's at a rate of around 78%. One of the strategies I used to cash at that rate was the "4x vs. 6x rule." You should live by this rule if you want to profit in the long run. So what exactly does this rule entail?

Well, before we get to the rule, you should know that your goal in cash games is to get 5x value from each player in your lineup. By following the 4x vs. 6x rule, you greatly increase those odds. Thus, the first step is always to ask yourself if you are confident your player will break 5x value more often than not. If you don't think he will, and there are better options available, you should fade that player and not even get to the 4x vs. 6x rule. But if you do pass this initial step, the next step is to make sure your player fits the 4x vs. 6x rule.

The rule is simple: You should only roster a player if who you are confident he has a floor of at least 4x value and a ceiling of at least 6x value. For example, if Tobias Harris costs $6K, you should only roster him if you are confident he will score at least 24 fantasy points 85%+ of the time, and at least 36 fantasy points 15%+ of the time. Let's look at another example. If Rudy Gay costs $6.5K on a given night, you should only roster him if you are confident he will score at least 26 fantasy points 85%+ of the time and at least 39 fantasy point 15%+ of the time.

In short, you want your player to miss 4x value at most 15% of the time, while hitting his ceiling at least 15% of the time. That leaves him in the 4x-6x range around 70% of the time, which puts you in a great position to cash.


Opportunity Cost

The other concept I want to share with you is opportunity cost. It's one of the most overlooked aspects of DFS, yet probably one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Put simply, if you like a ton of cheap players on a slate or really love the high-priced studs, you need to ask yourself which players you would be sacrificing depending on the ones you decide to play.

Let's look at an example:

I have two spots left in my lineup, PG and PF. The value option at PG is Brandon Jennings, while the value option at PF is Taj Gibson. Let's assume they have the same price. Now, if I start Taj, I'll have enough money to start Russell Westbrook at PG, while if I start Jennings, I'll be able to afford Anthony Davis at PF. Assuming I project Taj and Jennings to both score 25 fantasy points, opportunity cost tells me that I should choose which one to roster based on how I project Westbrook and Davis. If I project Davis higher, I should start Jennings (with Davis). If I project Westbrook higher, I should start Taj (with Westbrook).

That's an extremely basic example of this concept. You'll often be faced with situations where you have to decide between 3, 4, 5, or sometimes even more players. Your goal is to figure out at which positions you should start value plays vs. studs. For example, if there are no stud-plays at C and tons of stud-plays at PG, you should play the value-play at C and pay up at PG, even if this means you're fading a great value-play at PG. Though, in real-world situations, you might need to apply this analysis to more than just two positions, so be ready!

Of course, there a ton of calculations that you have to make in any opportunity cost analysis, as all of your possible plays are going to be projected differently, but in the end, your top priority is to maximize your lineup's overall fantasy points. And don't forget about the 4x vs. 6x rule, which will help you make difficult opportunity cost decisions!

Alright, everyone. I hope you learned a ton from this article. I know that I've used these two strategies to construct elite lineups. Now it's your turn to do the same!

Good luck, and feel free to shoot me a tweet @DFSWhisperer!


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