NBA DFS Cap Management, Part 1: The Well-Rounded & Stud/Dud Approaches

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Since it isn't real money, we should spend it all, right?

Daily Fantasy participants often make the mistake of feeling the need to leave $0 left in their remaining salary, hoping to maximize production by draining every last penny in the proverbial bank account DraftKings and FanDuel provides us. What's the point in wasting $400, $500, $600, when it's not like the money rolls over into tomorrow's lineup? Not necessarily.

It's more important to focus on drafting a well-rounded team, and not worry about whatever value is still hanging around on the bottom right of your screen. That's irrelevant if you win.

Before I continue, let's be clear that there are a lot of 'If's' constantly surrounding DFS. If he sits, if he breaks out, if he doesn't, etc. A lot of these situations can be considered hypothetical, and don't always happen the way we want them to.

Here is a look at two methods on how to pick effective lineups while managing your DFS salary cap.

How you draft your lineup often depends on the amount of games on the card for that given night. I'm not a fan of breaking the bank on one player in DFS if there are, let's say, more than five games being played. It's difficult to stay away from the likes of DeMarcus Cousins and Draymond Green, but by selecting them, you're compromising the rest of your lineup. Admittedly, in order to win big, big money, you'll need one of the aforementioned players, but if they flop, it's likely you won't place at all.

It's safer to stack your team with a lot of $6,000 and $7,000 guys. The average amount you can spend on each player for DraftKings is $6,250. FanDuel, $6,667. That gives you plenty of room to fill your lineup with about five or six players in that range, inviting a sleeper pick for a lot cheaper and even one or two that's more expensive.

This is an example of a mock DraftKings lineup using the Well-Rounded method, where ten games are being played:

Jeff Teague (PG, $6,000) - 29.1 FPPG

Will Barton (SG, $6,200) - 30.2

Derrick Williams (SF, $3,600) - 14.1

Drew Gooden (PF, $3,800) - 12.3

Dwight Howard (C, $7,300) - 36.3

Paul Millsap (F, $8,300) - 40.4

C.J. McCollum (G, $7,200) - 35.2

Nicolas Batum (UTIL, $7,400) - 35.1

If you add up their FFPG, you hit a score of 232.7. Obviously this won't result in a money placement, but nobody wins by having their lineup simply reach an average or projection. Also, the point of picking sleepers is that you're confident they will exceed projection. And you're selecting the $6,000 and $7,000 guys for a reason; because you're confident they will break out.

The goal is to reach and exceed projection from each. If all of your players hit 30-40 fantasy points, that'll most likely result in a cash out, as opposed to relying heavily on two guys to breach the 50-60 fantasy point mark. You're not only competing with other DFS players, but also other NBA players that you didn't draft.

If there are only a few games, less than five, than the well-rounded approach is a bit more difficult. I call this the Stud and Dud selection process. With only a couple games on the slate, there is more leeway to pick a $9,000, $10,000 big money guy. It's almost necessary, especially if they break out, since they will be only one of a handful for that price that could skyrocket past 50 fantasy points. By not picking a Steph Curry or DeMarcus Cousins under these circumstances, you risk others getting the upper hand. On shorter cards, it's equally important to pick the $3,000 and $4,000 sleepers that are less owned and will give your team a boost while freeing up cap space.

This is an example of a winning lineup that followed a similar Stud and Dud method. There were only three games on Monday night's card, 1/11/16.

John Wall (PG, $9,400) - 47.75 Fantasy Points

Garrett Temple (SG, $4,500) - 24.75

Luol Deng (SF, $4,300) - 31.00

Nene Hilario (PF, $3,900) - 23.00

Pau Gasol (C, $8,200) - 31.50

Dwayne Wade (G, $6,600) - 48.75

Draymond Green (F, $10,000) - 48.50

Drew Gooden (UTIL, $3,000) - 33.00

By picking guys like Gooden and Hilario, cap space frees for Green, Wall, and Gasol. In this circumstance, it's imperative to pick a player like Green, considering Curry is out there posting stats on other lineups. Four studs, four duds.

Trends and recent production can only go so far. We don't have magic eight balls and fortune tellers, unfortunately. So this isn't about quality over quantity, or vice versa, but rather quality in quantity. Production in bulk. It's about stacking your lineup with as many trustworthy guys as possible.

After that, all we can do is sit back and watch. The rest is up to them.


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