When I first started playing DFS I really didn’t have a set value for players and I was just plugging in guys that I liked. It doesn’t matter what sport you like to play, you NEED to have a value system.
It is Simple!
Setting a value is pretty simple, you create a target score for your team and divide it by the salary you are given. If you are given $50,000 and need to score 150 fantasy points then your value is 3 fantasy points per thousand dollars. With this formula you now know that if a player cost $10,000 he then needs to score 30 points to reach value.
There are two types of games that we typically talk about and they are cash games and GPP’s. Both have different values because you have different goals for both of them. You obviously are trying to win the top spot in a GPP because the higher you place, the more you get paid. But in cash games you win or you lose by typically by beating half the field. The guy who finishes first makes as much as the guy who finishes 50th in a 100 player 50/50 game.
So in a GPP you need to see what score (give or take) is at the top of the leader board for GPP’s and make that your target. Same goes for cash games, but you need to focus on what score is typically the 50 percentile. Granted these scores will always be different from week to week and that is why I say “give or take.”
A player can win a GPP with 204 one week and 217 the next week. Generally speaking I would just make the target score 200 because you can divide 50 into 200 evenly to get 4. So you need four points per thousand dollars you spend. Every sport and every site is different so it’s important you have a good feel of your target score because there really isn’t a “magic number” across all platforms.
There Will Be Variance
Every day is also different in cash games and that is usually dependent on the popular pick of the day. If there is a 3k player that is 80% owned in a DU or 50/50 and he scores 30 points (10x value), then odds are your target score of 150 will need to be higher.
Typically you are okay if you are in the 80% of people who have that player, but 30% of the people in the league who took him are going to lose. Understanding this will save you a lot of heartache when you barely missed the money in a 50/50 and you scored over your target score.
This is a two way street too, if a high owned player doesn’t perform you can get lucky and still cash with less than your target score, so you just need to go with the punches as the day progresses.
Finding the Value Plays
Now that you have a set value for your players, it’s time to change how you look at the game. The first thing to do is seek the value plays. Value plays are the guys who are for some reason priced really low and have a great chance of exceeding the value of their price.
Typically some of these players will be talked about all through out the community and will not be a secret. Most of the time its a back up that is getting the start because of an injury to the starter. But sometimes there is no reason for it at all other than the site made a mistake (or at least you believe they did).
Professional sports bettors make their living by finding these mistakes. When the vegas lines are released they look at every game and see where they believe the oddsmakers went wrong. The biggest difference between sports betting and DFS is the book keepers will adjust point spreads until they believe they got it right and people are 50/50 of the line.
The goal for the book keepers is having half taking one team and the other half of the people taking the other team. But in DFS they don’t change a players price until the next week and if people are all over a player because his price is too cheap, the site will raise it accordingly the next week.
Think Exceeding Value – Not Most Points Scored
What I personally like to do is find all the players I believe will meet or exceed their value. Sometimes it’s not necessarily the player I think will score the most points, but the player I think will score more than what his price suggests he will score. Trust me, it’s hard sometimes. It’s not that I don’t think Aaron Rodgers is going to have a good game, it’s just that Mark Sanchez has better odds of exceeding his value.
If Rodgers is 11K and Sanchez is 6k, you need to figure what they need to score. So do you think Rodgers can score 33 points? If yes, then you could argue to use him in a cash game. Do you think Rodgers can score 44 points? If no, you can’t use him on your GPP line up.
Now do you think Sanchez can score 18 points? Then you can use him for cash and if you think he can hit 24 points he makes for a great GPP play. I almost never play expensive QB’s in GPP’s because unless they run the ball like Wilson, they have a hard time scoring points.
An Argument Against High Priced QBs
I would argue that it’s the other positions that have a easier time exceeding values since scoring points comes easier for them. For example, if Aaron Rodgers throws a 75 yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson, calculate the fantasy points real quick. 75 yards passing is 3 points and the TD is 4 points for a total of 7 points.
But Jordy Nelson gets one point for the reception (or half point depending what site you play), 7.5 points for the receiving yards, and 6 for the touchdown totaling 14.5 fantasy points on one play. For some players, that one play meets or exceeds their value alone.
I also think of the last couple of weeks Big Ben has had because they may be the best two weeks a QB has ever had. Last week he threw for 340 yards and 6 touchdowns. That is one amazing game and he scored 37.6 fantasy points.
How likely is it that any QB has a performance like that though? It is not very likely and yet the way some of these guys are priced, that is what they need to get 4x their salary. I’ve seen Manning and Luck priced at 12k before meaning they need 36 fantasy points for 3x and 48 fantasy points for 4x their salary.
Don’t concern yourself with players you think will score the most points, you need to start making the players you think will out perform their salary the main objective.