CASH GAME STRATEGY GUIDE——–FANDUEL BASED
This article will discuss what my personal preferences are for constructing a cash game lineup. I had a very successful cash game season last year in which I had about a 70-80% win rate. If you are interested in becoming a serious DFS player, then cash games are a must to help control your bankroll on nights you flop GPP wise. I myself generally play 70% cash depending on the slate. I will touch on the below topics, lets dig in.
- WHAT ARE CASH GAMES?
- HOW MUCH $$$ TO PLAY? SLATES TO PLAY.
- ROSTER CONSTRUCTION
WHAT ARE CASH GAMES- Cash games are typically contest where 50% of the field cash. The idea is to create a lineup that is “safe” because you don’t gain any extra money for finishing higher in the contest. MLB cash scores typically ranged from 120-140 points last year. I’ll give you my take on what I consider cash games that fit into my roster construction strategy.
- 50/50- 50% payout, single entry. Not quite the payout as a double up just slightly under
- Double ups- SINGLE ENTRY ONLY. Usually somewhere in high 40% payout range. I know it makes you look like a baller when you enter that $2 multi entry double up 20 times, but quite frankly it’s not a good strategy. Take that money and enter a higher $$$ single entry double up. I know they are intimidating because you see people like chipotle, csuram, and awesemo in there but they are actually easier to play against. They play them like true cash games, so the lineup construction is predictable. Those large double ups your dealing with line sellers and touts pushing cash lines and we have no time for that nonsense. I would focus here until you grasp the concept and master it.
- 3 Man- 33% payout with a profit of roughly 1.7X entry fee. I will put my cash lineup construction against anyone in the business. I purposely seek out the sharks because like I stated above their lineup construction is somewhat predictable. This is my fav cash game to play.
- How to play- I see people constantly posting screens of them playing in like 10 $1 50/50s and I always ask myself why? Take that $10 and play in 1 $10 50/50. What happens if you create a line that is hovering around the cash line and you end up cashing in 3 and losing in 7 because of cash line variance between the contest. Listen I know it looks cool when you post a screen and it shows you cashed in 10 contests or whatever but playing DFS isn’t about looking cool…..it’s about playing smart and putting yourself in the best position.
HOW MUCH $$$ TO PLAY AND WHICH SLATES TO PLAY.
- $$$- This depends on your level of play obviously and which type of player you are. Since I am a 70% cash player I’ll use that % to go by while explaining. I’ll use $100 a night as an example (that’s not what I play) for easy math but let me first explain why I play heavier cash. Clearly you have better odds at cashing, but you don’t get that chance at a huge payday. By playing 70% if I hit my cash and miss my gpp then I still profit for the night. That’s important to me. $70 cash $30 GPP is what we’re working with in this scenario. Let’s say I play $70 in double ups and hit that’s $140. That alone already guarantees me a profitable day even if my GPPS don’t hit.
- SLATES TO PLAY- Sometimes this is the hardest one to figure out. I typically only play 5 games or more when I play my regular 70% cash. The smaller slates I ramp up my GPP action if I decide to play them. I also tend to shy away from cash when the pitching ownership will be all over the board (more explanation in strategy section), I will go heavier GPP at that point.
- PITCHING- THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR CASH LINEUP!!! Most slates will have a clear-cut chalk cash pitcher and it really is just better to follow suit. Chalk pitchers usually come in around 65% so even if that pitcher fails 15% are still guaranteed to cash in doubles and 50/50s I play in. On the flip side, if that pitcher smashes 15% won’t. If you fade off the chalk pitcher your pitcher has to match that chalk pitchers production so it’s better to just ride the chalk. If there is no clear cut chalk pitcher, or two, I will ramp down my cash action and step up my GPP play.
- VEGAS RUN TOTALS- I cannot stress the importance of looking at the implied run totals for each team (we are working on having this info on our site). Vegas is Vegas for a reason….they’re good at what they do, so the run totals are usually a good indicator for where the offense is coming from on any given slate. We always want to target the teams who have the higher run totals on the slate. There is no set number as run totals will vary from slate to slate. We also don’t want to target too many players on teams with the lower run totals. We still need to differentiate somewhat in cash games, so finding some decent players in those lower total games is a strategy I do deploy from time to time, but only when looking for a HR hitter I think I can get in single digit ownership.
- WEATHER- There is absolutely no need to take a risk when a game has a PPD or delay risk, well delay mostly affects pitchers but sometimes delays prevent games from restarting. This usually only pertains to the earlier games on the slate. Remember those players lock at the original start time when the slate opened so you won’t be able to swap them out. Heat and wind is another thing you want to pay close attention to as the as the ball travels easier in the heat and wind….well if I have to explain why wind/wind direction is important then maybe MLB DFS isn’t for you.
- PARK FACTOR- We obviously want to choose our bats in hitter friendly parks, especially our HR bats. Again, we will have this list on the site shortly.
- CHALK- IT IS OK TO PLAY CHALK IN CASH GAMES!!!!!! Pricing is tight in MLB, especially when a stud 11K pitcher is on the mound. Every night there is usually a guy or two that are in great or ok spots that are min priced and batting towards the top of the order………those guys are the low dollar chalk and will ring in at the same % as the chalk pitcher. I ALWAYS use them. The last thing you need is some low dollar chalk guy going off and pushing everyone else ahead of you. The other reason why is that everyone else will now have more money to spend on quality bats. I am ok with fading high dollar chalk, but I am all about that low dollar chalk in cash.
- STACKING- I typically don’t stack more than 2 guys from a team, sometimes three if that third is the low dollar chalk. This will vary by slate though. Sometimes on smaller slates I will stack more but my general rule is no more than 2 man stacks. I do like to have lineup correlation when I stack though……meaning can I realistically get one player to bat another guy in (double bonus) sort of like QB/WR. My reasoning for limiting myself to only a two-man stack is just in case that team doesn’t perform my line isn’t dead. I 100% don’t do more than 2 different team stacks.
- CHOOSING PLAYERS- Once you have the above figured out its time to pick your players. I will lay out some criteria I use when I’m am creating my pool of players. The first question you need to ask is which studs, if any, I am taking. Studs comes in all different forms, it’s not just about HR’s, but they sure do help. I rarely look at season long stats when it comes to studs for cash. I typically look at players stats over the last 2 weeks or so. So, let’s breakdown our HR studs first. These guys I’m looking at ISO, Hard Contact, Flyball%, HR/FB%, OPS, and WOBA. I also like to peek at their K% too because that can be the determining factor when deciding between two guys. If a guy isn’t striking out that means he’s putting the ball in play, so he might be a little safer than the other. Those are the key stats to look at when your selecting your HR studs. Remember, MLB is a very streaky sport and that’s why I like to look at a player’s recent stats as opposed to their year long. We all know that most of the high-priced guys are HR bombers but there are other guys who carry a steep price tag that aren’t known for their HR ability but rather their consistent hitting or ability to get on base. So, for these guys I typically look at WOBA, OPS, line drive % (most line drives result in hits), BABIP, RBI’s, and runs…..as well as the HR stuff above. These guys are where you’re going to find slightly more consistency. We’re getting a lot of guys here who hit doubles, draw walks, drive in and score runs, steal bases etc. Chances are if you select the right players from the above criteria you’re looking at a great deal of chalk so it’s time to differentiate and start digging in the mid 2K- low 3K range. Once I’m here I look for guys who are batting as high up in the order as possible (I rarely have anybody on my roster batting below 6th), playing in good conditions, good hitters park, higher run total, and a combination of the above criteria. A good portion of your lineup will be made up here so it’s good to choose players from both sets of criteria. I find myself searching more for HR balls but having a healthy combo of both is probably the better route.
- SPLITS- Ok once you have your player pool it’s time to look at the players splits against the hand of the pitcher they are facing. Not all lefties are better against righties and vice versa so knowing your players platoon splits are important. You’ll also want to check the splits on the pitchers your bats are going up against as well.
- TWITTER/FB- You’ll need twitter more for up to the minute updates on batting orders and potential changes. You’ll also want to check out different FB groups to try and get a sense on cash game ownerships.
Okay you’re all set and ready to fire up those cash game lineups. I know this seems like a lot, but the first thing I do is see which direction I am going in cash. Once you decide what your cash game lineup will be you can make adjustments accordingly for GPP play. Good luck and be on the lookout for my cash game article that I will be rolling out shortly. Check me out on twitter @robserp where I am always willing to answer questions.