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NBA DFS Strategy: How to Build Winning Cash Game Lineups | DraftKings + FanDuel

Adam Scherer

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Awesemo brings you yesterday's optimal winning NBA DFS lineups for DraftKings, FanDuel & Yahoo | Fantasy Basketball Advice 4/13/2022

As we touched on in the NBA DFS GPP/tournament article, that’s what the general public thinks of when they hear the names DraftKings and FanDuel. However, the more prominent aspect for serious DFS players is cash games. It’s a more consistent avenue for making money and building a bankroll. We discussed how to build winning GPP lineups before, but we need to get down to the brass tax on how to create winning cash game lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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NBA DFS Strategy: DraftKings + FanDuel Cash Game Lineups

What are “Cash Games?”

Cash games are contests that pay a larger percentage of the field than GPPs and have flat payouts. Examples of cash games are 50/50s, double-ups and head-to-heads. All of these contests pay 40 to 50 percent of the field, and you receive the same amount of money regardless of where you finish inside the top 40 to 50 percent on DraftKings and FanDuel.

How Should You Adjust Your Strategy for Cash Games?

Since there is no extra reward for finishing in first place in cash game contests, you should be less willing to take on risk in your lineup. That isn’t to say that you can’t roster any volatile players, but you want to lean toward increasing the floor of your lineup where possible. Median projections will play a bigger role in your cash lineups than your GPP lineups since your goal is typically to beat half the field in these contests as opposed to trying to beat 99.9 percent of the field in GPPs.

Player ownership can also play a role in cash games, but it is the opposite role of GPPs. In GPPs, you are looking for low-owned plays that have the ability to outperform expectation. In cash games, you will typically want to err on the side of higher-owned players because it decreases your risk. For example, if Player A projects for 50 points and Player B projects for 50 points (and everything else other than ownership is equal) you would want to roster whichever is higher owned in cash games because it protects you against losing the contest solely because you lose a coin flip between two players.

An exception to this is in head-to-heads. The reason is that if you are playing 10 head-to-head matches, you will make more money with an 80th-percentile lineup than a 60th- percentile lineup. In 50/50s and double-ups, you receive the same reward whether your lineup is in the 80th percentile or the 60th percentile, so there is no benefit to taking the lower-owned side of a coin flip in these contests.

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How Can You Use Our Tools to Improve Your Cash Game Play?

Accurate projections are crucial in order to do well in cash games. Using our projections is a good first step toward building a strong cash lineup because you will be able to create lineups that have the best median expectation.

Our Boom/Bust Tool provides more assistance in building your cash lineup because it projects the percentage of the time that a player will fail to reach an acceptable score for their salary. This is useful when trying to decide between players that have similar median projections since some players are more volatile than others. This tool will point you toward players that have a more narrow range of outcomes and are therefore less likely to fail in your cash lineup.

Our Ownership Projections are also useful in cash games because they can help prevent you from taking unintentional contrarian stands. As mentioned before, it can be risky to roster a player in cash games that other people aren’t rostering. There isn’t anything wrong with doing so if you are aware that you’re doing it and confident it is the best play. Being able to ensure that you aren’t unintentionally rostering low-owned players will improve your bottom line, however.

The ultimate goal in building a cash lineup is to maximize your median projection while also accounting for downside risk. In addition to minimizing downside risk, you also want to be aware of player ownership to avoid taking on unnecessary risk when choosing between similarly projected players. Combining our median projections with the boom/bust tool and ownership projections will allow you to find the best projected lineups while also managing your risk.

Adam "ShipMyMoney" Scherer has been playing and analyzing DFS full-time since quitting law school in 2016. He has qualified for the 2016 FanDuel MLB Playboy Championship, the 2016 DraftKings Fantasy Baseball World Championship (3x) and the 2019 DraftKings Fantasy Basketball World Championship. You can find him on Twitter at @ShipMyMoneyDFS or by emailing [email protected].

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