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Build Winning Daily Fantasy Football Lineups: Finding Value is Essential

Updated on December 11, 2015

After hearing all the commercials for DraftKings and FanDuel, everybody wants to win millions of dollars playing in these big tournaments that offer guaranteed money known as GPP tournaments. The thing is , how do you expect to win it if you and half the pool draft the same exact star players?

Another mistake is to pick the obvious stud players and then try to find any old cheap players to fill in the remaining slots of you lineup and hope for the best, but that never seems to work does it?

If you want to win a GPP tournament, you need to have different low owned players that will offer you some upside and put up big fantasy points. Finding these guys are not easy, but with the right tools, expert projections and knowing what a players cost per point (CPP) is, will help you see where the value really is, even if it’s not a popular pick. These players will give you the value and upside to help you get that edge you need to win your DFS contest.

Player Projections

So What Do I mean by Low Cost Value Players

When building a team with a salary cap, you can’t afford to select a stud player at every position. If you can get 4 in your lineup, you will soon find that now you only have a couple of bucks left to spend on the rest of your team. Now you’re left filling your roster with any old guy just so you can field a team and enter your content.

What you want to do to build a winning team is to know what studs you want to play, but round out your team with lower cost options in some position, that have a chance to produce.

So let’s say, this week on FanDuel, Calvin Johnson is $8,600 projected to score 10 fantasy points, Julio Jones is $9,200 projected to score 14.5 fantasy points and Mike Wallace is $5,300 projected to get 10 points. Who is the best value?

Well most guys would definitely want Calvin Johnson in their lineup or even Julio because he has upside, but you only have so much money to spend on your team. So who do you think is the best value play here?

Well lets do the math:
Calvin Johnson $8,600 / 10 = $860 CPP
Julio Jones $9,200 / 14.5 = $632 CPP
Mike Wallace $5,300 / 10 = $595 CPP

There you have it, Mike Walace, who is not having a great year, has the best cost per point scored. Now if you don’t think he will score 10 points you would want to pass on drafting him, but if you think 10 is reasonable against the weak defense he is going against, he makes a great low cost option.

Going by these numbers, we will score you the same points as Calvin Johnson while saving you $3,300! He will also score a few less fantasy points than Julio Jones, but with the $3,900 in savings, don’t you think you will get those extra points from another player that you can upgrade such as say a Gronk? Now instead of have $4,000 to spend on a TE, you now have $7,900.

How do you know what each player is expected to score?

Daily Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet


Doing the Hard Work For You

Who Has the Time to do the math on every players Salaries and find their Projections?

The fun on making a lineup is drafting the team, so no one wants to waste time finding multiply projections and doing the math on salaries. This is why I use a service like Salary Cap Crusher, they do all the work for you!

Expert Projections – See Which Players Will Produce

They provide you with projections from a number of top fantasy football sites and give you an average so you can see what the experts around the fantasy football world think a players production will be. They also highlight a players projection to let you know if the player should score more or less than their expected projection. After all, even the experts can be wrong from time to time.

Salaries from FanDuel and DraftKings

The Salary Cap Crusher also shows you salaries from both FanDuel and DraftKings so you can see Cost per Point (CPP) data from both sites, but also how much extra the player costs on each site to see if they are over-priced!

CPP data shows you where the cost value is based on expected player production. If you think a player will score more than their projection, then their CPP will go lower providing more value.

When comparing this data, the Salary Cap Crusher also shows you side by side, what the CPP of both FanDuel and DraftKings is for the players salary on BOTH websites. Many times a play is a discount on one site and on the other he is expensive and you cant draft the team you want because of this.

This is extremely valuable if you’re like me and like to create multiple lineups on both daily fantasy websites.

The Salary Cap Crusher in action: So How Did We Do Last Week?

I will post my lineup, but on FanDuel I scored 166.94 using the value picks from the cost per point salary data. Lets take a look at the CPP data based off the projections and then the actual CPP data after the games are played.

CPP actual
actual CPP
Antonio Brown
DeAngelo Williams
Jets Defense

Advanced Ways to Determine Player Value

As you can see we were expecting Antonio Brown to score 15.7 fantasy points at his salary of $8.700 which gave us a cost per point (CPP) scored price of $555. Instead Brown scored 37.1 points! That made our CPP only $235, less than HALF of what I was ok with paying for him. By saving with other players it allowed me to work in a player like Brown at a higher price that I knew would beat his weekly projection.

Look at DeAngelo Williams, his CPP data went from $609 all the way down to $175, incredible. Now its hard to predict a players outcome, but if you are comfortable with a players CPP based on projections, then it’s a good value play.

Now Cost Per Point data is a good start for detecting value, but its not the only method or even best method. Another thing I like to consider is what is a player’s value with respect to his actual position? Its one thing comparing WR to WR, but with a position like TE, how do you know if a TE is more valuable than say a WR.

By price or CPP you can see that a WR is a better overall value, but something you need to consider is opportunity cost. Essentially, what do you lose by selecting WR A vs WR B , TE A vs TE-B or WRA vs TE A

When it comes to tight ends, there is usually a huge drop off from say Rob Gronkowski to say they next expensive tight end. Gronk usually scores 50% more points than the next highest tight end while costing 25 – 30% more. Deciding whether to spend extra money to get the max at your TE position or spend that extra money on a better set of WR’s to make up those lost points. Figuring out the opportunity cost of selecting better WR’s and a cheaper TE vs the best TE and some more average WR’s. This is when pure projections are not enough. CPP helps, but players with a high variance give you that chance to make up those points for you GPP games.

Very Advanced Methods to Create Winning Lineups

I will address a few more ways to help create winning lineups in my next article. Here are a few more methods I use to draft better players:

Calculating Standard Deviation to find consistent players - My calculation each games productions, I calculate the difference or variation in a players output from their average score. Though this is extremely tedious, you can always get this data over at Lockdown Corner. It helps you find out who has upside and who is more consistent,

Using a “contrarian” approach - This is useful when selecting GPP players to help improve your odds of winning those large tournaments.


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