Even for an experienced season-long fantasy player, DFS will feel like entering an entirely new realm. Before diving into the different DFS strategies, one must first get accustomed to the general lay of the land. Here’s a rundown of some distinct daily fantasy terms to help ease the assimilation process.
50/50: A type of contest where the top half of the player pool wins. Factoring in the site’s rake, winners receive less than double their entry fee. (A 50/50 with 100 contestants and a $5 entry fee typically nets a $9 prize for each contestant who places in the top 50.)
Bankroll: The money a player budgets for DFS contests. Stay tuned for a Fantasy 101 guide to proper bankroll management.
Buy-In: The cost of a contest.
BvP: Batter vs. Pitcher. How a hitter has performed against a pitcher in head-to-head matchups. The sample sizes are often too small to reach any actionable conclusions, so it’s only worth weighing in extreme situations.
Cash Games: Contests in which a higher percentage (often 40-50%) earn winnings. Double-ups, 50/50s, and head-to-head bouts are the most common cash games. While payouts are lower, these formats present opportunities for DFS players to steadily build their bankroll while mitigating risk.
Chalk: The common, consensus choice, a chalk option will have a high ownership rate. Max Scherzer against the Miami Marlins is a chalk play, but still a wise one in cash contests.
Contrarian: The opposite of chalk, a contrarian play goes against the grain. Given those players’ low ownership, hitting on one could especially pay off big in a tournament.
Don’t Forget the Sandwiches. Daily Fantasy Sports.
Double-Up: A cash contest in which winners double their entry fee. Unlike 50/50, sites take their rake by paying out fewer than half of entrants.
Fade: To avoid a player or game. Gamers might want to fade an average pitcher going into Yankee Stadium, for example.
Freeroll: A free contest featuring cash prizes.
GPP: Guaranteed Prize Pool. Tournaments where the predetermined payout is guaranteed, even if the contest does not fill.
H2H: Head-to-head. Like in season-long leagues, it’s a one-on-one, winner-take-all contest.
Late Swap: Even after the slate begins, some sites will allow contestants to change players in games yet to start. This is particularly useful when utilizing players in West Coast bouts.
Overlay: When the site loses money on a GPP that doesn’t fill.
Multi-Entry: A contest allowing more than one lineup submission per player.
Multiplier: Contests where winners multiply their entry fee by a certain factor. A double-up (2x) is a common type of multiplier, but 3x, 4x, and 5x games also exist.
Qualifier/Satellite: Contests that award entry into another tournament with a higher buy-in rather than a cash payout.
Pivot: Moving away from a player initially inserted into a lineup. One might pivot from someone because of weather concerns, an unexpected lineup card, or a mere change of heart.
Punt: Playing a low-priced (often minimum-salary) player in order to save money for other positions. Someone deploying an expensive ace and some pricey chalk bats may punt catcher with a bottom-of-the-barrel option. This is a particularly viable strategy in baseball, as platoons/lineup changes often present decent punt plays. Punting on pitching, however, is rarely a recommended idea.
Rake: Commission the site takes from entry fees. In a 50/50 with 100 players, a $5 entry fee, and $9 payout (for 50 winners), the site enforced a 10 percent ($50) rake.
Shark: An experienced, successful DFS player. Some sites now offer Beginners Only and Experienced Players Excluded contests so casual gamers can avoid sharks.
Single-Entry: Contests that allow one lineup submission per player.
Splits: Stats divided into different categories. DFS players will most commonly use lefty/righty splits to play hitters with a platoon advantage. Other notable splits include home/away and first/second half.
Stack: Using multiple players from one team in the same lineup. This is a popular strategy to attack a vulnerable pitcher and optimize upside. A contestant, for example, could deploy a Houston Astros stack of Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and George Springer (it won’t be cheap) against an opposing left-handed pitcher.
Train: Entering one lineup multiple times in the same contest. It’s a high-risk, high-reward strategy, especially in a GPP.
Graphic by Justin Paradis (@FreshMeatComm on Twitter)