1. Forget Cash Game Mentality
For DFS players who are used to playing cash games, where the goal is to just get a winning score, tournaments can pose a big challenge. Fantasy owners have to forget all about trying to put together a lineup that has valuable and safe players that will definitely produce a respectable score in order to cash. The key difference one must realize is that, in a tournament, first place has extreme value. The biggest upside a cash-game player has is doubling his entry fee. Tournament prizes can be hundreds or even thousands of times the entry fee.
So what changes does a cash-game player have to make? First, do not just put a cash game lineup in a tournament. While there is a chance that the lineup could earn a prize in any given tournament, a properly constructed cash-game lineup is particularly unlikely to take first place. A cash-game lineup, filled with steady, high-floor players, will be up against tournament lineups with more upside. Winning tournament lineups do not play it safe: They embrace volatility, knowing that if the right combination hits, the payoff is huge.
In summary, the philosophy of a cash game is to win one of the prizes, as they are all the same value. The first-place winner is the same as the last team to win a prize, so there is no incentive to welcome risk. Safe, solid lineups win more often than not, and that is the lineup style of choice in a cash game.
Tournament philosophy is completely different, as the goal is to finish as high in the contest standings as possible to earn those big prizes given out to the best scores. Taking on risk here is not only suggested but required. An appetite for risk, however, should not be confused with reckless abandon. Selecting a lineup constructed with some players that can “hit it big” in a given week can result in a Top 1% finish and a big prize. Without taking on some level of risk, achieving a first-place score is almost impossible.