DFS Roundtable: Weekly Cash Lineups

As part of our preseason roundtables, we asked our staff the following question. How many cash lineups do you build each week and why?

Devin Knotts: The margin is so thin on cash games, that most weeks I will only play one as I am of the opinion that playing more than one is essentially playing against yourself especially if you have completely different lineups. What I will do occasionally is have a core of the same players and then if I am torn between one or two ancillary positions (flex, defense, third wide receiver, kicker, etc) then I will have two lineups, but for the most part, I play what I feel is my optimal lineup as that is the lineup that gives me the best chance to win each week.

Jason Wood

I never build more than three cash lineups, but much like Devin I tend to stick with one. My ROI vaulted last year once I went with my best lineup and stopped trying to diversify. 

Austin Lee: In head to head contests, you have built-in variance against your one lineup, so there is less need to diversify. If you want to diversify in 50/50’s or double-ups, you have to use multiple lineups, but I wouldn't recommend diversifying often.

In 2015, when pricing was tighter and key injuries hit more chalk plays, diversifying served me well. In 2016, I adapted to softer pricing and saw more success by generating fewer lineups. I average 1.5 cash lineups on the main slate and rarely have more than one lineup for each of the others slates.

Steve Buzzard:

To be honest I don't really think it matters much if you play one lineup or 20 if you don't diversify that much, swapping out two players you project approximately the same for example. 

The other factor that is important is what you really consider cash games. If you are talking purely about head to head and double up type games then one lineup is a fine. But if you start entering more contests that have upside like triple ups, leagues, steps, etc then diversifying your lineups makes a lot more sense. 

Justin Howe:

Yes, one cash lineup is optimal, I'd say. The randomness of sport dictates that it's unlikely you'll construct two full rosters of stout plays, so you probably won't build multiple cash lineups that win all over your contest pool. And the fact is that exposure to too many guys gnaws away at your ROI. Unless you do hit hard on two separate lineups - and even the DFS pros struggle to do that - the winnings from your best cash lineup can be wiped out almost entirely by investing elsewhere.

David Dodds:

When I played a lot of cash games, I preferred building out 3 lineups to play in cash games for the main slate.  These usually consisted of three different QBs (One high priced, One middle priced, and one scrub).  I did this to get some diversification of players (one injury doesn't wipe out all your games).  I nearly always stacked my QB in these situations because you generally need your QB to have a great game to win cash games (especially on FanDuel).  I would also play a lineup for the Thursday, 1 pm, and 4 pm slates.    

Chris Feery:

I typically lean towards just one cash game lineup, but I have had weeks where I’ve rolled with three. For the latter, I use the same approach that David outlined with three quarterbacks. Changing up your main stack - i.e. QB-WR or QB-RE - provides some interesting diversity to your optimal lineup, and it can afford you with a bit of a safety net in case one of your lineups underperforms. As the others have mentioned, I’m also finding my diversity by playing on multiple sites and slates. A great play on FanDuel might be not as appealing on DraftKings, and vice versa. The same applies for the smaller slates. Due to a smaller player pool, the optimal player for your 4pm lineups may not be ideal for the main slate.  

Dan Hindery:

I don't play head-to-head at all. My cash games are entirely Double Ups. I like to run three lineups each week so that it's less likely to be "all or nothing." I have my main lineup, which I use in 40-50% of my entries. And then two secondary lineups that are 25-35% each. Those numbers vary each week based upon how strongly I feel about each lineup and where I want my overall ownership % to be on certain key guys.