DFS Roundtable: Postseason Bankroll Management

How do you approach the postseason from a bankroll standpoint? Do you play more contests/entry fees than usual, the same, or less?

The NFL playoffs are a blast in DFS, thrilling and infuriating all at once as you walk more of a razor's edge than usual. Our 2017 NFL intuition dips in importance as we focus more heavily on fine-strategy points like super-stacking and ownership. With that in mind, how do you approach the postseason from a bankroll standpoint? Do you play more contests/entry fees than usual, the same, or less?

Jason Wood: I feel compelled to offer the same caveat I have at other times this season – I'm a low-stakes DFS player. I play it for fun and the intellectual exercise, not with any aspirations of supplementing my income or turning a large profit. Therefore, my "bankroll management" is far more conceptual than many other staff members.

With that in mind, I play almost no cash in the playoffs, since the potential lineups are narrower. Ultimately the point outcomes for GPPs are flatter, and thus I'm fine with just allocating to GPPs. Generally, I play my top one or two cash lineups in GPPs every week, and the postseason is no different.

It's also worth mentioning that I'm trying out FanDuel's Super format for the first time this week. I didn't look into the alternate lineup structure during the regular season, but it seems fun and I'm willing to throw caution to the wind a bit more in a playoff environment given how tight the "razor's edge" is as you mentioned.

Justin Bonnema: I'll be playing less than normal and only playing GPPs. Short slates are tough to crack every week. Add in the heightened importance of playoff games, some of which are bound to be one-sided, and you have even less predictability than normal. There is also the matter of the crowd having only four games to research and only eight teams to choose from, which makes the edge even smaller in general. I'll be joining the big tournaments on both FanDuel and DraftKings simply because I love the playoffs and DFS makes them even more enjoyable, but will keep my bankroll exposure low.

Chris Feery: I’ll be playing a little less than normal and sticking to GPPs. While research is still key on the short slates, there’s less of an edge to be found with fewer games on the docket – not to mention a lot of overlap in lineups. It’s really not a time to get too cute with things. Yes, ownership percentage is important, but you don’t want to build a dead-in-the-water lineup by fading one of the week’s top plays just for the sake of being different. That said, it’s still important to find a spot or two in your lineups where you can mix things up with a lower-owned contrarian play or two. I’ll play in the larger tourneys on the major sites and complement that with some appealing single-entry and low max entry tournaments.

John Mamula: I'm also playing much less than normal and only GPP tournaments. Cash games are risky as missing one key player in your lineup can keep you from cashing. I prefer the largest 3-max entry tournaments as the DFS edge in the NFL playoffs is significantly minimized. My first step is to decide how much I want to risk as compared to a normal week. I am leaning 20%-25% of my normal bankroll allotment this week. Then I will spread that amount over 10-15 GPP tournaments focusing on 3-max and single entry.

Justin Howe: The guys have nailed it: the postseason is for tournament play. Almost exclusively, in fact; I may enter a few head-to-heads, but they’ll be simply for low-low-low-dollar fun with friends and colleagues. I’m putting zero eggs into the “grind it out in cash games” basket. Bonnema nailed it: the edge fades quickly when your fellow DFSers have four games to sort through and analyze, rather than 10-16.

And since I’m playing almost entirely in low-percentage GPPs, I’ll naturally be putting far less bankroll into play than usual: probably about 25% of my normal allotment, as John suggested. And it’ll be put exclusively on low-dollar, high-entry, high-stakes contests – I’m anticipating 6-8 different contrarian lineups at $3-5 entries apiece. This is not the time of year for safe, sanitized, grind-it-out play. It’s the time of year for hero-making, or at least a formidable attempt at it.

James Brimacombe: I am playing the same entry fees this week as I do in the regular season. Four-game slates are still decent to find value in and to have fun with in DFS, and I will continue to play the next two weeks based on that. When it gets to the Conference Finals and a two-game slate I will dial it down, with a lot of GPP stacks and no cash. I will actually focus more on the DRAFT format in the playoffs as I feel there is an edge there with 3-man games and H2H. I will also play plenty of GPPs on FanDuel and DraftKings but will pick and choose what contest I enter more so than ever. I want to look for max-entry contests up to 5-max, single entries, and smaller size GPPs with fewer than 1,000 entries.