DFS Roundtable: Weekly Bankroll Split

Several DFS staffers describe how they split their weekly bankroll between cash games and GPPs.

How do you typically split your weekly bankroll between cash games and GPPs?

James Brimacombe: I mentioned in the Bankroll Management Roundtable how I like to spend 80% of my weekly funds in cash games. I prefer not to play Double-Ups as much as I used to. Cashing in low dollar 50/50s is much more doable. Even if miss on a player or two, I still have a shot at winning.

I spend the remaining 20% of my week's investment on GPP contests, entering all the single-entry contests from $1 to $25. I also look for 3-max and 5-max contests. And I will often play at least one entry in the biggest contest at each site. The top-heavy aspect of contests like DraftKings' Millionaire Maker and FanDuel's Sunday Million make it hard to profit from them, but I like giving myself at least a single-bullet chance at a huge payday. I also enter satellite contests to win tickets to next week's big GPPs. Those satellites often have softer competition.

Chris Feery: I’m a bit more aggressive than most folks, as I typically wind up heavier on GPPs. On the main slates, I have a specific dollar amount in mind that I’m comfortable risking on a weekly basis. I’ll take that amount and divide it into multiple lineups, with an equal amount played for each lineup. If it hits, fantastic. If not, I’m not losing any sleep as it’s a dollar amount that I’m comfortable with.

For smaller slates, I’ll do an even mix of Cash and GPP games with a single lineup. I employ what I refer to as a "high-upside cash lineup," and I should at least break even if all goes well. If it outperforms, I make a nice profit. If it underperforms, it’s still a lineup I have a good chance of cashing in 50/50s and Double-Ups.

Chad Parsons: I think the 80/20 split between cash and GPP contests is a close approximation of my DFS play. Within the cash games, I have more than half on Head-to-Heads (H2Hs) and the rest on 50/50 and Double-Up contests. I prefer Double-Up to 50/50 as the payout is higher when cashing, and the move up in the cash line is a small one. Also, I would rather enter 20 different $1-2 contests with a few different lineups than enter one $5 H2H lineup, one $5 Double-Up, and $2-3 total in GPP tournaments as an example. More volume is my approach at a lower price point.

Justin Howe: I'll probably only put up about 10% of my bankroll in Week 1 - and it will be largely played in low-risk GPP contests. Rock-solid cash lineups are becoming rarer in NFL DFS, and they won't pop up in Week 1. Considering the uncertainty, much of my 10% will be invested heavily in a few high-ownership guys with a wide smattering of contrarian plays around them. My goal will be to put in just a bit of bankroll and hit solidly (not majorly) in one or two contests; a relative break-even will be just fine on my end in a wild opening week.

David Dodds: As cash games (50/50 and H2H) have gotten harder and GPPs are being dominated by mass-entry specialists, I find myself now playing much more of a hybrid philosophy. I like to build lineups with two stacks (QB/WR and RB/Def). For example, I might pair QB Drew Brees with WR Michael Thomas while also pairing RB Spencer Ware with the Chiefs defense.

These are highly volatile lineups that have the potential to put up a lot of points, but could also perform badly should the QB or defense come up short. Because of the volatile nature of these lineups, I like to enter them in 3X, 5X, 10X and 100 man contests (where 1st is 25X). I feel this hybrid-approach competes well against both GPP-style and cash-style choices.

John Mamula: My goal is to grind out a weekly profit, thus I focus 90% of my weekly bankroll allotment on cash games and the remaining 10% on GPP contests. Of the 90% in cash games, roughly 65-75% is in H2Hs with the remaining 25-35% in 50-50s. An edge can be gained if you invest time with H2H game selection. For GPPs, I focus on single-entry and 3-max contests. I will also put a couple of entries in the largest GPP contests just to have an opportunity for a huge payday.

Jason Wood: I treat GPPs like a lottery ticket, meaning I know I'm outgunned in most cases because I have neither the time nor interest in mass entering. I'm skeptical you can have a solid ROI in GPPs without mass entering and diversification. Therefore, I assume my GPP tickets are losers and simply enter them to have fun and for the "you never know" factor. With that as a backdrop, you can guess that my GPP% is tiny compared to my investment in 50/50s and other cash games. It runs about 10%-15% GPPs, with 80%-85% in cash.

Devin Knotts: I disagree that GPPs are lottery tickets without mass entering. The variance is much higher on a week to week basis than if you play a high number of entries, but over the course of a season these contests are beatable. Also, for those who are afraid of not multi-entering, the 100-man contests are a great hybrid, and single-entry tournaments are great options as well.

I am primarily a cash game player, but I enter 1-5 GPP lineups each week with my core cash lineups, as I like to manually create my lineups instead of relying on a lineup builder to spit out 100 lineups. I have a higher ROI in multi-entry GPPs than I do in single-entry GPPs. Too many people who enter stupid lineups in multi-entry GPPs just to be different, so it eliminates at least 5-10% of the competition. Crazy lineups are less frequent in single-entry contests, raising the lineup quality.

Steve Buzzard: I spend the majority of my money (probably about 80%) on GPP contests because they allow me to have upside on my investment and allow me to use my skills in both fantasy football knowledge and lineup creation (game theory).

I also have to echo Devin's comments to say that mass entering has nothing to do with GPP success. You can be highly successful at GPPs whether you mass enter or enter a single lineup. Don't be afraid of GPPs. If you are good at predicting football games and creating lineups based on those predictions, GPPs should be a heavy part of your game plan.

Danny Tuccitto: In the past, I've been an 80% cash, 20% tournament guy, but that will be changing in 2017 based on the work I've done on Draftkings tournaments this offseason. I don't think I'll go so far as Steve's "upside-down 80/20" strategy, but I'll definitely move closer to a 50/50 split.

In short, if you apply math and domain knowledge properly to build your lineups, tournaments are more profitable in the long run than the "lottery ticket" or "loss leader" conventional wisdom suggests. As an example, even ignoring domain knowledge, my analysis showed it was a profitable strategy last season to enter tournaments with a single lineup spit out by the most basic optimizer.

Now, this profitability could easily have been idiosyncratic to 2016, and the explosion of optimizers lately could easily lead to a lower baseline ROI in 2017. But that's exactly why I'm not making a 180-degree turn; just moving higher than 20%.


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