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Throughout the season, I’ve discussed several strategies for daily leagues. I’ve also broken down some of the differences between yearly and daily leagues. One thing I haven’t mentioned which is probably one of the biggest adjustments I’ve had to make is getting accustomed to using a salary cap to create a lineup. Everyone knows that Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck, just to name a few players, are must starts regardless of matchups. However, understanding the concept of using your money wisely takes time. Everyone starts with the same salary cap of $50,000, and each player has a price. You have to fill in nine roster spots with that salary cap. Here are some things to consider. When do you pay up for a player? Which players are the best values? When does price based matchup not matter? Lastly, as prices change weekly, how do you adjust when a price increases or decreases a significant amount?
Let’s begin by paying up for the big salaried player. For the most part, I tend to not pay for the most expensive players that often, because in doing so, you leave yourself with less money to spread throughout the remainder of your lineup. However, there are some occasions where I’m paying for a high-level player. For example, if I find value at other positions that I’m comfortable playing, I’ll use some of my savings, and pay up for some of the higher salaries. Another instance when I’ll pay premium price would be when a specific player has an incredible matchup and they are almost guaranteed the points. Like Aaron Rodgers this week. He’s the most expensive quarterback, but he’s at home where he’s thrown 20 touchdowns and zero interceptions this season; and is playing against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. This in particular, I prefer doing in cash games. However, in recent weeks, some of my cash lineups have produced more points than some of my tournament lineups.
Looking for value is something that takes time and research. There’s no sugar coating it. We all are familiar with sleepers, high upside players, and the obvious plays. However, value doesn’t always have to be determined by finding the lowest salary and hitting on that player. Let’s take Calvin Johnson last week, for example. He was priced the lowest he’s been all season, and had one of his better matchups of the year. His salary was $7000, which is clearly not the cheapest salary for a receiver, but it was still great value. The ceiling and upside that Johnson has is as high as it gets, and when he’s at what could be the cheapest price of the season, and has a great matchup, it’s almost certain that he will perform above the average player in his salary range. Essentially you’re looking for players who are underpriced and have potential. Some other examples from last week are: Keenan Allen $6000, Tre Mason $4600, and Jordan Reed $3200. All were priced somewhat low and had good matchups. Not to mention, the volume factor.
Sometimes a player who has a tough matchup gets a bump down in price. When this happens, it becomes tempting to consider taking this specific player. Most of the time I steer away, sometimes it works, and other times it back fires. One thing is for sure, price will always matter, but the matchup won’t. Say you have an elite player’s salary that goes from $9000 to $8000 because of a tough matchup. At that point the matchup might not matter because the price is too good. However, that concept is only for the elite tier players. If I have a middle tier player at a good price, but he is playing a tough defense, there’s a chance I could avoid using that player. I think we all tend to overthink matchups at times, especially with elite players, and that’s something we shouldn’t be doing if the price is right. Always remember, a must start in yearly league isn’t always a must start in a daily league, and the only reason why is pricing.
Every week, player’s prices change, which is something that only encourages you to stay on top of your game. This is where the research comes in. Unlike yearly leagues, the fact that every week you have new salaries and all the players available, prevents you from using the same lineups over and over again, and challenges you to figure out the best way possible to construct a team. It takes time, but if you take the time, the outcome could be a very profitable one. One of the biggest challenges has been getting familiar with the concept of salaries. It is important to understand when there’s value, know when it’s the right time to pay up or stay away from an elite player. As well as understand that everyone starts off with the same salary as you and it’s your own due diligence that will help you get to the next level.
Good luck to those who begin their yearly league playoffs this week, and everyone else that is firing up games on DraftKings. Until next week!