How to Win Big in Big-Money DFS Tournaments

Conquering the GPP: How to Make Many Effective GPP Lineups

One thing I often hear new DFS players say is, “I hate GPP tournaments, there’s too much variance.” Or, “I only play 50/50s and heads-up, because they are more consistent.” GPPs can be frustrating for sure, most of your profitability comes from that one lucky lineup placing in the top 10 of a tournament with a massive field.

But my issue with 50/50s and heads up is that they aren’t that easy to beat. They attract better players, and it’s hard to beat that 10% rake with such a savvy, small field.

GPPs, on the other hand, attract many recreational players with their big prize pools and their place at the top of the lobby. They are much easier to play profitably. The only issue is that profit comes in bunches, and we can go on long losing streaks while doing absolutely nothing wrong.

But there is one way to make these big, profitable GPP tournaments a more consistent venture. By making many different lineups and choosing a wide variety of players, we can hedge against variance of hitters and maximize our chances of hitting in one lineup every night.

Making 5, 10 or even 20 GPP lineups (I make as many as 50 some days) can be daunting, but there are ways to build lineups that will help you churn them out like an car factory.

1) Diversify at pitcher

Pitcher is high-variance position, and many days there are several viable plays at pitcher, with any of them more than capable of having a big day. Today is one of them: Francisco Liriano, Matt Harvey, Gio Gonzalez, and David Price all could be the pitcher of the day. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket; use a few different pitchers and one of them should have a big day almost every night.

2) Stack 3-4 players (or on DraftKings, you can stack almost an entire lineup) from one team in each lineup.

A great way to make sure your GPP lineups are effective is to stack players from a specific team, because teammates (especially ones close in the batting order) score fantasy points together, by scoring runs while others in the lineup get RBIs. So write down some teams you want to target, and write down 3-5 players from that team. Start your lineup by making a core group of these players, then fill in the rest with individual players that you love.

3) For fill-in players: Upside, Upside, Upside

When stacking, thinking about upside is not important, because even a singles and doubles hitter can have big games if the players around him are getting on base and knocking him in. But for the fill-in players, make sure there is plenty of upside. You must have players who are very capable of hitting home runs, or at least stealing bases. We want these guys to put up big numbers.

One other thing I want to get into is tournament strategy. Because of the pay-out structure of GPPs, where the top 10 finishers win most of the money in the prize pool, it’s important to find players that make your lineup unique. You want to take advantage of situations where most players in the tournament are targeting one team or one player, and that player fails to produce, because this significantly increases your chances of placing high.

Making a unique lineup means thinking about how the field is going to make their lineups. Here are a few things to think about:

1) Find good players in games other DFS players won’t target.

There are specific things that make good plays stick out like a sore thumb. One thing that almost all DFS players look for, amateurs and professionals alike, are games with high over/unders.

Currently, the Dodgers @ Rockies game has an o/u of 10.5, and the Red Sox @ Blue Jays game has an o/u of 9.5. Players high in the batting order in those games, like David Ortiz, Troy Tulowitzki, Yasmani Grandal, and the red hot Joc Pederson, are obvious plays to everyone, and each of them will be relatively high-used.

Using players who are in medium over/under games, like Carlos Santana on the Indians, can reward you because they will certainly be low-used. Just make sure you choose someone with high-upside (meaning, home run power or stolen base abilities), otherwise fading the popular plays may not be worth it.

2) Find players that are low in the batting order.

Another thing most DFS players do is look for players high in the order, batting in the 1-5 spots. Players will often avoid using someone batting 6th, 7th or 8th, in the order. But you can find some great plays in those spots: for example, Yonder Alonso. Alonso is a great hitter and a power threat, but has been batting 7th in the Padres order as of late. It downgrades his fantasy value to be that low in the order, but not by a drastic amount, and I’m almost certain no one will use him.

3) Find teams that struggled the previous day.

Some teams look like great plays, only to score zero runs leaving your stack and therefore your lineup totally worthless. Last night, the Padres did just that, with an absolutely awful zero run game against the Diamondbacks when most thought they would crush pitcher Rubby de la Rosa. With 15 games to choose from, most will just avoid getting burned by the Padres again, which means it’s the perfect time for us to sweep in and stack Padres. Most of them will get less than 5% ownership, so if the Padres have a big game, you’ll have a big, big edge on the field.

4) Despite all this, don’t get too creative.

For a lineup to be unique, you only need to pepper in a few of these plays. Don’t go crazy and use all contrarian plays, because you’ll end up making a weak lineup when things are all said and done. So if you stack the Padres like I suggest, don’t feel the need to make any more contrarian plays, because your lineup will already be unique enough.

In the spirit of this article, I’m not going to write any top picks today, but instead tell you some players to fade and players to target in GPPs. Again, keep in mind that these recommendations are only for big field GPP tournaments.

GPP Fade

Yasmani Grandal – Coming off a two homer game and playing at Coors Field, Grandal will certainly have his usage be off the charts today. But as I always preach, even the best hitters are capable of 0 for 5 games. Miguel Montero has some nice upside going to home run happy Miller Park, he’s a great option for a Grandal fade.

Joc Pederson – Pederson has been absolutely demolishing the baseball lately, and DFS players will be drooling at the prospect of Joc hitting a Coors Field. But his price is high, and he’ll be used way too much.

GPP Targets

Adam Laroche – Laroche has a great price on FanDuel ($2,500), and will likely be overlooked tonight with so many plays at 1st base. He has the power for a big game.

Yangervis Solarte – Solarte ($2,200 on FanDuel) will be avoided tonight like the rest of the Padres lineup, but 3B is a weak position and he’s a great option.

Brandon Moss – Moss has a great matchup against Mike Pelfrey, not only is Pelfrey a poor pitcher, he’s a sinkerballer, Moss’ favorite type of pitch to hit. He’ll be passed up for other high-salary outfielders in his price range.

Jose Bautista – At the exact same price as Joc Pederson on FanDuel ($4,800), Bautista will be completely overlooked tonight. But going up against lefty Wade Miley at home, it’s the perfect storm for a big, big game from Bautista.

If you have any questions about this article, make sure to tweet me @maxjsteinberg. I hope you found this helpful, and good luck tonight!