DFS Strategy: The Weekly Schedule of Players Who Want to Get Better (Fantasy Football)

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I need to confess something: I like a schedule.

Maybe you’re one of those go-with-the-flow people or willing to change your plans on a dime. I’m envious.

For real, I’ve always preferred to set the course of my day/week/month/year because ultimately I want to do the things that are most essential in my job and give the time I desire with my family. But I’m learning how to be more pliable especially when it comes to DFS.

I wanted to give you a “sample schedule” of what a week could look like for a DFS player. I don’t follow this precisely but perhaps this jumpstarts you on your own DFS journey to figure out what works best for your process. Take what you find helpful and throw out the rest. Some of these I have commandeered from others in the industry I respect greatly and some days are adaptations of what has been successful for me as a DFS player/podcast host/editor-in-chief/whatever other role I may find myself in with the Fantasy Footballers.

Tuesday: Get a Lay of the Land

On Tuesday mornings, this is your first chance to turn the page towards the next week.  I write a First Look article as part of our DFS Pass which highlights the salary adjustments each week and the inherent values from DraftKings and FanDuel. Familiarize yourself with the pricing and who isn’t on the main slate that week. In other words, the teams & players playing on Thursday night, Monday night or happen to be on a bye week gives you insight if there are elite RBs like Christian McCaffrey or Derrick Henry who might garner more roster percentage that week. The TE landscape is so crucial because we have 3-4 elite guys. If one or two of them is off the slate, you are looking at pay-up or punt as the strategy.

Wednesday: Matchup Deep Dive

In redraft leagues, this is usually the day where waivers and the aftermath of making moves takes precedence. I get it. When waivers go through, my main league’s Slack channel is full of chatter and trash talk for most of the day that’s it’s hard to switch your mindset thinking about a format you might not look at until Friday or Saturday.

If you’re short on time, finding 15 minutes to look through each matchup is an easy way to just think about this from a football/game flow perspective before narrowing down on your player takes. Our Vegas Report highlights the highest totals on the main slate as well as insights related to team implied totals and possible game stacks from the five games we like the most that week. We also release a Pace of Play article that combines the Vegas lines with play-calling tendencies for each team. Unless you’re playing the Showdown slate on Thursday night, Wednesday is one of the lighter days that I reserve to look at things mostly from a 10,000-foot view of “what do I know/not know about these matchups?”

Thursday: Get a Practice Run In

Thursday is a gift in the DFS multi-verse. I use that term not only as a Marvel fan (Loki was top-notch) but the Showdown slate gives you a chance to see a one-game sample of all the possible outcomes. It’s amazing how often we think we can predict game script as evidenced by Matt DiSorbo’s Fantasy Football Mythbusters series. One game on a Thursday night gives us the opportunity to try this out without the same consequences of the main slate.

Beyond playing the Thursday night game, I also start to assemble my cash game lineup. It’s version 1.0 and I’ve found that being open to changing my opinion in cash starts with getting this out of my head and receiving critique from someone else. My favorite text each week is between Betz and I as we go back-and-forth on our first attempt at a cash game lineup. It’s far from over and there is disagreement as he makes his lineup and I make mine. There is often overlap but when you’re assembling a cash game lineup, you’re obviously looking for a high floor.

Here’s an example I found from a screenshot on my phone this past year. In fact, dang… I had so many screenshots from my phone that I need to delete some of them. This was the final version of a lineup I tinkered with for the rest of the week. (Spoiler: that was the week Patrick Mahomes & Tyreek Hill saved my butt when he went off for 200+ & three TDs) For more on assembling a cash game lineup, check out the recently released DFS Roster Construction Strategy article.

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Friday: Create Your Player Pools

I mean this one is a freebie… Wake up and see that your weekly Fantasy Footballers DFS Podcast with Matthew Betz and myself is in your podcast feed. We analyze the main slate, offer our cash game plays, work through stackable games, and even some dart throws.

But beyond listening to the podcast, Friday is the day I begin to look at practice reports to get a feel for who could be in or out for the Sunday games. I also start to whittle down the number of players I want to expose myself to in tournaments. These “player pools” are not meant to “X” people out completely but to at least see what types of correlation I can take advantage of. Courtesy of FantasyLabs, here are the correlations for each position related to QB fantasy points versus the actual roster percentages used in tournaments over the last five years.

With this information, we can see the field is more overconfident in rostering WR1s, RB2s, and DSTs from the same team as well as opposing RB1s when stacking. This is helpful to gain an edge on the field and mix things up in tournaments. For more on the subject, check out our recent podcast devoted fully to Stacking & How to Outsmart the Field.

Saturday: Unplug for a Minute

I take off Saturdays to be with the family and try to unplug from DFS or else this is where you begin to question the entire week’s process. Seriously, I try my best to put my phone away and not indulge in the latest news. You will get clear updates on Sunday so anything we think on Saturday is mere speculation. Plus, there is more to life than DFS as strange as this may sound coming from someone who does this for a living. Saturday gives you perspective and a chance to see that Sunday DFS life isn’t everything.

Sunday: Tinker Those Lineups & Sweat It Out

This is where the best DFS players make their due. While you might not be looking to make this a full-time profession, adding a little extra spending money for the holidays to your bankroll comes down to putting in a little bit of time on Sundays finishing constructing lineups before lock. While there is some comedic debate in the DFS community whether you are #TeamHandBuild or #TeamOptimizer, the process is what is most important to me.

The biggest DFS mistakes I’ve found personally come down to:

  • Contest Selection
  • Early Week Take Lock
  • Overthinking Cheap RBs
  • Lack of True Correlation/Stacking Forethought
  • Not Factoring in Roster Percentages
  • Lying To Yourself About Bankroll/Winnings

I try to keep notes like that handy so that when I view where my money is being allocated on a Sunday, I can cross-check them with this list.

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Monday: Learn From Your Mistakes

Write down your mistakes. Not specifically player-specific takes, although it might be helpful to identify if you have some beef against someone after they burned you last week. Instead, mostly focus on what part of the process of selecting your cash game lineups or GPP tournament builds was helpful, harmful, or just downright rushed.

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