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Fantasy basketball is a totally different beast than baseball or football. NBA DFS is ruled by the players who stay constantly connected, their eyes glued to their phones or their laptops as crucial lineup changes are announced throughout the day. This game isn’t for the faint of heart or the casual player. In order to win big in NBA DFS players must be on top of it 24/7.

The game is all about value. With NBA DFS, your strategy is about getting the most bang for the buck. In order to understand the strategy that will help you do that, let’s first look at how the scoring breaks down for DraftKings and FanDuel, so you know what each site values and what you should prioritize when you build your lineups.

Offensive ScoringDraftKingsFanDuel
2-Point FG+2+2
3-Point FG+3.5+3
Free Throw+1+1
Offensive Rebound+1.25+1.2

For the most part, these two scoring systems are the same—with some key differences. For one, FanDuel penalizes turnovers with a -1, but DraftKings only docks turnovers at a -0.5 clip. This may lead you to target more accomplished ball handlers on FanDuel to keep from incurring lots of those -1 penalties cutting into your point totals.

Offensive rebounds are virtually the same (1.25 versus 1.2). Free throws and two-point field goals are exactly the same between the two sites, so for your big men, the two sites are pretty much the same on the offensive end. While twos are the same, three-pointers are a little more valuable on DraftKings (3.5 points) versus FanDuel (3 points), so a dead-eye shooter from distance like Steph Curry is worth a little more on DraftKings.

One thing that stands out, too, is that DraftKings rewards big games. In NBA DFS, they give out an extra 1.5 points for double-double games (double-digit scores in two statistical columns between points, assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals) and an extra three points for triple-doubles (double-digit scores in three of those statistical columns). Across sports, DraftKings loves the breakout game.

Defensive scoring is calculated as follows:

Defensive ScoringDraftKingsFanDuel
Defensive Rebound+1.25+1.2

Defensive scoring is pretty similar here, too, but with some differences: steals are two points on DraftKings and three on FanDuel, just like blocks. Also, just like with offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds are 1.25 to 1.2. Overall, there is a slight advantage to picking up the premium defender in your FanDuel lineup if all other considerations are the same.

Let’s take a look at the different lineups:


Here we see more differences between the sites. On DraftKings, you get eight players, the five standard positions plus three utility-type roles. The first is a guard, and that player can be a PG or SG. You also get a utility forward position, where you have the option to choose a SF or PF. The third utility role is a true utility position, as DraftKings gives you the opportunity to plug in any player.

The lineup construction for FanDuel is a little more standard than DraftKings with a total of nine players: at PG, SG, SF, and PF, and one at C. With no utility player wiggle room here, your job is a little bit easier. An important distinction, though, is that starting this year on FanDuel, only your top eight players count toward your point total. Be mindful of this: while you technically get one more player, the same number of players counts toward your points total. This is a new change, so it’s unclear how it is going to affect strategy, but it seems to favor a stars-and-scrubs approach where you have eight legit players and one guy who is more of a value pick with high upside. That way, if he doesn’t produce for you, that’s OK: you didn’t dedicate too much space in your salary cap to that pick.

Because NBA DFS is so intense to play, knowing the right statistics is important. Start by looking at a player’s fantasy points. If you don’t have time to get into anything else while building your lineups, here is where you can see who has been the most effective day in and day out. The downside, of course, is that everybody else can see that, too. You won’t be able to uncover any value picks here as you survey the slate and build your lineups. Especially as you get started, it’s good to get familiar with these numbers.

The next thing to look at is the standard statistic lines. For anything that is valued by these sites (field goals, free throws, assists, rebounds, steals, blocks, and turnovers), it’s easy to find every player’s per game average in that column. Looking at what you’re likely to get from these players and calculating an expected fantasy output is pretty easy thanks to these averages. Look for the type of guys who fill up the box score and add value in all sorts of ways, not just the Carmelo Anthony types who are one dimensional fantasy players because all they add in value are field goals and free throws.

You also want to take a look at how often each player is on the floor. Looking at a player’s minutes-per game on the floor can give you a sense of how integral they are to a team’s offense. You may be looking at two players who have similar stat lines, but if one is on the floor more often than the other guy, you’d want to take the guy who stays out longer, as he’s going to have more chances to rack up points for you. It’s a good rule of thumb to fill your lineups full of players who start for their respective teams, because even the best sixth or seventh man off the bench gets left there some nights.

It is worth your time to take a look at the minutes distribution on different teams. Some teams have a pretty small rotation of key players, with maybe seven or eight guys on the roster actually racking up serious minutes. There are other teams in the league who have really deep rosters and like to rotate ten or twelve guys through each game. Be realistic when assessing a player’s time on the court. Even if a player seems like he should be getting more time on the court, if the coach and front office don’t see it that way, that player will be splitting time and won’t be on the court long enough to get you many points.

Knowing which coaches have a reputation for keeping their starters on the floor will also be beneficial. If a game gets lopsided, some coaches might pull their starters in order to get their reserves some more time on the floor, which would be bad news for you if you have any starters in that lineup. You want your guys to stay out on the court as long as they can to keep racking up the points for your squad.

As you’re deciding between players, though, be sure to look at workload. Some players aren’t impacted much by playing games on back-to-back nights, but some players’ production really takes a hit in those situations. If you’re looking at taking a flier on a player, be sure that they’re not worn out from a tiring game the night before. Especially if your lineup hinges on that player providing big value, be sure that they’re going to be 100 percent for you.

Minutes might tell you who gets on the court a lot and stays there, but if you pick a defensive specialist who isn’t a big part of his team’s offense, you won’t get much fantasy production out of that player. This is why you want to look at a player’s usage. Usage percentage will also help to illuminate how important a player is to his team. This is an advanced statistic that calculates how often the ball is in a player’s hands while he’s on the court.

Ideally, you want to build a lineup full of starters who stay on the court and keep the ball in their hands. Even if they don’t all go for thirty points that night, you’re likely to get some assists, while guys who only touch the ball on field goal attempts won’t have many opportunities to rack up assists for their team (and yours).

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

–Michael Jordan

Something that makes the NBA different than other sports, though, is streakiness. An NBA player might get hot over a stretch of games and see his numbers shoot up. His attempts may increase too because of his newfound confidence. Targeting these players with the “hot hand” is a good strategy as long as you aren’t overpaying.

As with the MLB, it isn’t just about the players you choose and their strengths, it’s also about who they’re facing off against. A great statistic for you to use when considering defenses is defense versus position (DVP). This stat is the average number of fantasy points that a team allows to a certain position on the court. You typically know who’s going to be guarding who one-on-one, so DVP will help you identify who the weak defenders in the league are. Once you know who these guys are, you should target who’s going up against them.

If you can, target the players who play in up-tempo offenses and are playing against another up-tempo team. Hopefully, the two teams will have a back-and-forth game that gets both of them into the 120s and above.

Team points per game (PPG) is a great statistic to help you figure out how potent an offense is. Ideally, you are looking to match two equal, high-scoring offenses who play at a fast pace and play below-average defense. When you’re looking at matchups trying to find that fast-paced shootout, make sure you check out each team’s pace. A team’s pace is the average number of possessions a team gets per game. More possessions mean more scoring opportunities. You want guys playing on teams with a really high pace factor. Defensive efficiency is a very good statistic for pace, too. It represents the effectiveness of a team’s defense, giving you the average number of points a team allows in every one hundred possessions. If both teams have high numbers with this statistic, this is the kind of game you want to target.

You might wonder what happens when a faster-paced team plays a slowerpaced, better-defending team. In that situation, things typically average out. That tells you that finding one up-tempo team in a matchup isn’t ideal, as it would be better to find a game where two are facing off against one another.

“You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.”

–Jerry West

Strategy in NBA DFS is what will separate you from the rest of the players out there. While it might be tempting at first, you can’t just play LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry every game. NBA players are very consistent from one game to another, so building a lineup with top players and expecting to get more value than their price is a bad decision. The key to winning money at NBA DFS is by using math to find the undervalued players in great matchups, those great value picks.

The system I like to use is 5x, 6x, 7x. If you pick up a top-end guy like a LeBron or KD for $10,000, you need him to produce five times that number, with fifty points for you that night in order for it to be worth it. Because those type of players eat up so much of your salary cap, you need them to do more than just have their average or expected night. You need them to break out for a huge game.

However, you can’t just fill up a lineup full of superstars. You’re going to have to have some mid-level and lower-level salary guys in there too, so for the mid-level guys you want to get six times his salary in terms of fantasy points. Remember that a few bad games might change even a very good player’s valuation and therefore his pricing. This is why it’s so important to do your research: there are always good players out there who are undervalued.

With lower-level salary guys, you’re looking for them to produce seven times their salary. This might seem like a lot to ask, but there are good values to find every night. How do you get these huge breakout value picks, though? That’s the million-dollar question with NBA DFS. Because players are so consistent night in and night out, and there are so many great statistics out there to help players predict fantasy success, it’s not just about picking good players and sitting back hoping to beat the system that way. That won’t work.

What you need to do with NBA DFS is stay up on the news. It sounds like a pretty basic concept, as it seems like every player should be doing this. Still, that really is what separates great fantasy players from mediocre ones. There is a definite skill to acquiring the news and quickly analyzing it. Each night is a new puzzle and only the best problem solvers walk away with the cash each night.

You can follow player updates on various sources throughout the day and if you follow all the NBA beat writers on Twitter, you’ll be up on the latest news from the people closest to the team up until tip-off. That may be a lot to ask, though, because there are so many beat writers and they won’t only be tweeting out injury updates. Everyone has their own method of staying on top of the news, so make sure to find a process that works for you. Be sure to follow the experts and make sure you’re near your computer or phone, so you can get the inside scoop to all the late-dropping news as the lineup lock approaches.

Now, let’s say you find out that a star player is injured and out of the lineup that day. Consider the effect that’s going to have on their team. Imagine the minutes of every game as a pool to be distributed among the players on that team. If a player who is typically on the court for forty minutes a night is now out of the lineup, there are a lot of minutes in that pool up for grabs. There’s also a lot of usage that gets transferred over, too.

Typically, the way it works is that the usage transfers mostly to the other original starters, and the minutes go to the bench players who are now in the lineup. There’s a bump on both sides, though. There are tools that can help you decide what’s going to happen when a starter is out of a team’s lineup. Good projection systems will adjust the usage with the new combination of guys on the court. As injuries linger, more data will become available. The larger the sample size of minutes played together, the more accurate the data on usage and other categories will be. Always check the sample size.

It used to be that both DraftKings and FanDuel locked their lineups at 7:00 p.m. ET, so if a player was a late scratch, fantasy players’ lineups got blown up. This was especially true when teams were getting late into the season with no hope of making the playoffs, so they started tanking to get better draft picks the next year. Because this delay of information was such an issue, DraftKings recently changed their rules. You can swap players in and out until their game tips off.

Again, staying up on the latest news is important. If you’re following Los Angeles beat writers on Twitter and they announce five minutes before tip-off that LeBron is out of the lineup because of a strained calf, you can swap in a player just in time to save your team’s chances that night. Without making that swap, all your research would be down the drain because you’re not going to win money with a zero in your lineup.

These injury scratches are common in other sports too, of course, but in MLB, even though the teams play almost every day, the lineups are typically announced a couple hours prior to the first pitch. In the NFL, teams announce their injured players’ statuses throughout the week and their official inactive players are announced hours before the game. But in the NBA, teams play almost every day and often will pull a player out with only a few minutes to spare before game time, so DraftKings changed their policy on swaps. This is good news for you, but it also means that you need to pay attention to the news for longer, so you don’t miss a single last-minute change.

Unless you can be near your computer from 6:00 p.m. to at least 7:00 p.m. ET every night, playing NBA DFS is probably not for you. It is a serious time commitment. If you’re going to play, you need to make sure that you can play well. If you commit a significant portion of your salary cap to a superstar player, expecting him to rack up major points for you, but then he gets pulled out of the lineup in the few minutes before tip-off and you’re out at dinner, you can kiss your chances of winning good-bye. The players who stay focused don’t get burned like this.

One strategy to use with the late swap is to enter a mock lineup during the day. Hold off on submitting until all the information rolls in from your sources. Then take that extra time to make your optimal lineup. So, if you don’t like any players from the 7:00 p.m. games, you can wait to lock in your players until the 8:00 p.m. games, allowing you an extra hour of research and more time to wait for news to drop.

An important thing to know is that pricing for players is set the night before each game. This means that if one of your starters gets pulled, you may not have to look far for his replacement. If that team has a good sixth man at your starter’s position, you may just want to plug him in as your replacement, especially if the offense is catered toward getting the ball to a player with his profile. Also remember that players from the second unit are priced accordingly, so in this situation you could get a guy at a minimum (or near minimum salary) who will be in the starting lineup for the night, with increased overall usage and minutes.

You can use this knowledge to your advantage when looking for value picks, as well. If you want to set up a stars-and-scrubs lineup, you could do pretty well for yourself by taking a couple superstars who are in great matchups that should play out for 5x points, two to three guys who will produce 5-6x value, and a player or two who are filling in for injured starters but have the skills and role in the offense to produce six or seven times what their cost is to you in terms of salary.

Another way to get the most value is by stacking. Just like in the other sports, you can stack one team or both teams in a game. It would be smart to pick up two to three guys from one team who are set up to provide a lot of value. Maybe you could find a couple guys who are going to be on the floor a lot in a fast paced back-and-forth game or a couple minimum-priced players who are filling in for the night. Let’s say both teams score a lot of points and move the ball quickly up and down the court, so it’s going to be a shootout. Take a look at how the second team’s offense works. If you can, target two to three players from that team who are also key contributors. A shootout— especially one that goes to overtime—will result in a lot of points for you.

Another thing to take a look at is the depth of the whole team. If there are a lot of injuries on their squad and their bench is depleted, they’ll be leaning on five or six guys to produce for them that night. It might be smart to stack that team in a high-scoring game. Stacking three to four players on the same team can be a smart play on occasions where a team is really thin on depth and only has seven or so players in their rotation. Each player will be forced to play heavy minutes, which will translate to good production for you.

Ideal games to stack are games that come down to the final whistle. Not only do you want a high-scoring affair, you also want a game where all the starters and players you roster stay on the court until the buzzer goes off. This is where you can use Vegas to your advantage. Take a look at the spreads in the games. If a spread is five points or less and the over/under is maybe 230 or more, Vegas is predicting a back-and forth high-scoring close game, which will be one for you to stack both sides on. Each time players go up and down the court, whoever it is, you’ll be racking up the points. This is especially true on the off chance the game heads to overtime, as unlike with other sports, the two teams will be scoring points back and forth for the entire overtime period.

Something to remember, especially when paying up for superstars, is that you want your players to be on the court the whole game so that they provide the kind of value you need from them. If you’re going after a player like LeBron, be sure that this game isn’t going to turn into a blowout or that his team isn’t going to pull him off the court early to rest him for the playoffs or to ensure a loss if the team is tanking.

The biggest thing to remember with NBA DFS, though, is that you want to get the picks right. Let the other guys take all sorts of risks on players who they think will have breakout games. What you’re looking to do is build a lineup that has the highest floor possible with some upside, so you know with a certain amount of confidence that your team is going to produce for you. Get the guys who are consistent night in and night out and are underpriced on that given night. Get the guys who are going against a weak defender. When news comes out about players getting pulled for injuries, or sickness, rest, or “rest” late in a losing season, be the player who quickly adjusts on the fly and produces optimal lineups.

To prepare for an average night with a seven-game slate, here’s what I do. The night before or first thing in the morning, I go to the schedule and look at the slate. My plan is to find the potential shootout game by looking at each game’s over/under. I want to find the two to four highest-scoring games and notate them as the potential game stack games. From there, I look to see what players are already ruled out and who is questionable for the slate that I need to keep an eye on throughout the day. Next, I look at who the potential value players will be and look for the high-priced players that are in a juicy matchup that I also want to target.

I try to start each of my lineups by locking in my favorite value players that provide the best lock for 5-7x value. I also lock the higher-priced players who I think have the floor for safety along with the highest ceiling for their price tag. From there, I round out my lineups from a position-by-position standpoint to see who to fill into the proper slots. I notate which positions look deep and which positions look scarce.

I try my best to narrow and adjust my player pool, listing out my favorite four to eight plays at each position. As the day goes, I like to create five to ten mocks and play out different scenarios in my head. For instance: “If the Warriors versus Rockets game turns into a shootout, this would be the lineup that would crush” or “If these two value guys hit and Harden does his thing, this should be a great cash lineup.”

As the day progresses and news is released, I readjust the earlier mocks and create new ones. The part that gets tricky is how much to listen to the “experts.” Throughout the day, podcasts and articles get posted on various sites. With all the new information that comes out and with all the injuries and lineup changes, it’s difficult to adjust your old opinions and keep track of all the potential combinations. If you’re not available and don’t have the time to focus and grind from 6-8:00 p.m. during the NBA season, you should really take the season off because this is when the money is won. It’s crucial to decipher all this information throughout the day and readjust your lineups on the fly. Your 9:00 a.m. lineups will get crushed on most nights if you don’t readjust at least portions of your lineup in response to the new info.

When the news drops, you can find me at my desk focused in, adjusting my lineups as every minute goes by. The feeling of pressure and anxiety is a bit like sitting in a college classroom during a final with only three minutes left, knowing that any second the teacher will tell the class, “Pencils down.” Now, add the fact that you have thousands of dollars at risk.

To be honest, on some days I don’t know how I reached the point where I’m rostering guys I have never even heard of and have $5,000 riding on some scrub getting the first start of his career, but that’s how a typical night of NBA DFS goes. When the games start on those days, I’m sick to my stomach and look at my lineup thinking, “How did I end up with this team? This one guy I took a shot on is going to make or break my lineup.” There is such a sense of relief as 7:00 p.m. comes, though. The only thing left is for the players to play.

Now you can understand the grind of the game and specifically how much skill and effort is needed to be successful. Every day is a new challenge and a new battle to win. The best players out there have found ways to simplify their process and avoid the clutter. Not only do they readjust one lineup, but they have the power to adjust ten, twenty, fifty, or one hundred fifty lineups on the fly. Stay cool under the pressure, be confident, and trust your process. Develop a daily routine that you’re comfortable with. Then constantly refine it until you’ve found a system that works with your schedule and is profitable more often than not.

They say the harder you work, the luckier you get, and one thing I guarantee you is this: the hardest workers in the NBA DFS industry are the ones on top of the leaderboards on most nights. Some call them lucky, but the veterans in the game know the truth.

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Thanks for checking out this article all about NFL DFS Strategy Guide, it’s an excerpt directly from my book Win Daily: Winning At Daily Fantasy Sports And Life. Make sure to sign up for a FREE or Gold Membership here to get slate specific advice from myself and our other DFS and Sports Betting Pros!

One-week Fantasy Football has grown in popularity over the last few years and for good reason. The money being awarded to the winners of tournaments has exploded, reaching its peak when DraftKings hosted their Daily Fantasy Football World Championship, with a $15 million prize pool that awarded $5 million to the lucky first-place winner. DraftKings and FanDuel are now running weekly Millionaire Makers awarding $1 million to first-place finishers every week this season. What better way to enjoy the NFL season than to go after a million-dollar prize. It’s more appealing, too, because you can draft a new team each week and not have to worry about shuffling around injured players and draft busts. What you will read below is a step by step guide to NFL DFS Strategy Guide.

Many DFS players consider NFL DFS preferable to MLB and NBA DFS because fantasy players get multiple days between games to research their teams. In addition, there are many great resources out there to break down players’ performances from the previous week and to project their success moving forward. For the casual player who wants to dabble in DFS, I always suggest starting with the NFL. It’s the same advice I give to family and friends. There are plenty of statistical considerations to get into, but first let’s break down the differences between DraftKings’ and FanDuel’s scoring systems.

Offensive ScoringDraftKingsFanDuel
Passing TD+4+4
Passing Yards+0.04/Yard+0.04/Yard
300 Yards Passing+3N/A
Interception Allowed-1-1
Rushing TD+6+6
Rushing Yards+0.1/Yard+0.1/Yard
100 Yards Rushing+3N/A
Receiving TD+6+6
Receiving Yards+0.1/Yard+0.1/Yard
100 Yards Receiving+3N/A
Punt/Kickoff/FG Return for TD+6+6
Fumble Lost -1-2
2-Point Conversion+2+2
Offensive Fumble Recovery TD+6+6

Something that immediately stands out here is that the two systems are very similar, down to the points per yard on passing, receiving, and rushing yards. However, you’ll see that DraftKings awards a full point per reception, while FanDuel gives 0.5 points, a seemingly small distinction but one that may play into your roster construction, as your high-volume receivers, running backs, and tight ends are twice as valuable on DraftKings.

Another key distinction here is that DraftKings awards an extra three points for the milestones of three hundred passing yards, one hundred receiving yards, and one hundred rushing yards. This should definitely factor into your lineup construction, as you’re looking for players on DraftKings who are likely to have a huge breakout game, so you can get those bonus points on top of all the points they’ve already accumulated for you with their raw yardage.

Defensive ScoringDraftKingsFanDuel
Fumble Recovery+2+2
Interception for TD+6+6
Fumble Recovery for TD+6+6
Blocked Punt or FG Return for TD+6+6
Blocked Punt or FG+2+2
2-Point Conversion / Extra Point Return+2+2
0 Points Allowed+10+10
1-6 Points Allowed+7+7
7-13 Points Allowed+4+4
14-20 Points Allowed+1+1
21-27 Points Allowed00
28-34 Points Allowed-1-1
35+ Points Allowed-4-4

Defensive scoring is exactly the same. You’ll get big points from defenses who don’t give up many points and get a lot of turnovers. This shouldn’t be all that surprising for you, though, so let’s take a look at roster construction for the two sites.

As we get into rosters, it’s important to note that neither league includes kickers anymore on classic slates, a change that went into effect for FanDuel in 2018. The positions you must fill on each site are:

Defense/Special TeamsDefense/Special Teams

The lineup construction has changed over the years, so now the two leagues are exactly the same in this regard. If you’re familiar with football, you should recognize all these positions. Except one, that is. Let’s talk about the FLEX. The FLEX spot for both sites can be filled with either an RB, WR, or TE. This gives you the opportunity to have three RB’s in your lineup, something that may pay off for you if you identify backs who are lining up against weak run defenses, especially in games their teams are favored to win, likely resulting in heavy second half touches during garbage time to run the clock down and preserve the win. If you remember the scoring breakdown, though, DraftKings awards a full point per reception while FanDuel gives only 0.5 and DraftKings gives bonuses for yardage milestones, so the way you use this FLEX position should differ between the two leagues. When you’re on DraftKings, you should strongly consider using the FLEX for pass-catching running backs and highly targeted receivers and tight ends.

“ If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven’t done anything today.”
–Lou Holtz

Football is a shorter season than other sports, with each team only playing sixteen games, so you have plenty of time for research, but every game counts quite a bit more than in baseball. There are certain statistics you should focus on to be successful. First, take a look at a player’s fantasy points per game. You can see how many fantasy points players average and what their totals are from week to week. If you’re looking for a place to start, here you go. This is where you’ll begin to get a feel for who the top performers are. As you get into your research, you can make the distinction between them and your value picks that may be less obvious. Our site provides projection models that estimate weekly scoring for each player on the slate. I make my own personal adjustments based on my research and update that daily as the week goes on. My goal is to narrow the player pool down by Saturday night. Of course, the more time I have on a given week affects the number of players I may have to choose from. Football is a sport with a great amount of variance, so I try to be selective with my player pool. At the same time, though, I want to add in potential low-owned high-value players that could be in line for a breakout game. To get a sense of a player’s consistency, take a look at their variation from week to week, which is usually represented by standard deviation. When you draft a high-priced player, you want to be sure that even if they have a down week, they’ll bring you at least fifteen to twenty points and won’t kill the rest of your lineup.

Quarterbacks (QB’s) are essential and less volatile than other positions in your lineup because they get so many opportunities to succeed each week. Not all QB’s are consistent, of course, but you won’t see many QB’s get pulled out of games at halftime or see their attempts fluctuate too wildly from one start to another. Typically, quarterbacks on losing teams perform better in fantasy than quarterbacks on winning ones. This makes sense because when teams are losing, they are going to adopt a more pass-heavy game plan in order to score as quickly as possible, and when they are winning, they will turn to the running game to drain the clock. However, this fact doesn’t mean you should target every underdog quarterback over the favored ones. If the matchup looks great for a certain quarterback, you should take him even if he’s favored to win the game. The team may shut down the passing game with a lead later on, but they likely will have built that lead with a strong aerial attack. Game script matters, but not so much to keep you from taking a great matchup. Ideally, you want a good QB on a team with a weak defense and no good RB’s. That way, the team will be down frequently in games and have to throw more often. Because fantasy points are all about accumulation, it doesn’t matter if his completion percentage is terrible, as long as he’s racking up yards and TD’s for you.

Mobile quarterbacks are great picks for DFS because they can rack up points for you in multiple ways. Passing yards are worth 0.04 pts/yard, but rushing yards are worth 2.5 times more at 0.1 pts/yard. So, if you’re choosing between two QB’s, you should take the one who might be able to get outside the pocket and break out for fifty yards rushing at some point during the game—if he does, that scramble would be worth five points for you. On good days, a dual-threat QB like Cam Newton will rush for eighty yards with a rushing TD, giving you a fourteen-point boost in addition to all his passing yards and TD’s. Touchdowns are hard to predict on a week-to week basis but there are certain factors we can look at with QB’s to help us predict who’s going to rack up TD’s that week. First, you can look at scoring rates. What percentage of the team’s scores come from the passing game? What percentage of the red-zone scores are through the air? Looking at scoring rates of both the quarterback’s offense and the defense he’s facing that week can give you an idea of how often he’ll get into the end zone.

As you choose your RB’s, WR’s, and TE’s, take a look at snap counts, touches, and targets per game. You want guys who are on the field, get handed the ball, and get thrown the ball a lot. Snap totals are really important for offensive players. If a player is in a timeshare situation or is battling an injury that’s affecting his snaps each week, he may not be out there when the defense shows a weakness and the offensive coordinator figures out how to exploit it. You might have a guy in a new system who hasn’t won over his coaches yet, or is dealing with a nagging injury, or is just getting outplayed by somebody else at his position.

You can also see how those snap totals are trending. If a player is staying on the field more and more in recent weeks, that’s great, as he’s keeping himself in a position to rack up points. However, if he’s seeing less and less time, you should fade that player, even if he’s a big name. Go with the guys who are going to be in the middle of things all the time. Remember that fantasy points aren’t based on averages. If a certain back is averaging four yards per carry, that’s great, but doesn’t do much for your fantasy team if he only gets ten touches in a game. Avoid these kinds of timeshare players who split their action with another guy in their position. A bell cow-type RB who gets closer to three yards per carry but gets the ball thirty times a game is the type of guy you want to target. Volume, volume, volume. Take a look at those touches per game and target those guys week in and week out.

Something to remember as you look at your options, though, is that just like with QB’s, many factors can affect a back’s touches throughout the game. If a team is up a lot of points early in the game, even the most pass heavy offenses will pull back in their offensive approach and start handing the ball off more frequently to their running backs. The converse is true, as well. If you target an RB who usually gets thirty touches a game, but his team is down twenty-one points heading into the second half, it’s unlikely that the player will get many rushes. His teams will likely try to make up the difference with downfield passing plays, leaving him out of the offensive scheme unless the team has dual-threat receiving backs.

The same is true for receivers: go after the guys who get targeted a lot. The number of targets a particular receiver totals indicates how useful he is to the team. With receivers, you should consider Receiver Air Yards (RAY). The statistic adds up the total number of yards thrown toward a receiver on plays in which he’s targeted—both completed passes and incomplete ones. Basically, it gives you a raw number of what would happen if all his targets had turned into catches. This gives you a sense of how much a receiver is a part of his offense’s scheme and helps you compare value between different types of receivers. An important thing to note about choosing a receiver, though, is that the two systems reward different types of receivers. With the yardage milestone bonuses and a full point per reception, DraftKings rewards possession receivers who get targeted a lot. For instance, a guy who gets ten catches for one hundred yards, basically just moving the chains, would rack up twenty-three points on DraftKings compared to fifteen on FanDuel. So, on DraftKings, the better pick isn’t the exciting player who can stretch the field on long passing plays once or twice per game, tempting as they might be to add to your squad.

Speaking of long passing plays, a statistic to keep in mind is yards per catch (YPC). A player who is near the top of the league in YPC is more likely to get open down the field for a long touchdown catch than a possession receiver whose game is more geared toward getting first down catches to keep the chains moving. If you’re looking for deep threats, YPC is where you want to look. If you’re not sure about a deep threat receiver, take a look at his quarterback’s yards per attempt (YPA). A quarterback who’s averaging around five YPA is simply not looking to stretch the field with deep passes, but if he’s up closer to ten, there’s some big-play potential for that receiver of yours. A player’s success depends on his quarterback and team’s offensive schemes. Take, for instance, TE Jimmy Graham. He put up great numbers while in New Orleans in a pass-heavy offense centered around Drew Brees. After going to Seattle, his production plummeted. The Seahawks’ system wasn’t as compatible with his strengths, since he preys on slower linebackers who are forced to cover him down the field.

As you target players, take a look at how they’ve performed in their current system as well as their historical performance. Something that made Jimmy Graham so effective in New Orleans was that he was targeted in the red zone nearly every time because of his height and ability to high-point a catch for a TD.

Red zone targets are another important statistic to look at, as you want the guys who get the ball around the goal line, so you can rack up those six point TD’s. There have been quite a few NFL rule changes over the past few years that benefit offensive players. Defensive backs aren’t allowed to hand check and hold nearly as much as they used to, and pass rushers basically can’t touch the quarterback at all. Both of these changes have made passing easier. Rule changes to protect receivers, making it illegal to hit defenseless receivers or hit them in the neck/head region, have resulted in more missed tackles and bigger windows for receptions, too. These changes have raised the stakes on your offensive drafting. Offense in NFL DFS has always been important, but these rule changes have made it even more so.

When putting together your team, choosing the right defense will also be important. Because you get points for sacks and turnovers as well as for holding opposing offenses to fewer points, it’s a smart strategy to target teams who get great pressure on the quarterback to force turnovers and hold offenses to low point output. Taking a look at defense value over average (DVOA) is a good place to start when researching defenses. DVOA calculates a team’s success each play during the season and how successful they are compared to the league average for that down and distance. A defense that ranks near the top in DVOA is better on average week in and week out than the rest of the league.

Go after the defense that has proven to be able to game plan against their opponents to hold them to fewer points than other defenses. Also check out what they defend against well and what they don’t. Some teams are really good against the run but have a weak secondary, and vice versa. A team may have a great DVOA because of their secondary, but if they have an average defensive line and linebacking core and are facing off against a team that’s averaging well over one hundred yards in rushing each week, they’re likely to see that DVOA ranking drop after giving up a lot of points on the ground.

The same is true with passing defense numbers. Remember that the game is skewed toward the offense now, and the best offensive teams in each category will beat the best defensive teams in that category. The best way to target your defense, though, isn’t really about the defense at all. It’s most important to pick your defense based on their opponent. Low-scoring offenses rarely have breakout performances, no matter who they’re up against. So, as you pick your defense, start your research by taking a look at the worst-performing offenses and who they’re playing that week. Especially look to target teams missing their starting QB, key pieces of their offensive line, or their stud RB.

As you identify good matchups, be aware that weather can have an effect although not as much as you might think. Light rain, snow, or wind doesn’t have much of an effect on offensive players. However, heavy snow and rain can make it more difficult for quarterbacks to throw well, for running backs to hold on to the ball, and for receivers to complete receptions. During snowy games, the amount of accumulation on the ground is very important: while offensive players may be slowed down a bit, defensive players are too, which can open up some great opportunities for long catch and-run TD’s.

Heavy winds over 20 mph are rare but do occur several times throughout each season. Strong wind will have the worst effect on the offense, affecting quarterbacks and the receiving core most. Be sure to check out the weather reports the day of the games to see if any weather threats are affecting the players you have chosen. Games played in domes are typically good for offenses, as players will be able to play faster with more sure footing. Identifying offenses with fast skill players who are playing inside that week is a good plan: their speedy guys might be able to break through for big gains during the winter months when other teams’ offenses will be slowed down by heavy snow, rain, and frigid temperatures.

Something else to keep in mind is that injuries are common in the NFL. Reading the practice reports as they come out during the week will be crucial to your success. If a player is inactive or if he’s questionable, take a look at his replacement, especially if it’s an RB in a run-heavy offense or a WR in a pass-heavy one. Teams won’t change their entire offensive structure just because a player is out that week. They will plug the next guy in and keep right on going. These players will typically be flying under the radar, as low-owned backups. However, be careful about reading too much into these reports, as teams are deceptive in their approach and disclose as little as possible about their players’ injuries so that their upcoming opponents don’t catch wind of a crucial injury.

Bye weeks are crucial for players who are battling nagging injuries. If there’s a player who’s been listed on his team’s practice report as question- able for a couple weeks due to a minor injury, but he gets a full bye week to rest, he could be a good buy-low candidate if the team goes into a matchup that will favor them. After an extra week of rest and treatment, he might be lined up for a breakout performance. The converse of that is when players are coming off a short week or flying cross-country, getting less rest between games. Be especially aware of which direction teams are flying each week. If one of the players you’re considering is on a West Coast team and is heading east to play an early game in the 1:00 p.m. slot, you may want to slide down his projection a tad. That’s a tough adjustment for the player to make, and if you’re considering two players side by side, that might make the difference for you.

Low-owned players in general should be a place for you to look for value picks. If somebody is struggling early on in a new system or battling injuries but is facing off against a weak defense or other conditions that favor him, it would be a good bet to take a flier on him as a value pick who may break out. This is especially true when players face off against defenses with certain weaknesses. Maybe an RB is having a tough season but is playing a team with a weak defensive line. That’s a great opportunity to get some value out of a cheaper pick. Similarly, middling receivers versus banged-up secondaries are worth checking out.

We talked about stacking with the MLB, and you can stack in football as well. Stacking your QB with your receiving core is a great idea, as you’ll get points on both ends. In 2017, QB/WR stacks earned 20+ points fifty-two times, or 3.05 times per week. This is a tried-and-true strategy for racking up big points.

Stacking QB/RB is a little more complicated. If the RB on the team catches the ball well out of the backfield, something players like Alvin Kamara do on a consistent basis, you can stack the QB with the RB. This is especially true if the defense they’re facing that day runs a scheme that leaves RB’s out of the backfield uncovered or left to a slower linebacker. You can uncover a great matchup by researching little tidbits like this. However, the only time you’d want to stack a QB with an RB is if he catches the ball out of the backfield a lot. In 2017, there were only twenty-five occurrences of twenty point QB/RB stacks, or 1.47 per week. There just aren’t that many Alvin Kamaras and Christian McCaffreys out there who are heavily involved in their team’s passing offense. Because you’re looking for an accumulation of points, you don’t want to take a QB and an RB out of a balanced offense and get a marginal return from both. It would be better for you to take a QB from a pass-heavy offense and an RB from a run-heavy one. That way, you’re taking the biggest producers from each offensive scheme.

You can also stack the entire game, just like with baseball. If you take a look at the Vegas line and the game is projected to be close and high-scoring, you might have a shootout on your hands like Super Bowl LII in 2018. As long as you don’t pick either of the defenses, this situation could really pay off for you. You’ll get points from both offenses as they go back and forth throughout the game. The longer defenses stay on the field, the more tired they get, so that production is only going to increase as you head into the second half. Think about stacking as a series of correlations. If you stack your QB and WR, you’re betting that they’re going to connect for a lot of passing yards and a couple TD’s. You want these sorts of dependent relationships. Look at how good the two future Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Randy Moss were when they were in New England together. If you took Brady and Moss, not only were you getting two players at the top of their game, every time they connected you would rack up points with a compounding effect.

You can think about correlations for defenses, too. If you pick a defense to hold their opponent to a few points, the correlation strategy would be to pick that team’s RB as well. If the defense does what it’s supposed to, the team will likely maintain a lead throughout the game and run the ball a lot to wind down the clock. You’ll also want to examine Vegas lines for all the games on the slate to look for potential full game stacks, to note games to avoid, and to help predict game flow. If the over/under for the game is in the mid to high 50s and the spread is minimal, the betting world is expecting a back-and-forth shootout, an ideal situation for DFS and full game stack purposes.

Vegas is only a prediction tool, though, and games with lower totals could provide the same high-scoring shootout with the added bonus of low ownership, so don’t be afraid to full game stack a lower Vegas total game. You can also take a look at the games with a low over/under and pick up one of those defenses. Use the over/under as a reference point for the players and team projections you are crunching.

Check out the spreads as well. If a team is heavily favored, you can use that information to your advantage, as we discussed with blowouts, and pick up the RB that will get a lot of touches late in the game to run down the clock. Likewise, if a team is expected to lose big, that would be a good sign that you should target their QB or top WR. For full game stacks to pay off, though, you want the game where two bad defenses are squaring off, and you can anticipate a shootout. Then the plan is to stack four to six players with proper correlations. A good combination would be two to four QB-WR TE from your predicted trailing team along with one to three RB-WR-TE from your predicted leading team. Simply put, combine whoever you think will come out on top with an RB and some receivers, along with the trailing team’s QB and receivers. Then, to round out your team, you can sprinkle in some value players or high-end guys from other games.

Your strategy should be different depending on the kind of game you’re playing, though. In 50/50s and Double Ups, where half of the field is getting a payout and you just need to finish somewhere in the top half in order to get paid, you want consistency. Take the players who perform well week in, week out and who are in great matchups. Don’t take chances in these games, as it doesn’t pay to gamble on the hopes of finishing first, but it does pay to raise your floor and minimize your risk.

With GPP tournaments, though, you’re trying to win the whole thing and beat the field. This is where taking risks will pay off for you. Identifying more high-risk, high-reward players will be worth your time. Players who aren’t highly owned would be a good fit for these tournaments, as every point you accumulate with them will jump you up the rankings, as you’ll be one of few players with them on your roster. These high-risk players could be guys who have been injured but are coming off bye weeks or guys who haven’t produced very much thus far but are facing an exploitable defense. For both DraftKings and FanDuel, you can swap out players until their game starts at kickoff. A great way to use this window to your advantage in tournaments is by filling your FLEX position wisely. If you put the player with the latest start time in that spot, you can sub in an RB, WR, or TE if your FLEX player goes down to illness or injury, giving the FLEX position even more flexibility with swaps later on in the day pending injury news or where your lineup stands. It will open up more players for you to choose from and more opportunities to make late swaps to low-owned players. If you’re way out of contention heading into the last games of the slate, this is your opportunity to find players who aren’t owned very heavily but have the ability to break out for a huge game and swap them into your lineup. Assuming that you are almost drawing dead and you need a miracle, your best possible scenario is to take a shot on a high-risk, boom-or-bust player who you believe will be low-owned. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so if you find yourself in this position, roll the dice and take a chance.

To help you make decisions, you should also know what the pros in the field are saying. Follow the news and insider reports as they come out throughout the week. Things change in the NFL with each passing day and practice. Watch the one-on-one matchups and break each matchup down to its core. Be leery of shutdown cornerbacks and strong linebacking cures. Unlike in baseball, good offense beats good defense. So, if you have a great WR going up against a great shutdown CB, he’s probably still going to get points for you. Stick with that pick if the correlation makes sense and your gut tells you to.

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.” –Jerry Rice

Just like with MLB DFS, the more research you do and the more you play, the easier all of this will get. There are many sources out there with a ton of articles, podcasts, and optimizers to help you out. If you spend some time each week reading the tips from the experts before you make up your lineups, you should see some improvement as you go. Develop a routine you use every week you play and designate ample time each week to do your research. Continue to refine your process and make the necessary changes week to week until you perfect your process. Before you know it, you’ll have the week where all the stars align, you get a top finish in a big tournament, and cash in your first big payout.

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Have you ever stepped into an uncomfortable situation and thought to yourself, ” How do I do this and Win?” That is the case with many people who love daily fantasy sports and have no other option but to attempt to play UFC DFS blindly. Today is your lucky day. I am here to teach you the ins and outs of building a winning UFC DFS lineup without knowing much about the sport at all. Without further adieu, let’s get started.

Step One: Acknowledge and look up each fighter.

The first step is acknowledging who is fighting and against who, followed by looking into the fighter’s fight history. This can be done by simply googling each fighter by name and using certain websites that prioritize each fighter and allow you to type a fighter’s name and see exactly who they previously have fought and when (www.Tapology.com). Use this information to determine if the fighter is in a battle against someone they have an advantage over by looking to see the different types of fight styles that the opponent has won or lost to. This will also allow you to potentially find an underdog who is in a position to win.

Step Two: Determine lineup construction.

Whether you are playing on Draftkings or Fanduel, lineup construction is key to a winning DFS lineup. This is where you will decide if you want to build a stars and scrubs lineup or a more balanced lineup. When you are looking into fighter statistics, you will find one or two fighters that you want to build your lineup around, and this is called your “core.” You want to input those fighters and fill in the other roster spots. After you lock in your top two plays, you will start to build your very own unique lineup. When creating this lineup, you will begin to see if you are making a stars and scrubs lineup or a balanced lineup.

In my opinion, the most optimal way to build changes every fight card, and if you predict underdogs to win, you will be building a stars and scrubs lineup. If you anticipate all favorites to win, you will be building a more balanced lineup. Don’t forget that you want to create a lineup that has the potential to be an OVERALL top score and not just a lineup that has big-name fighters. Sometimes it is better to avoid a guaranteed knockout and fit in six projected winners than forcing in three high projecting fighters and three dart throws.

Step Three: Review

After filling in your DFS lineup’s final spots, make sure you do not have fighters in the same fight in the same lineup. ALWAYS double-check your work. There’s nothing more discouraging than finding out you have the top five high scorers and you made a mistake on the sixth. If there is a fight that projects to have a high scoring fighter, but it could go either way, I recommend building an identical lineup with just one switch of a fighter and going the other way of the knockout fight.

UFC DFS GPP lineups:

When building lineups for GPP’s, you want to make sure that you have one or two fighters going to go under-owned. This will allow you to create leverage and help you make your lineup different than any others in the large field GPP. Remember, it only takes one punch to knock out a heavy popular favorite.

UFC DFS Cash lineups:

When building cash lineups, you want to have fighters that are projected to win. The higher Vegas has the odds, the better they are for your lineup. When building this lineup, you usually want to have the popular fighters and give you a balanced lineup. In cash games, it is okay to have the same lineup as other people because usually, the top 50% of the players are the ones that make money.


There is a big difference between cash games and GPP lineups, and it is crucial to understand what you are playing. With UFC DFS, I like to prioritize single entry and three entry max GPP’s. This will give you the best opportunity to win without going up against people that enter 150 lineups. If cash games are your style, then we have all the tools to help you with that as well.

Feel free to contact me any day of the week in the Win Daily Discord @JThomsonDFS or on Twitter @JThomsonDFS. We have many tools at www.WinDailySports.com that can help you with any sport you can dream of, whether it’s for DFS or anything else. We are available 24/7. Don’t forget to check out all of our projections and all of the content that we have to offer. WinDailySports can help you with EVERYTHING, so don’t forget to come back and WIN DAILY!

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Happy Friday folks!We're getting to the end of our condensed MLB season but we still have a little more fun left tonight as I help you navigate a nine game slate with some stud arms and some favorable weather games, which if you have read my articles before you know that in the era of "launch angle" I lean into that a bit more that some folks do. If you're interested in the physics behind that feel free to reach out on our discord page or find me on Twitter using the handle @stoweby. I am already running a bit behind today so I won't waste any more time, here is my FanDuel Main Slate Breakdown For 9.25WinDaily Gold is the key to your DFS success and has yielded over $2,500,000 in winnings for our subscribers. Now, thanks to our friends over at Monkey Knife Fight, you can get the gold for three months simply by making your first deposit on monkeyknifefight.com. To claim your FREE WinDaily Gold membership for three months, simply use promo code WINDAILY when making your de...

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Happy Friday folks! So did everyone run to the store and grab your kites? You're going to see a very common theme for me today in this 12 game slate and that is targeting good players in positive weather conditions, specifically wind. Most of the games today are going to have winds between 10-15 miles an hour and we are going to take advantage of the extra benefit that provides us. I am already running a bit behind today so I won't waste any time, here is my FanDuel Main Slate Breakdown For 9.18WinDaily Gold is the key to your DFS success and has yielded over $2,500,000 in winnings for our subscribers. Now, thanks to our friends over at Monkey Knife Fight, you can get the gold for three months simply by making your first deposit on monkeyknifefight.com. To claim your FREE WinDaily Gold membership for three months, simply use promo code WINDAILY when making your deposit. And for a limited time, Monkey Knife Fight is sweetening the deal with a 100% match bonus up...

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Before I go into anything today I just wanted to take a brief moment to remember what today is. I know we have many folks on the staff from the New York area and the events personally shaped the rest of my life as I enlisted following the events of 9/11 at 17 years old and spent almost 10 years in active service. The phrase "We will never forget" gets said almost as a reaction at this point but there won't be a day that goes by where I do not remember the impact that it had on myself and those around the world. Well folks, after many painstaking months of wondering if it would actually happen, here we are in this strange place that only 2020 could give us. NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL all in full swing at the same time. All of us on the Win Daily team are scrambling all over to make sure that we have all of your content needs covered. You know what though, we wouldn't have it any other way. In addition to covering all of our typical DFS and seasonal content we are going to be providing full ...

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Happy Friday folks! We made it through another week. As has been the trend for me lately there are a number of stack worthy games and a combination of decent pitchers in mediocre/bad spots or mediocre/bad pitchers in good spots. However I do think I've found a few pitching targets in each price point to tailor to your respective builds. If you are new here welcome to the Win Daily family and enjoy my Fanduel Main Slate Breakdown for 9.4.FanDuel Main Slate Breakdown for 9.4 Pitching:Yu Darvish, Cubs, 11.4K: If you can afford the price tag he is worth a long look tonight. I was talking about it at the beginning of the season on discord that he was going to be over 10K in no time and that it looked like he fixed his issues in the second half of last season and clearly that has carried over. He's back to his Cy-Young form and he looks largely un-hittable right now. He's put up more than 50 FD points in three of his last four including a 61 point outing against the Brewers and 58 versus the...

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Happy Friday folks! I'm in a bit of a rush today, due to the recent protest we did not have a slate for either FanDuel or DraftKings today until about 10:30 AM est So I'm going to skip the usual introduction and get right into my FanDuel main slate breakdown for 8.28. Slate note: I can not stress this enough, DO NOT PLAY TODAY IF YOU CAN NOT BE IN FRONT OF YOUR LINEUPS PRIOR TO LOCK. We have no idea what games, if any will be protested and postponed today and weather is a mess on top of it.FanDuel Main Slate Breakdown for 8.28 Pitching:Max Scherzer, Natinals 10.6K: No need to get cute here, if you can afford the salary play him. He as close to a sure thing as you're going to get tonight. We drastically overrated the Red Sox offense coming in to the season but we all see just how bad they are now. We might see a 60+ FD point outing tonight from him. This is additionally the only game I have zero weather concerns of. Also, I'm aware of my spelling. If you don't know what I'm referring ...

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Happy Friday folks! Fanduel has chosen to give us a giant 12 game slate this evening. The good news is we have tons of bats to choose from which will keep ownership reasonable in most cases. The bad news? There is a substantial lack of quality pitching where we have Nola at 10.7K all the way up top with Max Fried the next highest at 9.4K. Not an issue for us on FanDuel but on Draftkings you will have to make your choice on which guy you want if you want those bonus points for a win. But enough blabbing, let's take a look at my FanDuel main slate breakdown for 8.21.Main Slate Breakdown for 8.21 Pitching:Just a quick note for everyone. Since we are looking at a full slate with 24 starting pitchers I wouldn't be too concerned about ownership. Even with the guys you would consider chalk it will be spread out enough to where you shouldn't have to fade your favorite play due to ownership. More of an issue for GPP's but it's something I want you all to keep in the back of your mind today when...

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Alright, ladies and gentlemen! We have ourselves an interesting little five-game slate to get into today. Our studs have tough matchups, a ton of middling pitchers, and negative park effects all over the place so I'll do my best today to make sure you have good information to go off of to prepare you for this 7 gamer. Here is my Win Daily Sports FanDuel main slate breakdown for 8.15.Main Slate Breakdown for 8.15 Pitching:Quick note: I am going under the assumption that this whole Orioles offense being good thing is real so I'm not touching Corbin today. If you think that it is a fluke, He should be in play for Cash or GPP. I just think his ownership will still be high because they see Cobrin vs. Orioles and there will not even be the benefit of an ownership drop.Cash: Cristian Javier, Astros, 7.8K: I'm not really interested in anyone besides German Marquez tonight near the top of the pitching list on FanDuel. When you dig into the numbers they just aren't worth the price and I can hone...

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