FanDuel Lineup Building: Roster Construction Tutorial
FanDuel Strategy Course 104
FanDuel Daily Fantasy Lineups for All Sports
FanDuel offers up daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests for the four major team sports, college football and basketball, as well as sports like soccer, golf, and Nascar. Each lineup is different, and also the lineup construction and scoring systems are unique to FanDuel. There are two styles of contests, broken up into cash games and tournaments. Cash games are head-to-head contests, double-ups, and 50/50 tournaments. These are where 40-50% of the field win, where tournaments it is closer to 20% but the payouts are much higher. Each style of contest comes with their own strategy.
We’ll begin by listing the common thread between all DFS lineups, and then explain in more detail how to build a FanDuel lineup for all sports. There are a few strategies and tips you should be following to build successful lineups.
The Fundamentals of a DFS Lineup
The fundamental principles for constructing a strong DFS lineup are similar across most sport. Some concepts are common sense, while others allow you some flexibility in how you use them. Here are the basic fundamentals to building a lineup across all sports on FanDuel.
• Understanding The Slate – Whether it is a 15-game MLB slate or just the 4pm only games on an NFL Sunday, you need to be aware of how the slate sets up. This means viewing what Vegas thinks of each team, whether they are favored, underdogs, projected to score very little, or projected to score a lot. This helps you eliminate some of the player pool off the bat, that way you don’t do unnecessary research. Coming into the slate knowing how weather is around specific games and who is injured will get you ahead of the field, even if it sounds like such a simple thing. When it comes to building a lineup, knowing that specific positions don’t have much value will help the process of building a lineup.
• How To Deal With The Salary Cap – Each sport has a set roster and set salary cap for you to work within. Identifying what players you want to pay up for is a good start, but also we will need to keep a keen eye out for deep values. On occasion players can be vastly underpriced, making them a great value. We are often looking for salary relief plays so we can fit in those stud names around them. In the midst of your research, a general strategy will come to you for how to build your lineup.
• Knowing What Contests You Are Playing – In a lobby full of different sports and contests, specific contests will bring different strategies. In tournament style contests you are going to want to be different from the field, and shoot for a much higher target score. In cash games you want a safe well balanced lineup that provides you a good floor, and ownership doesn’t tend to matter that much. When building, it is key to be aware of what you are going for with your lineups.
|MLB||SP, C/1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, OF, OF, UTIL|
|NFL||QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, DE, FLEX|
|NBA||PG, PG, SG, SG, SF, SF, PF, PF, C|
|College Football||QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, S-Flex|
|College Basketball||G, G, G, G, F, F, F, UTIL|
Building a FanDuel MLB Lineup
The FanDuel roster for baseball is fairly similar to an MLB starting nine lineup. The only difference is that instead of solely a catcher position, you have a C/1B spot where you can play both. There is also a utility spot, which means you can double up on two third baseman if you want instead of just one.
The starting pitcher is the lifeblood of your baseball lineup. A poor outing from your starting arm and it could be a quick night. This is where we start to make decisions. In cash games, you are going to want to spend up at pitcher for a starting arm that has a very safe floor. This means finding a pitcher with strikeout potential, pitching in a good ballpark, favored to get a win, and facing a an average to below average opponent. In tournaments, you can take more risk with your pitcher, opting to go a cheaper route, or taking a pitcher with a higher ceiling, but lesser floor. Choosing your pitcher will also dictate how you spend on the rest of your lineup.
If your starting pitcher carries a high price tag, you are either going to need to find deep value play or two to open up the roster, or go an even balanced route with your bats. In cash games, you are likely going to end up not being able to fit every big name bat in your lineup. Going stars and scrubs is a term used where you spend up highly on a few players, but also combine them with players near the bare minimum. This can be a viable strategy in both cash and GPPs if it sets up that way. On occasion you will get players hitting top of the order for a cheap price. Find hitters that are hitting 1-6 in the lineup to increase your chances at having more at-bats and fantasy production.
Stacking is another way to build a lineup for FanDuel. You can select 2-4 players from an offense and use them to correlate a higher ceiling if they are in a good spot. For example, the 1-4 hitters from the Cubs are in a good spot, and the correlation makes them high upside plays. If the leadoff bat hits a double, and the two hitter drives them in, then they are increasing each other’s production together.
Building a FanDuel Basketball Lineup
The lineup formats for NBA and CBB are similar in that they separate players by positions. CBB lineups must include four guards, three forwards and a utility player picked from the whole field. NBA lineups require two players at each position, except center where you just need one. There are also no utility plays in NBA. The general overview for roster construction applies to both CBB and NBA.
Building cash and tournament lineups for basketball can be quite similar. The concept of selecting players is very similar. I often find myself using my cash game lineups even in tournaments. Minutes and usage are two easy categories to look at when selecting players. Minutes transpire to fantasy points, and it is safer when a player plays 35 minutes compared to 25. We also want to target players who are heavily involved in the offense, and can contribute in various categories. A player that relies solely on scoring can be limited in upside and have a rather low floor. In cash games you do not want to take a ton of risk, like diving down for a player who can score 10 FD points, even if they have the upside of 30 FD points. Save these types of players for tournaments.
There will be value on most slates, but some slates can have limited value. When that happens, going balanced is a better way to build your lineup. If there is enough value, you can build your lineup around the top superstar or two and go from there. A stars and scrubs approach can be necessary in tournaments, where you jam in an Anthony Davis and Stephen Curry then dive down to cheap options. Injuries are always going to play a factor in NBA DFS. When players are out, value opens up and so does usage for other players. Because of the poor injury reporting, we often are staying around a computer by lock time and even after. This is frustrating, and unfortunately a part of playing DFS for basketball.
FanDuel has a new rule from this past year where your lowest scoring player is dropped from your overall score. This is universal for all of NBA DFS. This opens up some more strategy for roster building. You can punt a position in hopes that everyone else hits, and he is your salary relief play. We recommend using a player that still has a high ceiling but also has a low floor. That way if they bust it won’t hurt you. In tournaments you can use this feature to take chances on injury scenarios where news won’t come out until after lock.
You can also use Vegas to point you towards the high scoring and possible blowout games. If the Warriors are -15.5 against the Suns, the starters might not play the fourth and the ceiling is limited. When games have a high total pushing 215+, you are looking at a high scoring game which will feature a faster pace and more fantasy production.
Building a FanDuel Football Roster
The most popular DFS sport is football, as you can tell by the massive prize pools. There are different ways to build for cash and tournaments like the other sports, but there is a bit of a concern with how ownership is going in cash games at the moment. Three differences between NCAA and NFL fantasy lineups exist. There is no defense (DST) or tight end (TE) in college. The other difference is in the flex position. In college, it is referred to as a super flex. This spot can be filled with a RB, WR, or QB.
In cash games for other sports, we tend to forget ownership and play the safe and popular plays. In NFL recently, cash lineups between the field are very similar. Just one or two different plays are a better way to go that way you don’t fall in with everyone else. Don’t strand too far, but eating all chalk can be a bad thing. Falling in line with other sports, your cash game plays should have safer floors. You want players who get volume, whether it is receiving targets, pass attempts, or rushing attempts. These are good baselines before seeing who does what with that volume.
Correlating players is a great way to get your lineup’s ceiling up. If Drew Brees throws a touchdown to Michael Thomas and both are in your lineup, that is +10 solely off the touchdown score alone. Stacking is popular in NFL and CFB DFS. A heavy passing offense can go off and produce a ton of fantasy production. The Chiefs are a good example with Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. Finding offenses with high Vegas totals and in good matchups that turn into shootouts to stack in your lineup.
Injuries are an important follow for NFL and CFB DFS. If Todd Gurley is hurt, that means there is a lot of production up for grabs. A cheap running back fill in will be on the horizon for the week, but also an offense could move to pass more meaning the passing game weapons are in a better spot this week. Because salaries are released Sunday night for the next week, we tend to get great value on backups for injured players.
In tournaments, you are going to want to differ from the field with lower owned players. Correlating your players is also a way to heighten your ceiling. A stars and scrubs strategy is very much in play for tournaments. There are wide receivers that may see a few targets, but have 60+ yard touchdown bomb upside. Robert Foster for Buffalo saw very little targets, but had a few games posting 3-100-1 lines. Because he was often cheap, you could take the risk and hope for the upside.
Building a FanDuel Lineup for the NHL
The FanDuel NHL DFS format requires you to fill nine spots — two centers, four wings (no matter if they are left or right wing), two defenders, and one goalie. The sport requires different strategies for cash and tournaments, but they are similar to other sports on the site.
Much like pitching in baseball, your goalie is very important for success. Goalies generate a more consistent floor for fantasy points, and they are the nucleus of your lineup. Finding goalies that face shots and are in a good position to get a win is where to start when looking at goalies. In cash games finding that safe solidified goalie is key, where in tournaments you can take more chances. Taking a goalie against a good offense can give you a ton of shots which means a ton of upside. There is more risk because their floor is lower, but so is their ownership.
With scoring coming off goals and assists, we want to target players on the first two lines, but also on power plays. These players tend to see more ice time and generate more fantasy production. These are where your cash game players sit, but also tournaments. In GPPs, you can work in more third and fourth line guys to be contrarian. Teams will shuffle lines every now and then, and you can find this info often during morning skate news. Sometimes we find a value that is now playing with the first line for the game. Players that also generate shots on goal and blocked shots are ones to target too.
Building a FanDuel Lineup for PGA Golf
Pro golf is the first of the pair of individual sports that FanDuel offers fantasy contests using the active list of participants. The FanDuel PGA salary cap allows you to spend on average $10,000 per golfer. The higher priced players are usually on a thousand or two above this figure.
A collection of six golfers is much smaller than most other sport’s formats. This means hitting on each one is very crucial for success. There are a few ways to build your lineup. A stars and scrubs approach is very popular, because you can usually find golfers to like across all price ranges. If not, a balanced approach is the better way to go. In cash games you want to find golfers who continuously make cuts. If your golfers miss cuts, your lineup can be dead before the weekend. In tournaments you can take risk on boom-or-bust guys.
NASCAR Racing on FanDuel
NASCAR is similar to PGA golf, in that you’ll be building a fantasy lineup card of individuals who are competing against a field. You’ll start out with that same $10,000 average salary per driver. Like any DFS lineup, developing a salary budget for racing is a key to building winning lineups.
Racing has its own set of quirks. Certain drivers’ dominate on different types of tracks, while others inevitably race well at particular venues. One key to building consistent NASCAR lineups is to study driver track history. When you become stuck between two or more drivers, this can be helpful knowledge. Pole position for a race can have some effect on the driver’s final result, but use caution when picking a full roster of drivers from the top of the field. Invariably someone will navigate their way from the back of the pack to spoil your lineup.
Soccer Roster Building
Building soccer lineups is pretty much identical to hockey. Your goalie has similar effects on your lineup, and you want to target players that generate shots on goals and are involved in the offense. Because soccer is lower scoring as a sport, it is important to get those secondary stats.