Salary Strategy

Course No. G 204

Salary Cap

When determining your strategy for spending the salary cap, it is important to take into account which DFS site you are using. For instance, in NBA contests, FanDuel has a salary cap of $60,000 with 9 positions to fill (PG, PG, SG, SG, SF, SF, PF, PF, C), while DraftKings has a salary cap of $55,000, with 8 positions to fill (PG, SG, SF, PF, C, F, G, Util). On FanDuel, you have $6,667 to spend per player, and on DraftKings you have $6,250. The $427 difference in salary per roster spot can be key when you are trying to roster a player who is priced over $10,000, making it slightly more plausible to roster a player who costs $10,000 or more on FanDuel than it is on DraftKings.

With each player you roster, the average remaining salary per player will increase or decrease depending on how much each player costs. One important thing to remember when constructing lineups is not to force players into your lineup simply because they “fit". For instance, if you choose to build your lineup from the top down (beginning at PG) on FanDuel, and are left with $4,800 for a Center, the easy thing to do would be to simply roster a Center that is priced at that level or lower, rather than altering the rest of your lineup in order to fit a more expensive Center. This sort of construction is a good way to end up being “stuck" with a player that you were never intending to roster in the first place.

A good way to approach lineup building is to do all of your research prior to constructing any lineups, and then compile a list of players you want to play based off of your research. After you've compiled your player list, then you are ready to dive into building your lineups. Many players build different ways, but if you have done your due diligence before building, it will prevent you from settling for a player who wasn't on your radar, simply because they “fit" into the last roster spot.

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Opportunity Cost

Opportunity cost is another key component of salary strategy. When you choose to roster a “Stud", the opportunity cost is not rostering a value play. When you roster a value play, the opportunity cost is not rostering the “Stud".

For instance, on a night where Stephen Curry is listed at $10,000 on FanDuel, but there are a plethora of PG options who are significantly cheaper, it makes sense to pay down for an alternative. While a top option may be the most likely to provide you with a 50 fantasy point output, if you can roster two players for $5,000 each who can provide you with 30 fantasy points each, your opportunity cost in rostering Curry is very high.

On a short slate of games (3-5), an expensive option like Curry has a very low opportunity cost, due to there being less viable options at the position, but on a full slate (6+ games), choosing the cheaper alternative is generally the best route, because the opportunity cost is very high.These are tough decisions that you will have to make, but taking an individualized look at each slate and every option at every position will give you a good idea of your opportunity cost.

Another great example in NBA would be James Harden. He is always one of the most expensive options on the board (usually listed between $10,500 and $11,000 on FanDuel) at a SG position that is generally devoid of reliable options. Quite often, you'll see that Harden has the potential to outscore not only the second option at SG, but the second and third options combined. This in itself makes the opportunity cost too low to consider fading Harden in your cash games.

Positional Scarcity

Positional scarcity is another component of salary strategy, and it goes hand-in-hand with Opportunity Cost. There are many times in DFS where there is an unquestioned top option (for instance, Harden at SG), and choosing to play anyone but Harden in that roster spot can be very costly, especially on short slates.

SF is a great example of positional scarcity, especially on FanDuel, because you have to roster two players at that position. Many nights, there are very few, if any top options at the position and your only option is to roster the top play. Let me explain.

If Rudy Gay is listed at $8,000 at SF and averages 35 FP per game, and the second option (Player B) is listed at $6,000 and averages 24 FP per game, you are essentially conceding the 11 FP gap by rostering player B, which you will be forced to make up for elsewhere. While Gay may not be perceived as a good play based on value, he is a necessary risk in these situations due to the lack of options and requirement to roster two players at SF.