Recent Paylines - Coors and Chase Field
One of the first questions anyone new to DFS will ask is what contests should I play? Play mostly cash but put a little bit into GPPs is what you’ll most likely hear. As a rule, it’s sound advice. However, what I wanted to know is which double-ups should I play? Am I better playing five $1 double-ups or one $5 double up? Does the pay line go up as the buy in goes up? Same question applied to GPPs.
The problem was, the data isn’t there. DraftKings and FanDuel don’t provide historical contest data outside of your own entries. Besides, we all know how the pay lines can vary from night to night, sometimes significantly. That’s why I started tracking contest data. I wanted to make sure I was making the most of my lineups, at my skill level, and how much I play each night.
About the Data
When talking about pay lines, probably the first (and most important) thing we need to talk about is the data, what it is, and what it isn’t. For starters, this data is manually collected from DraftKings and FanDuel every night. I’m not joking. Each night, I sit and catch the end of a late game and grab details on contests that completed the night before, noting the minimum score to cash, the top score, and for GPPs, the score required to triple and quintuple your entry fees. On average, it’s about 100 contests per site, per night.
Now the big disclaimer is this isn’t every contest. As you probably know, contests fill and new contests open throughout the day for the most part. Instead of grabbing every contest, I try to grab a large enough number of contests across all buy in levels so I have a large enough sample size to give me a good look at average numbers needed to cross the pay line or to win a GPP. In general, I’m collecting contest data on all the large or featured GPPs, and then 3-5 contests at each buy in for multipliers (double-ups, triple ups, quintuple ups, etc.)
Last Week’s Pay Lines
The following graphs display the average pay lines on double ups on both FanDuel and DraftKings. For GPPs, the average pay lines for minimum cash are displayed, as well as the average score needed to triple your buy in (in other words, on a $5 contest, the score needed to win $15), the average score needed to quintuple your buy in, and the average score needed to win a GPP. Looking at last week, we can see that not only did we have games at Coors Field 3 days last week, but Arizona was home at Chase every day last week as well. This inflated the pay lines in double ups and GPPs both on FanDuel and DraftKings. To put it in context, the average pay line on DraftKings for double ups this season is 109 and the average pay line for minimum cash in GPPs is 125.
What Can We Learn from This?
You might be thinking, who cares what the pay lines were in the past? After all, yesterday’s pay lines don’t determine tonight’s pay lines. That’s true, but this info can help us adjust our strategy. On a slate with games in hitter-friendly ballparks, we might want to spend down on pitching and spend up on bats.
For example, if you look at the April 26, the average pay line for double ups was 155. That night, if you spent up for pitching to get Lester ($11600 on DK) or Cueto ($11100 on DK), you’re left with an average salary per player just north of $4200 before picking your SP2. Add a mid-tier pitcher such as Paxton ($8200 on DK) and you’re left with a little more than $3700 per player. Not only that, but if you’re lucky enough to get 25 points from each of your pitchers, you still need a little more than 13 points from each position player to hit 155. That’s a lot to expect out of players at that price. Instead, if you spent down to get mid/lower tier pitchers such as Severino ($7600 on DK) and Wood ($7400 on DK) with a punt at catcher, you’ll have a little more than $4300 per player left to fill your lineup and a much better chance to grab a few bats from the game at Coors or Chase field.
Besides lineup strategy, knowing pay lines can help you make better decisions on what contests you play. Here’s a look at the average pay line scores across contests types on DraftKings last week.
Surprisingly, double up pay lines and triple up pay lines were the same on average last week on DraftKings and very close on FanDuel. If you’ve been playing primarily GPPs and only min cashing, you might want to try playing some double ups, triple ups, or quintuple ups as well. That way you can maximize the ROI on your lineups while waiting for that big GPP hit to come. After all, don’t be discouraged by the lofty average GPP-winning score. DFS doesn’t care if you lost the last 100 days in a row. You could hit the nuts any night and there’s nothing worse than having the best lineup you’ve ever made and only throwing it in a few double-ups when you could have won thousands.
In the coming weeks, (and as we continue to get more numbers from the season) we’ll dive deeper into pay lines so that we can maximize our ROI each night.
Good luck and stay cashin’.