DFS Cash Games vs Tournaments (GPP’s)

February 12, 2016
DFS Cash Games vs Tournaments (GPP’s) February 12, 2016 Fantasy Sport

daily fantasy sportsThere are two different game formats in DFS, cash games and tournaments. They are both very different and require a different strategy when drafting your team. In this article we will go through both and help you understand the main differences between the two.

Cash Games

Cash games only pay out the top 50% of the field. They can consist of as little as 2 entries (known as head-to-head), to as big as tens of thousands of entries. Everybody who finishes in the top 50% gets paid the same amount, double their buy-in. Because of this, we don’t care about finishing first, we just want to make sure we get into the top half of the field.

To do this, we need to make sure we pick a draft team with the highest floor possible. A floor is the lowest possible score we can expect from a player.

In NBA, Steph Curry has a remarkable high floor, as he generally never scores below 40 FPS. By creating a team with a high floor, this should mean that we are guaranteed enough points to get into the top 50%, even if we are no where near the top of the leaderboard. There is no need to take risks in cash games, so steer clear of players who are unpredictable.


Tournament strategy is quite the opposite to that of cash games. Tournaments are usually very top heavy in the pay scale, meaning to get a good amount of winnings you need to finish in the top 1-5% of the field. To do this, you generally have to take some risks. Unlike in cash games where we are looking for players with high floors, in tournaments we need players with high ceilings.

A high ceiling is the highest possible score we can expect from a player. Of course, as we want to score as highly as possible, we need to create a team with the highest ceiling as possible. Again, a player like Steph Curry has a high ceiling too, as he can score upwards of 70 FPS a night.

Generally players with high ceilings are the highest priced players, but not always. Some players, known as “boom or bust”, can have high ceilings but very low floors, meaning you don’t know what to expect from them. They are needed in your teams, but of course make the amount of points you will score very unpredictable.

As well as finding players with high ceilings, another strategy is to make contrarian plays, or “plays against the grain”. This means going for players who most other DFS players may dismiss, for a number of reasons. By doing this, you are differentiating your team from many of the field, which means if that player has a great game, you will find yourself shooting up the leaderboard.

Hopefully this article will help you to identify the differences between cash games and tournaments and the need to change your lineups depending on which type you are playing.

Fantasy Sport

Fantasy Sport Administrator

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