As someone who focuses on cash games in DFS with a conservative-leaning playing style, I’m always a big proponent of rostering players based more on their propensity to accumulate peripheral points than their goal-scoring ability. Sometimes, however, the player pool, texture and size of the slate calls for “chasing goals” in order to remain competitively positioned in contests. Selecting the safest “floor” players across the board in your lineup may not cut it.
This strategic shift arises primarily in three situations: short slates, wildly uneven slates and/or a thin forward pool. Regular players of DFS soccer are very aware of the first, as short slates are a fairly common occurrence in the sport. When there are only four teams from which to select players (and only two favored or at home), it’s nearly impossible to avoid rostering one who is typically goal-dependent for points. For cash games on these slates, many times choosing the player with the highest goal-scoring odds is a completely viable strategy. Between just two games, not many goals will be scored overall, so the players who do earn those top-level points are definitely at a premium.
Wildly uneven slates are when there are one (and occasionally two) games that involve an extremely heavy favorite and/or a significantly higher goal total relative to the others. Since the greater proportion of that game’s total fantasy points are expected to come through goals and assists rather than peripherals, it may be imperative – even in cash contests – to increase your probability of attaining them. These games are prime targets for forwards to bag braces or hat tricks, and depending on their ownership percentage, it could completely knock you out of contention by not having them.
Lastly, there are sometimes slates, whether it’s due to the specific matchups, injuries, squad rotation, etc. in which there are simply a dearth of adequate “floor” players who are forward-eligible. You pretty much have no choice but to roster one or even two highly goal-dependent players in cash contests. In these situations, be more inclined to select those who provide the best value salary-wise when compared to their anytime scoring odds. This could lead you to the top-priced stud forward as much as a low-tier striker playing for a home underdog – but either way you have the solace that your opponents are stuck in the same strategic situation as well.
Of course, if you feel as if you’re “chasing goals” in cash contests way too often, then it may be your general approach to lineup construction that needs to be reassessed.
Onto this week’s question!