Just like any other DFS sport, soccer can be very slate dependent but there are also general principles we can look to when constructing cash lineups. This list does not apply to GPPs as in cash we are always looking to solidify our floor compared to maximizing our ceiling in GPPs. To get insight on a slate-by-slate basis, make sure you’re a VIP member where we discuss everything when lineups are released through Slack Chat.
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If you are brand new to DFS soccer, I suggest you start with this introductory video, which primarily discusses the scoring and a couple of really basic tenants: DFS Soccer Introduction & Strategy
My 5 Basic Principles for Cash in DFS Soccer
1) Odds & Playmakers
For my cash lineup, 95% percent of the time I plug in the play maker or set piece taker from the largest favorite on the slate. Often times Player X is chalk but it’s chalk I’m willing to eat in cash. The team is a favorite for a reason and if the offense runs through a particular player then it only makes sense to roster them. Keep this in the front of your mind as you build out the rest of your team, I’ve seen people pivot around to get in other players that fit and sacrifice the safest player on their team. Don’t be that guy, for cash, start here. In other cases, I use Vegas as a tiebreaker between two players. For example, if I find myself stuck between two options, I’ll ask myself, “who plays for the larger favorite?” or “who is the play maker or set piece taker as compared to the goal dependent player?”
2) Plug in Your Goalie Last
There’s a little wiggle room here, but I want to get the point across that though it may not be intuitive, goalie is actually the most volatile position. A goalie for a large favorite is inevitable priced way up and will need to win and get a clean sheet to make value. If a team wins 5-1 and the goalie concedes on the only shot they face, you have a giant dud in your lineup. There are other places to score points at goalie, you can roster an underdog and look for points via saves. Even a 2-0 loss, a goalie that makes 6 saves and is priced down will do just fine. The moral of the story is build the rest of your lineup and circle back to goalie. If you have someone you want to roster and only need to make a minor adjustment, that’s ideal. But don’t go blowing up your whole lineup to slam in the -500 goalie. One final note here – avoid rostering midfielders or forwards against your goalie, the negative correlation for goals scored by your player is not an optimal approach.
3) Roster Flexibility
Okay, this rule only applies to DraftKings where we have players who are eligible for both midfielder and forward spots (M/F). Midfielders inherently have a higher floor than forwards, who are generally reliant on goals to score points. When you want to roster a player eligible for both positions, you should almost always plug them in as a forward. This gives you more flexibility within the rest of your lineup to build a team with the highest floor.
4) Defenders are Site Dependent
Based on the scoring of DraftKings vs. FanDuel – you need to approach the position entirely differently depending on where you’re playing. On DraftKings, you have two options, pay up for fullbacks (wing defenders) or punt. There are some teams whose defenders are heavily involved in the attack, these players are great for DK as you can look for crosses, assists, goals, and have the added bonus of clean sheet points. However, you can also choose to punt into the low $3,000 and below range to make room for better forwards and midfielders. On FanDuel, while rostering an attacking-type defender is viable in some circumstances, I find it to be more rare. My primary strategy is to find the center defenders on large underdogs because they will be under pressure and rack up points for clearances in addition to tackles and interceptions. They are also always cheaper and can pop up on set pieces for a goal, though I would never count on a center back on scoring. Knowing how to attack the defender position opens up the rest of your roster.
5) The Importance of Home Field
Many people new to DFS Soccer will almost inevitable underestimate home field advantage. Yes it means something to all sports, but in soccer it can alter the entire game flow. Home teams are more likely to possess the ball and attack, making those players more desirable in a closer match. That means that road teams more often sit back and “park the bus” as they are more content to play for the draw. This hurts the value of the attacking players and boosts that of the center backs (especially on FanDuel). However, don’t just go plugging in all the home team play makers. This is a good rule for close(ish) games, Manchester City or Liverpool taking on the last place team in the Premier League is probably going to be a blood bath regardless of where they play.
I hope these were helpful, if you have any questions about this stuff, don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter or in Slack Chat. See you on the pitch!