NFL DFS Tournament Primer

I am happy to say that I will be back for a second season of writing a DFS picks article for DFS Datalytics! Won some money last year, learned a lot and I am ready for another successful season of fantasy football. You can expect a weekly breakdown from me of my favorite cash and tournament plays for the week.

While every player may not hit, it is important to take a look at a large pool of players and create your own process for what you value or don’t value. When to follow the chalk versus when to be contrarian can may or break your dreams of big money.

I will be writing an in-depth look at Week 1 once rosters are finalized and we have a better idea of who is going to start, the roles of players and who wins the camp battles that are still up for grabs. Today I am going to write a little tournament checklist of three things that I think are critical to winning that elusive big prize. Whether you are a seasoned DFS veteran or a first timer, everyone can use a reminder of what they need to be focusing on as the season begins.

We will be producing NFL content throughout the season, make sure you check in with us every week so we can all win money!



One of the best strategies to incorporate when building your tournament lineups is stacking. Stacking is when you take two members of the same offense (QB+RB, QB+WR etc) and pair them together. The highest correlation between members of the offense are QBs and their WR1.

I will almost always stack a QB with his WR1, think of Big Ben and Antonio Brown. These are typically the most profitable stacks you can do. Some other stacks to consider are QB+WR2 or TE, RB+DEF and QB, WR1+ opposing teams WR1. The last stack is especially good when expecting a shootout due to a teams poor pass defense (think Packers or Saints).


High Upside Plays:

You won’t have a great chance at winning a tournament with players that rack up a lot of catches and yards, but no touchdowns. These players are better for cash games, even on Draftkings where you get a full point per catch. You want big plays and touchdowns if you want to take down a tournament.

This means shying away from guys like Jarvis Landry and playing high TD potential players like Dez Bryant. You still need to do your homework and find the high TD potential players who have favorable conditions such as high Vegas game totals, facing a poor pass defense or playing a volatile WR1 against a team without it’s top CB for the week. You shouldn’t just throw together a lineup consisting of DeSean Jackson, Ted Ginn and Dez Bryant because they are splash play wide receivers with the potential for multiple long touchdowns. You need to find good matchups and make educated picks.


Contrarian Plays:

This is often the most difficult for DFS players to decide on. Almost all good DFS players can pick who the chalk will be for the week. What separates a tournament win from min cashing or not making the cut is the mid to lower tier players that are in great position to succeed and will have low ownership. Contrarian doesn’t mean just avoiding all the chalk and making a lineup full of players that are low owned. It is finding those gems that the public and fantasy experts aren’t pumping up for the week and getting them at lower cost and even lower ownership.

In a contrarian lineup it is still smart to include some chalk that are obvious plays. Think of Devonta Freeman when he broke out in early 2015. He was highly owned, but had a stretch of 25+ point games and a very low price point…you would have been crazy to try and fade him in those weeks.

There are several ways to be contrarian – you can stack a top QB with his WR2 in a plus matchup, pair a dynamite WR1 with his middle of the road QB and even stack a QB with his heavily involved pass catching RB (look at Brady and James White in the Super Bowl). Aside from those, finding middle tier players in great matchups where they could be in scoring chances several times in a game is a great place to start with one off plays.


Good luck to everyone and football is almost here!


Patrick Wendt

NFL Analyst for DFS Datalytics. I have been playing DFS since 2014, focusing on NFL and NHL. Follow me on twitter @GetWendted. #DataforWinning

pwendt has 27 posts and counting.See all posts by pwendt

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