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Consistency is the Key in Head-to-Head Cash Games

Daily fantasy football players can utilize numerous tools and strategies to build the perfect lineup each Sunday. Stacking players on teams that appear to play in high scoring games can provide a doubling-up effect, while using Vegas betting lines can be an excellent way to identify value plays based on the over/under and spread set by sports books.

These tools and others that I will discuss throughout the season are valuable concepts that most DFS players use to build their bankrolls. But one thing that separates veteran DFS players from rookies is their understanding of the differences between head-to-head games and tournaments, and the different strategies in building lineups for each format.

The “perfect” lineup is relative to how many people you are trying to beat. In large tournaments, your goal should be to build a lineup with as many breakout, high-upside players because you will need to beat tens of thousands of other owners to earn the top prize.

In head-to-head games, which often are the best way to build a bankroll, your goal is to beat one player, and shooting for the stars on each position on your roster is not the best approach. After all, a win by one point over your opponent provides the same payout as beating him/her by 100. Similar to building a strong portfolio of stocks and bonds to weather turbulent financial times, a diverse roster of consistent players mixed with a few inexpensive upside plays is the preferred strategy in head-to-head games.

Finding consistent performers at the quarterback and running back positions will likely eat up a majority of your budget, but the cost to make sure you receive solid points from those key roster spots is worth it when you are going against one person in a cash game. The lower cost and higher risk running backs and wide receivers that round out your lineup are where you can look for a homerun play.

The consistency calculator is an excellent tool DFS owners can use to identify safe plays in building the foundation of a solid head-to-head lineup. The following players are a few options that have proven to be consistent performers through the first three weeks of the 2015 season.

Andy Dalton

Consistent QB: Andy Dalton has thrown at least two touchdowns in all three games this season.

Andy Dalton ($7,800 on Fanduel)

Dalton joins Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady as the three quarterbacks this season to earn a 100% start rating in ten-team standard ESPN scoring leagues, with the Red Rocket posting an average of 23 fantasy points per game. He enters Sundayís home game against the Chiefs on the heels of a 383-yard, three-TD game against the Ravens. In addition, the Chiefs have given up the most points to opposing quarterbacks through the first three games and will likely struggle against Cincinnatiís potent passing attack.

At only $7,800, Dalton is a value play compared to Rodgers or Brady who are both going for over $9,000. He may not deliver a 5-TD game like Rodgers did last week against the Chiefs, but he has proven to be a consistent performer who has an advantageous matchup week 4.

Karlos Williams ($6,300 on Fanduel)

Williams has been one of the most consistent running backs this season with one rushing touchdown in each of his three games in 2015, despite being the second running back on the Bills behind LeSean McCoy. McCoy is likely going to sit out Sundayís game against the Giants to allow his injured hamstring time to heal, opening the door for Williams to be the lead back against a Giants defense that has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing backs.

Donte Moncrief ($6,300 on Fanduel)

Julio Jones has been a beast this year and the most consistent wide receiver. Owners who are looking for a sure thing and are ok with paying his hefty $9,400 price tag should consider adding him to their lineup every week until he slows down.

For owners who are looking for consistent wide receiver play but donít have the budget for Jones should consider Donte Moncrief. Moncrief has scored a touchdown in all three of the Colts games, including an eight-catch, 122-yard performance Week 2 against the Jets. He is not flashy and will likely not give you a breakout performance, but he is the model of consistency and the perfect foundation piece for a head-to-head lineup.

Jordan Reed ($5,500 on Fanduel)

With the ultimate consistent tight end out Week 4 with a bye, owners looking for consistency from another player not named Gronk may want to consider Jordan Reed. Through three games, Reed has the third most targets (26) for tight ends, while delivering three games with at least eight fantasy points.

Reed is clearly a favorite target of Kirk Cousins and will continue to be active in the passing game along with Pierre Garcon. He may not post a blowout 2-TD game, but the chance of him giving you a goose-egg is fairly small.