How to Build NFL DFS Player Pools

I’ve played casually on Draftkings since about 2015. I went through a few spurts where I started to play a little more seriously but haven’t really gotten my “sh*t together” until this season in terms of focus and preparation.

One of the top mistakes that I and others have made is NOT properly building a weekly player pool. Instead, I would submit a bunch of entries in 20+ entry tournaments and attempt to “cover all of the bases”. This is and was a huge mistake, as it allows for TOO MANY lineup combinations and reduces your chances of profiting. Instead, the better option is to develop a core group of players, known as a Player Pool. Chris Kirkwood from Rotogrinders states the following:

What most people fail to understand, however, is that the best multi-entry players do not use their large number of entries in order to “cover all the bases”; instead, they use their large number of entries to cover all the possible combinations on a small, sharp list of favorite plays. Each week this NFL season, a couple of the best multi-entry players in daily fantasy sports will be sharing their “narrowed-down player pool” with you, in order to help you create a large number of sharp teams at once and maximize your multi-entry profits!

The name of the game is developing a player pool that will result in winning combinations. Here is an example for a given week:

4 Quarterbacks

5 Runningbacks

8 Receivers

3 Tight ends

2 Defenses

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to develop your own player pool in a given week:

  • Look at the games on the upcoming slate. There will inevitably be teams and games that you want no part of due to game environment, over/under, and matchups. Eliminate those teams and players from your pool.
  • Next, review each position. Since most main slates have 10-12 games, you will have 20-24 starting quarterbacks to choose from. Step one should have eliminated some. As you review the list, you’ll want to make another round of cuts, down to about 10. Be sure to read our article on how to choose quarterbacks in NFL DFS.
  • Follow the same process with running backs. Make the cuts and get your possible RB’s to 10-12.
  • Fine-tuning your receiver player pool will be the toughest part of the process. Read our article on choosing weekly DFS receivers on how to create tiers.
  • There a lot of opinions on selecting tight ends. Some say spend up, others say to utilize a “punt play” (cheap option) and hope for the best. Given that some tight ends receive few targets, you should be able to make cuts quickly.
  • Selecting a defense is wacky. I typically like to find two options that I like below $3500. Remember to target turnover-prone offenses.

Now that you’ve made two rounds of cuts, it is time to see how things fit together. The next step is to build some sample lineups. If you’re using an optimizer, try generating some lineups based on your current pool. If you don’t use one, try building sample lineups on Draftkings or your preferred app.

At this point, you’ll know if you need to make salary-based adjustments to your pool. The final round of cuts depends on your data sources, lineup strategies, and injury news. Then there’s the issue of exposure – how many lineups and contests will you play, and in what percentage of those lineups will you play a given player?

One nice thing is that Draftkings allows you to review player exposures in the app. Here is the first page of mine from NFL DFS week 12, 2023 season:

Unfortunately, my top runningbacks for the week were flops, as was AJ Brown. Luckily, Freiermuth and Allen bailed out several of my lineups, and I was at least able to win some money, even though I had a $25 loss for the week.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out my play pool position guides, links below:

How to Choose Quarterbacks in NFL DFS GPPs –

How to Choose Running backs (RB’s) in NFL DFS GPPs –

How to Chose Wide Receivers for NFL DFS GPPs –