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DFS stands for Daily Fantasy Sports. Unlike season-long fantasy sports, DFS is a salary-cap game played across one day — not a full season. This format has created a sub-culture with its own vernacular.

This glossary will help you sort through the jargon.


  • Bankroll – A DFS player’s bankroll is the amount that they have set aside strictly for DFS purposes. Knowing which games to play based on your bankroll size can create a massive edge — check out Adam Levitan’s game selection strategy article for tips on which contests to enter based on bankroll size.
  • Bring-Back When creating a correlated lineup, it is often advisable to create a game stack by utilizing a “bring-back”. This means that if you’re stacking a quarterback with one, two, or even three of his offensive weapons, you would “bring it back” with one, or multiple players from the opposing team. The concept of game stacking intersects with that of correlation, and is an essential strategy when hand-building GPP lineups or making optimizer rules for an MME set.
  • Cash Game – DFS games are generally referred to as being either “Cash” games or “GPP”. Cash games are games in which you are competing for a smaller overall prize, typically doubling up on your entry fee (minus the rake). This can be head-to-head against one other player, or in a large-field contest in which roughly half of the entrants double their money, or beat the cash line.
  • Cash Line The cash line is, roughly, the number of points needed to “cash”, or be profitable on any given slate. This number is generally extrapolated from large-field 50/50 or double-up style contests. Of course, in H2H matchups, there is no guarantee that beating the cash line will score you a victory, because you’re facing one opponent, not thousands.
  • Ceiling – A player’s ceiling, or projected ceiling, is the upper limit of a player’s possible points based on ETR’s projection models. Note that this is roughly an 80th-percentile outcome, so these numbers can vary greatly from a player’s mean or median projection. They’re worth serious consideration when building GPP lineups, or perhaps even when trying to decide on that perfect 2v2 for your cash build.
  • Chalk – “Chalk” players are the popular plays of the week in both tournaments and cash games. These players are often especially popular in cash games, however, they’re also important to understand when it comes to GPP lineups. ETR’s Drew Dinkmeyer and Mike Leone do a great job of sorting through the “good” and “bad” chalk every week on Establish The Million.
  • Contrarian – A contrarian play is a player projecting for lower ownership. It’s important to be able to be contrarian without sacrificing too much projection when playing in tournaments, whether they are larger MME-style contests or smaller-field high-stakes tournaments. ETR’s own Mike Leone has found consistent success in small-field, high-stakes tournaments by playing contrarian game stacks in weeks where many of the consensus players underperform.
  • Correlation The concept of correlation is one of the principal lineup-building skills to hone when building for tournaments, though it has value in cash games as well. A correlated lineup is filled with players that are likely to hit their ceiling projections at the same time. For example — it’s quite intuitive that Patrick Mahomes throwing for 350 yards makes a big game from Tyreek Hill more likely. Remember that causation is not the same as correlation — think about NFL announcers who focus on a team getting the star RB 25+ carries “because they’re undefeated when they do”. We want to aim for correlated lineups when trying to win tournaments, because it allows us to reduce the number of outcomes that we have to get right.
  • Exposure – A crucial concept for hand-builders and optimizers alike, a player’s exposure is the percentage of lineups that the player appears in. This is perhaps most relevant when tinkering with the ownership percentages of a full MME set (150 lineups.) Of course, you may also decide that you’ve unearthed a particularly strong play and build a small number of lineups with 100% exposure. The key takeaway is to always be mindful of your exposure and to have strategic reasoning for why you may be over or underexposed to a given play on any given week.
  • EV (‘Expected Value) – EV is a concept that can be applied broadly, but in DFS, we refer to certain plays or strategies as “plus” or “minus” EV, meaning they add to or subtract from your expected winnings if you simulate the slate hundreds or thousands of times. One way to consistently build +EV lineups for tournaments/GPPs is to build correlated lineups by utilizing concepts like stacking and bring-backs. Another is to continue subscribing to DFS websites like Establish The Run.
  • Fade – Fading a player is reducing your exposure to a certain player to very minimal, or often none at all. Mike Leone and Drew Dinkmeyer often discuss whether or not they intend to fade the week’s chalk on the Establish The Million show. Fading a chalky play is a great way to gain leverage on your opponents in larger-field tournaments.
  • Floor – A player’s floor is the lowest number of points we expect a player to score. We are often, though not always, looking for players with a high floor for our cash-game lineups.
  • Game Script – When building DFS lineups, it is important to consider the scoring environment, or game script, of a certain player, or set of players, in weekly matchups. If we expect the game’s ‘script’ to play out in a particular direction, we can use this information to build a more correlated lineup, or one with higher upside.
  • GPP (‘Guaranteed Prize Pool’) – Used somewhat interchangeably with ‘tournament’, a GPP contest is one in which there is a guaranteed amount of money to be paid out regardless of the number of entrants. This can apply to prize pools in the millions, thousands, or hundreds, and depends on the contest size and entry fee. GPPs provide an opportunity to capitalize on overlay, a concept explained below.
  • Late Swap – Late swap is an often underutilized strategy in which a DFS player pivots/swaps off of their original selections based on the results from the earlier portion of a slate. Most commonly, this is done on Sunday main slates once it’s clear how many of the players in 1 p.m. games have fared, but it can also apply to and be used on multi-day slates like Thursday-Monday contests. If a DFS player builds a lineup with chalky 1 p.m. players who then fail to meet expectations, they may consider swapping their remaining players to lower-owned options with higher ceilings to make up for the ground they lost earlier in the day.
  • MME (‘Mass-Multi Entering’) – MME players are those who max-enter large-field tournaments, often by using a DFS optimizer to create up to 150 lineups at a time. Dink’s video series on how to properly use a DFS optimizer is a must-watch for any DFS player that is considering the MME lifestyle.
  • Overlay – Overlay occurs when a GPP contest does not fill all of its entries before lock, thus the total entry fees are less than the actual prize pool. It’s generally a good idea to check for contests with overlay near their deadlines, whether that be the start of a season or the kick-off of a particular game or games. DFS sites will sometimes create contests with intentional overlay for promotional purposes.
  • Punt – A ‘punt play’ is generally considered to be a player who is available at a very low dollar amount, or the absolute minimum, on any given DFS slate. Using a punt play allows players to ‘jam in’ some of the more expensive players on the slate. Our own Adam Levitan loves to punt at TE, as it is often a position with lower upside and a harder range of outcomes to predict due to the outsized impact of TDs on scoring.
  • Rake – The percentage of entry fees that the DFS sites keep as a fee (“raking off the top”) for creating the contest. This is one of DFS sites’ main sources of revenue, and is thus inevitable. However, we can be mindful of what contests we are entering and strive to be “rake-conscious” players. Higher-stakes contests tend to have a lower rake.
  • Regression – A statistical concept that can be used to help better understand outlier performances, bad luck, and various improbabilities. As sample sizes increase, we can begin to model the likelihood of various outcomes, whether that relates to a specific player, a team, or the league as a whole. An oversimplified example: If a player averages 80 yards per game over the course of their first 10 games and then only gains 10 yards in their 11th game, we can anticipate a “regression towards the mean” (an outcome more in line with the previous results) the following week, all else being equal.
  • Stack/Stacking – Stacking is a strategy used to build more heavily-correlated lineups, generally for GPP tournaments. The most common stack is the QB-WR stack, however, there are many variations on stacking and a remarkable amount of research on ‘single’ (QB with one weapon) vs. ‘double’ (QB with two weapons) stacking, stacking RB with D/ST, the art of the bring-back, and much more. Check out this video from ETR’s Adam Levitan and Mike Leone about GPP strategy that heavily features discussion of stacking concepts.
  • Steam – A player receiving “steam” is somebody who many in the DFS community are discussing or touting as a good value play for a given slate. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to get steamed, as this often means there is consensus on a player’s value, but it’s important to consider when looking at ownership projections and trying to build winning lineups.
  • Tilt – Tilt, or tilting, is a state of anger, irritation, or frustration that impacts a DFS player’s decision-making. Avoiding tilt can be difficult, but it’s most important to try and maintain an even-keeled mindset as much as we can to avoid diverting from our base strategies.