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DFS Strategy Tips & Advice: Late-Swap

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Jul 11, 2020

Whether you’re a greenhorn in the world of DFS or this ain’t your first rodeo, it’s never a bad idea to brush up on an important strategy: late-swap. The concept may seem like common sense to some, but it’s an underappreciated art form in the world of daily fantasy sports, despite the impact it can have on an entry. We’ve got your back at FantasyPros, and today we’ll learn what late-swap strategy is and effective strategies for implementation. Giddy up!

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What is it?

Late-swap is the ability to edit your DFS lineup even after the first contests on the slate have started. For example, a Tuesday night NBA contest begins at 7PM EST when the earliest games of the slate tip off. That means no new entries can be submitted after 7PM. However, entries that were submitted in time can be edited if late-swap is allowed. Let’s say you play James Harden in your UTIL slot on DraftKings, but Harden is ruled out of the contest half an hour before tip off against Milwaukee (9PM). Because the game is later than the contest start time, you have the ability to swap Harden out for an equally-priced stud such as Giannis Antetokounmpo or swap out multiple players if you have more than one guy playing in a later game.

Which Sites Allow Late-Swap?

As of now, DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo DFS all give entrants the ability to edit lineups after contests have started. Until last week, FanDuel didn’t offer late swap for its NBA contests, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that has changed, and late swap will be available for the remainder of the NBA season.

General Strategy

  • Stay current on the latest news. This is true for any DFS strategy, but it’s especially true if you want to dabble in the world of late-swap. Injuries and inactives are the biggest news items to watch for, but a player’s workload is certainly something to be mindful of as well. This includes a snap count for NFL players or a minutes restriction for NBA players.
  • Get risky with some of your picks. You have plenty of freedom to enter some players with uncertainty attached to their names, as you can always change them out of your lineup if they don’t play. Players who are injured and are not locked-in to play for a given slate often receive less exposure in DFS entries. You can parlay that low ownership into a daily fantasy boon if the player in question plays through his injury and performs well. Some entrants will undoubtedly not check their lineups after contests begin, so if you’re using a late-swap strategy, you can gain an advantage.
  • Have a backup plan. This is the most important rule for late-swap strategy. As described above, one of the benefits of utilizing late-swap strategy is the ability to put risky – and often low-owned – players into your lineups with a chance to swap them out in an emergency.
  • Be able to adjust on the fly. While you should always have a backup plan, it’s important to be able to adjust on the fly. There’s a chance that a player in your lineup could be ruled out at the last minute without any hint of that possibility earlier in the day. You may not have planned for that player to potentially be out, but be prepared to roll with the punches.
  • Move some money around. You may also want to adjust your lineup with better options based on injuries or inactives that affect players who are not currently in your DFS lineup. Let’s say you’ve set your lineup and the contest starts at 7PM. At 8PM, you get word that Bogdan Bogdanovic will be replacing Buddy Hield in the Kings’ starting lineup. You don’t have Hield in your current lineup, but based on this news, you might want to get Bogdanovic in there as a budget play and move some money around elsewhere to fit in another stud. Last-minute inactives, injuries, or lineup changes can prove beneficial from a budgetary point of view.
  • Pay attention to salary. This goes hand-in-hand with having backup plans and moving your money around, and it’s another important element of late-swap strategy. Let’s say you’ve got LeBron James in your lineup at SF but he’s a 50/50 shot to play in that night’s game. Before entering him in your lineup, look to see who else is playing at the same time as him and what their salaries are. If LBJ plays at 10PM against Indiana, your replacement option might only be as good as TJ Warren if the former is unavailable. That big difference in salary will be lost to the ether, and you’ll have wasted valuable dollars that could have been spent elsewhere. Always keep in mind the other options and remaining salaries.
  • Pay attention to your roster spots. This can’t be overstated. Let’s say you really want James Harden in your lineup, but he’s a game-time decision (GTD). Plug him into your G or UTIL spots, rather than locking him into the SG spot. This gives you plenty of flexibility to maneuver your lineup if Harden doesn’t take the court. If he’s locked into your SG spot, your only recourse is to replace him with another shooting guard. Playing him in a utility spot is your best bet, but if that’s not possible, play him in a guard spot. Either way, you’ll have a lot more options than just shooting guards. Note: FanDuel does not have generic ‘G,’ ‘F,’ or ‘UTIL’ spots available like DraftKings and Yahoo for NBA DFS contests. Research salary cap and lineup construction before playing so you can utilize roster spots most effectively.

Whether you’re new to daily fantasy baseball or a seasoned professional, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Baseball Glossary. You can get started with A Beginner’s Guide to Daily Fantasy Baseball or head to more advanced strategy — like How to Navigate the Shark-Infested DFS Cash Game Waters — to learn more.

Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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