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Tennis DFS Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel: The Tennis Daily Plug, U.S. Open September 5

Tennis dfs picks fanduel draftkings lineups
Novak Djokovic

The Tennis Daily Plug, provided during Major tournaments for slates with 16 or more matches, is our write-up that highlights the top Tennis DFS picks & lineup strategies for DraftKings & FanDuel.

For the 2021 U.S. Open, Plugs will be updated each day by 8 a.m. eastern.

The Tennis DFS picks and advice below is provided by Occupy Staff Writer Ross Shinberg (@RossShinberg on Twitter), a multi-time qualifier for DraftKings’ King of the Baseline competition.


Tennis DFS Statistics Glossary:

Win Odds: The moneyline odds, taken from Pinnacle sportsbook, which are converted into percentage form using this no-vig odds calculator.

Dominance Ratio (DR): The number of return points won divided by service points lost.  A derivative of the “total points won” statistic.  Each player has a DR which, if subtracted from their opponents DR, creates a “difference” typically between -0.30 and +0.30.  Best used for high-risk player selection.  Generally speaking…

  • Z​​ero = No Difference/Advantage
  • +/- 0.01 to 0.09 = Small Difference
  • +/- 0.10 to 0.19 = Moderate Difference
  • +/- 0.20 to 0.29 = Big Difference
  • +/- 0.30 or more = Match is Very Likely to be Uncompetitive

Ace Rate (AR): The number of total aces divided by service points, times 100. Generally speaking…

  • Less than Five Percent = Virtually No Impact to Fantasy Point Score (a bad thing)
  • Five to Ten Percent = Small Impact
  • Ten to 15 Percent = Medium Impact
  • 15 to 20 Percent = Big Impact
  • 20 Percent or Greater = Probably a member of first team all-bot.

Double Fault Rate (DFR): The number of total double faults divided by service points, times 100.  Generally speaking…

  • Less than Two Percent = Virtually No Impact to Fantasy Point Score (a good thing)
  • Two to Five Percent = Small Impact
  • Five to Eight Percent = Medium Impact
  • Eight to Eleven Percent = Big Impact
  • Eleven Percent or Greater = Severe Case of Doubefaultitis.  See a Doctor Immediately.


    NOTE: Men’s AR and DFR were acquired via Ultimate Tennis Statistics.  Women’s AR, DFR, and all DR stats were acquired via Tennis Abstract.  AR, DFR, and DR are adjusted for a proper sample on a player-by-player basis.

    NOTE #2: Readers of the Tennis Daily Plug during Wimbledon may notice that Tennis Abstract’s ELO Ratings are gone and DR is back in.  This is because hard courts have a plentiful supply of recent data points (unlike grass courts).  For this tournament, DR is a superior metric to help identify players that excel on hard courts and can create a large margin of victory.  For those who like ELO ratings, they are publicly available for reference at this link for ATP and this link for WTA.

Tennis DFS Lineup Construction:

We've already written an extensive strategy guide for Tennis DFS on DraftKings and FanDuel. Check it out here if you need a refresher or haven't played much Tennis DFS.

For DFS purposes note that, on DraftKings, their slate includes all matches in the fourth round.  FanDuel only includes the fourth-round matches played today (Sunday).  The Plug will note DraftKings specific plays.

U.S. Open, Day 7 Notes:

Tournament Details

The U.S. Open is the last Major tournament on the tennis calendar.  It is one of two hard court Major tournaments and it is the most significant tournament in the western hemisphere.  The tournament site is located at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York.  As with all Majors, the men play “Best of 5 Sets'' matches while the women play “Best of 3 Sets” matches.

Largest Betting Odds Favorites

  • Novak Djokovic (DK ONLY): 95% Win Odds
  • Daniil Medvedev: 93%
  • Matteo Berrettini (DK ONLY): 86%
  • Alexander Zverev (DK ONLY): 83%
  • Diego Schwartzman: 79%

Largest DR Differences

  • Daniil Medvedev: +0.37
  • Alexander Zverev (DK ONLY): +0.23
  • Novak Djokovic (DK ONLY), Felix Auger-Aliassime: +0.20

Extreme Positive Ace Rates

  • Reilly Opelka (DK ONLY): 20.4%
  • Matteo Berrettini, Alexander Zverev (both DK ONLY): 14.5%
  • Lloyd Harris (DK ONLY): 14.3%
  • Daniil Medvedev: 13.9%

Extreme Negative Double Fault Rates

  • Belinda Bencic (DK ONLY): 8.0%
  • Aryna Sabalenka: 7.9%
  • Elise Mertens: 7.7%

Injuries, Narratives & Miscellaneous Notes

  • NARRATIVE: American players on this slate include: Jenson Brooksby, Reilly Opelka, Shelby Rogers, and Frances Tiafoe.
  • AUTHOR’S NOTE: The Day 7 Plug is analyzing DraftKings’ 16-match, Sunday to Monday slate, not its 8-match “Sunday Only” slate.  Some of the general player analysis can carry over to the 8 match slate, but not the strategy and roster construction parts.  16-match and 8-match slates are two totally different beasts.

Tennis DFS Short Slate Strategy

Low-Risk Lineup Strategy:

Even with the reduction in matches, strategy for low-risk remains relatively similar to large slates.  Finding the most stark moneyline/salary mispricings is still the most important factor in choosing low-risk players.   Additionally, on fast hard courts like the ones in New York, aces are an important consideration as they are more prevalent and have a greater impact on fantasy scoring. 

The biggest difference between short slate and larger slate low-risk play comes in the amount of variance there actually is in the DFS game.  The margins are incredibly thin. 1v1’s and 2v2’s are more common as ownership condenses on the few top plays.

One strategy that comes into play on short slates is the “low-risk punt.”  In this strategy, the lineup includes one player among the lowest priced (the “punt”), a player in a “coin-flip” matchup (between 40% and 60% win odds), and four expensive players with high win odds.  This strategy is best employed on slates with a large number of big favorites and only a handful of “coin-flip” matchups to pick from.

High-Risk Lineup Strategy

The strategy for high-risk Tennis DFS slates is very similar to “Showdown” slates for other popular daily fantasy games — “projections” more or less don’t matter and securing a unique lineup is paramount.

Ways To Reduce Lineup Duplication in High-Risk Contests

The quickest and easiest way to reduce lineup duplication, but sometimes the most mentally painful, is leaving salary on the table.  Because of how correlated fantasy salary is to win odds, the field wants to spend as much salary as it can.  It makes sense in terms of securing the most win equity for the lineup itself, but from an ROI perspective, it opens the door to massive duplications and a first-place chop that does not benefit any user playing that lineup.

A second way to reduce lineup duplication is to roster players with very low win odds (~25% or worse).  It often feels gross, but on a short slate, crazy things need to happen for a unique lineup to win first place.  Not only will these players be among the lowest owned on the slate, but if they win, they will almost always be the optimal lineup because of how much salary they open up to spend on the other studs.  

Lastly, and just as a general reminder, DO NOT play two players from the same matchup in the same lineup in any high-risk contest.

Tennis DFS Bankroll Recommendation

Bankroll Allocation: Use 1-2% of your bankroll for this slate. 

Low-Risk Lineup Advice

Low-risk contest selection:

The best possible low-risk contests to play are H2Hs.  Users that have access to the under $5 lobbies should use this to their advantage and avoid going heads-up against the sharper players at higher buy-in levels unless it is necessary to get action down.  The next best contests to enter are 50/50’s and double-ups with 20+ entrants.  Look for contests with inexperienced users and overlay to increase ROI potential. 

Low-risk lineup strategy for this slate:

The goal for low-risk contests is to maximize moneyline/salary mispricings while also incorporating aces where applicable.  

On FD, Simona Halep at $14 with 50% win odds is by far the best value.  The best “low-risk punt” option on this slate is Botic Van De Zandschulp with 21% win odds at $9.  He helps you fill in a lineup with four favorites, including Daniil Medvedev, who is far and away the best raw projected player.

On DK, Emma Raducanu is slightly mispriced with 56% win odds at $7.2k. Reilly Opelka is the next cheapest favorite (53% win odds at $7.7k) with the best ace rate on the slate.  After these two, load up on players at $9.0k and above.

High-Risk Lineup Advice

High-risk contest selection:

The most plentiful high-risk contest offerings are the single-entry GPP and three-max GPP with buy-ins available at all bankroll levels.  Other good contests to look for are leagues, smaller GPPs, and triple-ups.  Additionally, look at the satellite lobby and look for overlay to get tickets for future contests.

High-risk lineup strategy for this slate

With only 16 matches to choose from, ownership will condense and proper roster construction is essential.  On an 8-match slate, this is even more the case.  Consider the contest(s) you are in and build strategically.

In small field contests, a six-winner lineup is needed to place highly.  When constructing your lineup, be mindful that you are not playing a low-risk lineup in a high-risk contest and find at least one spot to be different.  

In large field contests, you need six winners that score extremely well to place highly.  

On FD, the easiest leverage point to make is playing an overpriced Elina Svitolina at $18 against the Halep chalk.  Unlike Halep, Svitolina has yet to drop a set at this tournament, and she is averaging only one double fault per match. The two underdogs likely to go the most overlooked are Elise Mertens and Peter Gojowczyk.  There isn’t a good reason, matchup or situational, to be made for either player to win which is why they’ll likely go underowned.  On 8-match slates, embracing the ugly lineup builds is often the best way to go.

On DK, the coin-flip underdogs provide sufficient value, so the best way to get different is to play the favorites in some of these matches while playing an underdog at $6.3k and below.  Leylah Fernandez (30% win odds, +0.12 DR Difference) and Botic Van De Zandschulp (21% win odds at $5.2k) are the most appealing options.

Salary usage in high-risk contests

Because we are dealing with an 8-match and a 16-match slate, salary usage becomes more of a consideration in order to avoid duplicate lineups. 

On FD’s 8 match slate, all lineups should leave exactly $1 on the table.

On DK’s 16 match slate, all lineups should leave approximately $300 to $500 on the table.