Regularly building lineups and entering daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests is a challenging endeavor, even for the most elite users. I’ve been playing DFS for over 5 years now, but I still have hardships from time to time. Sort of like last night how Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings was a late scratch because of an unknown illness and unfortunately I owned and deployed him in a few contests. So did another 10% of users too. I usually do a quick Twitter search for each player in my lineups just before contests lock, but I didn’t yesterday and unfortunately got burned.
So how do you successfully compete in daily fantasy sports to be profitable or at least break even over a long period of time? I have some suggestions below for you to be a better DFS user, I hope they help you improve whether that’s on DraftKings, FanDuel, or another site that you may play on.
- Use fantasy sports tools and analytics – All too often DFS users are stuck in their same routine whether they are winning or losing. If you are regularly winning your contests and your bankroll is healthy then you are certainly doing something right, but if you are on the opposite end of the spectrum and losing consistently then switch up your rigid research process, and look at using DFS tools if you aren’t already. You can typically use a good service for $1 per day or less, so consider making that investment to win more often, and save on research time. Most DFS pros pay for DFS tools to get better contest results, and you should too to level the playing field and minimize their competitive advantages as much as possible.
- Compete in sports you know – There are certainly some DFS pros who compete in most every sport by primarily relying on their number and stats skills to build lineups. That can work, but I would recommend that you only make bets on sports that you actually know, watch, and are passionate about. The more information and feel you get for a sport, the better you will (in theory) regularly perform playing in that sport’s DFS contests.
- Manage your bankroll – A lot of DFS analysts will say that bankroll management is very important, and that you shouldn’t bet more than 10% of your account balance on any given day. That advice is fine if you’re a DFS pro or semi-pro, but even better advice for the average user is to make smaller deposits, and maybe only bet $5 or less for every day of play. I still tend to mostly make small deposits of $10 so it keeps me focused on making smart bets otherwise I know I will have to make another deposit soon, something which I don’t like to do. If you deposit say $100 each time, then the tenancy is to make larger bets, and all sorts of sloppy things can creep into your lineup building and betting strategy when you want to go big or go home. DFS is a marathon not a sprint, you got to keep yourself in the game, give yourself ample opportunities to win more than you bet, and hopefully hit it big in a GPP contest or two eventually to have a sweet cash out event. Bank accounts love seeing DFS money!
- Understand which percentage of lineups get paid – You want to give yourself the best possible odds to stay cash flow positive, and minimize your deposits. I recommend playing in head to head contests against users who don’t have lots of experience in DFS, pick your opponents wisely. Top 50% contests are good too, especially ones that have hundreds or thousands of lineups, the bigger the better I find for top 50% contest success. Giving yourself a 50/50 shot of cashing in is ideal, but the sizable GPP’s are so tempting since the big prize money is highly desirable. You should be betting at least 75%-80% of your money in “safe” contests where your odds of winning are 50%, these are often called cash games. The rest can be bet in other contests such as GPP’s where your percentage to win some kind of prize money is typically around 20%.
- Don’t get too emotional – Betting by nature is an emotional activity. Money is hard earned and we don’t want to part with it unless we are getting some tangible value back. There is of course the entertainment value that we get from playing DFS, but our main goal is to win and be profitable. DFS pros don’t win every day, but they accept those losses and try to learn from them and play smarter the next day. If you play DFS with too much emotion you may find yourself doubling down to recoup losses fast, but this is almost always a bad idea. I’ve done it a few times, but I finally realize that strategy doesn’t work, and so I just consistently play around the same amount of money every day regardless of my wins or losses the previous night. Again, DFS is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Take advantage of non full contests – I went into a $1 NHL GPP contest yesterday which ultimately filled up, but I also got into a $4 NHL GPP last minute as the maximum number of lineups allowed was 8,823, but only 7,460 lineups actually got entered. The contest was almost 1,400 lineups short which increased the odds to win prize money by roughly 10%. Take advantage of these rare opportunities when you can, the DFS pros sure do.
If you haven’t already, be sure to get an account on DraftFuel to get access to the player analytics and search tools you need to build better quality lineups more consistently, win more contests and money on DraftKings and FanDuel, save research time, track your spending, and improve your work flow process too. We currently support NBA, NHL, MLB, and PGA, and will be adding more sports leagues this year as well.