Developing a Plan for the Daily Fantasy NFL Season
Part 1: Setting Goals
Part 2: The importance of having a weekly process
Part 3: Bankroll allotment and diversifying game types
Part 4: Analysis of the previous week
"Everyone has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth." -Mike Tyson
In this four part series, Developing a Plan for the Daily Fantasy NFL Season, we will make sure you are prepared to avoid any devastating punches to your bankroll.
Part 3: Bankroll allotment and diversifying game types
When starting out with daily fantasy sports (DFS) it can be intimidating if not provided with some guidance. What site should I play on? What types of contests do I select? There are pitfalls with jumping into the wrong types of contests or playing outside of your bankroll early in your career. Some people have a negative viewpoint of DFS simply because they do not understand how to play the game correctly. To succeed with DFS you must not only roster solid players but also properly manage your bankroll. You can have the best projection model in the industry, but if you are not managing your bankroll, you will eventually end up out of the game due to variance. Nobody wins 100% of the time in fantasy sports. You must learn how to accept losing if you want to succeed in this industry. The best daily fantasy players in the world only win 65%-70% of the time in cash games and cash 15%-20% in guaranteed prize pool tournaments (GPP) . Many of these players are very successful because they understand the game and how to conquer it. To beat the rake involved with DFS cash games, you must win at least 55.6% of the time. In this article, we are going to help develop a plan to ensure you end up with a profit at the end of the season!
If you are a beginner playing DFS, the first step is selecting a site. There are plenty of good options but the top two sites in the industry are Fanduel and Draftkings. When starting out, I would concentrate simply on one site until you are comfortable and earning a consistent profit. The first step is to only risk what you are willing to lose in a given week of action. Let's start out assuming that amount is $20. How should you invest your $20? Many players will simply enter the largest GPP on the weekly schedule in an attempt to win a million dollars. There is nothing wrong with playing 100% of your bankroll in GPPs as long you understand the risk involved with this strategy. This is a high variance strategy that leads many DFS players to losing their entire bankroll and quitting the game. After a few weeks of not cashing, it is easy to understand how this strategy would turn some players away from DFS. If you are looking to turn a consistent profit, I suggest limiting your weekly bankroll to 10%-20% in GPPs. With a $20 weekly investment, I recommend playing $17-$18 worth of cash games and one, $2-$3 GPP. When focusing on cash games, do not simply enter the total amount solely in 50/50s or double ups. This strategy has more risk associated with it because you will usually either win all of your 50/50s or you will lose all of your 50/50s. To achieve consistent results and avoid drastic swings with your bankroll, you must incorporate head to head (H2H) games in your weekly schedule. My average weekly bankroll allotment is 90% cash games and 10% GPPs. Of the 90% cash games, I am investing 60% of that amount in H2H games and the remaining 30% in large field single entry 50/50s or double ups. I prefer H2H games because they help to minimize losses when I have a bad week. In H2H games you only have to beat out one other player. I concentrate on H2H games and try to get as much volume as my bankroll will allow with a given schedule. I recommend entering the same cash game lineup across all my contests. The only time that I deviate from this strategy is when I am between two similar players. Then I simply hedge 50% of my cash game lineups across these two players.
To achieve consistency in cash games it is imperative to track your progress. Being an overly analytical person, I track all of my DFS investments on an excel spreadsheet. When starting out in DFS, I set up a basic spreadsheet to track my weekly games and my win rate. I wanted to ensure that my cash game win rate was over 55.6% and I was turning a profit. If you are not tracking your results, I highly recommend using the bankroll tracker on Rotogrinders.com. The goal is to know your win rate over each type of contest and buy in amount. Once you have a reasonable sample size, you can determine where to concentrate the largest amount of your fantasy investments. If you have a larger amount of success with one site over another, then stick with what is working for you. The key is maintaining patience and playing within your bankroll.
When focusing on GPP tournaments, the goal is not to simply earn a minimum cash. You are trying to win the tournament or achieve a top 10 finish. I recommend attacking one GPP on the weekly schedule rather than entering different GPP contests. The prize pools in GPP tournaments are set to allow players to review the payout amounts prior to roster lock. Before entering a GPP tournament, I always check the payout amounts to ensure this is a contest that I feel comfortable investing my funds. I am looking for a payout schedule that is not extremely top heavy. When entering multiple lineups, you can focus on achieving a top score if you simply build your teams around a core group of 3-5 players. If I have $20 allocated for GPP tournaments for the weekend, I would not simply enter one $20 tournament. I would enter either six, $3 GPP tournaments or ten, $2 GPP tournaments. By playing multiple lineups, you position yourself to earn a top score the week that your core group of players succeeds. If you have 10 entries in a GPP, perhaps one of the entries will be the correct combination that unlocks a top finish!
After you gain some experience with DFS, you will be able to do a quick overview early in the week and determine what to expect. You will start to get a feel for the matchups and the salaries. Is this a week that you want to concentrate more on cash games or GPP tournaments? Is this a week you decide to focus on qualifiers? This should be determined by the schedule and the player salaries. By determining if the player salaries are loose or tight, we can focus on the correct types of contests for that given week.
If you have any DFS questions, feel free to contact me via twitter: @shiposki75.