DFS Roundtable: Going Back in Time

As part of our preseason roundtables, we asked our staff the following question. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself that could be valuable to a new player to DFS?

Jeff Pasquino: How about "cash is king" - meaning, if you learn how to win cash games (and play 75-85% of your money in play each week in those games) then you can play pretty much whatever GPPs you want, knowing that the cash will fund your GPP bullets (which may go unrewarded).

Nothing kills a bankroll faster than shooting for tournaments and falling short, and also knowing that you could have cashed with similar plays. Bankroll management is not sexy, but it will keep you playing for a long time - which is the goal. Eventually, a big payday will happen if you stay in play and do not lose your entire bankroll.

Will Grant: I think my biggest challenge when I first started was that I was way too conservative and didn't trust my player evaluation process. I stuck with cash games, followed the crowd, chased the 'chalk' plays and only played 1 or 2 GPP a week that looked surprisingly similar to my cash line-ups. I was content to build my bankroll a little more each week and was happy when I finished the season in the black.

Nothing wrong with that approach - even today, but it's taken me a couple years to realize that by doing this, I was missing half the puzzle and a big chunk of the fun. Last year, I opened it up a bit more and used my cash game to supplement my GPP ones. The first time I took down a small GPP tournament, it was the biggest high I think I've ever had to play fantasy football. It was less than $1000 to first place, but the sweat was real on Monday night and when it finally ended, it was a great feeling. I wish I'd have been more trusting of myself and my information sooner.

To Jeff's point - I completely agree - he has described my approach. My problem was I was 98% Cash when I started. That made for consistent bankroll building, but never really brought me in the thrill of winning a GPP or even being close.

Keith Roberts: In addition to the points above, one thing I wish I had paid more attention to is game selection in general--and this is from a couple of angles:
1. Pay attention to who you are up against in head to head contests. Now that DraftKings has expanded their matchup blocker, make sure to take advantage of it and just avoid the high volume players as much as possible. It is obvious which guys out there are playing huge volume, so just stay away from them. There is a reason they play that much volume, and as a casual/intermediate player, you will want no piece of them--trust me.
2. Pay attention to the type of games you join on a week to week basis. Try to keep this as consistent as possible. Have a plan going into each week regarding what game types you will join (h2h, double ups, triple ups, 100-entry tournaments, etc), get in them early before they fill up, and execute on that strategy as consistently as possible throughout the season.

BJ Vanderwoude: There are a couple different points, but they all fall under the umbrella of "lineup review".

The first part is to try and get the majority of your teams submitted by Saturday night. This ensures that you have enough time to thoroughly check over each of your lineups on Sunday. You want to be able to substitute injured players without drastically changing your lineup synergy, and that becomes much more difficult if you have to create lineups instead of just switching out a player or two from existing teams.

I've found the most important part of lineup review is realistically projecting each lineup's floor and ceiling. This is especially important for GPP lineups, as you know what your point targets should be. If you are falling short of the total needed to win a GPP, it is a good indicator that you should be experimenting with different types of lineup construction strategy. There is nothing more infuriating than looking at a lineup and seeing that you had no chance of winning before the games even started on Sunday.
Chris Feery: Beyond the obvious point of trying to sustain your bankroll over the long haul, you need to be disciplined enough to stick to your preferred investment amount for the week/season. It’s awfully easy to add more funds when you’re convinced you have a fantastic lineup. That overconfidence can inspire you to enter more GPPs than normal, and that can set you up for a big disappointment. Know what you’re comfortable investing and stick to it. I’m fortunate in the fact that I’m not one to go overboard, but there have been a couple of instances where I’ve gotten too big for my britches and wound up licking my wounds.

For game selection, focus on the games with the best payout percentages, as well as smaller fields. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take your shots at the massive GPPs, but you’ll sustain and increase your bankroll more efficiently by not getting so hung up on nailing a ridiculous payout. A profitable week counts as a win in my book, and seeing past delusions of grandeur leads to your thoughts being less cloudy for the week at hand.
On the gameplan front, Keith made an excellent point about consistency. Find your sweet spot and stick to it. For slates in which I roll with a single lineup, I’ll keep it the same: large GPP, mini GPP, GPP with great payout percentages, 100-entry tournament, and 50/50s and double-ups. When I play GPP only, I’ll go with multiple lineups and focus on a massive GPP and a corresponding mini GPP. Having a game plan ties into the first point about bankroll management, as it allows you to find the approach that works best for your investment level.

Devin Knotts: The biggest lesson that I learned over the last seven years doing this is bankroll management. After a big week, there have been numerous occasions where I have put significantly more in play the following week. Last week’s results have no correlation to this week’s results. Sometimes it works out where you have a few good back to back weeks in a row, but often you will be on the other side of variance and will have a poor week losing everything you had just earned and potentially more. Be smart about sticking to plan of investing a percentage of your bankroll each week. I break down my bankroll management strategies at https://fbgfanduelbankroll.blogspot.com/