Developing a Plan for the 2016 Daily Fantasy Sports NFL Season: Part 3, Bankroll Allotment and Diversifying Game Types

Bankroll Allotment and Diversifying Game Types for DFS Contests

Developing a Plan for the 2016 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 2016 Daily Fantasy Sports 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 contest fees associated with DFS cash games, you must win at least 55.6% of the time.  In this article, we are going to discuss how to diversify your weekly bankroll across different types of DFS contests.

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. Make sure to focus on beginner only contests when first starting out in DFS. The player pool of opponents will not be shark infested and you should find a higher percentage of your rosters in the money. When starting out, I would concentrate simply on one site until you are comfortable with the software, player pricing, and lineup construction. 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 $25. How should you invest your $25? Many players will simply enter the largest GPP on the weekly schedule in an attempt to win the large first place prize. 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 around 20% in GPPs and the remaining 80% in cash games.  With a $25 weekly investment, this equates to playing $20 worth of cash games and $5 worth of GPP entries. When focusing on cash games, I would not simply enter the total amount solely in 50/50s or double ups. If you are rostering similar players across all of your cash teams, 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 80% cash games and 20% GPPs. Of the 80% that I have allocated for cash games, I am targeting an investment of around 65% in H2H games and the remaining 35% in large field single entry 50/50s. In the previous example, with a $20 cash game budget, I am allocating $13 in H2H cash games (65%) and $7 in large field single-entry 50-50s (35%). I prefer H2H games because they help minimize losses when I have a bad week. In H2H games you only have to beat out one other player. If you incorporate opponent selection, you should have a higher ROI over the course of an entire season as compared to 50-50s.

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 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 more 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 5 finish. I recommend targeting one GPP on the weekly schedule rather than entering different GPP contests. Find a GPP that suits your style of play! The prize pools in most GPP tournaments are usually pre-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 prefer a flat payout schedule rather than a GPP that awards a high percentage to first place. 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 $5 allocated for GPP tournaments for the weekend, I would not simply enter one $5 tournament. I would enter five $1 GPPs. By playing multiple lineups, you position yourself to earn a top score the week that your core group of players succeeds.  If you have 5 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 for the upcoming week. 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.

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