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Benny “The Eagle”, Vol. 12: Green Bars and High Scores
DAILY FANTASY RUNDOWN
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Benny “The Eagle”: Vol.12 – Green Bars and High Scores

Benny “The Eagle”: Vol. 1
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol. 2 – Having Second Thoughts
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol. 3 – The Used
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol. 4 – The Law of Diminishing Returns
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol. 5 – Something Smells Gamey
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol.6 – Going Around and Around with the Round Ball
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol.7 – Processing the Process
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol.8 – Match Game
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol.9 – Guess Who?
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol.10 – Risky Business
Benny “The Eagle”: Vol.11 – Playing the Field

When I was in high school I played guitar in a rock band named Schlempy. We played local talent shows and open stage events. Our main three song repertoire consisted of “Monkey Wrench” to get the crowd going, “In the Meantime” to let me play the same funky riff over and over again, and then we’d wind it up with lighters in the air for “Tears in Heaven” to show our artistic breadth. We were a bunch of kids who dreamed of being rock stars who broke up after half a dozen shows over artistic differences. THAT’S SHOW BIZ!

It wasn’t until years later that my dreams of being a rock star were revived when I got a PS3 and the RockBand game. Anyone who ever mastered that plastic imitation Stratocaster knows that the height of fake music success was being able to play “Green Grass and High Tides” on the highest difficulty setting. Just click play on the video and let some real music be the soundtrack to your life while you read my article.

In the world of DFS, the highest achievement may be to win a Live Final or a Milly Maker, but anyone who is profitable can feel good about themselves and tweet out screenshots of their $3 +EV nights. We’re all in it for Green Bars and High Scores.

So, do you remember when I said back here that I was done with cash games because the cash line fluctuated more than any other sport and I couldn’t deal with that volatility? Do you remember that I thought the best way to beat the game was to enter multiple lineups every night and just build lineups for upside instead? Well, I still stand by my math and most of my assertions, but I’m back to being a cash game player. Not because I think the dynamics of the game have changed, but because I think I found a better way to play the game.

Most people wind up on FanDuel and DraftKings as they are certainly the largest player(s) in the marketplace with the largest advertising budgets. They offer much larger prize pools for their GPPs and it’s the dream of becoming #SportsRich that draws a lot of people into the games to begin with. The idea that you could win a MILLION DOLLARS for just a $3 entry fee is too much to pass up on. The reality though is that GPP wins are hard to come by even if you’re really good at the game. In my two years of playing DFS regularly, I’ve only outright won about 10 GPPs in that time in sports I feel much more competent in than NBA. For beginners and intermediates who are just learning how to play the games, it’s just a money pit. The competition is too stiff and the contests are too large to have any realistic shot at winning. Although your chances of winning in cash games are slightly better on the big two sites, the reality is that the strongest competitors are all playing the cash games there too. If you are in the early stages of learning how to play in a new sport, you have an uphill battle to being profitable on the big two sites.

Like I mentioned last week, there are a lot of different DFS sites out there where you can enter contests. They don’t have slick, easy to use, smartphone apps. They don’t have enormous prizes for their GPPs. They don’t have multi-million dollar marketing campaigns on ESPN – which frankly is refreshing for those of us who lived through the fall of 2015. What they do have though are contests that pay cash. Winning a $5 H2H on FantasyDraft or Yahoo pays out the exact same currency, worth the exact same amount as a $5 H2H on FanDuel or DraftKings. For many contests a $5 H2H on FantasyDraft may be worth even more than on FanDuel or DraftKings as a number of their H2H contests are offered “rake-free”, meaning that you win the entirety of the entry fees. A $5 H2H win actually wins you $10 instead of $9 on either of the big two. Over time, that can be a substantial difference in your bankroll.

I was chatting with some of the other guys from DailyRoto about a week ago, and they mentioned that if they were just starting out in a sport and looking to build a bankroll, they’d find a smaller site and just crush cash games there. It’s not a quick way to a big payout, as the GPP prize pools are miniscule, but if you’re willing to put in the time and grind out profits in small cash games night-in and night-out, there’s an edge to be had. So, for the past week I’ve played essentially nothing but cash games on smaller sites and have found a lot of success. You won’t get retweeted screen shots from providers for crushing $1 beginner cash games on secondary sites, but you can make real money all the same. Don’t let your pride get in the way of making wise and profitable decisions in a game where really, being most profitable should be your only motivation.

pd_nba

Learning how to play on a smaller site can be a bit daunting if you are used to the big two: user interfaces will be less polished, the site may be choppier to use on mobile, and overall the experience just isn’t as easy. Like I said though, money is money no matter where you make it. Part of what has made the transition to playing FantasyDraft easier for me though is that the scoring is identical to DraftKings and the salary cap is simply doubled. This means you can use our daily projections for DraftKings seamlessly for playing contests on FantasyDraft by using the “Export” feature. Click on the link in the bottom right hand corner of the page, save the projections in an excel sheet, and upload them to one of the many optimizers available online that already has the FantasyDraft pricing included. My favourite happens to be FantasyCruncher for ease of use and customizability.

Like I mentioned last week, there are a lot of different DFS sites out there where you can enter contests. They don’t have slick, easy to use, smartphone apps. They don’t have enormous prizes for their GPPs. They don’t have multi-million dollar marketing campaigns on ESPN – which frankly is refreshing for those of us who lived through the fall of 2015. What they do have though are contests that pay cash. Winning a $5 H2H on FantasyDraft or Yahoo pays out the exact same currency, worth the exact same amount as a $5 H2H on FanDuel or DraftKings. For many contests a $5 H2H on FantasyDraft may be worth even more than on FanDuel or DraftKings as a number of their H2H contests are offered “rake-free”, meaning that you win the entirety of the entry fees. A $5 H2H win actually wins you $10 instead of $9 on either of the big two. Over time, that can be a substantial difference in your bankroll.

I was chatting with some of the other guys from DailyRoto about a week ago, and they mentioned that if they were just starting out in a sport and looking to build a bankroll, they’d find a smaller site and just crush cash games there. It’s not a quick way to a big payout, as the GPP prize pools are miniscule, but if you’re willing to put in the time and grind out profits in small cash games night-in and night-out, there’s an edge to be had. So, for the past week I’ve played essentially nothing but cash games on smaller sites and have found a lot of success. You won’t get retweeted screen shots from providers for crushing $1 beginner cash games on secondary sites, but you can make real money all the same. Don’t let your pride get in the way of making wise and profitable decisions in a game where really, being most profitable should be your only motivation.

Learning how to play on a smaller site can be a bit daunting if you are used to the big two: user interfaces will be less polished, the site may be choppier to use on mobile, and overall the experience just isn’t as easy. Like I said though, money is money no matter where you make it. Part of what has made the transition to playing FantasyDraft easier for me though is that the scoring is identical to DraftKings and the salary cap is simply doubled. This means you can use our daily projections for DraftKings seamlessly for playing contests on FantasyDraft by using the “Export” feature. Click on the link in the bottom right hand corner of the page, save the projections in an excel sheet, and upload them to one of the many optimizers available online that already has the FantasyDraft pricing included. My favourite happens to be FantasyCruncher for ease of use and customizability.

crunch

Making the process of lineup construction easier yet, is that the looser pricing and lineup restrictions on FantasyDraft allow you to build an optimal lineup without ever having to include players you don’t like simply because of positional restrictions. All these things being said, you still have to do your homework. As Milton Friedman put it, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” You need to be mindful of who you’re putting in your lineups and why, not just hoping projections and an optimizer will be your road to riches. You especially need to be able to determine the difference between good cash game plays and those who belong primarily in GPP lineups like I talked about here using our “Scoring & Values” tool.

The first night I put together an optimized lineup for FantasyDraft, the initial run included Andre Drummond, Hassan Whiteside, and Kosta Koufos. Given their volatility, it’s a rare night that any of those three players would be comfortable cash game plays, let alone considering playing all three of them in the same cash lineup. Run the numbers, tweak them to what your comfortable with, and then spend the rest of the night regretting not just playing the optimal like the rest of us do. #tilt

Seriously though, if you really want to be profitable, swallow your pride, step out of your comfort zone and make your profits where profiting is easier while you get your wits about you. A dollar on a small site is worth the same as a dollar on a big site, but may be much easier to come by where the competition is softer. Don’t let ego get in the way of +EV.

Bankroll Update

Entry fees this week:
DraftKings: $5
FanDuel: $0
FantasyDraft: $100
Total: $105

Winnings this week:
DraftKings: $10
Fanduel: $0
FantasyDraft: $153.40
Total: $163.40

Net this week: $58.40
Bankroll: $349.66 (+$149.66 on the season)

This was the best week I’ve had in a while, and it all came down to switching up what I was playing and where. I don’t expect to be able to fully double up my entry fees every night, but that was the case most nights this week on FantasyDraft. Here’s to hoping you’re doing well learning along with me, and may variance be ever in your favor!

pd_nba

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