DFS Strategy – Take your game to the next level.

May 7, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks fans celebrate a goal against the Nashville Predators during the first period in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

DFS Strategy  – Take your game to the next level.


This is not going to be an article about how to identify the best players or a cheat sheet on taking down a big tournament. This will be an article that will make you think differently about how you are approaching your DFS decisions on a daily basis and how you can take your game to the next level.

Take a second and think about how much time you spend each day constructing that perfect roster. What statistics do you pore over? What article do you read to identify your top plays(besides the great stuff here at Fantasy CPR)? Are you constantly refreshing Twitter as lineups are announced hoping to uncover that last minute gem?

On a given day, calculate how much time you spend researching your lineups prior to them locking in for the night. This number will surely vary by player based on whether you are a casual gamer or a hardcore multi-entry fantasy nut (in a good way).

Whether the answer to the prior question is 5 minutes or 5 hours, I would then ask you – how much time do you spend reviewing your results from the prior day, reviewing winning entries in the games you play, or reviewing your performance across different games?

My guess if you are like most, is that the number of time spent doing the latter is far less than the time you spend putting together a lineup and THAT is where I want you to change your focus and think differently.

The following slides will take you through three simple, yet effective, ways to change your DFS strategy and drive towards building a more successful track record.

Jan 24, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Take time to reflect on previous day’s results

Each day we spend our time researching the best possible lineup to submit that evening, taking valuable time to review statistics, read DFS articles and try to uncover anything we can to differentiate ourselves from the pack.

At the end of each night, we look over our results and all too often we simply look at our finish in the standings and how much money we won or lost. We may look at our lineups and shrug off the 0 for 5 Mike Trout took and simply chalk it up to bad luck. Conversely, we may look at the money we won, think we made all the right choices and never look back.

However, we can learn just as much, if not more, from reviewing our entries and other winning entries.

Each day in my FanDuel Picks and Pivots column, I start off by simply sharing the results and various other metrics from the previous day’s results and compare those results to 5 day and season long trends to understand the fluctuations in our results over a long season. This simple exercise is one of my first steps each day to understand how the decisions I made in roster construction aligned with my rationale for picking them initially. I also ensure I spend time tracking the performance and roster construction for the winning entries in each game I compete in to understand what is separating the big winners from simply cashing out and how to make that leap.

This may sound daunting at first, but the reality is that a simple excel spreadsheet is all that is needed to track the data in a concise format that is easily repeatable for updating each day. Most DFS sites allow for your results to be exported to a local file which makes the tracking of this data a simple and efficient process.

This simple step is eye opening as you can understand how your typical roster construction typically fares in each game you compete in. You can easily understand how your approach is translating to total points and how best to employ that strategy in the correct spots. Most importantly, you can understand where and how your plays are translating to winning money and where the gaps lie that are causing you to lose money.

Think about this another way that applies to your daily life and personal finances. One of the most common pieces of advice financial advisers give to folks looking to build their nest egg is to create a budget/plan and spend time constantly reviewing your progress against that plan. How can you expect to improve your financial footing if you have no idea where you are spending your money today?

DFS is no different frankly and taking the time to track your performance and understand where you are making profitable choices is a critical step in building your bankroll.


Apr 20, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a home run during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Philadelphia Phillies won 5-4 in the eleventh inning. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

What games do you play and how are you performing in them?

One of the most eye opening analysis I did after my first few months playing DFS was to export my results and understand my performance across the variety of games FanDuel offers – whether that be 50/50 games, Leagues, or Tournaments.

What I found when looking at the data was that I had a much higher winning percentage in certain types and sizes of games compared to others and that I was not proportionately spending my bankroll in accordance with where I was successful. I found that I was allocating entirely too much of my daily entry fees towards games that I was winning at a lower percentage and thus slowly draining my bankroll.

What I also found when looking at my results was that my typical score had a very consistent range and when I applied that range across the different styles/sizes of games, I could understand how my typical roster would fare in those games. For example, if it takes over 200 points to typically cash out in a large field tournament and you are consistently at 180 points with your rosters, then maybe a 50/50 or a multiplier is a better spot for you to consistently cash out.

Besides the style of game, it is critical to track your performance based off the entry fee for each game. Again all it takes is a simple export of the data to understand your winning percentage and rate of return across these scenarios and you may find that you are having more success in the $10 entries than the $5 entries and you can quickly transition your strategy to attack your strong suit.

Lastly, get familiar with your opponents. Take the time to review the standings in each game you play and look at the names of the players who you constantly see at the top of the leader boards. This is especially important in smaller sized games and critical in league formats as you want to ensure you are not going up against a player who you have seen at the top of the leader board each night. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to maximize your game play as I have been personally able to utilize this approach to identify opponents I have had success against and conversely been able to identify where I am going up against a superior DFS opponent. There is no shame in admitting that – the shame would be to keep playing against them and expecting a different result – I believe that is the definition of insanity.

Apr 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats forward Kris Jenkins (2) shoots the game-winning shot over North Carolina Tar Heels forward Isaiah Hicks (4) in the second half in the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Men

Never Stop Tracking Your Progress and Adjust!

So you spend your time putting together the perfect lineup each day and now you have taken stock of your results and adjusted your daily game play to best suit your style – so you are good right?

Of course not! This is not a one time exercise that you just forge forward with and never re-visit. Keep in mind you are not the only one employing this methodology and you will need to consistently review your results to understand how to maximize your bankroll.

My simple advice for you is to set aside a percentage of your bankroll (5-10%) to dabble in “new games” – whether that be a different style or an increased entry fee  – to understand how your strategy plays in those formats. Do not think you can do this for 1 or 2 days and get any sort of meaningful statistical analysis out of it – make it a point to stick with it, understanding this small percentage is essentially an investment in your growth as a player.

Take the time to think differently each day, stepping back from the daily grind of DFS to understand how your decisions affect your outcomes. Start simple today by simply downloading your results and really look at where and how you are successful and where you may be bleeding away your bankroll. I promise you, you will gain more from this exercise than spending the extra 5 minutes tinkering with your lineup because you can’t figure out where to spend that last $100.

Good luck gamers!