“You just spent the last 17 weeks of your life researching stats just so you could win a stupid trophy?!?!”
Have you ever had that phrase screamed at you before? It’s a phrase I’ve heard from my wife at the end of every NFL season (and if I’m being honest, it’s a question I used to ask myself when I realized how much time I spent on my fantasy football team).
It’s no secret that fantasy sports have evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry, but Average Joe Fantasy Owner never really saw much of that money. If we were lucky, we might win a couple hundred dollars from our home leagues, but most of us were more than happy to settle for the aforementioned trophy and (perhaps more importantly) bragging rights over our college buddies for the entire offseason. There is, however, a relatively a new way that you can put your money where your self-proclaimed fantasy expert mouth is and win some cold, hard cash: daily fantasy sports.
Daily fantasy sports are a relatively new phenomenon that let you draft as many teams in as many sports as you want (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB). You can then pit these teams against other fantasy gamers in one-day or (one-weekend) tournaments that pay the winner (and sometimes winners) real cash prizes. There are more and more daily fantasy sports outlets popping up every month, but let’s take a look at how you can win on the Grand Poobah of them all, FanDuel.
FanDuel is inarguably the gold-standard of the daily fantasy sports industry and offers a variety of games on a user-friendly interface. Game buy-ins range from free to over $500 and you can play anything from head-to-head matchups to large GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments.
Here are my 5 daily fantasy sports rules that will help you win on FanDuel.
1. Mix It Up As I mentioned, FanDuel offers a variety of league types: head-to-head leagues, 5-man tournaments, 10-player tournaments, large GPP’s, and large freerolls (which are exactly what they sound like: free to enter).There are pros and cons to each type of game, but generally, H2H leagues offer a greater chance at winning with a smaller reward, while larger leagues offer a smaller chance at winning with a larger reward. After you play a few different types of games, you’ll more than likely find that you’re more successful at one more than another, but keep mixing it up to ensure yourself the best chance at winning.
2. Know Thy Opponent One of the benefits of FanDuel is that it allows you to see the user profile of the fantasy owner(s) you’re going up against. As you’re selecting the game you want to enter, click through profiles of the entrants. You’ll notice that these gamers range from newbies who have only played a few games, all the way up to FanDuel veterans who have literally played thousands of contests. It should go without saying that you’ll want to seek out the newbies to play against. Some of you may equate this to playing a video game on “rookie mode”, but you don’t get style points for seeking out the tougher matchups.
3. Stay Informed If you’re going to spend hours researching your fantasy team when all you can win is a trophy, you better make sure you’re ready to spend even more time researching your daily fantasy team that gives you a chance to win money. Is your running back going against a team is horrible against the run? Did a star power forward just get injured and open up minutes for a promising rookie? Does the pitcher you selected excel against lefties? Is it going to rain in Philadelphia? Those are the types of questions you should be asking yourself as you select your lineup, and those are all questions that you can easily find the answer to using various websites and Twitter (just make sure you follow lots of good beat-writers and other various experts).
4. Work The Cap Daily fantasy sports allow you to select a team using a salary cap. The key to assembling a winning team is going all-in on the right star players and (more importantly) picking the right value plays. Since you can’t afford to have an entire roster of Adrian Peterson’s, Kevin Durant’s and Mike Trout’s, you’ll need to find the bargain-basement players that have an advantageous matchup or just saw a bump in playing time. Everyone can draft the name-brand stars, but the most successful daily fantasy sports owners are the ones that can find that daily game “sleeper” who comes with a low price tag.
5. Manage Your Bankroll If you’re anything like me, you’ll notice that it’s very easy to get carried away with selecting daily rosters. After all, the draft is the best part of fantasy sports, right? That may be true, but it’s also the best way to lose your entire bankroll when you’re playing daily fantasy sports. The most successful daily gamers are the ones who show discipline and manage their bankroll. Try to be patient and set yourself a daily limit (say, 20-25% of your bankroll) so that you don’t find yourself cursing yourself the next morning for risking it all in one night.
I’ll be back with more sport-specific tips on how to win on FanDuel, but those five basic rules of daily fantasy sports will help put you on the path to success. Follow those rules and the next time your wife asks you why you spend all those hours researching your fantasy team, you can tell her that the answer to her question is that new purse you bought her last week with your FanDuel winnings!
Written exclusively for BetVega.com by Nick Raducanu. Nick is the mystery man behind the TraderX persona at www.FantasyTrade411.com and you can also follow him and ask him for advice on Twitter: @FantasyTrade411