DAILY FANTASY SPORTS STRATEGY – BANKROLL MANAGEMENT AND CONTEST SELECTION

Hello daily fantasy sports fans. At RotoPros we are dedicated to helping you grow as a player as there is more to it than just entering lineups. I wanted to put together a strategy article that covers all sports under one umbrella and no better place to start than with bankroll management and contest selection.

After reading the article, if you are still looking for more help reach out to one of our coaches in chat either in a specific sports channel or in a DM.

Daily fantasy sports seems pretty simple on the surface but is very complex and can be a much different experience for different people. The first thing you need to do is ask yourself a few questions.

  • Are you playing for fun?
  • Are you playing to takedown a giant GPP?
  • Are you serious about using DFS as an investment like a business?

Once you know what kind of player you are or want to be, we can start helping you reach your goals much faster. Let’s dig in to

BANKROLL MANAGEMENT BASICS

First of all, you don’t have to be a serious player to take bankroll management seriously. The goal is take the investment(deposit) you have made and maximize every dollar. 

Everyone’s bankroll is different so I will be mostly talking in percentages of bankroll and not actual dollars. This allows you to take what you have learned and apply those % to your own personal situation and make sure to reach out for help in chat. 

No matter what sport I am playing, I will play about 5%-20% of my bankroll on a given slate. Those numbers are flexible for multiple reasons. First of all, I am better at some sports than others so will naturally allocate more of my bankroll to the sports I am more experienced with. For example, I will play 20% of bankroll for a Sunday NFL main slate but only about 5% of my bankroll for EPL & UCL soccer as I am fairly new to playing those sports. The reason we suggest setting up rules like this is so that you can afford to lose a few slates without losing your entire bankroll forcing a deposit. 

Setting out rules for yourself whether you play one sport or not is the best way to make your money go farther, whether you play for fun or looking to consistently grow you bankroll. This leads us into the next section of the strategy article.

CONTEST SELECTION

Before we get into the specifics of contest selection, let’s look at the big differences between Cash Game Formats & GPP Formats.

Cash Game Formats

Cash games are the core of our business and the best way to build a bankroll. If done right, cash games can actually bankroll your GPP play each and every slate. 

What are cash games?

  • These are you 50/50’s, double-ups, and head to head contests 
  • In general, they pay out half the field right around double the entry fee
  • If you have a 100 person double up, 50 people will get nothing and 50 people will double up
  • This also means there is no difference in finishing first or 50th as you get paid the same but have to beat a lot less people to cash
  • Cash games are not a get-rich-quick style but rather a slow-and-steady approach to daily fantasy sports 

With the allotment amount for each sport that we talked about above, I will then play cash games with 70%-80% of that. Example:

  • For a $100 bankroll playing NFL I will play 20%($20)
  • Of that $20, I will play 70%($14) in cash games(50/50, double-up, H2H)
  • I will play the remaining 30%($6) in GPP contests(see section below)

What is the difference between a Cash game and GPP play when breaking down the individual player?

This is one of the most common questions I get asked for every sport I cover so I wanted to make sure I covered this in-depth. 

For me, a cash game play provides two key things.

  1. Consistent PTS/$ value game to game(performance in relation to price)
  2. Gets volume/usage

You do have to remember that nothing is a sure thing so even the most consistent players will have down games. Cash games are about setting yourself up with a group of the most consistent players giving your lineup the highest floor possible as you only have to beat half the field. 

Example: 

  • Player A last 5 games fantasy points → 15, 18, 17, 22, 19
  • Player B last 5 games fantasy points → 4, 34, 10, 30, 13

Both players have scored 91 fantasy points over the last 5 games and average 18.2 per game. Player A is a cash game play as he consistently gives us the same performance while Player B has a ton of variance in his performances but has more upside making him a GPP play.

GPP FORMATS

First of all, GPP stands for guaranteed prize pool. These are the contests that run no matter if they fill or not. These are also the contests the sites advertise as the prizes are much bigger but if playing, you need to know the differences. 

Payouts

First of all, unlike cash games which pay out about 50% of entrants, GPP’s pay out only about 15%-20% of entrants. There is also a huge difference between min cashing and winning as most DFS contests are top heavy payouts. We will talk strategy a bit later.

Entry Limit

This may be the most important part of playing GPP’s and it all depends on how many lineups you plan on building. This is something that should be decided before starting to build your first lineup. 

If you are someone who only plays one lineup, I suggest playing that lineup in Single Entry contests. No, the prizes are not as big but you are also only playing against opponents who are also only making one lineup. 

Playing one lineup in a contest like the Milli Maker where there is a max of 150 entries per account puts you at a huge disadvantage. People who max enter these contests generally use optimizers and have settings to cover multiple stacks/combinations a ton of times. This does not mean you cannot win with one lineup(I have seen it done) it just puts you at a bigger disadvantage before the contest even starts. 

The next natural step after having some success in single-entry is to play 3-max, 5-max, 20-max contests. These are my favorite style of contests to play mainly as I don’t have an optimizer that I use nor do I have time to build 150 lineups. 

In a 3-max build, I will generally take my cash lineup in one, tweak that cash lineup slightly for a second and then play a third lineup as a contrarian build. 

For 20-max builds, I generally build four cores and run them five times each. For example, in NFL, one core could be a QB/WR stack running it back with a RB, WR, or TE on the opposing team and then possibly a defense and/or another position which correlates. I will then take that core and run it five times mixing in players from the rest of my player pool at lower exposure rates. Then switch up the core and repeat. 

Depending on the slate and my player pool, I have also ran 20-max with just two main cores and run them 10 times each. The key is to be flexible based on the slate and all factors that affect it. 

What makes a Player a GPP play vs. a Cash play?

Kind of the opposite of what I mentioned above with what we are looking for in a cash game play. This is Player B in that scenario. One that does not provide a consistent floor due to a range of things like minutes played, opportunity, lower on depth chart, etc. This player is also usually lower owned and does have game/slate-breaking upside and can win you a GPP.

It’s football season so I will use another example related to that sport. For wide receivers, a GPP play is one who doesn’t get a high target share in the offense but is targeted downfield a lot and when they convert on their limited targets, they generally crush value. For running backs, this would be a running back in a time share that is generally lower owned and lower priced. A time share takes away their usage and safety for cash games but the upside can most definitely be there in certain situations(see Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Denver). 

Thanks for checking out the article and if you want to go more in-depth about anything please reach out in the Slack chat.

THE ANATOMY OF A GPP FOR THE NBA

Welcome to a new NBA season. Last year I felt like we were finally hitting our stride when the NBA shut down due to Covid in March. I am really looking forward to this season with all of the roster changes league wide. It should mix things up and we should be able to find advantages early in the season and then even more advantages as the season moves on and we find out the true usage of the players. 

The purpose of this article is to figure out some trends in NBA GPP lineups. The easiest way to explain what GPP is that it is NOT Double ups or 50/50s and the prize money is guaranteed. Basically anything less than 40% chance of winning and has a guaranteed prize pool is a GPP. This includes single entry, 3 entry max, 150 max, etc. Tournaments that are not Guaranteed are tournaments and can pretty much fit the same mold we are talking about here. (the only real difference is there is a chance the contest does not get off). 

I have been digging through historical slates and trying to pick up on as much information as possible. I have noticed a lot of trends when looking at different types of GPP tournaments. 

  • Single entry GPPs tend to have a higher CASH line than a 150 max GPP, but have a lower TAKEDOWN score.
  • 3 Entry Max trend closer to Single entry CASH and TAKEDOWN lines, but both tend to be higher in the 3 entry max.
  • As you move up in price from .25 to $50.00 the winning score tends to drop. Once you reach the $50.00 price point the winning scores start rising as you rise in entry fees. ($50 winning score is higher than $27, but lower than $100) 

Why is this all so? It kind of all makes sense. In single entry and 3 entry max contests the vast majority of the players in these are only going to be playing these contests. So they tend to take less risks as they don’t want a completely dead lineup halfway through the night by going way off course from the field. So they will play mostly the chalk plays of the night and maybe pivot 2-3 players. This leads to a very condensed area of cashers, the people that are winning these contests tend to pivot off at least 3-4 players. Small changes can make all the difference. 

When it comes to 150 max contests there are going to be a lot of people that are just running optimizers open (or fairly open) and this is going to lead to a ton of dead lineups to start the night. This is why the cash score tends to be lower, but also the winning scores are significantly higher. People are willing to take more and more risks as they have more lineups leading to including those 2-3 players that are completely off the radar, but absolutely crush their value in their lineups. 

The moves in price make sense as well, the more money you are putting into a lineup the less likely you are to take risks, but once you reach the $100+ entries the more you are running into the best players in the world who are taking all the necessary risks. This leads to higher winning scores and people rubbing their heads wondering how they possibly could’ve put the 3rd string PG that was just pulled from the D league yesterday who only played because of 2 injuries that happened mid game in their lineup.  

Using this information we can leverage ourselves against the competition. Make that extra pivot in single entries and tighten your core in the 150 max contests so when it hits you’re cashing in all 150 entries and if your core just misses then you can still break even and cash in half because we know the cash line is going to be lower. 

In my next article I am going to discuss how to build GPP lineups. Stay tuned.