Every Thursday, Fantasy Rounders is going to take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to reflect on the experiences of the past week. DFS is a rollercoaster ride with sudden swings in every direction, and I thought that putting my trials and tribulations into a journal format would serve two purposes: 1) lend a frame of reference to other players, and 2) to give myself an extra layer of perspective by playing the role of Monday morning quarterback, analyzing and interpreting my own results.
For those wondering, I chose Thursdays because of the MLB travel schedule and the ripple effect on the DFS player pool. Thursdays are not only light, but there are several days in which the contests are split into distinct early and late games, further thinning the player pool for each contest. The focus on this mid-week diversion is to take a step back and catch my breath.
It is common for me to avoid playing altogether on Thursdays due to the partial schedule and frequency of split contests between early and late games. I am investing in a lineup today at Draft Kings because I happen to like the options available in the early games, but the scenario helps to underscore a larger point: the size of each day's investment is tied directly to the perceived strength of the lineup(s), with consideration for the overall talent pool as well. Rusty taught me to leave emotion at the door, and I try not to make investments based on perceived need with respect to bankroll. For example, after a bad couple of days some gamers will double down in the hopes of recouping previous losses, potentially overlooking a weak roster or a tough slate, and at worst a player will go on tilt and make illogical decisions in the quest to change their luck. I try to keep my investments tied to the relative strength of the roster, but I am only human and will occasionally fall prey to whimsy.
The pitching matchups of the day have a big impact on the perceived strength of my roster, in the sense of how much money is likely to be spent on arms versus bats. For example, there weren't any pitchers who cost five figures on Tuesday and it was a half-slate of eight ballgames; as a result, every team was able to stack his/her lineup with high-priced bats. There are only so many of those to go around (especially on a half-day), resulting in considerable player overlap between DFS rosters, and the standout squads were those that got big contributions from their role players lower on the pricing scale. My roster was strong when looking at just the names, but I recognized the limitations of that scenario and lowered my investment accordingly. I probably should have gone lower, in retrospect, but it was the second gameday of the season and I wanted to get involved.
My Balance Sheet, April 6-8
It's only a half-week, so the sample-size caveats are covered in extra-big grains of salt. Opening Week has been a bit unusual, in the sense that I have either swept my contests (made money in all those entered) or been shutout completely on each day so far. The individual performances are not exceptional, but the typical day involves a score closer to 100 that earns a return in some contests but not others. To provide some context, last season I averaged 104.5 points per contest on Draft Kings, which was high enough to keep me playing all season and survive the rake but not high enough to help my bank account.
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Details ($3 Moonshot):
I've had a case of near-tail performances in the early-going. Let's take a quick look at each day:
*Opening Day provided a nice early boost to the bankroll. I benefited from three homers from my lineup (albeit all solo shots), a near no-hitter from Sonny Gray (though he missed the bonuses for a complete game or shutout), and a strong performance from Corey Kluber that justified his price tag. Two strong starts and three bombs is a quick recipe for a day of sweeping.
*I was aboard the S.S. Latos when the ship went down on Tuesday. It's rough when your pitcher scores in the single digits, putting the onus on the bats, but the -17.3 points of Latos on Tuesday actually erased the 16-point performance of my other SP. It was as if I had filled out a roster with no pitchers. The only way for a batter to lose points is on a caught stealing, but pitchers have the potential to sink your battleship, and the fact that Latos was done in the first inning of the day's first set of games effectively closed the book before I had turned a page.
*I was very enthusiastic about Wednesday's lineup but the performance was just mundane. Carlos Carrasco went nutbar and Justin Upton hit a first-inning bomb, but the rest of my lineup was disturbingly silent. My SP2 was Andrew Cashner, who played the role of Adrian Gonzalez's personal whipping boy. Hanley Ramirez nearly made things interesting, missing an eighth-inning grand slam by about five feet when the wind knocked down what looked to be a no-doubter. Grand Slams are worth 20 points on Draft Kings when counting all the RuBI's, and that swing would have theoretically put me into the zone of recouping some of my investment.
The DFS game is fast and furious, and sometimes money is won or lost because you hit a Whammy in the ninth inning of the final game of the day, yet the long-term outlook is more of a grind. I'm not swayed or dismayed by the net result of the first three days, just as I was not cracking champagne over the first-day double-up. In this way it mirrors the game itself, as anybody can have a good or bad game (or three), but the bottom line is more telling the further we get into the season.
I played DFS on about 50 percent of game days last season, and the goal is to ramp up my frequency to about 75 percent in 2015. I look forward to seeing some of my BP brethren on the virtual playing field (my username is RaisingAces), and if some of you are interested in joining me in competition, I tend to play the following games and tournaments:
*The daily Moonshot tournaments with a Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP), with entrants often numbering in the tens of thousands. Cost: $3
*50/50 tournaments, in which the top half of the entrants receive 180 percent of the entry fee. All winners get the same payout. Cost: $5, $10
*Head-to-head competition. Two entrants battle for supremacy, the winner takes home 180 percent of the entry fee. Cost: $5, $10
*Triple-Ups. Multi-player tournaments of varying size, in which the top 30 percent of finishers (ie top 9 of 30) win triple the entry fee. Cost: $5, $10
*10-team Leagues. These are my most common games. The prize allocation is 500 percent entry fee to the winner, 250 percent to 2nd place, 150 percent to 3rd. So in a $10 league the payouts are $50-$25-$15. Cost: $5, $10, $20
There are many more options than what I listed above and I tend to dabble in other formats (ie 3-team, 5-team), but these are the games and costs that I tend to play. In general, I utilize a higher volume of low-cost games, so I'm not that hard to find.
Thank you for reading
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