Staking Bales: My Plan of Attack for Week 7 in Daily Fantasy

Staking Bales: My Plan of Attack for Week 7 in Daily Fantasy

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Oct 18, 2013

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Jonathan Bales is a DraftKings Pro and the author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People book series. His latest book, How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports, is a data-driven guide to winning on DraftKings. He is also (unofficially) sponsored by GrubHub.

Follow Jonathan Bales on Twitter: @BalesFootball.

If you recall from Tuesday’s Week 6 recap, I’m up $112.93 on the initial $2k investment. I thought I’d be in a better position through six weeks, but it’s not horrendous considering I’ve taken quite a few shots in some big tournaments.

The reason that I’ve played a decent percentage of my bankroll in tournaments is because of the upside, obviously, which is enhanced by all of the bad money in them. Tournaments offer the best long-term money-making opportunity because all of the fish play them. But they’re also really volatile because, with low payout percentages, even the best players lose their entry fee more than they cash.

That’s why I’ve been playing a lot of DraftKings tourneys; most pay out the top quarter of entrants. It’s not like I can put $500 into them each week, though, considering my bankroll is still just above $2k. I also can’t enter a huge number of tournaments because that’s a recipe for losses.

If I enter a bunch of tournaments and use the same lineup, the results would be drastic from week to week. I’d likely either cash in almost all of them or lose all of my money. But if I enter a whole bunch of tournaments and then completely diversify my lineups to basically ensure cashing, all I’ll really do is slowly lose my money because I’d be playing sub-optimal players.

Remember, we’re always trying to balance playing optimal lineups with a little bit of risk-minimization. It’s smart to hedge against down weeks (or injuries to DeMarco Murray and Cecil Shorts) so that we don’t compromise the integrity of our bankrolls.


Double Mint Gum

With that said, I’m going to start playing some more double-ups (aka 50/50s). I really haven’t played too many this year, focusing on heads-up leagues and tournaments, but double-ups can be valuable. I’ve talked about double-ups in the past:

A 50/50 league—one that pays out the top half of all entrants—has similarities and differences to heads-up leagues. The primary difference comes in the volatility. If we were to track the inherent volatility of each league type based on the number of times a single lineup (the key being a single lineup) is entered into it, this is what we’d see. . .





Single Entry

High Volatility

Low Volatility

Multiple Entries

Low Volatility

High Volatility



The reason that 50/50s have low volatility if you’re not entering multiple leagues (or, more accurately, putting down a whole lot of money on them) is because you’ll almost always be rewarded for a dominant lineup and punished for a poor one. You won’t see that same sort of oh-crap-I’m-facing-a-180-point-opponent-and-can’t-win phenomenon that you might in a heads-up league. The more people in your 50/50 league, the greater the probability that your great lineup will be rewarded.

On the opposite side of the coin, entering your optimal lineup into more and more 50/50 leagues doesn’t limit risk like it does in heads-up tournaments. When you enter additional 50/50s, all you’re doing is increasing instability by forcing yourself to have a great week. Yes, you can have monster profits if you have an outstanding lineup, but a bottom 20 percent lineup won’t return anything. If you wager 30 percent of your bankroll on a lineup in 50/50 leagues and proceed to finish in the bottom quarter of teams, you just lost 30 percent of your bankroll. You don’t always have to minimize risk at all costs, but you don’t want so much volatility that a couple of bad weeks will drive you bankrupt.

Basically, we can treat 50/50s almost as we do DraftKings tournaments, sticking to a core group of optimal players, but diversifying lineups just a bit more than normal to reduce some of the multi-entry volatility. So that’s the plan of attack this week as I try to ramp up the pace of bankroll growth.


Some Week 7 Favorites

I gave you some “sneaky sits” on FanDuel and on DraftKings this week, so I’ll take this time to quickly hit on some players I like across the majority of sites. For more, see our site-specific Value Reports in the left-hand navigation column. 


QB Eli Manning vs. MIN

How did I get to the point that I’m relying on Eli Manning on a weekly basis? What’s wrong with me? Should I seek help?

I’m bullish on Manning because he’s really cheap on most sites, but he’s one of the few bottom-priced quarterbacks who can legitimately give you a monster day. Manning can go for 450 yards and four touchdowns at any time, and you just won’t get that from Alex Smith, Terrelle Pryor, or some of the other min-priced value plays.


RB Matt Forte vs. WSH

I’ll have more exposure to Forte in Week 7 than any other player. He’s underpriced across the board, giving you potentially elite production for a second-tier price.


WR Antonio Brown vs. BAL

I’ve explained that Brown is one of the few speedy receivers I like in heads-up play because he’s not actually big-play dependent. He has the downfield ability to give you 200-yard potential, but he also sees a ton of short targets on screens and hot routes. He basically has the safety of the slot receiver with an elite ceiling to boot, so I anticipate having a bunch of exposure to him in PPR leagues moving forward.


TE Jordan Cameron @GB

Cameron has been quiet of late, so his salary has dropped just a bit. This isn’t your typical Eddie Royal-esque early-season breakout player who comes back to reality, though. Cameron is a true talent who is going to emerge as one of the game’s consistently elite tight ends. Although he might still seem expensive, this is really a time to buy low.

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