Staking Bales: Recapping My Week 6 in Daily Fantasy

Staking Bales: Recapping My Week 6 in Daily Fantasy

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Oct 15, 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.

I had an awesome Week 6. Really good lineups and a lot of exposure to productive players. Here’s how it all turned out:

 

Site

Start

Finish

Net

FanDuel

1157.66

1187.42

29.76

DraftKings

374.60

306.60

-68.00

StarStreet

420.56

409.89

-10.67

DraftDay

233.98

209.02

-24.96

     

-73.87

 

 

What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks went wrong? All you need to do is take a look back at my Week 6 FanDuel and DraftKings Value Plays. The two players on whom I was most bullish—the duo to which I had the most exposure—were Cecil Shorts and DeMarco Murray.

Like I said, I had an awesome Week 6.

I ended up using either Shorts or Murray in around three-quarters of my lineups. I’m no math wizard, but that’s, like, 75 percent? I thought Week 6 had the potential to be my best since Week 1, but taking a zero in one of your wide receiver spots in half of your leagues can have some pretty damaging effects.

That’s hardly an excuse because this sort of stuff happens. It’s one of the reasons I tend to hedge more than most daily fantasy owners, playing two or sometimes three heads-up lineups on each site. Anything can happen, and it would be a huge mistake to not account for 1) my own fallibility and 2) the potential for disaster.

So am I “happy” to lose $73.87? Obviously not, but it could have been worse. Had I started a Shorts/Murray pairing in every league, I could have been wiped out. I actually put a larger percentage of my total bankroll into heads-up leagues than normal (around 30 percent), so a lack of lineup diversity could have put me into the red for the season. Instead, here’s how I look on the year:

 

Site

Start

Finish

Net

FanDuel

600.00

1187.42

587.42

DraftKings

600.00

306.60

-293.40

StarStreet

400.00

409.89

9.89

DraftDay

400.00

209.02

-190.98

     

112.93

 

 

Up $112.93, which represents 5.6 percent of the initial investment.

 

More on Hedging

When I talk about ‘hedging,’ it’s basically another way of saying that I’m increasing the pool of players from which I’ll formulate lineups. Hedging is valuable because it can increase your floor in a given week (as we saw with my lineups in Week 6).

If my bankroll were unlimited, or at least very high (I’m looking at you, condia), I’d have no problem playing just a single lineup on each site. That would optimize profits in the long run because I’d be able to handle the week-to-week volatility that accompanies a single lineup.

But I don’t have an unlimited bankroll, so I’m just as concerned with risk-minimization as I am with increasing upside. That means I need to hedge—create a more diverse array of lineups (while still maintaining near-optimal player exposure)—in order to relieve myself of some short-term volatility.

Things might be different for you. You don’t necessarily need to follow my lead because your goals should dictate your actions. If you’re willing to assume a greater amount of risk, you can play a bit less conservatively. You can trade in some safety for superior upside and long-term profits.

As always, though, your strategy needs to be fluid. When I like a lot of the same players in a given week, regardless of the site, I’d actually be more likely to hedge. Although my DraftKings lineups don’t necessarily have anything to do with my StarStreet lineups, there’s still a relationship there if I’m playing the same guys, i.e. Shorts and Murray in each one. That creates volatility.

On the flip side, if I like a handful of players at one site, a few different guys at another site, and some others at yet another site, I’d be less likely to hedge. The diversity I’m seeking would already be built into my lineups, so a single optimal lineup on each site would already wipe away enough risk that I wouldn’t need to dig deeper into my values in order to unnecessarily diversify.

If this all seems sort of stock trader-ish to you, it’s because it is. When you play daily fantasy sports, you’re managing an investment portfolio. You need to decrease risk and maximize upside to the best of your ability through proper lineup diversification and player exposure. You need to do the same in your league selection, balancing tournaments with heads-up leagues, double-ups, and others.

Moreover, you need to do it all with your own particular goals working as the foundation of all of your decisions, displaying flexibility along the way to take advantage of +EV situation when they arise.

And whatever you do, don’t start an injury-prone running back and a No. 2 receiver on the league’s worst team in three-quarters of your lineups.

Filed Under:
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