Staking Bales: A Profitable Week of Losses in Week 7

Staking Bales: A Profitable Week of Losses in Week 7

By Jonathan Bales (Daily Fantasy Expert), last update Oct 22, 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.

See that title? What in the hell is “a profitable week of losses”? In my world, it’s one in which you lose money on every site, yet win a qualifying ticket to put you in the black for the week. Here’s how it ended for me in Week 7...

























StarStreet $109 Qualifier




I like to periodically post screenshots of the accounts so that you guys can follow along, so here you go. . .









I had a large percentage of my head-to-head action at FanDuel this week, and it resulted in $1.20 in losses. Cool. I won a couple small tournaments at DraftKings, but still ended up down there (same for DraftDay).

At StarStreet, however, I won a 100-man tournament that gave away a $109 qualifying ticket to the top 10 entrants. Here’s how it went down. . .


Could that be any more annoying? I crushed this lineup, beating out the other 99 entrants by at least 11.5 points, but I got the same qualifying ticket as the guy who finished in 10th—over 36 points behind me.

That’s just the nature of certain qualifying tournaments (or double-ups), though. I’ve won two of these tickets in the past. It gives me a free entry into StarStreet’s Playboy Fantasy Football Championship qualifier in Week 8. That’s a 150-man tournament in which the winner will head to the Playboy Mansion in December for StarStreet’s $250,000 championship.


Steady Growth vs. A Punctuated Equilibrium

As the season rolls along, you’ll probably see the majority of my weeks end up as this one did. That’s because I’ve taken a “punctuated equilibrium” approach to daily fantasy strategy, sacrificing steady short-term profits for upside.

So why would I leave money on the table? Well, with an initial $2,000 investment, I’m not really all that interested in grinding out a guaranteed $500 profit on the year. For the time that I put into projections and making lineups, I want more upside. If my bankroll were, say, $100k, I’d be more inclined to increase my floor through steady use of heads-up and double-up leagues.

That’s why I’m playing more tournaments than usual. Even in the tourneys that pay out the top quarter of entrants, I’ll lose the majority of time. So I’m just sort of “buying time” at this point, trying to maintain the profits I’ve built up this season (which is now a few hundred bucks) while taking shots at some huge cashes.

As you create your daily fantasy game plan, you need to figure out at which end of the spectrum you’d like to be: grinding steady profits or taking shots in big tournaments. You should really do both, but the degree to which you emphasize one over the other depends on what you want to get out of the season.

If you’re starting with a $100 bankroll, there’s probably not that much value in grinding out a 30% ROI on the year unless 1) you REALLY need $30 or 2) you’re using the season as a test to see if you can be a long-term winner.

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