My Daily Fantasy Sports Process
Having a daily fantasy sports process is important and I get asked about mine a lot. Like, a lot a lot. So I figured I would put it down on paper and share it with you all. I will keep this short, sweet, and to the point. If you have questions or want to know more, hit me up on Twitter @RyanHodge.
The obvious one, but still very crucial part of my process, is selecting the right games and contests in the lobby. If you are just clicking on the contests with the largest prize pools and smallest dollar amount to enter, you are doing it wrong. Here's an example: The 500K Post Pattern on DraftKings pays out 26.5 percent of its entries and has a nice flat payout with only 10 percent going to first. But if we take a look at the Milly Maker, we will see that it only pays out 24.5 percent of its entries and is very top heavy with 18 percent going to first place. While both of those contests have close to the same amount of rake (hovering around 15%), you can find a lot of contest much closer to the 10 percent mark (like the 200K Power Sweep). In the long run, those 1–5 percent differences in rake are huge for your overall return on investment. If you are looking to calculate the rake on the contests you enter, you can do so by following a very simple formula:
Rake = total buy ins – prize pool ÷ total buy ins
So if you enter into a $33 GPP with 2589 entrants and $72,646 in prizes, your rake would be calculated as follows:
$33 × 2589 Entrants = $85,239 total buy ins
Rake = 85,239-72646 ÷ 85,239 = 14.8%
I know that game selection is not sexy, but it is an important part of daily fantasy sports and as you can see, not all contests are created equal.
So, let's get to the sexy stuff.
First, I build a lineup with out doing any real research. I call this my “first take”. I do essentially zero research and build a lineup off my own internalized knowledge such as knowing which defenses can be run on, passed on, can't generate a pass rush, recent performances, recent injury news, etc. and make a build. You might ask, “Why this is important if so much can change over the week?" Well, it is crucial to have your own opinion on players and not let your player pool become muddied or tarnished with the opinion of every one else. Setting this first lineup lays a foundation for your player pool and main cash line up for the rest of the week.
From there, I start by running projections and looking for immediate inefficiencies/value in the “market place” aka the player pool. I do this for all of the positions, make mental notes, and will even write some names down in my notebook. This part of the process is a lot easier said than done and relies heavily on my model and projection system.
I rely heavily on my model and it really is the back bone of my DFS process. My model takes into account all different kinds of historical data such as defense vs position, Vegas totals, market share, red zone efficiency, pass vs run ratios on a per team level, and a handful of other metrics. If you don't have a projection system, or don't want to make your own by projecting/inputting snaps and targets etc, I highly recommend relying on John Paulsen’s projections and using our floor and ceiling projections.
At this point (usually Thursday and Friday), I tweak the “first take” lineup, it becomes my cash lineup, and I put it in most of my single entry contests as well. This is when it starts to get exciting as I get to put the puzzle pieces together for generating 150 lineups. I really start to drill down what players I want to be the most exposed too for mass multi-entry contests. I use our lineup generator to create player pools and export 150 lineups (or how ever many you need) and then upload them to DraftKings via the CSV import tool. I also use excel to keep track of my player exposure to ensure I am not overweight (or check that I am overweight If I want to be) on a certain player.
Come Saturday night and Sunday morning I am set on what I want to do and which players I want to be heavily exposed to. Leading up to lock, news can break and we have players we need to monitor for injuries and playing time. Unless there is something significant (like a RB1 being held out or a WR that should see a bump in volume because the WR2 is out, etc.), I truly try to avoid tinkering at this point since nothing should change and there is no reason to make swaps.
Pro Tip: If there is lingering news that might break about a player, make sure to have a CSV ready to upload so you are not scrambling last minute to make changes manually. With a prepared CSV, you can simply click upload.
The following are the stats and data that I care about and look at individually. Individually meaning that my model uses most of them, but I also want to see them on a more granular level.
• My model. As I mentioned above this is the backbone of my process.
• Vegas implied team totals and over/under for games along with line movement.
• Football Outsiders metrics, such as pace stats and offensive/defensive line grades.
• 4for4.com's aFPA metric.
• Targets and touches for players (over the past few weeks and historically).
• Player Props via Vegas.
• Market share (total market share of targets/Red Zone targets/ carries inside the 5 etc).
• WR/DB metrics from Playerprofiler.com. I don't spend a lot of time on this, but it is important to have an overview and see if there truly is a good matchup or two to exploit. If you don't want over analyze that data, Mike Woellert does a great write up on the more exploitable matchups here at 4for4.
That is all the “data” I consume. I really don't read a lot of other analysts' stuff (other than what we have here at 4for4, obviously). I think it can cloud my own judgment and sometimes even influence the players I am putting into my player pool. So, I tend to stay away from reading them all together. One of the beautiful things here at 4for4 is that we don't just cram plays down your throat. Instead, we give you info, facts, and data which you can digest at face value and make your own decisions.
Remember, it is import to develop your own process and do what works best for you. If throwing most of what I just said out the window and simply using our projection system and gut feeling makes you a profitable player, then don't change a damn thing. It is all about getting that #shmoney!