Anyone that has a passing knowledge of sports thinks that they are able to be a successful daily fantasy sports player. Unfortunately for these people, this is not true. Sports knowledge is necessary, but more than this is needed. Analytical skills are needed, as are some intermediate math skills. You need to be able to look at statistics, extrapolate them into the future, look at the prices being offered by the site you are using, the scoring system, and then find out how best to draft a team to maximize those points with the budget you have available under the salary cap format. It seems like a complex process, and in some ways, it is. However, it’s not quite as difficult once you do it a few times. Furthermore, this is a strategy that will enable you to gain a huge edge over your competition.
Let’s see how this works
Each player has a salary, and it is set up so that regardless which sport you are playing, it is impossible to draft a team of all superstars. You can get one great player, or even two ro three, but drafting more than that makes it impossible to flesh out your team and enter the tournament itself. You need to make sacrifices here and there, and the best way to do this is to find the top players that are rated at a cheaper price. This is called value, and each site ranks players a little bit differently. Either way, the thing to look for is not how popular or even how good the player is, but rather how many points they will contribute to your team’s overall score, and thus help you finish higher on the rankings list at the end of the day.
Here’s a quick example from the NBA. At one point early on in the 2015 season, Kevin Durant and LeBron James had the same draft price at FanDuel: $10,800. The average point value they were contributing per game, though, was quite different. James was giving 44.1 points per game, and Durant was at 39.9. In this light, paying the same for each player was not smart since James was clearly giving fantasy managers more bang per buck (value). You were paying the same, but James was more valuable, and therefore, a better deal.
Here’s the catch. Well, a few, actually. For one, it was very early in the season at this point, and the points per game value had the potential to shift rapidly. Looking at the previous year’s numbers will help you to illuminate more info on the situation here, and Durant did have a higher points per game number than James. This means that Durant isn’t entirely a bad deal, he just hasn’t quite gotten to where he was the year before still. On any given night, this is something that could change, and that’s something that needs to be considered before automatically choosing James.
That brings up point #2: matchups are key. Durant could have a huge game and score 50+ points in a game if he’s against a weaker team. James could underperform given the right team profile. Look at these things before making a decision either way. Matchups aren’t always the most accurate way to prove a player’s worth, but they will give you an extra level of confidence if you are starting out with the value method and find that two or three players are too close to tell the difference between.
Point #3 is that in daily leagues, info sometimes comes out closer to game time than it would well before. If you are drafting your team early in the day, you might find yourself at a disadvantage. For reasons of fairness, once a competition opens up, prices and players do not change. You can edit things if need be in some leagues, but not all. If you have the time, certainly start early in the day, but be sure to keep tabs on things. So if James is your clear choice, but he gets injured in an early day warmup workout, you need to give yourself the ability to drop him and pick someone else up in his place.
Using these guidelines will help you to dominate your competition over time. You won’t win every contest you enter, but you will improve from where you are now.