DFS Growth: A Look at the FanDuel Slam

I couldn’t stop staring at it. A $1,000,000 prize pool in NBA DFS.

I started playing daily fantasy sports last season, and I started in the NBA. In the past year, the growth of this industry has astounded me. It’s hard not to remain optimistic when we look at where NBA DFS is now versus where it was a season ago.

The $25 tournament seems to be the “sweet spot”, so let’s look at how the Slam on FanDuel has grown from the start of 2014 compared to the beginning of 2015.

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Last season FanDuel ran a “Super Slam’ on March 5th. It was a nine-game slate, and the Slam was one of the biggest of the season. The prize pool? $120,000! A day after the $1,000,000 MEGA Slam filled hours early; FanDuel ran a $250,000 Slam on a two-game slate!

The Slam is one of my favorite tournaments for a lot of reasons. I regularly argue for flat payout structures. The Slam’s top prize is regularly around 10% of the prize pool. This season FanDuel made one other significant change to the Slam that makes it even better. Here’s a comparison of the payout structures between the MEGA Slam and Super Slam.

As before, I’ve represented the percentage of the prize pool in a log rhythmic fashion, so each change is an order of magnitude higher.

Last year the Slam typically paid out the top ten percent of the entries. This season, it’s been stretched to around the top 19 percent.

This is huge. Win, and you can get $20,000 or more (like the $100,000 doctorphelps took down yesterday), but finish in the top 19% and get double your entry back. As a fan of flat payout structures, I couldn’t be more elated with this tournament with this structure performing so well.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t address another thing that’s grown. In 2014, the Slam’s rake was typically around 10.5%, but this season it’s been consistently at 13%. Also, overlay seems to be a thing of the past for the Slam. A few days in the new year, the Slam didn’t completely fill, but since then it’s been an unstoppable behemoth.

Currently, the tradeoffs are worth it. With more of the field being paid out and the rapid growth, it’s a much better tournament than last year. I wouldn’t worry the sky is falling just yet, but I’m hoping the rake increase doesn’t continue next season. Of course, I’m hoping the growth does.

DFS is blowing up. A million dollar prize pool at a low price point in the NBA is an important milestone for the industry. In DFS, anyone can win, and more and more people are playing. We can only wonder how many six-figure winners we’ll have in the next year.

About the Author

  • ganondorf (ganondorf)

  • Ganondorf has been grinding it out full time for over a year. He finished 7th in the RotoGrinders 2014 Tournament Player of the Year rankings and also placed top 20 in the NBA, MLB, and NFL rankings. He graduated from Colorado State University with his Masters though, so you could say fantasy is in his system. Ganondorf started primarily doing NBA on FanDuel, but has expanded to MLB and NFL. You can find him as Ganondorf on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

  • realking

    Great article! We were talking about this wednesday night in the chat. I totally agree that $25 is the sweet spot for tourney play. I hope FD continues to put out high prize pool slams for NBA and for the upcoming MLB season. Last year the $25 Strikeout had a top payout of I think $5-$7k on average if I remember correctly. I think the volume of MLB players spikes and in turn, the payouts could go even higher.

  • kcchiefsfan73

    Well done

  • glennantz

    Great article. It shows how this industry just keeps getting better and better. The flat payout really helps all the new people like me. It gives us a “there is a chance” attitude. The money just keeps getting better and better. This is why I am attending the MLB boot camp in LA on the 28th. Good luck to all.

  • troveur

    The 13% rake is a bad sign for sure but is somewhat offset in a tourney like this by a) all the dead unmade team entries from ticket winners and b) all the ‘contrarian’ lineups that are ridiculously off the wall for the sake of being different. Make no mistake—I hate 13% rake but it is definitely helped by having so much dead money in the pool.

  • Phatjer300

    I loved the slam when I played on FD. it was tough when it paid out 10% of the entries. I started playing last year too. FD and mostly RIP DraftStreet. This year I got hooked on DK. Their Late swap out is a helper. plus more player stats. Thier Crossover isnt as big as the Slam but its getting there.

  • Calgaryhighrollers

    Flatter payout structure is great but hopefully with increased competition the rake % can start going the other way. As a poker player I am used to tournament rakes in the 5% to 10% range, 13% is painful.

  • sweetmoka

    For NBA, I gave up on 75% cash games/25% tourneys in favor of the 100% Slam about a month ago. For NBA at least, it seemed like the line to cash was starting to converge on double ups and large entry tourneys so why not take the upside? I enter half my lineup as “cash style” lineups and the others as tourney entries.

    As a casual player, I find this more enjoyable than grinding out double ups and agonizing over cash lineup decisions.

  • madmanjayWV

    A little bit above my pay grade most of the time, the slam, but good read and thanks for taking the time to do it! Very interesting.

  • xMiami2Ibiza

    good read, interesting stuff. aside from the rake, all signs are lookin good for the industry

  • jimmyquinella

    • Blogger of the Month

    Well written. I have seen this growth every single day…and will be excited to see how MLB does.

  • Icebergslim77

    Paying out to the top 19% is great and the way to do GPPs. More people winning will help with repeat entries into future SLAMs. Also, the $25 entry fee is the way to do these big dollar GPPs. Great article Ganondorf!

  • BreakingBacon

    Well they’re starting satellites for the slam on 3/25. Wonder if they push it it 1.5 million given how fast it filled up on Wednesday.

  • missinguy

    im in the akron/cleveland Ohio area are there any type of boot camps for NBA in particular, but also MLB/NFL that are reasonably close? and if so, when would that be?

  • dafarmer23

    • 2016 FanDuel MLB Playboy Mansion Finalist

    Great Read!!! Do you have any boot camps in Wash DC area? I see your avatar always at the top of contests. Would love to learn your strategy Ganondorf

  • sonicattack

    Re: Boot Camp questions – there’s a thread in the forum: https://rotogrinders.com/threads/announcing-dailyfantasybootcamp-com-brought-to-you-by-rotogrinders-579905

    And there’s also the official site itself: https://dailyfantasybootcamp.com

  • missinguy

    mr sonicattack: thank you good looken!!

  • Joe1Coal

    This is my whole point about people bickering about lineup sharing. DFS is growing every day.

  • MRCOOKONUTS

    More payouts is not what its cracked up to be,many players have 2 or more entries and if making different lineups,most are not making profit.Things arent always what they seem.
    Lowering the rake and increasing prize money amount for lower tiered winners would help entrants.
    To make up for that lost company profit,an 8-10% increase in the entry fee would help balance the lower rake and the increase in payouts.

  • viceclassics

    over under how many entries ganondorf will enter the weds mil slam

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