Fighting Through Slumps

The DFS community has given it the name “variance.” Some might call it “bad luck.” It happens to the best of us, and it will ultimately happen to you. That’s right, I’m talking about slumps.

If you play DFS long enough, you’ll go through a slump and have a prolonged period of incompetence and failure. It probably feels like you’re the only one in the world going through it. After all, when you check Twitter at the end of the night, there are tons of screenshots from people who won thousands of dollars or seats to live finals. Nobody ever posts screenshots of their losing lineups.

I was encouraged by a recent thread in the RotoGrinders forum discussing cold streaks. Big shout out to everyone who contributed in that thread, because it’s a difficult topic to discuss. Nobody ever wants to talk about their own failure. In order to encourage more openness in the DFS community, I’m going to admit it – I’m currently going through a slump.

I’m mainly a tournament player so I know there are peaks and valleys. It’s been roughly a 3-week drought for me with wins sprinkled in here and there, but for the most part it’s been a dry period. I was part of the unlucky group who had 100% Jimmy Butler exposure when he was unexpectedly scratched after lineup lock (as soon as the news came out I shut down my laptop and baked cookies to cheer myself up). I’ve had nights where I missed the cash line by a single basket. I’m not going to blame a projection model, or an analyst I listened to, or my lineup seller (I’m just kidding!) – in the end I need to work through this and get my groove back like Stella ultimately did.

Going through a slump is mentally challenging. I have to assume it’s similar to what professional athletes face when they go into a slump (that’s right, I just compared myself to a professional athlete). After a few losing nights, you decide to change your research process. Maybe you listen to an extra podcast, or put in an extra hour of research. After more losing nights, maybe you start playing more slates to chase your losses. And after even more losing nights, perhaps you start playing higher stakes with the hope that you can make up the losses quicker. Before you know it, you’ve altered your research process and bankroll management.

I’ll admit I’ve tried everything above, and when lineup lock rolls around, I start second guessing myself. There have been days where I’ve consumed too much content and begin to overthink things to the point where it backfires on me. I’ve even done the unthinkable – taken a slate off to mentally recharge myself.

I had one of my best finishes on Friday that finally gave me some hope that I might be turning this slump around. However, I need to see more consistent results before I deem this slump over. If you’re in the same boat as I’m in, there is unfortunately no one-size-fits-all solution for busting out of it. What works for me may not work for you. I have no idea when you will break out of it, but I am confident about two things:

1) If you’re in a slump, know you’re not alone. There are others like you fighting through a slump. I am right there with you. It may feel like you’re alone but I promise you that you are not.

2) The tools are here to help you fight through the slump. Use everything at RotoGrinders as part of your arsenal to fight the enemy named “Variance.” Find a process that works best for you and trust it #TTP. Leverage the forums for advice; read the articles; listen to the podcasts; consider starting a blog if that helps you break down a slate better. Find that perfect balance of research that works, refine it as needed, and stick to it through the thick and thin if you truly believe in it. Heck, if you’re really desperate to break out of your dry spell, you could try Seth’s suggestion of wearing a slump busting thong.

With the All-Star break approaching, I’m planning to use those few days off to refresh my mind and come back to the grind stronger. That’s the beauty of daily fantasy sports – we all begin at the same starting point each day. I will not let this brief slump bring me down as a DFS player because I’m confident enough in my processes and the resources I’ve surrounded myself with. I will rise up from it. I believe Destiny’s Child said it best:

I’m a survivor
I’m not gon’ give up
I’m not gon’ stop
I’m gon’ work harder
I’m a survivor
I’m gonna make it
I will survive
Keep on survivin’

That’s probably the first time Destiny’s Child has ever been quoted on RotoGrinders. Do I owe Beyonce’s dad royalties for using their lyrics?

You can find me on Twitter if you want to vent about your own slump, or leave a Comment below on your best methods to break out of a slump. Thanks for reading. May variance be on your side.

About the Author

  • Allan Lem (fathalpert)

  • Allan Lem (aka fathalpert) began playing fantasy sports in high school and transitioned to DFS in 2015. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Economics and lives in California with his wife and two kids. He dreams of winning a big tournament so he can try cashing one of those giant cardboard checks at his local bank.


  • Fantasytrending

  • TheRolyPolyBoy

    When I’m in a slump I usually stay away for a bit. Not long, however. It usually refreshes me, keeps my mind sharp. I’m strictly a low-dollar GPP/Tournament guy, so I understand the risks of a slump. Sometimes it’s good to step away.

  • moe1671

    I know exactly where you’re coming from. I even thought that PERHAPS I should just give this hobby up, because nothing seemed to be working, no matter how hard I tried, or how much time I put in. Then, everything finally came together, and my research finally paid off. I’m mostly GPP as well, with some Cash games. I find that I actually seem to do better overall with the GPP. A lot of times in Cash, I finish JUST out of the money. Very irritating. (I remember the Jimmy Butler “scratch”. Instantly killed a 3rd of my lineups. I miss the days of being able to move players right up til tip-off.)

  • jimfred82

    • Blogger of the Month

    Here’s a question: Do you guys consider it more of a slump when you’re just missing the cashline consistently, or putting out terrible lineups?

  • Aniesdad

    @jimfred82 said...

    Here’s a question: Do you guys consider it more of a slump when you’re just missing the cashline consistently, or putting out terrible lineups?

    Just missing the cash line consistently with good line ups is a slump. My last three weeks have been turrible lineups which is my own fault. Playing at the same buy in levels with out the same amount of effort and research is a recipe for disaster.

  • krazyju84

    @jimfred82 said...

    Here’s a question: Do you guys consider it more of a slump when you’re just missing the cashline consistently, or putting out terrible lineups?

    For my current slump, i would be happy to see any of my lineups just outside of cash line, that would at least give me some hope.

    when DFS Analyzer is looking similar to below, that would mean some slumpage. sad face.

  • Jake1911

    I won 2 gpps 2 weeks ago after a prolonged winning run that kinda culminated in a 30,000$ night, the next night I was one of the guys with 100% Jimmy Butler and I have lost for 12 straight days. Heck I didn’t even have one lineup cash in golf this week because of the stupid MDF designation even though they weren’t technichally cut. It’s just nice to know I’m not alone and also nice to know the all-star break is coming

  • deaddogseye

    Great article — have you been following me around? Sure seems like it.

  • fathalpert

    • Moderator

    • Blogger of the Month

    Thanks for the feedback and thoughts!

    @jimfred82 – For me, I see terrible lineups as more of a slump. For example, if I look back at my lineup and ask myself why I didn’t play Player X over the guy I did play, that’s more frustrating for me.

    @deaddogseye – Maybe. Just kidding.

  • WidumBoise

    Vary Antsy

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