3 Unique Ways to Be Contrarian In DFS
We all know that in order to take down tournaments, we need to be better than everyone else. In order to be better than everyone else, we need to be different than everyone else. That will be the heart of this article – being contrarian and being smart.
The most obvious and most talked about way to do this regards ownership percentage. If you pick players that no one else has, that absolutely GO OFF, you gain an advantage over them in the competition. Conversely, if you fade (don’t pick) players that you think will be highly-owned that do not do well, you gain an advantage over those DFSers that picked him.
The only bad part about this strategy is that ownership is insanely hard to predict. Sure, there are signs that players will be highly owned or lowly owned, but it is that way for a reason. DFSers pick players for a reason – because they think they will score a lot of points – and they are usually correct. Therefore, being contrarian in terms of ownership percentage is incredibly risky, hard to predict, and can end up losing you money.
Fortunately, there are 3 things you can do to be contrarian that you can control, and are easier than you think.
1. Not spending your whole salary
Good DFSers already know this, and I think I’ve said it over 100 times, but it’s not usually the best option to spend all of your salary. First, the pricing strategists at Draft Kings and FanDuel give values every night, and almost never agree with each other. This means the $200-300 difference between 2 players does not really mean anything. It is not as if spending the extra $200 of salary will magically get you more points. Pick the players that you think will get you the most points with your salary remaining.
Second, this strategy IS contrarian. While the majority of sharks already know this, a lot of non-professional players will use all their salary hell-or-high-water. Thus, if you can be more efficient with 98-99% of your salary, than this will give you a leg up on most people in your tournament.
Lastly, over the past week, I tasked myself to come up with “Perfect Lineups” for every night. These are lineups that would have taken down every tournament, and created retrospectively. What I found is that on zero nights last week would spending all of your salary given you a better lineup than I created with less. The average amount of money spent in perfect lineups was $49,300, although there was one day in particular where you could have won a tournament spending only $44,800.
The less money you spend, the more contrarian you are being, but the more risk you are taking. All I am saying is don’t feel obligated to use your whole salary just because you have it.
2. Fade Platinum Players on a large slate
Platinum Players are defined as any player priced at $9000+. These are the players that have the chance to score the most points, but are usually the highest owned. However, these players rarely hit value of more than 7x (a $10,000 player scoring 70 points). If we use the concept that we need at least 350 points to win a tournament, then we would need to spend all $50,000 in salary, and average 7 times value ($50,000 × 7 = 350 points). On a large slate, there is a larger pool of players to choose from, therefore more value of which to take advantage.
That being said, when Platinum Players DO hit 7x value or more, they are extremely valuable. Because you need an AVERAGE of 7x value – using all of your salary – having someone that uses a good chunk of your salary (18-22%) and hits 7x value is far superior to picking a low-owned player, with a small salary that does the same thing. It might seem obvious that 70 points for a $10,000 player is much better than 21 points for a $3,000 player, but you’d be surprised. Sometimes people are so caught up with “value plays” of the night, and low ownership, that they overlook this.
While I did say you should fade them to be contrarian, it’s not the best idea and can be risky. Sure, it may be unique to not have Platinum Players, but if one of them is more than 15% owned and hits 7x value, there’s less of a chance you’ll win that night. Doing this on a larger slate ensures that you have a better chance to pick up that value, but it is still a risky strategy.
Referring back to those Perfect Lineups, 5/7 included 1 platinum player, 1 included 0 platinum players, and 1 included 2 platinum players.
3. Dont worry about ownership percentage
Like I said before, ownership is incredibly difficult to predict. Sure, you can assume some duds will be low-owned, and studs will be high-owned, but everyone in between is a crapshoot. Also, the reasoning behind why you think someone will be low-owned is exactly the same logic you would use to NOT pick them.
For example, you think that Motiejunas will be low-owned. This is because 1. he is risky, and 2. he probably will not produce lots of points. Unless you have SOLID reasoning behind why you think a low-owned player will do well, you are picking a risky player who probably will not do much. Its pretty silly.
After scrolling through the last 15K Quarter Arcades from the past month, about 50% of the winners had ALL players with ownership percentages higher than 5.0%. 30% had players with one low-ownership player (