NBA $3 to $300 Challenge: Data Analysis

In case you missed it, thanks to some hectic late night action, I actually met my goal on FD last week, which was pretty exciting after a few years in a row of disappointment (especially since it was on the second to last night of the challenge). As it turns out, the whole Multi-Entry thing was indeed a boon for my bankroll. But, let’s delve a little deeper into the data, shall we?

First things first, here’s what the entire season looks like for FanDuel and DraftKings:

FanDuel versus DraftKings

Site Attempts Cashes Cash Percentage Total Won Average Cash
FanDuel 340 151 44% $645.59 $4.28
DraftKings 340 140 41% $509.51 $3.64

Obviously, those cash percentages are substantially higher than last year’s results, when I was not only playing single entry tourneys, but also playing at the $5 buy-in. Not only that, but the average payout was quite a bit higher, too, which was also something anticipated. As a broad overview, these results basically reinforced my reasoning why I thought I could be successful in this challenge, so that’s nice to see I wasn’t just taking an uneducated guess and seeing what happened.

Now, obviously, the most important part of grinding is streamlining your game, so let’s look at slate size by site, starting with FanDuel:


Slate Size Attempts Cashes Cash Percentage Total Won Average Cash
2 23 16 70% $99.09 $6.19
3 12 5 42% $26.50 $5.30
4 19 9 47% $26 $2.89
5 47 22 47% $67 $3.05
6 46 21 46% $127.60 $6.08
7 24 13 54% $34.05 $2.62
8 39 14 36% $58 $4.14
9 36 13 36% $38 $2.92
10 45 20 44% $74.50 $3.73
11 34 13 38% $38 $2.92
13 6 0 0% $0.00 N/A
14 9 5 56% $48 $9.60

In case you were wondering, either by random chance of me not playing on those nights or there just not being any, I didn’t attempt any 12 game slates this year on either site, which seems a little bit odd. I’m thinking it had something to do with the NBA doing a much better job of having less small slates and less gigantic slates, hence there being so many attempts in the 5-10 game range. That silly cash percentage with two-game slates seems relatively unsustainable, but it had a lot to do with me trying to maximize my action the last few weeks of the season, when I was absolutely red-hot. The fact that it was also my highest average cash lends itself to some interesting thoughts on the fact that I probably should have attempted quite a few more late-slates than I did, but in the heat of the moment, it kind of slipped my mind. Also, two years ago, I was bad on eight-game slates. Last year, I was bad again and chalked it up to a fluke… but three years in a row? For whatever reason, that eight-game slate is one that I now have quite a bit of definitive evidence that I struggle with, which is something I should probably store away for future reference… but it still feels really, really random, despite all the evidence suggesting otherwise. I’d love anybody’s perspective on this one, because it just seems to random to be true.

Now, even though I didn’t meet my goal on there, it was still a profitable year on DK, so let’s check out that data:


Slate Size Attempts Cashes Cash Percentage Total Won Average Cash
2 18 11 61% $72.50 $6.59
3 13 7 54% $16.21 $2.32
4 23 8 35% $18.50 $2.31
5 51 21 41% $152.80 $7.28
6 47 21 45% $72 $3.43
7 27 10 37% $21 $2.10
8 36 13 36% $43.50 $3.35
9 33 16 48% $33.82 $2.11
10 42 17 40% $38.50 $2.26
11 35 12 34% $22.18 $1.84
13 6 0 0% $0.00 N/A
14 9 4 44% $21 $5.25

Once again, that two game slate was really solid (albeit not quite as much), but interestingly enough, that five-game slate on DK ended up taking the cake for largest average cash of either site, which is kind of crazy because I hardly even remember anything about that. I actually was worse on the four-game slate than eight on DK, too. I think the most glaring thing, however, is that, when you look at those average cashes compared to those on FD, it’s quite obvious that I really struggled to get large cashes, which was the main culprit in not meeting my $300 goal on there. A 44% to 41% cash percentage isn’t too drastic (although it’s farther than a lot of people would realize), but when the average cash is $.64 when your entry is only $1 really, really makes a big difference. I sometimes wonder why I had so much more success on FD than I did on DK this year, for really the first time ever, and all I can think is that, somehow, position flexibility made me overthink things way too much. Plus, I mean… those average cashes were pretty disgusting. Having a handful of $30 cashes on FD when I didn’t have hardly any on DK really made a difference, too.

So… What’s Next?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I do think, however, that whatever I choose to do will be multi-entry again, because I really enjoyed it and I think the cash percentages speak for themselves. Not only that, but, as we’ve talked about many times, walking away with a “win,” even if you’re losing money overall, feels a lot better than just a goose egg (and yes, I understand that’s a bit scary for gamblers). With two kids, double daycare, and a mortgage that’s twice as high as the year before, I don’t see myself raising the stakes too much just in case I end up becoming terrible at this game and bottoming out a month into the challenge! However I decide to go about it, I would also really like it to be an even-number of entries, because it’s kind of annoying to double-down on one lineup more than another when I can’t come up with three. Relatively speaking, I actually had a lot of luck this year picking the right one more often than not, but that randomness did burn me twice in the last month when I had $30 lineups on FD with my single entry instead of the double one, costing me $60. I’m not quite sure I’m fully ready to triple-enter every single night, as, though I did have some nights where I proudly cashed across the board, they were not only few and far-between, but also were usually minimum cashes. There’s a part of me that thinks attacking multiple slates like I did late in the season is probably the most profitable way to go (and also the least frustrating, as I was usually walking away with something), but, let’s be honest: My marriage would not survive that. Heck, I was having to be pretty sneaky with a lot of post-dinner “bathroom breaks” as it was just to get that in the last week! My wife has been incredibly supportive of this challenge for years now, but I do know that, should late-swap come back, that will provide yet another monkey wrench in the action, as there was substantially less fighting this season than last. I know a lot of you guys love it, and I don’t blame you, but I got hit by so few this year that I actually hope it doesn’t come back (or, at the very least, the sites do it looks like FD is doing with baseball, and offering the options). But I can understand why most of you would prefer to have late swap.

Lastly, thanks again for following along this year. By my count, I got in about 20 more nights of action than any year before, and, when you multiply that by multi-entries each night, that made for some pretty hefty blogs, and some of you tredged through them every high and low step of the way. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed me hanging with the pros as much as I enjoyed playing. Sorry I never got that big win, but the reality is, I definitely grinded my way through that entire season, and that’s what this is all about!

Now, it’s time to enjoy a much-needed rest from DFS… until NFL starts, that is!

Thanks again, good luck… and keep grinding!

About the Author

  • Jim Hill (jimfred82)

  • Jim Hill, aka jimfred82, is a happily married father and teacher who has been playing fantasy sports since 2001. He began his DFS career in the pioneer days when $5 was the minimum contest entry and nobody had even heard of 50/50’s. He mainly plays low-dollar NFL and NBA, and has been blogging for RotoGrinders since 2011, publishing hundreds of blogs with a variety of content ranging from NFL, NBA, bankroll challenges, and his lifelong disdain for Kendrick Perkins.


  • emac

    • 466

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #90

      RG Tiered Ranking

    Well played this season!

  • Beavis76

    A true grinder(and author)! I hope you write NFL articles this year.

  • docsgames

    Love your writing and grinding ability. I am a professional poker player, and would like to speak with you about a business opportunity. Please contact me at 7064613620. Thanks

  • jimfred82

    • Blogger of the Month

    @emac said...

    Well played this season!

    Thanks, Emac! It was nice to have some success… felt like it had become a lost cause after the last few years!

  • jimfred82

    • Blogger of the Month

    @Beavis76 said...

    A true grinder(and author)! I hope you write NFL articles this year.

    Appreciate it, Beavis! As far as I know, probably no NFL challenge… I may get a wild hair and write some random blog now and then, but that will be about it.

    Thanks for reading!

  • zpruitt3

    I’ve been following for this article for the last few years. Great work man!

  • jimfred82

    • Blogger of the Month

    @zpruitt3 said...

    I’ve been following for this article for the last few years. Great work man!

    Thanks for the kind words and thanks a ton for following along!

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