The Evolution of DFS
This will be the most unpopular blog post in the history of RotoGrinders. However, truth does not change due to popularity. 90% of you are going to read this and shake your head. No, no, no, no, no will be the only words running through your head. Some of you will even not be able to finish reading and scroll to the bottom to post comments on why this blog is so, so wrong. Some of you will post comments suggesting what can be done to stop the inevitable evolution of DFS. Some of you will read this and understand that this beautiful bubble we have enjoyed for a time has burst and become down about it. Finally, some of you will see the logic and reasoning and change to adapt.
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. The 5 stages of grief.
If something grows, it must change and evolve. Those that adapt to the changes and evolve along with the environment will flourish. Numerous books have been written about this concept, especially in the business world with Who Moved My Cheese?, The Toyota Way, and The Machine That Changed the World.
If something does not change and evolve, it cannot grow. It will stagnate. It will fall behind as others grow. The evolution of DFS has been mostly uncontroversial. The potential DFS has had is continuing to be realized without having to rock any boats. That is, until scripting.
The issue with Scripting was dealt with in the Big Two’s TOS agreements. Scripting was strictly forbidden. As we have found out, this was a rule that most followed, but not all. This rule also was unenforceable by and large. Any rule or law that can’t be enforced becomes a suggestion. The Big Two had to decide, legalize what was forbidden or fight a losing war.
So, they took drastic approaches. FanDuel decided it will continue to fight against it for the most part. DraftKings decided to allow it for the most part. The majority of DFSers, myself included, don’t have coding skills. The majority do not have the volume to need to worry about scripting. Yet, some of the majority see a definite advantage to the larger volume players being allowed to use bots and scripting.
Evolution has happened. DraftKings decided the time was right to allow scripting as another tool for members to use. FanDuel decided to avoid changing with the environment. The fact is, scripters are still going to script on FanDuel. They will challenge FanDuel to enforce their rule and while I am rooting for FanDuel, I believe it will fail miserably.
The low volume player who is paying attention to the scripting issue will run to FanDuel as they will feel a sense of false security. Some of the scripters will actually not chance being caught by FanDuel as they flee to DraftKings. The coming evolution will be DraftKings will see ever larger Multi entry GPPS while FanDuel’s will continue to shrink. At that point, FanDuel will be at the “Who Moved My Cheese” moment. Allow Scripting or continue to cling to the old failed set-up.
The new player on the block in Yahoo! is trying to eliminate that need by limiting the amount of multiple entries one can have. This is a fine strategy that will draw even more players from FanDuel, but the size of the tournaments can never surpass FanDuel’s which can never surpass DraftKings. Yahoo!’s evolutionary decision will be raise the limit on multi-entry or continue to be a bit player in a growing industry.
The final issue is the lack of realistic expectations of the average DFS player. The average DFS player would consider him/herself in the top quartile, overestimating their skill set by 100%. The average DFS player looks at the evolution going on and complains. They despise change. They love to be comfortable. This is part of why they remain average. The average DFS player sees multi-entry tournaments taken down time and time again by Professionals with large bankrolls to fund large numbers of entries and complains they cannot win. They don’t realize that even if their false assumption was right and they were a top 25% player entering an 80,000 entry tournament every single day, they should win that tournament about once every 27 years. 2 Entries a day? 13.5 years. 3 Entries a day? 9 Years. 10 entries a day? 2 and a half years.
The issue is not whether scripts should be allowed. I hate the idea myself. If I had the power to make using scripts punishable by death, I’d do it. I’m ok with 8,300 entry tournaments rather than 83,000. It’s the idea of binking that big one that draws so many to begin with. You literally can turn $0.25 into $1,000,000 by winning a satellite and then winning a tournament. If you are an average player, you can enter a shot at $1,000,000 for $20 and probably lose a $3 average every time you do it. However, you only have to be right one single time.
The final evolution that I believe will happen to this scripting stuff is FanDuel will see what is going on and as DraftKing’s prize pools increase while FanDuel decreases, FanDuel will resort to having a place where people can fill in their projections and then make the lineups for them from that and as people edit their projections, those lineups will be edited. DFS will evolve into a prognostication contest. People using the likes of RotoGrinders Projections and other projection sites will find they have a ton of overlap in their lineups. However, when FanDuel does take this drastic measure it will be either too late to save itself from the disaster it created or it will force DraftKings to do the same, which then gives FanDuel no advantages and already being a leg behind the competition.
As for Yahoo!, if they stick to their guns and continue to limit Multi-entries, they will continue to build their niche market. Not having near the size of prizes as DraftKings, those who do not script, those who do not play heavy volumes, those who play DFS to make a buck and for entertainment value, they will be content with Yahoo. The question is whether Yahoo will be content to be a bit player.
I for one will be hiring a programmer at a hefty cost to build a script to use on DraftKings. I will not be using a script on FanDuel and quit there when it becomes obvious they cannot enforce their rules. I will be joining Yahoo and enjoying that even more than any other site solely because those lineups were crafted by me instead of generated lineups from a spreadsheet and a script. A true test of skill rather than a contest of who has the best set of numbers on a spreadsheet.
Someone moved my cheese. I didn’t sit and cry about it being gone. I searched and I found new cheese. I strongly suggest everyone does the same rather than mourn over what will forever be known as the golden days of DFS.