The Single Bullet - Thinking Outside of the Box
The Single Bullet focuses on the strategy, game theory, and construction of single entry lineups for all sports on Fanduel. Winning a single entry GPP requires the construction of the perfect lineup for the given slate. The quest to design this perfect “Single Bullet” requires thought about prices, statistical trends, opponent strategies, and obviously requires a lot a bit of luck. My purpose for this blog is to reflect on past lineups as well as consider bigger questions about future slates when it comes to single entry tournaments. Hopefully, through this reflection and discussion with other RG members, I as well as everyone else can improve our Single Entry play. My Twitter account is @MrJCis, if you would like to leave me feedback or talk DFS.
To start today’s blog, I want to post a problem I provided my Geometry students the other day in class. Students were tasked with attempting to connect all of the dots below by using 4 lines or less, never picking up their pencils, and never completely overlapping an existing line (lines can intersect however). The puzzle is below. Some of you may recognize this from grammar school or high school when your whacky mathematics teacher was trying to make a point about problem solving. The nine dots are below. I urge you to take a look at the dots and attempt to work a solution WITHOUT using Google.
Okay, did you solve it? I eased off of writing a blog for the last couple of weeks because I wanted to write this blog. That said, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about my approach and what I wanted to highlight. The biggest question I needed to answer was: Should I provide the solution?
I am going to treat the two or three of you readers (sarcasm… I hope) the same way I treated my students that day. I explained to them that when I was in high school, I did not have an outlet like the interweb to answer all of my questions. I certainly could not find answers to questions like the aforementioned “Nine-Dots Problem” without working through it or begging my instructor. I sought out the challenge and enjoyed the mental anguish that came with solving relatively intricate problems. I did not want to know the answer… unless I solved it.
You are all eye-rolling at me right now. Fine! Whatever! I teach adolescents every day! I am used to the eyes rolling in my direction and being mocked via social media by all of my students. If you want the answer that bad, GOOGLE IT! But, if you want to think a little more on your own, here is a hint.
Think outside of the box!
Often, the solutions to many intricate problems require a little “outside of the box thinking”. Some might call this type of thinking contrarian. When I posed this question to my students, I thought about playing DFS for this entire year through three seasons: MLB, NFL, and NBA. I spent a long time learning about each sport, where to find relevant information, who to listen to or not listen to, what type of games to play, and boy can this list go on. I dabbled in cash games (very unsuccessfully). I tried out tournaments. I tried out multi-entry. I tried 50/50s, etc… etc…
I realized after about 6 months that I am not very good at cash games. Why? If you read “Fading the Chalk”, Andy does a great job getting inside the minds of DFS pros. Often, he can land on a high percentage, if not all, of their lineups. I dug in to the article and tried to hone my cash game process. I tried to find the chalkiest of all chalky plays each day in great positions. I tried to move with the crowd. While I give credit to all of the professionals and amateurs that can consistently build optimal lineups; that style of play is just not for me.
Daily Fantasy Sports are clearly a hobby for me. I have a career as a teacher, a growing family (wife expecting soon), and tons of obligations related to my eight-year old. Sitting in on a travel soccer meeting, I learned that most of my Sundays for this upcoming fall will be spent traveling to soccer games. All signs point towards DFS remaining a hobby. That said, DFS NEEDS to be fun! DFS needs to be interesting! DFS needs to be a puzzle! I NEED TO THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX!
My career will always be there; therefore I need to stop pretending I can think like a DFS pro and think like a DFS Joe (I know that was really lame). I need to feel the thrill of trying to land on that perfect lineup each night. Building a chalky lineup while attempting to fit in with the crowd is simply not my style. I enjoy the creativity. I also enjoy doing things on my own. Why do you think I still suck at golf? I refuse to take lessons because part of the fun is achieving something without the help of others.
So what’s the purpose of all of this? How does this relate to DFS and my blog?
A year of playing DFS has been a fun and frustrating experience. However, the fun would never happen unless the frustration occurred. Throughout my life, I have always needed something to think about. DFS is consistently puzzle in need of solving. I yearn for the day where my “Single Bullet” makes it to the top of a leaderboard. I get excited about the day I might qualify for a bigger tournament or make a real legitimate sum of money. Will that money make me reconsider the path I am on? Nope, probably not. Probably going to pay for something lame like siding for my house. Yet, at least I will have the next day to try and do it all over again.
I am going to continue attempting to build a successful “Single Bullet” each day. We will carry our mindset into MLB after enjoying a very exciting couple months playing and blogging in the NBA. Look out for me as the MLB season starts and I consider options for the blog as we transition. If you have any ideas for the blog, please leave me all of the feedback you can!
Oh yeah, about that “Nine Dots Problem”. I wish you luck. The solution can be found basically anywhere you type the name of the problem on the internet. I know that you won’t cheat though. You play DFS, you like the process… Until next time, good luck everyone.