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  • JMToWin

    • x2

      2014 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2016 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    Trust your research.

    I say that a lot. Heck, I wrote a whole NBA article a few months ago about trusting your research, and it was the most popular NBA article I wrote (granted, I wrote about six NBA articles in all, so there wasn’t much competition).

    Trust your research.

    Yeah.

    In the past, I have always been a bit of a streaky MLB DFS player. This is something I hate, and is something I aim to correct (or…at least, is something I aim to correct as much as possible). And I know what most people would say: “It’s just variance.” Sure, that’s somewhat true. But not fully.

    Now, I’ll be honest: I probably give less credit to variance than any other high-end MLB DFS player. Certainly, I give less credit to variance than the monster of variance is due. But at the same time, I feel that most other top MLB DFS players give variance too much credit.

    You see, it’s partially on purpose that I give variance less credit than it is due. By taking my results into my own hands, I push myself to identify mistakes in my play (however big or small they might be), in order to constantly find ways to improve. I feel that if I gave variance more credit, it would be too easy for me to say, “Oh well, it’s just variance.” And while this would be a less stressful approach to MLB DFS, it would also clog up the engine that drives me to constantly search for ways in which I can be better.

    By giving variance less credit than it is due and taking my results into my own hands, I effectively force myself to look for ways to improve. This includes looking for ways to become less “streaky.” Which cycles back around to trusting my research…

    I started this MLB season 0-6. Six slates. Six negative outcomes. “It’s just variance, right?” Maybe. “It’s just part of being a single-entry DFS player, isn’t it?” Perhaps. But the worst part was, my narrowed-down list each day was absolutely on point. Worse yet: the fact that I continued to be unable to cash led to me second-guessing everything my research said.

    In the middle of this last week, I should have finally broken through with my first solid day – what would have been roughly $5k in winnings. But right before games began that day, I freaked out and changed my team. I won nothing.

    Then, Saturday happened. Five minutes before games began, this was my DraftKings lineup:

    Ian Kennedy
    Vince Velasquez
    Nick Hundley
    Wil Myers
    D.J. LeMahieu
    Nolan Arenado
    Trevor Story
    Matt Kemp
    Melvin Upton
    Colby Rasmus

    Total score: 185.30.

    As I wrote that, I was unable to just look on my DraftKings account to see what the total score was for that team…because I did not actually end up using that team. Three minutes after contests locked and the first games began (and two minutes before any of my players locked), I freaked out and pulled up my DraftKings app and changed four players on the team.

    Total score of the team I used: 151.90

    If I had stuck with my original team, I would have won the Gold Glove ($20k), and I would have won a Qualifier for a seat to the Live Final in Toronto.

    Instead, I failed to trust my research.

    Sometimes, as DFS players, we get so set on “building the perfect team.” We want to lock things in place in such a way that it all feels “just right” – and oftentimes, this leads to us changing a well-researched team until we have tinkered too much for our own good. Typically, when this happens, we lose money over time.

    Typically, when we instead trust our research and simply roll with whatever team our research led us to, we make money over time.

    I am writing this post, partly, because doing so is cathartic. But I am not just writing this for me. For one thing, I imagine that reading this is cathartic for many of you, as you have recognized this hole in your own DFS play, and it feels good to know that you are not alone.

    But catharsis only accomplishes so much. I am also writing this because I realized it’s a message that needs to be shared:

    Trust. Your. Research.

    It’s not always easy. It’s won’t always go well. But listen: It will go well far more often than “freaking out and changing teams at the last minute” will go well. It will make you more money in the long run. It will lead to a lot more success – and a lot more fun.

    Finally, it’s important to learn to separate results from self-assessment. I’m preaching to myself here as much as I’m preaching to you, as a large part of the reason I tend to be a streaky MLB DFS player is the simple fact that I am far more likely to “freak out and change things on my team at the last minute” when things have been going poorly. Take this last week, for example: if I had simply cashed one day early in the week, I would not have “freaked out and changed my team” on that mid-week night when I would have won around $5k. And had I won around $5k mid-week, I would not have “freaked out and changed my team” on Saturday, when I would have picked up $20k and a seat to the Live Final.

    But why should I have been freaking out in the first place? Why should I have been refusing to trust my research? As I said earlier: my narrowed-down list each day had been on point. My research was sharp and accurate. I could look at my list at the end of each night and say, “Wow – I had a really solid day today.” The only thing missing was results. Had I been self-assessing independent of results, I would have had an easier time trusting myself with the teams I built. I would also have a lot more money right now than I have.

    Trust your research.

    You won’t win every day. But you’ll win a whole lot more over time than you will by “freaking out and changing things at the last minute.”

    After the week I just had, I can tell you: That’s good enough for me.

  • MikeSos760

    That’s brutal mate. I don’t know how I’d react if I had changed things and knew I would have won 20k with my first lineup.

    It was a good read though. I see I’m not alone in having a losing streak for the first week after I crushed opening day.

    I changed mine today because of slight weather concerns with the SD/COL game, and in the first inning CarGo and Arenado (had both of them) have blasted a home run. Probably should have just rode it out. Hindsight.

    Needless to say, I’m going to take a break for the next few days I think, since I’m tilting now.

  • bighop04

    Sounds like how I was going to play Felton and Howard all day and am now watching them go ham in the 1st half.

  • MikeSos760

    How did you keep your cool after this past week, besides writing about it?

    I’m just going to take a break for the next few days because after today, it is just too frustrating and isn’t fun atm. Hopefully a break will help, but any other tips would be helpful.

  • JMToWin

    • x2

      2014 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2016 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    @MikeSos760 said...

    How did you keep your cool after this past week, besides writing about it?

    I’m just going to take a break for the next few days because after today, it is just too frustrating and isn’t fun atm. Hopefully a break will help, but any other tips would be helpful.

    About a month ago, I used the forums to post “an in-depth exploration of my bankroll strategy.” That will help answer the question. Essentially, I don’t look at baseball on a slate-by-slate basis; instead, I look at my results over a 25-slate stretch. If you worry “day by day,” it’s too easy to get high or low based on one day, when really it’s better to just let things play out over time and keep an even keel. Easier said than done, of course.

    Another important note here: if you’re going tournament-heavy, you are going to have stretches where you go a week or two without winning. Those are just the breaks of tourney-heavy play!

  • CUTiger81

    Idk if you play weekends but just out of curiosity did you fade the Coors game in cash today? I ended up coming off it because Roth’s update had me very concerned (FD player primarily) but just was interested to know how you handle a situation like that. Arenado was my to play of the day for a number of reasons but Orange as Roth’s outlook caused me to rethink my commitment to that.

  • Phinsfan83

    I never saw anything but Yellow on the Coors game.. Some really good Value that came out in that game when lineups posted. A 2k guy another 2.2k guy. Let me pay up for Harper, Carlos Gonzalez, Donglson, Bautista (didn’t do much), and Dallas Keuchel

  • NESBears120

    Amen to that I had a lineup I loved today but after listening to the “experts” I made some changes and today has been a rough day because of it

  • MikeSos760

    @JMToWin said...

    About a month ago, I used the forums to post “an in-depth exploration of my bankroll strategy.” That will help answer the question. Essentially, I don’t look at baseball on a slate-by-slate basis; instead, I look at my results over a 25-slate stretch. If you worry “day by day,” it’s too easy to get high or low based on one day, when really it’s better to just let things play out over time and keep an even keel. Easier said than done, of course.

    Another important note here: if you’re going tournament-heavy, you are going to have stretches where you go a week or two without winning. Those are just the breaks of tourney-heavy play!

    I read it and really liked it. Thanks for sharing that information. I think it will be helpful to implement that mindset. I do like that you let the slate determine what to play in MLB. I noticed myself doing that this past week, where I didn’t feel comfortable playing cash games or small person leagues.

    Question. How do you track things? A spreadsheet with your day to day entries and winnings?

  • JMToWin

    • x2

      2014 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2016 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    @MikeSos760 said...

    Question. How do you track things? A spreadsheet with your day to day entries and winnings?

    Yellow legal pad. Seriously. Haha.

  • JMToWin

    • x2

      2014 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2016 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    @CUTiger81 said...

    Idk if you play weekends but just out of curiosity did you fade the Coors game in cash today? I ended up coming off it because Roth’s update had me very concerned (FD player primarily) but just was interested to know how you handle a situation like that. Arenado was my to play of the day for a number of reasons but Orange as Roth’s outlook caused me to rethink my commitment to that.

    Let me start by saying: I love Kevin Roth. I can’t imagine DFS without him. But I’ve also noticed that Kevin tends to be overly cautious, presumably because he feels bad when he recommends a game as “safe” and then people get burned by the game being postponed. So especially with Kevin saying yesterday that he thought the Baltimore game would get in, then the game not getting in, I chose to take any “orange” today with a grain of salt, as I figured he would be extra cautious. I paid attention to beat writers and local weather reports and the Rockies’ Twitter feed to see if there was any concern there about the game getting in, and there seemed to be very little concern. As such, I did not fade (though I did use only CarGo and Arenado, as there were a number of things about today’s game at Coors I wasn’t in love with).

    Speaking of CarGo and Arenado (and speaking of my whole thing in this post about “trusting my research”), I jumped into first place in today’s Qualifier when they went back-to-back. Then Matt Carpenter decided to hit a three-run ninth inning dong that knocked me back down to second. Oh well! At least I trusted my research again, and it turned into a second solid day in a row (even if “my research” led to me rostering David Ortiz for a grand total of zero points…).

    Trust your research!

  • MikeSos760

    @JMToWin said...

    Yellow legal pad. Seriously. Haha.

    I imagine there is something grounding about the physical nature of keeping track of it on the yellow pad. I’m going to steal that idea.

    About your other post. My research led to CarGo and Arenado also, but unlike you, I faded the game because of Kevin. I didn’t have much time to look at other sources. I’m not mad at him though. I can understand the rationale about him being overly cautious, especially because of yesterday. Wish I thought of that.

    I’m excited about the idea of breaking it down over a period of time and sticking to a certain amount of buyin each slate. I think doing that will go a long way for me in terms of staying cool and not worrying about the day to day nature of MLB DFS.

  • prudcck

    I am feeling a lot better about getting smoked to start the season after reading this. Tough week.

  • CUTiger81

    @JMToWin said...

    Let me start by saying: I love Kevin Roth. I can’t imagine DFS without him. But I’ve also noticed that Kevin tends to be overly cautious, presumably because he feels bad when he recommends a game as “safe” and then people get burned by the game being postponed. So especially with Kevin saying yesterday that he thought the Baltimore game would get in, then the game not getting in, I chose to take any “orange” today with a grain of salt, as I figured he would be extra cautious. I paid attention to beat writers and local weather reports and the Rockies’ Twitter feed to see if there was any concern there about the game getting in, and there seemed to be very little concern. As such, I did not fade (though I did use only CarGo and Arenado, as there were a number of things about today’s game at Coors I wasn’t in love with).

    Speaking of CarGo and Arenado (and speaking of my whole thing in this post about “trusting my research”), I jumped into first place in today’s Qualifier when they went back-to-back. Then Matt Carpenter decided to hit a three-run ninth inning dong that knocked me back down to second. Oh well! At least I trusted my research again, and it turned into a second solid day in a row (even if “my research” led to me rostering David Ortiz for a grand total of zero points…).

    Trust your research!

    Thanks for answering. I was on the fence. I used Keuchel for cash so was having to make some sacrifices in other spots to afford Arenado. I also fell victim to Ortiz’s performance today although Estrada’s home BABIP from last year isn’t sustainable and I’ll be picking on him waiting for the regression all year.

  • VChair23

    These random write ups of yours are always some of the best reads..

  • JMToWin

    • x2

      2014 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2016 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    @MikeSos760 said...

    I imagine there is something grounding about the physical nature of keeping track of it on the yellow pad.

    I don’t use an algorithm or projection system, either. Different things work for different people, obviously, but for me, the tangible feel of the stats is important. I want to get my hands dirty each day looking at things myself; it’s the same thing with writing down my results. It causes me to pause and really think through things more fully.

    Taking such a cerebral approach can make things worse during losing streaks, but it can also stretch a winning streak much longer than it otherwise would go.

    Again, different things work for different people, but I definitely think it’s important to recognize that there is no “one right way.”

  • marcreinhart

    JM is easily the best writer on RG and this article is right to the point. My 1 year of incentives just expired as I started at the beginning of last years baseball season and JM’s 2 weekly articles will be the primary reason for purchasing them if I decide to go that route.

  • Phinsfan83

    Amen. JMtoWin Articles are the best!!

  • MikeSos760

    @JMToWin said...

    I don’t use an algorithm or projection system, either. Different things work for different people, obviously, but for me, the tangible feel of the stats is important. I want to get my hands dirty each day looking at things myself; it’s the same thing with writing down my results. It causes me to pause and really think through things more fully.

    Taking such a cerebral approach can make things worse during losing streaks, but it can also stretch a winning streak much longer than it otherwise would go.

    Again, different things work for different people, but I definitely think it’s important to recognize that there is no “one right way.”

    That makes sense. There is something nice about having researched everything and having a spreadsheet of stats that you looked up and are analyzing on your own. Cerebral is definitely a good word for the feeling.

  • w3stcoastoff3ns3

    I’ve only been playing DFS since the start of the football season and I have had some very good nights. I live by content from JM and Noto. Thank’s to JM I have been able to move from sport to sport without any drop off. I think with DFS it’s more important to live by a process instead of “what feels right”. I always save 1 line up to change, just in case I get any last minute jitters or weather/injury updates.

  • walkoff9

    I started 0-5, but reading all your roto academy courses over the off season is really what gave me the confidence to stick to the process and not second guess decisions. Last 2 days have been much better and have cashed easily and feel good about my game despite the rough start.

  • glennantz

    @JMToWin said...

    I don’t use an algorithm or projection system, either. Different things work for different people, obviously, but for me, the tangible feel of the stats is important. I want to get my hands dirty each day looking at things myself; it’s the same thing with writing down my results. It causes me to pause and really think through things more fully.

    Taking such a cerebral approach can make things worse during losing streaks, but it can also stretch a winning streak much longer than it otherwise would go.

    Again, different things work for different people, but I definitely think it’s important to recognize that there is no “one right way.”

    Can’t agree more JM. I am old but very computer savvy. There is something about having it all in front of me in my own scribble.
    One other thing I have learned to do is to pick the SIZE SLATE that works for you. This has made a big difference in my cash rate this season.
    Keep up your great articles, we love them.

  • Unico10

    • 595

      RG Overall Ranking

    • Ranked #91

      RG Tiered Ranking

    @JMToWin said...

    Yellow legal pad. Seriously. Haha.

    Brothers!

  • JMToWin

    • x2

      2014 DraftKings FBWC Finalist

    • 2016 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    @glennantz said...

    One other thing I have learned to do is to pick the SIZE SLATE that works for you. This has made a big difference in my cash rate this season.

    Definitely something that goes overlooked! That’s part of what the new Game Selection article is all about – recognizing that different slates and different setups are better for different things.

    By the way, I think we need someone on this thread who absolutely despises me and my writing; that would balance things nicely.

  • MikeSos760

    @JMToWin said...

    That’s part of what the new Game Selection article is all about – recognizing that different slates and different setups are better for different things.

    Where is this new game selection article you are talking about?

  • thedkexperience

    I hate JMtoWin!!! *

    • Not really. Dude is on point. Haha.

    On a side note, I’ve had a 26% profit week one primarily based on FD LUs that are SP + 2 4 man stacks. I know this is contrary to most but instead of getting bogged down in who has the highest home BABIP vs lefties, I’ve just been going off Vegas lines. For example if Vegas has Tor favored an an OU of 9 I’ll just put some combination of thier 1 to 4 hitters out and see what happens. Most of the time the 4 stacked players will score like 9, 34, 0, 21 and that’s more grab enough to cash in a 5050. I try to get 60 from the SP and 60 each from the 2 stacks. Most of the time I end up around 120 and cash.

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