I am a high-volume DFS professional, and wanted to try and give back a bit to the community by trying to answer questions from a different perspective. I think the more transparency there is in the industry, and especially from the sites and professionals, the greater confidence the general public and other participants will have in the industry. And more people playing DFS is better for everyone involved – the casual players, the major sites, the sites built around DFS (such as RotoGrinders), as well as myself and other pros.
Some background: My background is in STEM. I started playing DFS later than most, well after it became well known, and started with a typically small bankroll. As my models succeeded, my bankroll has scaled to the point that I now enter nearly all available tournaments in the sports I play. I play multiple sports, and all the major sites. My career entry fees total in the eight figures, and my trailing 12-month ROI is comfortably double-digits. This username is not my playing username.
Some thoughts/observations on strategy and the industry to get the discussion rolling (and my views are my own, I certainly do not speak for anyone else):
1. There are many ways to generate profitable models. Generally, more data is better, as long as it is properly handled. I personally don’t watch the sports I play – my models are entirely data-driven and automated, outside of interactions with the sites themselves. I do believe that knowledge of the sports and manual adjustments can improve models, and many pros benefit from such adjustments, but manual adjustments are difficult to backtest.
2. Publicly available projections (paid or free) run the gamut from very little predictive power to very good. It is important to be able to know which projections actually work. My models incorporate both my own projections, and projections from a few specific sources. They help to account for extraneous shocks to specific games that my models can’t fully account for based on collected data alone.
3. MME tournaments are in no way a guarantee of profit. MME is typically a multiplier of your edge, and if you have a negative edge, it will magnify your losses. There are a staggering number of possible lineups, even on small slates. The average overlap among pros on main MME NBA slates is only about 6%, so any two pros will typically have less than 10 lineups in common on any given slate.
4. I understand many people play DFS for entertainment, and can get frustrated by professionals. But do understand that wherever there is significant money involved, there will be opportunity for those who wish to capitalize on it. I am very much in favor of the restrictions sites impose on the pros. For example, I can’t enter any tournament with an entry fee less than $3, and only large tournaments where fees are less than $5. This applies across all sports, so if I decided to play a new sport, I would have to enter higher dollar tournaments from the very beginning. For those playing for entertainment, the lower fee contests are a fantastic option.
5. I won’t comment on specific things, but most of the conspiratorial ideas about pros and the sites don’t seem to based in a lot of fact, at least nowadays. The sites are friendly, and encourage the pros, but (at least for myself) they don’t provide any special favors. They are heavily motivated to try and keep the games clean and user’s confident in them, although I do agree some of their processes can be made more transparent.
6. The well-known names have widely varying ROIs. Professionals tend to average a trailing 12-month ROI in the upper single digits, but with lots of variance, and there are also some that are negative (especially now). ROIs have tended to drop as time goes on, especially after the initial years of DFS. Competition adapts and improves, and some pros seem unable to. Rankings are not a great indicator of success, as they generally show volume, and have little correlation with ROI and profit.
Happy to answer any questions!