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  • huitcinq

    As the available information to the average player grows exponentially (in terms of picks, point projections, etc), there are lots of grumblings that the “edge” (the long term advantage an above average player has over an average player) in DFS is being whittled down.

    There is certainly some truth to this, but it was always inevitable. As DFS grows, the ancillary markets around it were always going to grow as well. Everyone wants a piece of the action. As the player base grows, the sites, columns, books, spreadsheets, projections and so forth grow as well.

    But let’s get to the point. I believe sub positions and looser roster formats increase the skill ceiling of the game by making it much more complex to identify so called “must plays”. Flex positions in football, “forwards” in hockey instead of LW-C-RW, and sub positions in golf and basketball are just some examples. The more restrictive a roster format is, the easier it becomes for a below average player to approach an optimal lineup configuration. “Must plays” become much easier to hit on in a completely static lineup format. I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on this and whether or not you agree with me.

    With that said here’s a quick rundown of the three sites I play on with regards to this topic:

    FanDuel: The most restrictive lineup configurations. Only one pitcher in baseball, no flex position in football, and no late swap are some examples. That being said, FanDuel’s strategy has always been to attract the most casual DFSers to their site. In theory, the new money coming in as a result of this approach should make up for the general edge whittling.

    DraftKings: The most bi-polar site in the business. Flex positions in football and late swap create a significant lineup configuration edge, but their emphasis on arbitrary bonus points seemingly contradicts or even offsets this approach. A QB needs 75 yards to score 3 points, but the inches that can take a QB from 299 to 300 are also worth 3 points? Why? Also, my opinion is their PGA product is the most lottery-esque DFS game in the business. It’s hard to grasp where they stand on this issue and whether or not they have an overall strategy other than their focus on product diversification.

    Victiv: The loosest lineup configurations. It’s clear that Victiv’s strategy is the exact opposite of FanDuel’s. Their products specifically hone in and focus on the “skill” aspect of DFS. Two flex positions in Football, sub positions in NBA and PGA, no bonus points to be found anywhere. The risk here is that the casual player finds himself having a much harder time to win on Victiv, and the site eventually becomes exclusively populated by skilled players cannibalizing one another.

    Are above average players better off in the long run by ensuring that DFS caters to the masses, at the risk reducing the edge? Or by making the game as skill based as possible, at the risk of chasing away the casual money?

  • xdan3220

    Exclusive Fanduel player for the last 2 years, I like the influx of casuals certainly seems like it makes it easier to cash across the board. I’ll give an example I play NBA everyday, I do spreadsheets yada yada yada. My roommate who knows NBA about as well as I do plays just from time to time and I’d consider him a casual player. He almost never cashes and I have cashed very consistently all season. The casuals don’t understand lineup construction the same way as people playing every day so I think it helps those of us that play very consistently and put in the time to make good lineups

  • Z06Fanatic

    @Putz said...

    No one said it was unfair and no one said it was “easy”. For players of equal skill, math says more entries gives that player an advantage over someone with a single entry.

    Lol no

  • amil100

    Today’s NBA IMO, on Fanduel, really should have late lineup swaps, lineup lock tonight does occur at 7:30 pm est. versus the usual 7pm est. My experience lately is that players resting or scratch announcements occurs usually 10-20 mins after lineup lock.
    This decreases all players edge on FD and impacts ROI across the board.

  • gjtgjtgjt

    More single entry championships is the only way to increase the skill and the user base. Sorry, no one with a lick of intelligence is going to keep sitting down at a poker table with Phil Ivey if he has 4 out of the 9 hands at the table and unlimited rebuys…What makes anyone think it’ll happen here? I think more lineups options helps, though. Once either the big buyouts happen or the IPO’s (because in reality, that is when we’ll see this looked at growth wise more than showing balance sheets). Even me, being a reasonably profitable, relatively skilled player, has cut back huge because there is very little point in playing against people who have more time, are either just as skilled if not marginally more so, and who just trot out every variation of a lineup that assures them of not having to make most of the tough choices that make this a skill game in the first place.

    I know this site is full of these guys, no sense getting offended (as you do every time this variation of a comment is made), just my opinion. On FD, I can’t even play a game of 3 or 5 man CBB without Sox22, after almost 3 years, it isn’t the challenge, it’s just boring and a dumb use of money. So far, loving Victiv for golf, on the fence in hockey, but since it doesn’t offer my 3 favorite sports, it is kind of moot. I don’t think you risk chasing away casual money unless you continue down the path we are on, regardless of lineup construction. The rake is too high for most casual players to play H2H, so it is usually GPP that gets the casual money, and they soon learn that they are drawing dead to the big prizes.

  • Mindgame247

    Speaking of new ideas, I was talking to a friend about DFS the other day and we wondered how the game would change if you could roster the same player multiple times. For example, if you could afford it, you could roster Mike Trout 3 times and you would get 3x however many points he scored that night (obviously the rest of your team would be all punts, but this is just an example).

    I’m not saying this is a good idea but I am curious what others think about an idea like this.

  • gjtgjtgjt

    @Mindgame247 said...

    Speaking of new ideas, I was talking to a friend about DFS the other day and we wondered how the game would change if you could roster the same player multiple times. For example, if you could afford it, you could roster Mike Trout 3 times and you would get 3x however many points he scored that night (obviously the rest of your team would be all punts, but this is just an example).

    I’m not saying this is a good idea but I am curious what others think about an idea like this.

    That would be pure suck, to be frank. Because the reverse would be true and with pricing on most sites compared to injuries/sit outs last minute etc. you would end up having lineups packed with the same low priced dudes multiple times with the same high priced dudes multiple times. In the NBA, you’d end up with (depending on how you allowed it) 2 to 4 guys teams almost every night.

  • Priptonite

    • Blogger of the Month

    @Mindgame247 said...

    Speaking of new ideas, I was talking to a friend about DFS the other day and we wondered how the game would change if you could roster the same player multiple times. For example, if you could afford it, you could roster Mike Trout 3 times and you would get 3x however many points he scored that night (obviously the rest of your team would be all punts, but this is just an example).

    I’m not saying this is a good idea but I am curious what others think about an idea like this.

    This would turn out terribly. Rosters would become 4-5 players instead of 9-10.

  • huitcinq

    @Mindgame247 said...

    Speaking of new ideas, I was talking to a friend about DFS the other day and we wondered how the game would change if you could roster the same player multiple times. For example, if you could afford it, you could roster Mike Trout 3 times and you would get 3x however many points he scored that night (obviously the rest of your team would be all punts, but this is just an example).

    I’m not saying this is a good idea but I am curious what others think about an idea like this.

    It wouldn’t work cause one thing casuals are good at is identifying the 2-3 players who are completely mispriced, because every analyst or picks article will have them on their list.

    Those guys regularly end up being 50-60% owned even in the most casual tournaments. So by increasing the amount of roster spots for those guys, now instead of having 1-2 players who are hugely owned you’re looking at half your lineup.

    You’d end up losing all skill edge and just exchanging rake.

  • huitcinq

    @gjtgjtgjt said...

    More single entry championships is the only way to increase the skill and the user base. Sorry, no one with a lick of intelligence is going to keep sitting down at a poker table with Phil Ivey if he has 4 out of the 9 hands at the table and unlimited rebuys…

    This is a better argument, but still I really think the total % of lineups that consists of actual sharks multi-entering is significantly less than the rake. Not everyone with a big bankroll is a good player.

    That being said, for now it’s massive prize pools that will drive user base growth. Once the market begins to level off perhaps more single entries will be what keeps people playing, but I think we’re a long ways from there.

    I honestly think the amount of new money coming it will vastly outweigh the amount of new shark money coming in so you’re coming out ahead anyways.

  • Troll4MVP

    • 30

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    @Putz said...

    Permutations and combinations, look them up. Better chance at the best combination with more entries when both players are equally skilled, but in reality, all you need is one better than your opponent(s). There are plenty of examples using the lottery on the internets for you to read.

    This does not support your argument whatsoever lol.

  • Mike5754

    2013 PFBC Finalist

    @Troll4MVP said...

    This does not support your argument whatsoever lol.

    LOL

  • Putz

    @Troll4MVP said...

    This does not support your argument whatsoever lol.

    St Patty started early yesterday. Run with it…

  • Putz

    @huitcinq said...

    A non-existant lineup has no entry fee obviously you can’t calculate ROI when there’s no investment.

    Sorry I even responded.

    No, my point with that comment is that your application of EV is wrong in this case. Let’s use McJester’s strategy, which is a core set of guys on all of his lineups with different combinations of other guys. Let’s say McJester and McPutz are equal in skill. So equal, that we use the same approach, using the same core guys, leading us to create the same 50 lineups to enter into the same large GPP that night. The only difference is that McJester is able to enter all 50 of these lineups, and McPutz can only choose one of these 50 to enter. Which one does McPutz enter? McJester has no advantage over McPutz in this contest since EV is the same, by your example, right? Or is It? Are all lineups created equal? Does McJester know which lineup will finish in the top 5 of GPPs each night? At the bottom? Explain…

  • huitcinq

    @Putz said...

    Are all lineups created equal? Does McJester know which lineup will finish in the top 5 of GPPs each night? At the bottom? Explain…

    EV is what captures this.

    Of course McJester doesn’t know which of his lineups will finish in the top 5 and which will finish outside the money. EV captures the variance of the result of an individual lineup. Per wiki:

    The expected value of a discrete random variable is the probability-weighted average of all possible values. In other words, each possible value the random variable can assume is multiplied by its probability of occurring, and the resulting products are summed to produce the expected value

    So say your lineup a 0.001% chance of finishing first, 10% chance of finishing 500th, a 25% chance of finishing 1000th, 64% of finishing outside the money and so forth, all those probabilities are multiplied by the payout at that position, and the entry fee is subtracted. That is your expected value of every lineup because as you pointed out, McJester wouldn’t be entering lineups 40 to 50 if he knew they would finish outside the money.

    So, again, if McPutz has the same skills as McJester, McJester has no ROI advantage over McPutz. Now of course McJester will win more over time entering 50 lineups to your 1, because his investment is far larger. But he doesn’t have an advantage. He is winning more than you as a function of his roll, not as a function of the fact that he is entering multiple lineups. He will be winning more all the same if he was entering a $50 lineup to your $1 lineup (assuming a proportional expected value of course, meaning it would have to be an identical tournament structure and competition level etc, I’m just illustrating the point).

  • huitcinq

    To your point of “Are all lineups created equal?”, we assume they are because he is investing the same entry fee in each lineup (for that one tournament). If he knew some lineups had a greater expected value than others he would be investing more in those lineups.

  • Putz

    @huitcinq said...

    EV is what captures this.

    Of course McJester doesn’t know which of his lineups will finish in the top 5 and which will finish outside the money. EV captures the variance of the result of an individual lineup. Per wiki:

    The expected value of a discrete random variable is the probability-weighted average of all possible values. In other words, each possible value the random variable can assume is multiplied by its probability of occurring, and the resulting products are summed to produce the expected value

    So say your lineup a 0.001% chance of finishing first, 10% chance of finishing 500th, a 25% chance of finishing 1000th, 64% of finishing outside the money and so forth, all those probabilities are multiplied by the payout at that position, and the entry fee is subtracted. That is your expected value of every lineup because as you pointed out, McJester wouldn’t be entering lineups 40 to 50 if he knew they would finish outside the money.

    So, again, if McPutz has the same skills as McJester, McJester has no ROI advantage over McPutz. Now of course McJester will win more over time entering 50 lineups to your 1, because his investment is far larger. But he doesn’t have an advantage. He is winning more than you as a function of his roll, not as a function of the fact that he is entering multiple lineups. He will be winning more all the same if he was entering a $50 lineup to your $1 lineup (assuming a proportional expected value of course, meaning it would have to be an identical tournament structure and competition level etc, I’m just illustrating the point).

    We are talking this single contest, not over time.

  • huitcinq

    Yes it applies exactly as described to a single contest.

    EDIT: I see where you got tripped up

    Now of course McJester will win more over time entering 50 lineups to your 1, because his investment is far larger.

    I could have also written “Now of course McJester is expected to win more with his 50 lineups than your 1 lineup, because his investment is far larger, and you both have the same expected ROI

  • Putz

    @huitcinq said...

    Yes it applies exactly as described to a single contest.

    Thanks for confirming McJester has a better chance at winning in this single contest. More Roll —> more lineups. More lineups >>> Single lineup in a single contest for players of equal skill. And prize structures are never directly proportional.

  • huitcinq

    Of course he does. Someone with 1000 lottery tickets has 1000x more chances at winning the lottery than someone with 1 lottery ticket.

    But that doesn’t make it an advantage.

    And prize structures are never directly proportional.

    That’s captured in the EV

  • huitcinq

    No one denies that have 50 lineups gives you 50x more chance at winning than having 1 lineup.

    The point is that there is nothing unfair about multi-entering. More lineups doesn’t give you any kind of advantage whatsoever. If you’re +EV the more you bet the more you will make, multiple lineups or no.

    More lineups has no impact on your expected values or ROI or any of the metrics you should actually be using to measure your success as a DFSer.

  • rotokevin

    2014 RG Bowling Co-Champion, CPA & DFS Tax Guru

    • 2014 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    @Mindgame247 said...

    Speaking of new ideas, I was talking to a friend about DFS the other day and we wondered how the game would change if you could roster the same player multiple times. For example, if you could afford it, you could roster Mike Trout 3 times and you would get 3x however many points he scored that night (obviously the rest of your team would be all punts, but this is just an example).

    I’m not saying this is a good idea but I am curious what others think about an idea like this.

    StarStreet’s first generation of DFS used this setup. It was fun and different. The fact that they discontinued this setup suggests it wasn’t well received broadly.

  • walterg55

    @huitcinq said...

    Yeah there is absolutely nothing I would change about FanDuel other than basic layout stuff and prize structures with the way the market is growing.

    Agree with this. I have played on FD-DK-VIC primarily NBA and NFL only on FD and have gone exclusively to FD. There are flaws in all of them but FD, at least for me, works best.

  • EmpireMaker2

    @Putz said...

    No, my point with that comment is that your application of EV is wrong in this case. Let’s use McJester’s strategy, which is a core set of guys on all of his lineups with different combinations of other guys. Let’s say McJester and McPutz are equal in skill. So equal, that we use the same approach, using the same core guys, leading us to create the same 50 lineups to enter into the same large GPP that night. The only difference is that McJester is able to enter all 50 of these lineups, and McPutz can only choose one of these 50 to enter. Which one does McPutz enter? McJester has no advantage over McPutz in this contest since EV is the same, by your example, right? Or is It? Are all lineups created equal? Does McJester know which lineup will finish in the top 5 of GPPs each night? At the bottom? Explain…

    Please for the love of god take a college stats course online I think you can take them free or for a small fee.

  • huitcinq

    He’s taking one now! lol

    I kid, I kid.

  • crowntheirasses

    @huitcinq said...

    Are above average players better off in the long run by ensuring that DFS caters to the masses, at the risk reducing the edge? Or by making the game as skill based as possible, at the risk of chasing away the casual money?

    I was licensed as a financial advisor around 2000 (no longer as I left the business after about 12 rough years but learned a lot through a decade of debacles.) I remember the concern amongst other advisors that all the investing information proliferating the world via the internet and CNBC would make people turn away from needing advisors as they’d become self sufficient and better DIY investors. Some small percentage of people are very good DIY investors. For most, all the info becomes overwhelming “noise” . Behavioral finance would kick in and when fear took over, 99%+ couldn’t execute properly in a time of stress.

    Now, I’m not saying that building lineups is on the level of watching half of your 401(k) melt away, then doing the “wrong” thing and selling the bottom (saw this over and over and over again.) However, the forces of fear and greed are ever present, and the way most people behave when these forces come to bear is predictable.

    Therefore, in my eyes no matter how much “info” or touts or DFS sales voodoo is out there, it doesn’t diminish the overall edge for the skilled player. It’s a rare bird that that can feel the fear and buy when “blood runs in the streets of Paris” as everyone else around them is losing their heads and selling the bottom.

    I do think the masses need to be catered to as far as DFS. The masses will play NFL, I think PGA has serious growth potential in that regard too, but in the end, only the hardcore degen will play the other sports all year long. If the game is too hard, the casual player will never win and therefore won’t play (especially the “other sports” besides NFL.)

    I know this is anecdotal, but I have experienced this very thing with my few buddies that I turned onto DFS. They’re sports knowledgeable and could compete OK in NFL but got their asses handed to them in NBA and don’t play now as a result. They will be back for NFL though.

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