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?