• monaco712

    This topic is subjective but I m curious what people think. What percentage of
    being successful in DFS is 1. statistical analysis and research 2. instinct and
    intuition 3. strategy and systems 4. luck

  • joonbae

    • Blogger of the Month

    Luck plays a much higher factor than people would like to admit. 10%? IMHO that is absolutely ludicrous. It’s probably more like 40-80%.

    The regular winners probably use the remaining 60% non-luck factor to gain their edge and the losing players are left with just 20% to gain (which is why it is so difficult).

    For cash games and small leagues, the research and strategy play a very large role. For massive GPPs, it’s almost 0% research or matchups or whatever else people love talking about on those podcasts and writeups. It’s having the BR to enter 150 or up to 600 lineups (via friends, partners, etc accounts) … sort of GTO stuff. Half of the entries with some core plays and every permutation of the remaining slots around that. And the other half of the entries covering every imaginable stack possible including contrarian stacks, low owned stacks (bottom, middle, wrap-arounds), and so on …

    Just my two cents.

  • escot4

    • x2

      $2M Prize Winner

    • 2016 DraftKings FFWC Champion

    Over a small sample size like a day or a week, yes, luck is a larger factor… but since we’re talking about being successful in DFS overall, the luck factor decreases a ton. Basically, the larger the sample size of somebody’s DFS experience, the more likely luck will “even out” with everybody else’s luck over the long term.

  • divusjulius

    • Blogger of the Month

    @joonbae said...

    Luck plays a much higher factor than people would like to admit. 10%? IMHO that is absolutely ludicrous. It’s probably more like 40-80%.

    The regular winners probably use the remaining 60% non-luck factor to gain their edge and the losing players are left with just 20% to gain (which is why it is so difficult).

    if luck was that high a part of the outcome, there would not be any long term winners, and i can’t even grok what that next sentence is saying.

    and escot brings up a valid point…“luck” evens out in the long run

  • makeitra1n

    @sonic999 said...

    I can’t imagine how anyone can be consistently profitable playing NBA without watching a shitload of games. Once I committed to watching games virtually every nite all nite (w nba league pass and bc i have a long-time g/f who is cool with just hanging out most nites…lol), I quickly went from a slightly profitable player at nba( over like a season and a half ) to just killing it the last few months of this season. Before I’d watch a few nights a week, parts of a couple games those nights. Prob 12-15 hours a week of watching. Last season NBA prob. watched about 40 hrs a week, if not more. I’ve always loved NBA ball so its easy for me to watch so much but also totally necessary.

    Care to share advice then since you went from average to a monster?like for example what types of things should we be factoring more heavily than others?how important is salary distribution?me personally I think I’ve had very good night’s when I go 1 10k 3 4900 and under and the rest midrange.speaking many lineups on average do you make?we can all agree 10 or 20 lineups is one thing and 150 is completely different.

    Why is watching games that important?obv to know rotations but with that popcorn website and looking at usage is watching games giving you any other sort of edge?

  • richierich

    @monaco712 said...

    Very interesting . I do a lot of research but have not been able to put together
    a system or strategy to utilize the information. I guess the the top players have
    been able to put it all together. I have always wondered about the value of actually
    watching the games. I would think that would help develop your DFS instincts.

    I think there is value in football. However, baseball?… I do not believe it to be necessary. They’ve worked for a century and a half to boil that game down to simple to understand numbers, and they’ve done a damn good job.

  • richierich

    @joonbae said...

    Luck plays a much higher factor than people would like to admit. 10%? IMHO that is absolutely ludicrous. It’s probably more like 40-80%.

    Luck for an individual contest/day of action? Sure…

    Luck over the course of years, and THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of contests? No… It actually may be less than 10%.

  • bigcsmiley

    Been doing this for years, have hit for a few grand several times always just one play away from a top GPP in a big prize pool. I am not a pro, however I now complete with them all daily in the single entry double-ups & GPP’s (You have probably seen my screen name several times). From what I have learned:

    Most “Pros” hit big one time and tilted on correct line-ups (Some are lucky, others are not). This gives them enough volume to play with confidence, however I have seen several “pros” who played a lot of weight fade out and become nonexistent.

    There are lots of “experts” and their analysis is great to read, however the best expert is the vegas line I do not care what people say. Nobody is perfect however I would say vegas has been correct more than any “pro” or “expert”. Use some computer generated projections as well as websites that show estimated player ownership, stay away from Bias of your favorite teams (Unless they are on TV which makes the experience that much better….or worse) and enjoy the back and forth ride.

    You can research for hours and hours all day Saturday, think you have the best line-up and then Scherzer has neck spasms, McCoy gets a hangnail, or any NBA player read his DM twitter feed and all of a sudden gets gastroenteritis (The ria!) which ultimately puts all your research down the shitter. If you really feel you need to put in the work, I wake up every morning when my family is asleep and look at lines then later in the day with the knowledge of which games look good, use some projections and build a line-up which for me does not take more than 20-30 minutes.

    To wrap up what I am trying to say, I would guess the majority of this forum have permanent jobs, maybe some families or other priorities……KEEP THEM as they are the most important priority! Do not put riding your bike with your son, or watching a movie with your wife/daughter in front of building a line-up and reading an article. There is a reason why Vegas is Vegas, and their juice is lower than any DFS site. Be smart, use DFS as a discussion topic with friends but don’t let it ruin family, play to have fun with a little hope that you may be the lucky one to hit big. We all dream of hitting big on a scratch ticket, just remember life goes on if you don’t so make sure you life goes on after you put in your LU regardless of the outcome.

    With that being said my 3rd just woke up and its time to change a diaper (I am envious of those young lads who can go to the bar and drink all night watching their line-ups hit/fail!)

  • bigcsmiley

    I also should add that some may be offended or disagree with my previous comment and for that I understand. My advice is not suited for all,….just like Tom Brady personal QB coach is not suited for all so take it or leave it.

    I will add that for the last 4 years I had to clear my winnings with Uncle Sam which SUCKS but does ensure that I think I am doing something right while having a primary job, family, expenses, luxuries, etc.

  • superstars92

    ^to the poster above: you used “lad” and “Uncle Sam” in your post. Just wanted to point that out.

  • joerapjr

    @kaetorade said...


    I added humility because being able to recognize a situation where you are NOT +EV is essential for long term success.

    Excellent point. Thanks for noting this.

  • TheRyanFlaherty

    A couple other thoughts – I’m not sure where this fits in, but you need to have a strong will and conviction. You can be smart and/or have a system, but you have to trust it and make it tough decisions. You can’t be swayed by the herd. You also can’t let the suns from the day/week before ruin the next slate…i.e. The guy that put up a 0 last night could be the correct play tonight and win you a GPP.
    There’s more to it, but hopefully that makes sense, it’s all sort of the mental aspect that you need to go along with what’s already listed.

    Also, having Money to start doesn’t hurt.
    Obviously Miney isn’t going to make a bad player good, but money does allow a good player to take more chances and grow.
    The whole “takes money to make money” adage. Plus if you can afford it (having a decent sized bankroll that’s money you can afford to lose) there’s probably less anxiety about losing which helps with the mental aspect…worrying about losing is a deferent to making the correct decisions, as it can lead you to be too safe/cautious.

  • escot4

    • x2

      $2M Prize Winner

    • 2016 DraftKings FFWC Champion

    @joerapjr said...

    This is really a great answer. Escot4, would you mind elaborating what you mean by “strategy and systems”?

    Sorry, missed this at first.

    I didn’t mean anything in particular by “strategy and systems,” I was just using the same four categories that the OP used. I would think strategy and systems would include things like determining your exposure percentages compared to projected ownership, correlations/roster construction, game selection, bankroll management, daily schedule, etc.

    Of course, now that I’m breaking it down, I’d probably change my original numbers and put strategy and systems at 50% or higher.

  • joerapjr

    A lot of great answers on this thread all. I’d love to see them continue to come in! Great topic…

  • thedude404

    • 2015 FanDuel NBA Playboy Mansion Finalist

    Depends on what sport you are talking about. Those 4 categories and their respective percentages will differ by sport. For instance, I believe statistical analysis and research is much more important in NFL than say MLB while I believe strategy and systems is much more important in MLB than in NFL. That may seem counter-intuitive as everyone knows that MLB is the stats game, but I believe over the long run, I’d rather have a great MLB strategy or system in place because variance is so huge in MLB, stats should take a backseat to the system you develop. Meanwhile, if you can logically deduce through research the one or two NFL players that are really going to blow up and are low owned (which realistically can be accomplished), you will be head and shoulders above the competition.

    I believe the next wave of research should be on correlation, especially in PGA. You dont see any research on correlated plays in PGA and I think this should be researched/discussed more. Sorry getting a little off track but I believe correlated plays is an important part of research. We already know the part it plays in NFL and to a degree in MLB and NBA, but I think more needs to be done in this area to unlock some possible new strategies. Or who knows maybe the top guys are already on to this more than I think they are.

    As far as watching games, it’s my opinion that without context, watching games is meaningless. In other words, I’d rather know that a defense lineman was missing from a game and that there was a high probability that was the reason the rb ran for 180 yards rather then just watching a game and seeing a rb run for 180 yards. So for me at least, I’d rather spend my time gathering information than wasting hours upon hours watching game film, much of which is meaningless and useless.

  • thedude404

    • 2015 FanDuel NBA Playboy Mansion Finalist

    @Numberboy said...

    I’m a Statistician/Scientist who began taking DFS very seriously about 2 yrs ago. There are methods used in Math/Science to determine how relevant a group of correlating numbers are. To see if they have some signifigant relation beyond just trending in the same direction. Also using Standard Deviation to determine which players are more volitile (GPP) vs more consistent (Cash Game) is important. If 2 players both average 10 Fantasy points per game , like Joey Votto & Giancarlo Stanton knowledge of the game helps by knowing they arrive there in different ways. Correlation is another important tool in all DFS strategy. So to answer your original question, Game Theory & Data Analysis are more important for higher levels of success. Intuition & Luck are important and I think under rated also. Playing the right $$ to fit your bankroll is also crucial. And selecting the correct contests based on your approach as well

    so if i want to apply correlations more in research, where should I start? For instance say I am really big on golfer x and want to find out if there are correlated golfers that perform well when golfer x performs well. Seems to me there should be an easy way to say download all the results from PGA tournaments from say the past 5 years, discover correlations, and then put a number to how accurate those correlations are and maybe even why they are correlated. Then again, what would constitute an accurate correlation? Sorry just thinking about this off the top of my head and seem to be coming up with more questions as I write this.

    I guess what I’m asking is what would I need to know about correlations to make sure I’m doing it correctly and what would I need to know in Excel/Google Sheets to make this process easier.

  • smokeyca14

    Your sleeper 0.01% – 2% ownership picks must produce big to have a winning gpp chance….
    A couple to a few is all you need most of the time.

  • MHDU2424

    For GPPs I think having a solid grasp/feel of each specific slate is important….Being able to look at the player pool/games and understand where most ownership is going and what risks to take or pivots make sense

    The other spot to find an edge is in cheap rookies or unknowns that don’t have much history in game logs. Knowing who and when to target them can really boost you up the leaderboard

    Watching games and knowing the sport inside and out is better for GPPs IMO.

  • CUTiger81

    As a relatively low volume player ($20-50/night in NBA/MLB) and ($200-300ish per week) in NFL I’ve found that NFL is the only one I seem to be consistently profitable in on a week to week basis. I feel like profitably in NFL is about 70% research, 20% entry method, 5% intuition and 5% luck. It’s the only sport I feel play cash games in but to me there’s a massive edge in NFL if you really dig into the research and know what you’re doing.

    MLB/NBA for me are exclusively GPP and while I’ve been profitable over a 3 year sample size I don’t feel like my research seems to go as far in MLB (NBA is different bc as others have mentioned I watch countless games just bc I love the sport and it gives you a huge leg up in rotation changes, etc…). For MLB, I have a really strong understanding of which pitchers to use, who to pick on, etc… but to me it comes down to about 40% research, 40% luck, 20% intuition, 0% entry method. That’s just my opinion as someone who does a few lineups a day in low stakes and has some GPP wins to show for it….luck feels like a large part of the equation. Only doing a few a day in large field GPPs I’m losing money on most slates but the combination of research and luck has paired up enough times to be a good bit in the black. Baseball is just such high variance that I think luck plays a huge roll for the lower stakes player

  • Moneyshot1968

    Low ownership bats.
    I usually start looking at west coast games first. They seem to be usually underowned.

  • monaco712

    @Moneyshot1968 said...

    I usually start looking at west coast games first. They seem to be usually underowned

    Interesting I definitely have an east coast bias I often find myself running out of innings while
    other players roster a few west coast players. Not as easy on fantasydraft with early lock
    before lineups are out.

  • BogeyTMF

    “Yet if you just looked at the stats you might just see 25% hard contact and not think too much about it”

    I’m not saying this to diminish watching the games, but adjusting for matchups is knowable numerically. Against any given pitcher, you can know what a batter’s expected numbers would be, and then it’s easy to compare actual performance against those numbers. That said, even against, Scherzer, Sale, and Kershaw, it’s too small a sample to draw any conclusions.

    If you want to know more about baseball stats, I encourage you to read The Book by Tom Tango and see how he dispels the notion of hot and cold streaks, as well as BvP.

  • CJtheGrump

    I think for the most succes, you rely on research of stats and matchups to make a core that gives you reliability and flexibility. Then you brute force around that.

    Brute force (trying to play as many combinations as possible) is an insane idea if you’re using it for your whole lineup. But if you only use it for 2 or 3 spots, it is far more feasible.

    Provided you can get your core right anyway.

  • kantiger77

    I’m someone who follows sports and enjoys it, and have had streaks of success but can’t get a big win to really turn a long term profit. Would be happy to listen to anyone’s tips for getting there. Been playing for a while, am microstakes and have finished 2nd in a couple GPP for NHL and MLB, but never a win and nothing more than $75. Would like to have the courage to play more $4 contests and win a big one.

  • NarrowJ

    Bottom line for me is: am I having fun? If yes, then I’m a successful DFS player.

    I’ve only been playing religiously for about 2.5 years now. I started out playing the NBA GPP tourneys on DK back when they were still $3 and called Sharpshooters.

    I played maybe 1 or 2 lineups a night until I hit a nice payout of a couple hundred dollars. I then built my own optimizer (I’m a developer by trade) and started playing more lineups. I got pretty good at winning the short slates by brute force/mass entry and won in between $2,000 to $4,000 several times.

    Instead of using the winnings to play cash games and turn my high % ROI into more money, I regrettably withdrew those winnings each time and spent it on home improvement projects and the like and kept playing my ($3-$4, now $6 or $8 or even $9) GPPs.

    At some point I started playing on fanduel because they have larger grand prizes most days and figured out that those really drain your bankroll. I remember a day earlier this summer I had Ian Happ locked in to 150 lineups (he was still a relative unknown at this point, but he was cheap and I saw his #s in ththe minors and he had a great matchup). Well, he hit 2 homers and had like 54 FDP or something insane, and I still lost money. I couldn’t fucking believe it haha.

    Right now, I am trying to figure out how to be successful via cash games. But they are really competitive and it’s very frustrating to see your bankroll double one night but then be right back to where you started if you lose a couple nights in a row. Is my return better in the long run with one lineup per slate or 3? 6 lineups? These are things I am trying to figure out, but takes a lot of the fun out of it for me.

    What I always thought would be kind of fun is to just play one lineup a night, with the most unlikely scenario possible. Expect it to fail 99 percent of the time, but win a bunch of money on nights like last night while everyone else is falling on their faces.

    I’ve sort of slowly realized that my pipe dream of millions of dollars in winnings is not going to come to fruition, so I’ll settle for just playing and having fun with it instead. Same approach helped me with my golf game too. ;)

  • PigskinaBlanket

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      2019 DraftKings FGWC Finalist

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