Chances are you are serious about winning your daily fantasy sports contests if you've stumbled across RotoPicks, the FREE daily fantasy sports advisor. So here is a no holds barred road map to consistent winnings on DFS sites.
Know the Territory
Before you can win any game, whether it's a real life sport or a fantasy sport, you have to know the rules. If you are playing a daily fantasy baseball contest on a DFS site without knowing how many points a stolen base gets you, then you are not prepared. So, first and foremost, you must know the rules of the type of game you are playing. How many places get paid? How many people enter? Know the salary cap limit, know the average salary of an elite player as well as the minimum salary. Read up and study the scoring and roster formats. Daily fantasy sports is a series of battles, and to win the war, you need to know the lay of the land if you stand a chance. We provide these for you in the lower right menu of each sports section. Note: All DFS sites are different and scoring formats can and will vary.
Arm Yourself With Weapons
To consistently win at daily fantasy sports gaming, you have to have an arsenal of weapons you can go to for every scenario. In other words, if you need to see the starting lineup for a certain team at the last minute, you need to know where to look. If you want to know how a hitter has done in the past versus a pitcher, you need to know where to find that information. If you want to know how a player performs at night, on Tuesdays, in a dome, you should still be able to find this information at the click of a button. DFS pros are organized and ready to call on these variables on a moments notice. Are you?
Money management is a crucial concept in daily fantasy sports because of the high variance of performances you can get in one single day. In other words, you may think your lineup is perfect only to have every player be a complete bust. If you wagered your entire bankroll, you also went bust.
For this reason, I like to have a fairly set percentage of my bankroll placed every day based on the style of games I am playing. Heads up and Double Ups are conservative because half of the entry field gets paid, so the more of those games you play, the more you can risk. However, the more GPPs you play, the less you should risk. If I only play heads up and double ups, I am comfortable wagering 10% of my bankroll in any given day. If 75% are double ups and 25% of your games played are GPPs, wager 7% of your bankroll. If it's split half and half, go with 5% of your bankroll wagered. But if you mainly play GPPs instead of heads up or double ups, I recommend you wager only about 2-4% of your bankroll. We've got a bunch of articles around this site talking about bankroll/money management. Simply go to Google and type in "RotoPicks Money Management Articles" and you'll find a handful to read.
Having a Game Plan
As I just alluded to, you need a game plan along with the money management skills that requires you to choose which types of games you will be playing, and how much to wager. The amount to wager was just explained, but you first need to choose your desired game type.
You can opt for conservative, risky, or in between. Conservative players play double ups, 50/50s, and heads up matches. Double ups and 50/50s basically pay out double the entry fee to the top half of the final standings. Finish in the top half and you double your money. The more risky players play in leagues or GPPs (Guaranteed Prize Pools). Leagues vary from 3 to 20 players and pay anywhere from 20 - 35% of its entrants. GPPs are very large pools with up to thousands of entrants that pay out to only about the top 10% of the teams entered.
You have to decide which type of player you are. If you are conservative and want to grind out your winnings, stick to double ups and heads up games. Just be sure that you find players to play heads up with, who are not pros. A good indicator of whether someone is a pro is when you can see the number of head to head games they are playing and have won - obviously, if it is an extremely high number, think twice before playing them. However, if you want to be risky and go for it all, try out the many GPPs on all the different sites we recommend and shoot for those huge top prizes.
The Points Per Dollar Method
I call this the Points Per Dollar Method and it is really just a way of leveling the playing field when comparing players of different salaries and hitting your target score. Hopefully, you have played a few games to know your target score. If not, try out a few games and take notice of the winners' scores. In double ups, your target score will be less than your target score for GPPs where a lesser percentage of entrants win.
When you have a target score, simply divide that by how many thousands of dollars your salary cap is. Your answer will be how many points per thousand dollars spent you need to hit your score. So, if you need 150 points and your salary cap is $100,000, you will need 150/100 points or 1.5 points per $1,000 spent. Now you can value players appropriately. If there is a player at a salary of $10,000 who you think will score 15 points and a player with a salary of $5,000 who you think will score 10 points, you go for the cheaper player because he is getting you 2 points per $1,000 spent on him.
Daily Fantasy Football
If you want to be a consistent, winning weekly fantasy football player, we highly recommend you have discipline and stick to double ups, no matter how tempting the GPP prizes are. That said, this is the basic strategy for weekly fantasy football double ups.
In short, you want a balanced, high floor, low ceiling, low risk lineup that consists of consistent quarterback(s), running backs who get a lot of touches and receptions, wide receivers and tight ends who get a lot of targets per game, a defense that is a top 5 defense that is cheaper than other top defenses, and if there is a flex or a kicker, try using a running back who is guaranteed touches and for a kicker, just pick the cheapest one kicking in optimal weather. You basically want to guarantee yourself points and rushing attempts/targets do that for you. Check game logs of the players and avoid high variance players who score a lot in one week and then bust the next. All we need is a serviceable lineup that scores JUST ENOUGH points to beat out half of the other teams.
Daily Fantasy Baseball
Daily fantasy baseball is all about using splits. Splits are stats that are, well, split - e.g. versus lefties or righties for hitters/pitchers, home and away, pitching on 5 days rest and pitching on 6 days rest, etc. What we want to do is find valuable players based on all of the splits we can find that are actually more valuable than their salary dictates. You can never have too much information. Use recent line drive rates, low BABIP, low HR/FB%, low Infield Flyball percentage, and changes in a hitter's slot in the batting order as starting off points for finding bargains.
For pitchers, look for those whose FIP are actually lower than their ERA. Salaries are often reflective of ERA, but a pitcher's FIP is more indicative of future ERA than ERA itself. Also look to see if a pitcher's BABIP against is over his career norm. These are pitchers who are just getting unlucky, and are likely to bounce back. The same goes for home runs per fly ball percentage. If it has been unusually high, the pitcher has been unlucky and should soon to better than his salary implies.
Tracking Your Performance
Just as you want as much information about players as possible when playing daily fantasy sports, you also want to track as much as you can with your gaming. Keep track of wins, losses, point totals, game types, opponents in head to heads, etc. Then over time, you simply can use all of the data you have gathered to find out your optimal conditions for winning. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Find your strength and go get 'em.
Take Advantage of Free Money Offers
MOST daily fantasy sites offer new players a bonus. These bonuses can range anywhere from 25% to 100%. On the bright side, this is free cash that gets released into your player account as you join leagues and pay entry fees. On the down side, playing at multiple sites means learning different formats and scoring systems as most sites have their own method of scoring each sport. In the end, it's fairly all relative and free cash is free cash! Take advantage of as many of these offers as possible. You can find a list of the best places to join DFS leagues online here!