I’m off today, so I figured why not work on a Monday column. I’ve wanted something we can run on Monday’s for a while, but I wasn’t sure what to do.
Then today Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) tweeted about Draft Kings releasing its pricing for Week 6. He had a couple of the big name values — Willie Snead and Tyrod Taylor are still ridiculously underpriced — so I took a look at the prices and matchups, crunched some numbers and determined a very preliminary player pool.
But before we get into them (skip to the end if you must) I wanted to take a few minutes to thank you for reading. I enjoy this. And all the extra work has paid off for me so far this season. My season-long teams are all doing well. In the one very deep dynasty I won last season I’m likely to move to 5-0 and face the other undefeated team — a division rival — next week. How are your teams? Let us know in the comments.
I’ve also found quite a bit of success on the daily fantasy side.
I’m not one to toot my own horn, save for last week’s Devonta Freeman tweet. However, telling you about what kind of player I am should give you more confidence in my advice. Researching and writing for you makes me better. I just want to share.
Overall, I am ranked 5,927th out of 23,792 players at Rotogrinders.com, the premiere daily fantasy sports site. Those people you read and hear about who win millions and play 10s of thousands of dollars a week, making a living off the game, they’re all on that site. It feels pretty good to say I’m in the top 25% (24.9117%, to be precise) of that very exclusive crowd.
And those rankings are only for players who score in the top 20% in contests that cost $1 or more. So a lot of cash game wins and all quarter arcade cashes — the contests I play most — don’t count toward the ranking.
Here are some more stats:
- Top 36% in overall tournament games
- Top 21% this month
- Top 25% in NFL
- Top 36% in NHL
- Top 29% in PGA
I’m not nearly as good in MLB (43%) or NBA (48%), but I don’t put nearly as much effort into those sports as I do football. I did win two NBA tournaments last season, which is pretty good. I suspect I’ll put a little more effort into NBA and NHL once the NFL season is over.
I haven’t seen a lot of fantasy sports writers put themselves out there like this. They really should. There are some people out there — a tweet prompted me to start this discussion — who think season-long experts and writers are unable to make the transition to the daily scene because they aren’t very good at fantasy football. I’ve been playing season-long since 1996. Barry Sanders was my first draft pick. (Yes, I’m old). The games are different, but it’s not like we’re comparing quantum physics and phys ed.
Trolls come in all shapes and sizes on the Internet.
I’ll take smaller payouts and more wins for ($)100, Alex
This season, I scaled up my participation in cash games and scaled back in tournaments, the results have been excellent. It’s a very different strategy to my very clickbait-y How I turned $50 into nearly $500 in one season at FanDuel post in 2013. That 1,000% profit is a true story. I have had a good bit of success, but a cash game strategy is much more sustainable long term, especially as this industry continues to grow.
This season, I’ve put about $80-$100 in play every week. I’m not a high-volume player like those aforementioned Rotogrinders sharks. But I profited $100+ the first week, broke even (maybe +$10) the second, then profited $40 each of the last two and stand to profit $110 again this week, pending tonight’s game.
My best lineup doesn’t have anyone playing tonight, but I have enough other Philip Rivers and Le’Veon Bell lineups that I suspect I’ll profit by at least $40 again this week even if tonight’s final score is 70-56.
(Do you have anyone playing tonight? Has our advice helped you this season? Again, the comments section is below.)
How I play in 2015
I’ve rambled on for quite a while here, but before we get to the picks I’m going to give you some quick suggestions based on how I play daily fantasy football now because I think it will help you be better, too:
- Don’t spend more than you are willing to lose. Ever.
Play in different game types and on multiple sites to force variance into the equation. We’re all going to have bad weeks, it’s the nature of sports (go back and read tip No. 1 again). Playing in games with different start times (early only, primetime, etc.) and at multiple sites (Draft Kings, FanDuel, Yahoo) forces you to embiggen your player pool. You’ll be much more likely to break even. Yes, embiggen is a word. I saw it on the Internet.
Play 80-90% cash games. Yes, they’re boring, but winning them (you only have to beat half the players in the field) allows your bankroll to grow steadily while you keep taking shots downfield at those $100,000 tournaments.
Put your best Draft Kings cash game lineup into a quarter arcade. It’s unlikely you’ll win the tournament with a bunch of safe plays, but you’ll cash more often than you think. If all of the players you think are “safe” have an above average week you’ll kick yourself for not having them in a tournament. It only costs .25 cents so the payouts are only significant on the high end, but if you turn .25 cents into $1 often enough it can add up.
Ok, let’s get to those early picks:
Early cash game and tournament picks at Draft Kings
It’s early in the process, but these are some of the players I’m going to put extra research into this week at Draft Kings
Tournament only: Blake Bortles, Brian Hoyer, Marcus Mariota, Colin Kaepernick
Cash games and tournaments: Tom Brady, Andy Dalton, Tyrod Taylor, Carson Palmer
Tournament only: Antonio Andrews, Theo Riddick, Chris Ivory, David Johnson, Carlos Hyde, Chris Johnson, Khiry Robinson
Cash games and tournaments: Devonta Freeman, Mark Ingram, Danny Woodhead, Giovani Bernard, Dion Lewis, Le’Veon Bell, Ryan Mathews
Tournament only: Jaelen Strong, Stefon Diggs, Rishard Matthews, Travis Benjamin, Ted Ginn Jr.
Cash games and tournaments: Willie Snead, Allen Hurns, Eric Decker, DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Julian Edelman, Larry Fitzgerald
Tournament only: Jacob Tamme, Ladarius Green
Cash games and tournaments: Tyler Eifert, Gary Barnidge
Cash games and tournaments: Packers, Panthers, Broncos, Cardinals