Similar to most Daily Fantasy players, I began my journey playing season-long fantasy sports. For years I played AFL dreamteam with mates and also the Fantasy Premier League a few times. I can’t remember how, but I stumbled across DFS after I turned 18.
I played initially for a bit of fun, but quickly realised that there was a fair bit more strategy and competitiveness involved compared to the usual season long competitions.
I remember throwing entries into the $15 AFL comps and getting completely swallowed up by the big dogs. I might’ve put it away at times over the first 12 months due to literally being broke.
However, and to the risk of my bank account, I am a very competitive person and I noticed that there was a similar group of guys at the top of the leaderboards week in week out winning most of the money. So I made it my goal to study these guys and study the game itself. For at least the first 24 months I was completely a losing player and considered giving up the chase.
My first taste of success was in the A-league and the EPL, I started playing in the smaller comps on Moneyball instead of chasing the big money in the big games. This led to some higher placed finishes. I got experience trying to finish on top of a competition, albeit a small one. I started learning about game theory, learning about variance and how to take advantage of it. This gave me confidence to start attacking some bigger prize pools in the form of Cricket and NBA. I quickly became one of the better Cricket DFS players, using my new found knowledge of game theory to win a couple of GPP’s. This helped the bankroll significantly and I started to multi-entry the NBA a bit more. At the time in the NBA comps I was putting in around 2-5 entries and showing a negative ROI, but I caught a break and finished 2nd in a Moneyball GPP. I remember this as a turning point, I think I was taken aback by the amount of money I’d won and thought to myself something along the lines of ‘Shit, I should probably take this a bit more seriously’. I ended up collecting a bunch of NBA and Cricket wins and decided to turn my attention towards becoming better at AFL.
Taking it Seriously
Another big break came when Moneyball started offering a Horse Racing product. I quickly identified an edge in the scoring system that no one else seemed to realise. I dominated some smaller slates for a few weeks before the Melbourne Cup came around and they put out a $10,000 comp. With my edge still relatively unnoticed by the public, I filled out about 20 of the top 30 spots and profited as good as I ever had.
I have now spent the last few years following the AFL religiously and it has had a huge impact on my DFS results. Once I learnt how to win comps I transitioned this knowledge into AFL DFS and the results came thick and fast. I’d enter around 10-20 teams most slates and my first big result came with a St Kilda stack on a 50k Sunday comp. From memory they played in the early game on Etihad and chipped the ball around to rack up some big fantasy scores. I had a team in second and a few others in the top 10 and had to sweat a result all day as other teams crept closer. Luckily, I held on for a decent payday and used to money and confidence to build up my entries. Only in the past season did I start max-entering tournaments. 4 years of DFS progress led me from starting with no bankroll and no idea how to win, to having the bankroll to be able to max-enter. Most people see the ‘sharks’ crowding the top of the leaderboards and assume it’s a correlation between the amount of line-ups entered. It bothers me because in my case it couldn’t be further from the truth. Any success I have now is a result of my desire to continuously get better and the gradual progress from a single entry in a $2 Moneyball A-League comp, to max entering a $100,000 AFL slate.
I’d now consider myself one of the better DFS players in Australia, and I am very grateful for the position I am in. I honestly love the thrill and excitement it brings and couldn’t recommend it higher to anyone.
I think there’s a bunch of fantastic people in the industry but from the sidelines I’ve always thought more could be done to grow the game. I don’t think many people have successfully transitioned from playing season long fantasy at a young age to then playing DFS after turning 18 and I want to be an example that it can be done. This year I’ll be contributing on Draftstuds with some of the very best players in the game. I’ll be providing general DFS advice as well as AFL specific thoughts. Hopefully my insights will help bring forward a new wave of youngsters to compete with the best. With the imminent arrival of Draftkings I expect another boom in the industry and I am excited for what’s to come, who knows maybe one day we will compete in a 7-figure contest!