So, you’ve learnt about the benefits of mass multi-entry in DFS, but how exactly do you optimise your chances of long-term profitability?
Good DFS strategy is all about putting your money in good spots and managing risk. Rinse and repeat.
We need to structure our DFS portfolios in a way that ensures our lineups are not overexposed to unnecessary risk, while also making sure our chances of winning are not jeopardised.
If the above sentence seems complex, don’t worry – it’s not!
Let’s unravel it all…
Limiting risk in the form of player exposure is the simplest way to ensure your lineups are diversified.
In case you are wondering what “exposure” means – exposure is simply the percentage of a given player you have.
For example, if I have Gary Ablett in 60 lineups out of the 100 that I’ve entered, my exposure to Gary Ablett is 60%.
It’s that easy!
Now, how do we manage our player exposures to ensure we have a great chance of winning, while also diversifying our lineups enough so we’re not overexposed to one or two players?
Well, that’s the tricky part!
- Do we ever play 100% of a guy?
- How often do we play 0% of a guy?
- What do we do when we know a player will be owned by 50% of the field but we don’t buy into the hype?
This is the beauty of Daily Fantasy Sports – there are infinite decisions to be made among your player exposures that all help you gain a long-term edge. The more accurate and precise your decisions, the better DFS player you are!
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a player’s exposure is the likelihood that they will return good value:
- Are they projected to return excellent value at their price point?
- Do they often have games where they venture poorly?
- Do they often have games where they venture extremely well, with slate-winning ability?
Such characteristics of a player’s return should determine your initial thoughts on your exposure to them.
Here are some rules of thumb that I personally try to stick to:
- Avoid playing 100% of a player as much as possible. Trust me, there’s no worse feeling than having 100% of a player, only to watch him get injured in the first quarter and subsequently ruin your entire evening.
- High variance forwards should rarely be owned in larger than 40% of your lineups
- Ruckmen have excellent floors, and can be owned in higher percentages than other positions
- Midfielders are similar to ruckmen, except they are prone to a tag or role change. Going with high percentages of midfielders with good roles is never a bad play
- Backmen are their own beast. They can’t be expected to produce as regularly as midfielders or ruckmen as they often require control of the ball to score well
- Every single player requires a different thought process – no two situations are the same.
These are great rules of thumb to stick by and should hold you in good stead.
However, the second-level thinking is where all the skill lies…
So, using our Gary Ablett example, assume we have 60% of him in our lineups and he’s priced at a juicy $8,900. This is ridiculously cheap for someone of Ablett’s quality.
However, we all know Ablett is past his prime. He’s prone to the odd poor performance or even worse, an injury!
So, everyone in Australia knows he is too cheap at $8,900 and will likely enter him into all of their lineups.
But you, being a seasoned DFS’er, know that he will likely be owned in 80%+ of the field and believe there may be some merit in avoiding him.
So how do you play it?
Do you get him in – knowing he’s almost a certainty to return excellent value there?
Or do you avoid playing him – in the hope that he scores poorly, leaving you ahead of 80%+ of the field?
Well, this is the type of decision that DFS players face thousands of times a day!
Whether you realise it or not, you are making a call like this on every player of every slate.
A common mistake made by newcomers is to polarise their thinking in this situation:
- “Okay, Ablett is just unreal value. I’ll have him in every single lineup I enter”, or;
- “Everyone’s going to have Ablett tonight, I’m going to avoid him in all of my lineups and hope he has a shocker!”
While these two thought processes are great, there is a better approach that lies somewhere in the middle of those two responses.
Here’s how I do it in 3 easy steps:
- Make an estimate of Ablett’s field ownership
- Base your exposure to Ablett from your estimate in 1.
- Avoid polarising your position on Ablett unless absolutely necessary
Okay, so let’s do it using the Ablett example in an imaginary upcoming Friday slate:
- I believe Ablett will be owned in roughly 80% of lineups on Friday’s game as he’s just too cheap at $8,900.
- Personally, I think he’s in poor form for a reason and have heard he has a shoulder complaint that could flare up during the game. I plan on under-owning Ablett.
- However, I know that owning him in 0% is a big mistake. Even though we know he might fare poorly, we still must acknowledge that he is likely to return excellent value in most cases. Our strategy cannot be polarised – we need to account for both a good performance and a bad performance.
So, where’s our edge? Well…
Even though we know Ablett is highly likely to return great value at that $8,900 price tag, we believe that the field is underestimating the likelihood of him returning poor value.
I’ll repeat that as it’s a bit of a tricky one.
The field is underestimating the likelihood of Ablett returning poor value.
This is perhaps the most difficult and counter-intuitive piece of information to deal with. But it is exactly where our edge lies.
Yes, we expect Ablett to do well way more often than he does poorly at that price point.
However, we’re convinced that the field is underestimating the likelihood of Ablett returning poor value.
For each time that Ablett stinks it up, we’re going to make a lot of money.
So, considering all of the above, we arrive at the conclusion to own Ablett in 30% of our lineups.
We’re taking a big risk in doing so, but we’re happy in understanding that we need to make plays like this to profit in the long run.
Here’s an example of a play I made on Trent Mckenzie not long ago:
I faded him and it went terribly, terribly wrong. He went off for a massive 72 points and was involved in basically every lineup in the top 10 ☹.
But that’s fine! Because we know he’s chalk for a reason, right?
Even though we’re fading him, we still acknowledge that he’s more likely to do well, than he is to do poorly.
We just know that when he does fare poorly, we’re going to do very well.
For example, the following two weeks for Mckenzie were both shockers:
If only we had gotten a 28-pointer in the game that we avoided him, we may have made some serious money as 55% of all lineups in the field featured him.
The fact that we have, say, 60% of Ablett doesn’t tell us anything about how we’re expecting him to fare!
For all we know, this could be a situation where we’re expecting the field to own 90% of Ablett, and we’re actually going against him and hoping he scores poorly.
When talking player exposures, the only thing that actually matters is the difference between your exposure to Ablett, and the field’s exposure to Ablett.
Having 60% of Ablett when the field is expected to own him in 70% is a completely different scenario to having 60% of Ablett when the field is expecting to have 10%.
When constructing your DFS portfolios, you must always think of what the field is doing, and then base your play from there.
Second-level thinking is a must.