Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Daily Fantasy Sports Is Headed In The Wrong Direction

(Quick update before my rant: I started out the hockey season with a 34 for 34 perfecto on opening night. Followed it up with another strong winner. However, I came back to earth with some losing nights, including my worst football Sunday of the season.)

I'm so frustrated with the "powers that be" in daily fantasy sports; I'm actually considering retirement. They are pushing me in that direction.

While there has been a solid explosion in the number of daily fantasy sites available, there has also been an effort to reduce the amount of skill actually involved in the games.

Basically, there are two types of contests: Salary cap & auto pick/draft. Every contest available is a variation on these two styles.

I have stated in this space before that auto pick is the most skillful version, because it guarantees the competing roster will have no identical players.

There is also more skill in the draft selection process, as opposed to fitting your roster under a cap.

While salary cap is less skillful, it can be skillful enough – provided that the cap is “tight” (forcing players to make some tough choices) and the pool is re-priced regularly, reflecting fantasy performances.

My favorite place to play daily fantasy, Fan Duel, is failing on both of these fronts. I was recently told they are eliminating auto pick because it isn’t popular enough. And their salary cap offering fails in its re-pricing strategy, IMO. (Also, the regular cap is just too loose.)

I understand where Fan Duel is coming from. They are in business to make money. They are trying to attract the most users to their site. They have to make the games easy to play. They want the users to be able to pick all of the popular players for their rosters. (*ahem*, auto pick?)

So Fan Duel produces soft cap games, including some with BIG prizes. It gets a lot of eyes and traffic in their direction. They have marketed well through newspaper networks. They have brought a lot of new players to daily fantasy.

But through their actions they are saying to me, “We don’t want any experienced players. We’ll eliminate auto pick and make our cap games less skillful then they could be. We are trying to remove as much skill as possible to level the competition.”

Now I have no problem with the donkaments on Fan Duel. Go for the brass ring. But if they eliminate auto pick, they will lose all of my football & basketball action.

Don’t think I’m just picking on one site. All of them leave something to be desired.

I cashed out of Draft Zone last night. There’s just not enough traffic to support continued play there. And only 7 roster spots for hockey, 5 roster spots for NASCAR.

Draft Street and Sports Geek have no hockey or NASCAR.

Fantasy Factor has no cap games only? I’ll pass.

365 Fantasy Sports won’t let me look at their offerings without registering, but from what I can tell, no draft games are available.

Fantasy Sports Live has a flawed, but playable draft game. However, their traffic seems to have really slowed in hockey and NASCAR.

And LOL Snapdraft, GG.

Now if these sites want me to keep large deposits of money with them, and churn those deposits for as much rake as possible, they have to put up offerings I think I can win.

If you want the daily fantasy scene to explode with a real-life “baller” – like the one portrayed in the Kaiseroll13 ads, there has to be skillful contests. Otherwise the big winner will be one lucky guy who won the biggest donkament. And that’s not a grinder by any means.

I have other options besides daily fantasy. Heck, I even have legal sports betting 20 minutes away from my home. Perhaps I’ll put my money into that.

More on all of this at a future date.

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