Monday, June 20, 2011

Choose Your Fantasy Contests Wisely

One aspect of daily fantasy sports that is overlooked is the contest structure (as it relates to the player).

Some players stick to heads-up(HU), small field or large field events. Some play all three formats. However, every player needs to figure out which structures are the most profitable.

Large field events are a great place to assess your strength against the "field", since you are playing so many opponents each time out. Taking my large field results on Draftstreet this baseball season, my average entry finished in the 75th percentile (or the top 25% of scores).

Consistently finishing in the top 25% sounds great, doesn't it? It's not. Simply put, only the top 10% of scores get paid in any large field event. Although my scores beat most of the field, more often than not they didn't win any prize money.

Draftstreet also offers small field contests. The three and six player pay 33% of the field, while the 10 player pays 30% of contestants.

If I had spent more entries on the small contests instead of the large field, I'd certainly have more coin in my pocket right now. All of those top 25% scores would have cashed.

(For comparison purposes, Fan Duel offers 5 and 10 player contests, winner take all.)

Playing HU contests can be profitable if you have some "game selection" available to you. This means you have some say over which opponents you play. Playing too many contests against just one opponent (or one TEAM) is extremely high variance. It can bust your bankroll quickly.

Remember that you must win close to 60% of your HU contests just to be profitable. This is why it's so important to vary your opponents - it gives you a chance to cash if you score poorly.

Playing some mixture of all three formats is probably the best medicine for a fantasy player's psyche. You won't freak out over the cold streaks or bad beats. It will give you enough cashes to keep a positive mindset.

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