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Don’t be a FanFool: Smart DFS Contest Selection

DFS Contest Selection

Have you considered which DFS contests you will enter this weekend?  Chances are, you haven’t.  And that’s a mistake!  But you aren’t alone and it’s not too late.  Most contests remain less than 50% full, but they will start to fill up quickly.  DFS Contest selection will go a long way towards dictating your Sunday.  Let’s examine some contests and point out their differences, advantages, and disadvantages.

(This examination is far from comprehensive.  And please play whatever contests you want to play!!  This is just a way to raise awareness about the differences site-to-site.)

Millionaire’s Row:

Fanduel and Draftkings will award $1 million to winners of their premier Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) contests Sunday.  It’s a real testament to the industry to have this kind of money flowing around.  Combined, Fanduel and Draftkings will award over $25 million in prizes in Sunday’s Main Slate alone.  Just their Main Slates.  The money is hard to come by for most though, and contest selection goes a long way in determining the winners and losers.  The $1 million prize is so enticing, so alluring, yet it’s a contest that is nearly impossible to be profitable in unless you win.  Let’s compare the two:

  FanDuel DraftKings
Total Prizes$4,000,000$5,000,000
Entries529,100294,100
Entry Fee$9$20
Winning %23.1322.84
Min Cash1430
1st Place1,000,0001,000,000
10th20,00010,000
100th3501500
1000th50200
Rake16%15.01%

The first thing that stands out is you can beat 528,100 entries in Fanduel’s contest, and turn $9 into $50.  Slightly better, the $200 you get for beating 293,100 $20 entries on Draftkings.  Finishing top 1,000 in either of these tournaments would be a fantastic result, and yet the prizes aren’t THAT fantastic.  Especially when you consider that both of these tournaments have a 150 entry limit.  Hundreds of individual users will enter 150 lineups.  Before the first snap of the slate, your odds of winning are substantially less than the max enterers.

If you want to play either tournament, by all means, please do!  However, know that your odds of winning money in these tournaments aren’t very good.  The best players in the industry put 150 lineups into these tournaments every week.  If they don’t win, very few of them are profitable.  And those are the best players in the industry, max entering every week.  That’s the stark reality of the millionaire tournaments.  You absolutely can win a life-changing amount of money…just don’t expect it.

 

Improved Odds:

Yahoo and FantasyDraft offer guaranteed contests that will also award life-changing sums of money.   You won’t be crowned a millionaire on their sites, but you don’t have to beat hundreds of thousands to win a substantial amount of money.

  Yahoo Yahoo FantasyDraft
250K NFL Baller75k GuranteedNFL 200K Run & Gun
Total Prizes$250,000$75,000$200,000
Entries28,4103,4109,194
Entry Fee$10$25$25
Winning%21.11%24.9%20.12%
Min Cash$15$40$50
1st Place$25,000$10,000$25,000
10th$1,500$500$1,000
100th$200$80$115
1000th$30N/A$115
Rake12%($34,000)12%($10,250)13%(29,800)

First, and most critically, both of Yahoo’s contests are 10 entry max.  For either $100 or $250 you can start on a much more level playing field.  FantasyDraft is 150 entries max, but beating 9,193 entries for a five-figure payday is much easier than beating hundreds of thousands.  It’s worth reiterating that short of winning or finishing in the top-5 one week, it’s unlikely to play in any of these contests throughout the course of a season and make a profit.

 

Best Bets:

You may be wondering, how does anyone make money?  Frankly, most don’t.  But “cash” games are where you can expect to win money consistently.  Head-to-Heads, 50/50’s and double ups have far fewer opponents to beat and lower rakes.  You won’t get rich here, but you can absolutely grind out a profit.

.

Draftkings  $25 Fanduel $25   Yahoo  $25  Fantasydraft $25
H-2-H H-2-H H-2-H H-2-H
Total Prizes $36 $45 $45 $50
Entries 2 2 2 2
Entry Fee $20 $25 $25 $25
Winning % 50% 50% 50% 50%
Min Cash $36 $45 $45 $50
1st Place $36 $45 $45 $50
Rake 10% ($4) 10% ($5) 10% ($5) 0%

 

FantasyDraft has rake free head-to-head games.  From $1 up to $175, you can play rake free head-to-heads.  That 10% rake adds up.  It’s well worth your time to familiarize yourself with FantasyDraft’s site and scoring if you are playing head-to-head.  FantasyDraft also offers head-to-head games for beginners, intermediate and experienced players.

 

The four sites use very similar structures for all their 50-50 contests.  With a universal 10% rake across the industry, 50-50s remain more consistently profitable than their GPP counterparts.  You just have to look around for a contest with a comfortable entry fee and field size.

Again, it’s worth mentioning that this list is far from comprehensive.  There are single entry tournaments on all the sites as well as beginner contests for new players.  Yahoo and FantasyDraft typically have smaller rakes while Draftkings and Fanduel have larger, top-heavier payouts.  It’s all a matter of what kind of experience you want.

Even now, Friday afternoon, most these contests remain less than half full.  But they will definitely fill up.  And you don’t want to end up in the overflow tournaments with exponentially smaller payouts!  Select your contests and insert a dummy or placeholder lineup and simply edit your lineups after you have finished research.  Choose wisely and run well this weekend.

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