100 Fantasy Football Tips in 100 Days, Day 75: Optimizing Wagers in Daily Fantasy
At 4for4, I broke down how to manage your daily fantasy bankroll:
The most frequent question I get asked by daily fantasy enthusiasts is how much money should be wagered on lineups each week. It’s an important question—one that’s vital to your overall success—and perhaps the most crucial factor in your overall profitability.
In my initial daily fantasy post here at 4for4, I briefly discussed money management and its relation to balancing your risk and reward. I’m going to expand on that article today, more thoroughly explaining an issue everyone wants to know—how your money (and how much of it) should be dispersed among lineups in any given week.
This is a tougher topic to tackle than you might think. Unlike in sports betting, most of your daily fantasy “wagers” aren’t going to yield a clear black-and-white result. There are three reasons for that:
1) You can use the same players in multiple lineups.
2) You can use the same lineups in multiple leagues.
3) The same lineup can both win and lose.
The third point is the most crucial. If you’re playing in multiple heads-up leagues with the same lineup—as I recommend—you’re going to see mixed results. As I explained in last week’s article on heads-up and 50/50 strategy, you’ll basically be paid as you finish if you participate in enough heads-up leagues. By that, I mean that if you could theoretically compete in one million leagues and you finished in the 70th percentile, you’d win 70 percent of the time and lose 30 percent. The more heads-up leagues in which you compete, the greater your odds of “getting what you deserve.”
That limits the inherent volatility of heads-up leagues in such a way that you can put more cash on a lineup than you might place on a single sporting event at a sportsbook. Whereas there’s no gray area at a sportsbook—you (almost always) either win or lose—your heads-up results are entirely a gray area. You’ll win and lose every week, so you’re just looking to tilt the scales in your favor.
On the other hand, 50/50 leagues are far more volatile over large samples. If you participate in one million 50/50 leagues and finish in the bottom 10 percent, you’ll still fail to make a dime (well, you might make onedime). Because of that risk, we need to adjust the total cash we place into 50/50s accordingly. Enter the Kelly Criterion.