At least 90% of the analysis you’ll read about DFS discusses picking the right players. Almost all of it will ignore game selection.
The easiest and fastest way to increase your ROI is through game selection. I believe it’s the most important factor in our success, which is why I dedicated roughly half my book to it.
That said, I understand game selection is a complicated topic because everyone reading this should have different goals. The overwhelming majority of people should be playing DFS for pure fun. A small percentage can treat DFS as a side job, looking to generate a modest amount of extra income. And a tiny, infinitesimal percentage of the player pool is trying to play for a living.
The goal of our newly launched ETR Golf Product is to give you all the information and tools you need to win in DFS — regardless of what your goals are. But if you simply blast off your entire bankroll into the ultra large-field tournaments each week, it’s going to be difficult to sustain that roll.
And I get it, I know that everyone wants to take $20 and turn it into $1 million. Some people are perfectly fine with having a negative expectation through the season, exclusively playing the extreme top-heavy massive-field tournaments. And quite frankly there’s nothing wrong with that. Again, most people should be playing for fun.
But this article is for people who are interested in giving themselves a positive expectation each week. That means adding cash games*, smaller-field tournaments and spending time each week identifying the contests you want to play. It often ignores the “lottery style” extreme large-field GPPs.
As you’ll see below, focusing on smaller fields, 20-max entries or smaller, and being rake-conscious must be the priority. While there are more of these available during golf majors, taking the time to find contests like this each week is a must if we are trying to win.
*Cash games refer to any contest in which roughly 50% of the field gets paid out, such as head-to-heads, double ups and 50/50s.
IF YOU WANT TO PLAY $100 IN A WEEK ON DRAFTKINGS
- Create one cash lineup. This lineup does not worry about ownership at all. It emphasizes lower-variance players whose price is low relative to their Odds to Make Cut. Of course, you can find our Odds to Make Cut in our projections table, available Wednesday morning each week.
- Create 20 large-field tournament lineups. These lineups should have thoughtful ownership leverage against the field. You can either hand-build them or use an optimizer. Note that if you purchase the FantasyLabs add-on after your ETR Golf subscription, your optimizer will come loaded without our continuously updating projections.
- Create one single-entry, medium-size field tournament lineup.
- Create three 3-max, medium-size field tournament lineups.
- Enter the 3-max lineups into the smaller-field $8 buy-in Mulligan. Total $24. This tournament only has 3,676 entries and is a 3-max. We will not need the absolute stones to win it. We also get a bit of a break on the rake at 14.99% — some tournaments will have rake as high as 15.92%.
- Enter the 20 large-field tournament lineups into the $1 buy-in Short Game. Total $20. This is a 20-max large-field tournament. We can either hand build or use an optimizer. This tournament is good practice for those eventually looking to move up to the flagship large-field tournament each week.
- Enter the single-entry tournament lineup into the $12 buy-in Albatross. Total $12. We know that in single-entry tournaments, many of our opponents will use their cash roster. The “best plays” will see bloated ownership. Work on creating leverage against this 9,803-entry field.
- Enter the cash lineup in the largest-field $2, $5, and $10 Single-Entry Double Ups. Total $17. These Double are raked around 13%, which is tolerable for low stakes. Since they are single-entry, they will be far softer than the multi-entry double-ups. There simply aren’t 3,000+ competent cash players on the site.
- Enter the cash lineup into 27 $1 H2H Games. Total $27. Create the head-to-head contests yourself. Be sure to click the box that limits the number of times one person can play against you to one. The best players on DraftKings are not allowed to play in games below $5. But if you notice any “pros” or good players regularly scooping your games, add them to your block list. You can do this by going to Account Information, Preferences, Head-to-Head Settings. Note that if you want to reduce variance, you can play more head-to-heads instead of double ups. Head-to-head results aren’t binary, some weeks you’ll win 60% and others 30% and others 90%. Double up results are simply win them all or lose them all.
Here’s a graph of my H2H results so you can visualize what it looks like to grind a lot of them. These graphs come from Rototracker, a DFS results tracking platform.
IF YOU WANT TO PLAY $500 IN A WEEK ON DRAFTKINGS
- Enter all the contests above. Total $100.
- Enter the cash lineup into the largest-field $25 Single-Entry Double Up. Total $25. This Double Up features 2,298 entries. Again, there simply aren’t that many solid cash players on the site.
- Enter the cash lineup into 20 more $1 H2H Games, 20 $2 H2H Games and 20 $3 H2H Games. Total $120. Posted head-to-head games under $5 will be some of the softest action we can find. It also smoothes out variance due to the non-binary outcome of high-volume head-to-head action.
- Enter the 20 large-field tournament lineups in the $3 Birdie. Total $60. We now have a total of $4 on each of the 20 large-field tournament lineups. Again, this is a good chance to work on your optimizer skills at a low cost. If you’re interested in our optimizer deal add-on through FantasyLabs, click here. If you sign up this way, the optimizer will come pre-loaded with our continuously updating projections and ownership projections.
- Enter the three 3-max lineups in the $20 Scramble (2,941 field size). Total $60. This does have 15% rake sadly, but 10th place ($500) wins 10% of 1st place ($5,000) and a min-cash is 2x the buy in for $40. No matter what site you’re playing on or what contests you’re looking at, this is the stuff I’m looking for. Be rake-conscious, look at payout structure, understand field size.
- Create a new small-field, single-entry tournament lineup. Enter it in the $100 Long Drive (1,111 entries). Total $100. A big advantage of playing higher stakes is gaining access to the lower-rake contests. This smallish-field GPP has just 9.99% rake, a big difference off the 15%-16% we find at low/micro stakes.
- Enter the cash lineup into two of the $10 triple-ups, one of the $10 10x boosters, and one of the $5 10x boosters. Total $35. These “multiplier” contests allow us to find some upside on our cash lineup against weaker fields. In the event our cash lineup has a big day, we get a bigger payoff than we do in head-to-heads or double-ups.
NOTE: The above is specific to DraftKings and Golf. But the principles outlined can be applied to any site or any sport:
- Be rake-conscious and seek out the smallest rake.
- Understand field size and adjust your lineups for it.
- Examine the payout structure — ideally we find flatter payouts up top (10th place is 10% of 1st place) and 2x buy-in min-cash.
- Find the softest opponents — Playing winning DFS is a cut-throat game. Do not feel guilty about finding opponents who are not working as hard as you are.