“What do you mean, when I shouldn’t win?”
I guess what I mean is, when you’re not that good at daily fantasy. That can be a day-by-day thing, and sometimes it is not your day. Or maybe it’s a matter of being new to the whole daily fantasy thing, and you don’t have the experience. And if you still don’t think this article could possibly apply to you – well, first of all, congrats on the confidence and the success. And second, don’t worry – you can look at this both ways, so even if you’ve got the expertise to win almost every time out, a new way to think about your strategy doesn’t hurt, right?
If you play daily fantasy basketball, even if you started last week, you know the deal – the process of drafting your teams and competing is totally different on different days of the week. Wednesdays, you might have twelve starting options at every position, and the next night, you’ve got four. That changes everything.
It changes players prices, it changes the final scores of most tournaments and it changes the overlap you’ll find with other players. It might make you move away from the positions you might most prefer to utilize for the F, G and UTIL spots on your roster. And not least importantly, it changes the daily fantasy contest options available to you.
One common misperception is that fewer games being played on any given night reduces the total scores of fantasy tournaments. This can be true, but it is not necessarily so. In the end, it depends on who the teams are – if the few teams playing are loaded with fantasy options and all decide to score 120 points, your fantasy totals will be fine.
But what the reduced number of options does do is increase overlap between players, and therefore reduce the gap between the top scorers and the worst performers in any given contest. This typically makes the movement of fantasy players bunched around the cut-off line much more volatile. The very best players are still most likely to find themselves rising to the top in tournament play, especially if they are playing with multiple entries. But in 50/50’s, with the gap between first and last so compressed, even a single misstep in roster construction for a great fantasy player will move them closer to the money line than on a day with a bigger slate of NBA games.
So how does this impact strategy? If you know what you’re doing with this whole DFS business, maybe you want to concentrate on tournament play on the less active NBA days, even though the payouts are typically not quite as large. And maybe you want to concentrate on the 50/50s during the days with more action on the board, because a roster mistake that reduces your normal performance by 10% is still going to leave you well within the top-half. That might not be true when it seems like every single guy on your roster is 20% owned because there are just no other options.
This is the easiest way to think about it: if you only have four starting options, all of a sudden someone who knows nothing about the NBA has a 25% chance of making the perfect roster choice. So, for all you daily fantasy hoops rookies who read this far, here’s me living up to the promise of the title: 50/50s on Thursdays. Go for it. Build that bankroll, and get the experience you’ll need to take down those big tournament paydays on busier days of the week.