Fantasy sports have been around for a long time, even before ESPN, Yahoo, and CBS Sportsline were around. Back before computers were readily accessible, sports nerds of the past used to have live drafts and keep track of stats on their own spreadsheets and each day or week had to go through the newspaper box scores to tally up their points. Everything was done on paper and trades/bragging/whining/and everything else done in person or over the phone. There were a small core of hardcore fans that started the fantasy sports world we live in today, and I want to thank them for all their hard work to lay the groundwork and rules that for the most part are still the same (with plenty of creative variations).
The next stage I would say started in the late 90’s early 2000’s. With computers available to most people the fantasy sports world grew exponentially. It became so easy to set up leagues with friends, have drafts online (which made it easier to get everyone available at the same time even long distance drafters), and not have to track your own scoring. WOW, ESPN and Yahoo will do all the work for me, all I have to do is draft my team and set my roster each day/week!! This is about the time I started playing fantasy baseball and football. Probably around 7th or 8th grade a few of us decided to check it out and we haven’t stopped since. Sure, some of the original members of our leagues have come and gone, but I’m sure they are all still playing somewhere else. Like most people, we started off with a basic baseball league and soon after a football league. By college we had tweaked our structure and rules to fit our needs, created minor league systems and keepers. It became one of the main topics of conversation whenever any of us were together, working on trades, different rules, and mostly making fun of each others players. Even after college we still have a core group still in the same leagues, and that has kept us close even though some have moved away. Fantasy haters, this isn’t just a waste of time, it brings us all close and keeps friends from drifting apart!!
Over the past 5 years the fantasy landscape has changed dramatically. From the normal ESPN/Yahoo baseball/football/basketball/hockey leagues that we have played since high school or college to golf, soccer, NASCAR, tennis, and probably any other sport you can think of. But not only have the variety of sports increased and the number of websites you can play on, but since 2010 (but didn’t really take off until 2014) you can now play Daily/Weekly Fantasy Sports!! Some genius came up with the idea, and in 2010 started Fanduel. No longer will your season be over before it began because of a bad draft, season ending injury, or not having the time to keep up with waiver wire pick ups, trades, or setting a roster. These daily/weekly games give you the opportunity to win real money and basically have a new draft each week, whenever you want. Aaaaaaaaand, you can draft any player you want because there is no draft order. You won’t be stuck with the leftovers because you have the 10th pick in the draft. Go nuts, draft Rodgers, AP, Julio Jones, and Gronk if you want (just stay under the cap). Play for $1 or thousands!! For $20 you can walk away with over $1 Million each week by making the best lineup!!
From grass roots beginnings, to accessibility and simplicity to the average sports fan, to not being able to go 5 minutes without hearing about Fanduel and Draftkings. This is just another evolution of sports/marketing/technology that is making people BILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars each year. With the NFL dominating the sports market and still growing, these DFS sites will continue to grow and evolve. Who knows what is next, but I can’t wait because each addition has been better than the last.
Now that we are all up to speed on the history of fantasy sports, here are some tips and advice for playing these DFS contests.
- Draftkings and Fanduel are great and give away millions of dollars each week, but the amount of people you need to beat to win any significant amount of money is ridiculous. There are over 100,000 people in some contests, and most of them are professionals who will play hundreds or even thousands of variations of lineups to get an edge (and they win a lot). They have algorithms and formulas all set up to maximize all the information about players they can get. Haralabos Voulgaris is a professional sports bettor, and last week he talked a little about how the professionals get an edge on the average player. His main point was, the normal person may get lucky occasionally and hit it big, but they are at a big disadvantage to the big players with 1000+ lineups compared to your 1 or 2.
- If you do play, have some kind of strategy and do some research on the players you want to target. Injury reports, weather conditions, home/away, how good is the opposing defense at certain things. These are just the basics that you need to know.
- I have come up with a formula for budgeting my lineup. It is custom to fantasydraft.com so it would need to be adjusted at the other sites. I will post it later on. But while we are on the topic…I recommend fantasydraft.com for anyone looking to try DFS. Its a smaller site, less pros, and they are basically giving money away with huge overlays in each contest. No, you won’t win $1 Million, but the top prize currently is $20,000 so its great value for the amount of people playing (around 7000). Also, over 25% and most weeks close to 50% of people will cash due to not meeting the number of entrants needed to cover the $250,000 guarantee.
- People like to talk about “bargain players” a lot, but are they actually a bargain? From what I’ve seen, most of those players become huge busts those weeks and if you played them you would have a hard time cashing because you have to make up those points in other places. So if a guy is at $6500 or $7000 and people are talking about playing them, chances are those guys are valued that low for a reason and their chances of having a break out week are very low. Instead, look for guys that are higher in value but have a good shot at putting up similar numbers to the top line guys. Ex. Philip Rivers is having a great year, but isn’t nearly as expensive as a Rodgers, Brady, Ryan, or others and he could just as easily put up the same stat line but for a lot cheaper. By using this strategy you can save money for other positions without actually losing much production if any.
- I always try to match up a QB with his #1 WR because chances are if they throw for a TD, its going to that guy and you get double the points. You could do the same with a high end TE like Gronk if you decide to spend a ton of money on him and Brady. I’ve been loving the Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald combo this year, paying off well and they are undervalued still.
- If you decide to play at Fantasydraft.com, use me as your referral. Bullfr2121
- Have fun with it, its just fantasy!!
Here is my secret formula, sorry its small…use it to your advantage