Knowing Enough … Update

Because I was traveling to Arizona over the weekend, I didn’t get a chance to update my latest forays into DFS hoops and hockey until now. I’ve had mixed results, more negative than positive, with a significant process fail on one slate and a question raised in game selection.


My last entry was posted on Halloween, and most of the night’s action was already complete by the time I posted, and very little changed after that. My adjustments improved the lineup over the straight up optimizer. So one question in process has already been raised – on nights when I feel strongly about a play or two, do I trust myself enough to go just with my adjusted lineup, or should I have mirror entries and trust the tools too? I’m well short of having enough data to decide that question. Anyhow, between the two sets of entries, I was down $14.20.

Because I can’t play DFS in Arizona and because there was such a small slate on Thursday night last week, I didn’t play NBA again until Tuesday this week. However, because I was doing the NFL Value Meter and because there was a big hockey slate, I put in my NBA entries as an afterthought, strictly relying on the Optimizer without really reading up on the slate at all. Total amateur move – just craving action, on a stupid four-game slate. I got what I deserved, scoring 205.7 points, bad even for a low-scoring night across the board, losing $26.97 – all but one $1 head-to-head entry. At least I didn’t have that much exposure. There were many failures with this action, including low outputs from Giannis, Booker and Batum, but the biggest culprit dwelled between my desk-and-chair.

Wednesday night was better all around – I took my time in entering contests well before roster lock, reviewed the matchups and the players provided with our tools, and posted my best score of the season, at 301.4 on FanDuel. The only negative? Being done early, before the three late games were complete, having no shares in any of them. That was especially painful in avoiding the Timberwolves-Lakers game, as I knew that it would be the most popular on the slate, given the 239.0 projected total. When you don’t have any players in the late games, you’re best off not knowing how much you’re projected to make at that snapshot in time, as it can only get worse. Still, this ended up being a profitable night, netting $11.40 (woo-hoo – big spender here) after putting $25 in entries.

It’s worth repeating – this is more of a chronicle of my DFS experience in sports where I’m less active – I don’t pretend to offer DFS advice. In fact, I welcome you to share your tips as I go down this path. I am fully confident in our staff here at RotoWire, however – we have many dedicated writers that have put in the appropriate sweat capital to help you do well.

Since starting this exercise, I’m down $37.92 in basketball. Here’s a screenshot of my latest hoops entries:

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Want to talk about Failure of Process? I’ve got your Failure of Process! On Thursday, I drove to Arizona after the XM show, in order to attend First Pitch Arizona. But I wanted to get some action in on the full hockey slate. So I entered a lineup before leaving, well before a number of news items came up, without even reading Russ’s fantastic article. That’s a bad idea – always read Russ’s article! I didn’t have the time to read up when I took a break in my drive to update the Value Meter either, so the lineup went without adjusting. It failed. Miserably. I scored a lousy 62.6 points, and got swept out of the money in all of my contests, finishing 98/100 and 99/100 in my 50-50 and 100-man contests respectively. The only good news is that I didn’t enter any big GPPs, so I limited my losses to $21.

Tuesday night was much better, by half. First, the bad news. The pure Optimizer lineup didn’t do all that well, and I had more exposure ($21) there than I did with the lineup I concocted reading Russ’s article. It’s never good when your goalie (in this case, Cory Schneider) provides you negative points. Fortunately my lineup that had New Jersey and St. Louis stacks, plus Ottawa blue liner Thomas Chabot, did much better, scoring 179.1 points. Alas, it too had Schneider in there, instead of … anyone else, really. Also alas, because I had much less invested in this lineup, not trusting my inputs (though they weren’t really *my* inputs), it just mitigated the other losses, and I was a net -$14.

Between the two days, that’s down $35 in hockey, wiping out most of my earlier gains. I’m up a grand total of $4.20 in hockey since starting back up, and down $33.72 between the two sports.

One quick question – I think I stumbled upon the answer, but I’d like to hear from you on this. Assume that you’ve got three lineups that you like in a given sport, and you like to play in the 100-man contests, that max entries at three per player. Are you better off spreading them in three different 100-man contests, or putting all three in the same contest? I’ve typically done the former, rationalizing that any single tournament could have significant variance and I don’t want to get all three entries caught in a high-scoring one. But I’ve come around to the theory that I’d actually be better off having a 3% chance in one tournament than three 1% possibilities in separate tournaments. What say you?