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DFS Football 101: TradeSports Football Contests

Jerry Donabedian

Donabedian is an Assistant Football Editor at RotoWire. He writes and edits articles and covers breaking news. A Baltimore native, Donabedian roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.

I've been writing about for the last few weeks, and the site is now out of beta and officially open to the public. To celebrate the occasion, they've created a slew of real-time trading contests, many of which have significant "premiums" added to the prize pool.

For the uninitiated, TradeSports offers stock-based trading games, with both "real-time" and "pre-game" options. Trading for the pre-game contests closes at the start of the first pitch/tip-off/opening kickoff, while trading in real-time contests remains open throughout the real-life games.

Adding a new twist to the real-time segment, the site recently added numerous contests that will span across entire seasons. You can now trade stocks based on the eventual World Series winner, MLB awards and Super Bowl champion, among others.

To sweeten things for users, many of these contests have cash added to the prize pool, courtesy of TradeSports. For example, there's a contest based on which team will win the Super Bowl, with room for 100 entrants and an $11 entry fee. Assuming the normal 9.1 percent rake, you'd expect a prize pool of $1,000. But, the pool is actually $2,000, thanks to a "premium" of $1,000. While patience has never been my strong suit, it's hard to pass when the pot is being doubled, free of charge to users.

There are too many of these contests to discuss every one, but let's go ahead and look at some of my favorites. As fun as the "2014-15 NBA Champion" contests sound, I'll focus strictly on baseball and football for today.

Contest #1 NFL Rookies Big Questions
$11 entry, 25 entrant limit, $750 prize pool, $250 to first place
Each user gets a $50,000 budget
Requirements: Must trade at least 100 shares on at least five stocks

The first thing that stuck out to me was a contest called "NFL Rookies Big Questions". The entry fee is only $11, and the number of entrants is capped at 25, yet the prize pool is an enticing $750, meaning $500 has been added. As the title indicates, stocks are based upon the season-long performance of some of the biggest names from May's draft. There are nine stocks available. Here are some of the most intriguing ones:

-Jadeveon Clowney to have more than 9.9 sacks
-Blake Bortles to start more than 7.5 games
-Sammy Watkins to have more than 999.5 receiving yards
-Mike Evans to have more than 6.5 receiving touchdowns
-Johnny Manziel to have more than 14.5 total TDs (rushing + passing)
-Justin Gilbert and Kyle Fuller to combine for more than 5.5 interceptions

As you can see, most of the stocks are fairly optimistic regarding each rookie's performance, which explains why all of them have been trading at a price below $50. As covered in previous articles, a price of $50 indicates that the market believes an event will occur with a probability of about 50 percent.

Since these stocks will be open for trading until the end of the regular season, you probably don't want to pick your favorites and just sit on them. The wise strategy is to buy stocks that are undervalued, and then sell them once the price rises due to events during the season. You can then reinvest the funds in other stocks. Rinse and repeat.

Of course, if you think a stock is being overvalued and can find a buyer, it makes sense to "sell" shares in that stock. You don't actually need to own any shares in order to sell, as the concept is similar to "short selling" in the business world.

For example, let's say you sell 100 shares of the Clowney stock at $40, and then the former Gamecock goes sack-less through his first two games. You might be able to "buy" the stock at a decreased price of $30, realizing a quick $1,000 profit ((40-30)*100) that can be reinvested. You could also opt to just keep your position, in which case you'd profit $4,000 (40*100) at the end of the season, if Clowney fell short of 10 sacks.

Looking at the stock options, my favorite play is to buy the Manziel stock. It last sold at a price of just $39, and he'd only need to start seven or eight games to have a shot at topping 14.5 touchdowns. If he beats Brian Hoyer for the starting job out of camp, the price will rise well above $50, allowing the stock to be sold for a sizable profit that can then be reinvested. If Hoyer were to win the job, it would hardly preclude Manziel from reaching 15 TDs. People have made way too big a deal of Hoyer looking semi-competent for two games last season, forgetting that the veteran completed just 59.4 percent of his passes for 6.41 yards per attempt.

Contest #2 2014 World Series Winner
$5.50 entry, 50 entrant limit, $500 prize pool, $150 to first place
Each user gets a $50,000 budget.
Requirements: Must trade 300 (or more) shares of at least six different stocks.

This contest allows you to pick from 13 options to win the World Series, featuring 12 different teams and a stock for "any other team to win". All of the favorites are included, as are the Red Sox and Yankees. Conspicuously absent are the AL East-leading Orioles, making the "any other team" stock a particularly intriguing option.

As you might expect, the most expensive stock is 'Athletics to win', which last traded at a price of $15. The cheapest is 'Red Sox to win', last traded at just $2. Unlike what we saw in the aforementioned NFL rookies contest, this one doesn't necessarily require frequent trading in order to win. If you heavily invest in one team to win, you can easily turn a huge profit from the original $50,000 budget, assuming, of course, that said team wins the World Series. Trading will likely heat up once the postseason begins, as very few regular-season games drastically alter a team's probability of winning it all.

What else is going on at TradeSports?

Glad you asked. Here are some of the other long-term, real-time contests available:

-AL/NL Pennant Winners
-AL./NL MVP Winners
-AL/NL Cy Young Winners
-MLB Hot Topics

-Super Bowl XLIX Winner
-Contests for the winners of each of the eight NFL divisions
-NFL QB Big Questions
-NFL Conference Winners
-NFL MVP Winner

-2014-15 NBA Champion

And, of course, the site still has plenty of MLB contests that only last one day, including contests based on multiple real-life games.

The offerings have consistently expanded over the last few weeks, and I look forward to seeing what else pops up in the coming months. With NFL season right around the corner and NBA/NHL not too far away, there should be plenty to keep daily gamers busy.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Jerry Donabedian plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: jd0505, DraftKings: jd0505.