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1. Remember: Confidence Comes From Knowledge
Two rotten elements can be found at the root of most bad DFS rosters. The first element is Fear (the antithesis of Confidence). The second is Lack of Knowledge. The way to cure both of these? — strive each week to collect as much knowledge and information as you can. In this way, you can be confident in your knowledge, and you can confidently make (and stick to) your picks.
2. Treat DFS Like The Creative Endeavor It Is
Sure, daily fantasy sports is about data, and research, and analysis, and sports knowledge, and value-based thinking; but it is also a creative endeavor. The biggest mistake DFSers most often make is this: their rosters are entirely unimaginative. Be willing to be creative in the way you pair players, or in the way you capture floor and ceiling. Strive for uniqueness in your thinking, and look for ways to do things that others are too boring to even consider. It’s such a small thing — but it makes a massive difference.
3. See Each Week As A Puzzle
At its core, daily fantasy football is nothing more than this: solving a new puzzle each week. In this puzzle, you must figure out how to fit the most Pure Floor & Ceiling onto a single roster, within the confines of a salary cap. As with all puzzles, the answer is sometimes right in front of you…but other times, it takes looking at things from a new angle, or trying something different. On these weeks, spectacular results can often be found
4. Trust Others
One of the most difficult hurdles to climb in DFS is this: you likely have a job, and a family, and other responsibilities — and unlike the professional DFS players you are competing against each week, you cannot invest 30 or 40 (or 60) hours into a slate. To be completely honest with you, I used to be prideful in this area myself: “I don’t need to read anyone else’s thoughts; I’ll trust my own thoughts.” But unless you have somehow been allotted more than 168 hours in a week, you will always find yourself far behind the field with this type of thinking. Find a few writers whose research you trust, and tune into their content each week.
In your search for such writers, narrow down your list to those who condense large piles of information into a solid package (preferably with statistics and research at the forefront, rather than with “opinions” at the forefront). Do this instead of reading or listening to those who are taking small piles of research and information and stretching them thin.
Bonus Bonus Thought:
Focus on information in your weekly consumption of podcasts and articles — rather than focusing on entertainment!
5. Trust Process
No one is going to win every weekend in NFL DFS — and even great players can easily lose money two or three (or even four) weekends in a row. In fact, if you are playing with the right approach, you’ll likely have one or two embarrassing weekends each year; this happens when you are taking the type of approach that can also lead to a few monster weekends each year. Don’t get down on yourself if you lose a couple weekends in a row. Instead, continue to consume quality information each week in an efficient manner, and continue to build rosters using creativity and a puzzle-solving mindset. In this way you will set yourself up to find that monster weekend that can make your entire season.
6. Trust Yourself
The biggest emotional spirals in DFS are grown from those times when you “should have just trusted yourself.” So often, a DFS player is locked onto a strong play or a low-owned value, and they fail to pull the trigger because they do not see anyone else talking up this particular player, or (worse) they see someone who thinks it’s a bad play. Listen: if you liked that player because you were “just guessing,” or because you “locked onto that guy right away” (more on this below), it’s time to reassess your process. But if you instead liked that player because you put in your time and research and felt strongly that the play in question was a strong value or a great option, stick with it! Sure, this limb will snap underneath you some weeks. But other weeks, it will carry you to that “one big weekend” that makes your entire season a success.
7. Don’t Marry Players
We’ve all done it before. We’ve looked at a slate on Monday, or Tuesday, and locked onto at least one player that we “absolutely had to have.” As the week moved along and we messed around with various roster constructs, we used this player every time. As we multi-entered, we kept this player on every team we built. And by the time the games kicked off, we never even considered that perhaps this player was not part of that week’s “perfect puzzle solve.” I can promise you that there will be weeks when this “player you lock onto early” will, in fact, be as good of a play as you assumed at first glance; but I can also promise that there will be times when the light fades on Sunday, and you are left wondering why you never even considered leaving that player off your roster. No matter how much you love a player “at first glance,” build some practice rosters without him. Mess around with a few approaches that do not include that guy. And dig as deep into your research on that player as you are digging into your research on others. Sometimes, you’ll settle even more strongly on this guy — and in these cases, you can be happy with the results, regardless of what they are, as you will know you followed a solid process. But other weeks, you will realize that marrying this player would have been a grave mistake…and when you are counting up your winnings on Sunday, you can congratulate yourself for abandoning that player at the altar.
8. Care About Floor
The most predictable element in daily fantasy football is volume. As we will dig into in the NFL Edge this year, not all volume is created equal (that is to say, “a target is not a target,” and “a pass attempt is not a pass attempt,” and so on), but once you understand the various elements that should be included in your assessment of “volume,” you will be able to build rosters that can do well even when no players on your team blow up. Those who don’t care about floor are constantly putting themselves in a position where they need to “get lucky” in order to win money. Meanwhile, those who care about floor are constantly putting themselves in position to win.
9. Care About Ceiling
Can this player help you win the week? If the answer is “No,” he does not belong on your roster. It’s really as simple as that…
10. Treat Each Week Like A One Week Season
…because “winning the week” should be what it’s all about. So many DFSers enter their rosters casually — throwing things together while hanging out with friends, or piecing together rosters at the last minute with too little research. So many DFSers play for entertainment instead of playing for profit. And so many DFSers fail to build rosters that have any shot at actually winning the week. You can gain an enormous edge on these players when you realize that each weekend could be the weekend that makes your entire season — but your chances of galloping to victory are nearly nonexistent without a proper, focused approach. Treat each week like a one week season — and if you do that, I’ll catch up with you at the top of the leaderboards when it’s all said and done.