Thursday, Sep 23rd

Levels of DFS Understanding


I’ve played DFS since 2013. At first, like many DFS players, I thought it was a game about sports knowledge, and that if I knew the sport better than the field I would have an edge. As the years have gone by, I’ve realized that isn’t true at all. DFS is a game in which sports knowledge is only a relatively small piece of the puzzle (and smaller with each passing year, as I’ll dig into later). What really separates successful DFS players is the realization that DFS is a game of strategy, a game of math, a game of economics, and a game of psychology. I believe that if you succeed at these elements you will be a successful DFS player. 

I decided to write this because I’ve realized that, around the industry, there is FAR too little content about strategy and about how to really think about DFS holistically (OWS has some, of course, because that’s what we’re focused on; Drew Dinkmeyer of ETR posts really interesting strategy pieces as well, and I highly recommend reading/watching anything he puts out). So, here we are, attempting to add something of value to the ecosystem.

DFS as a game has, of course, evolved over the years. You’ll often hear things like “the field has gotten sharper,” but what does that actually mean? I think about it in terms of “levels of thinking” — that is, different ways to approach DFS, with each level representing a level of skill that will differentiate a player from those in the levels below. As the game progresses and the field continues to learn, if we want to be successful, we must continue to learn at a faster pace than everyone else. As I see it, the levels of DFS thinking are something like this:

Level 1: Who are the good plays?

Level 2: Hey, correlation and stacking seem neat

Level 3: I should probably think about ownership

Level 4: Ownership isn’t just a vacuum; leverage is the new hotness

Level 5: Rosters matter more than players

Level 6: Putting together everything I know to figure out a strategy for how to attack each slate

What worked last season may not work this season. If you want to be a successful long-term DFS player, you need to keep learning and staying ahead of the curve.

These aren’t purely linear. You may learn about roster construction before ownership, or ownership before correlation, but based on my (admittedly anecdotal) recollection of how the DFS industry has developed and how DFS content has progressed over the years, this is how it happened for me. What matters isn’t the order, it’s the understanding that DFS, as a game of strategy and skill, is constantly evolving. What worked last season may not work this season. If you want to be a successful long-term DFS player, you need to keep learning and staying ahead of the curve. 

What to Expect

What I hope to accomplish with this course is not just an analysis of the different levels of thinking and how to proceed from one to the next (that’s part of it), but there’s a deeper lesson here. Past level six there are new levels of thinking that we haven’t yet developed. The game of DFS will continue to evolve. I can’t tell you what the future will hold in terms of how the strategy will continue to develop, but what’s important is realizing that the strategy IS evolving and developing, and if you want to be successful in the long-term, you need to continue to evolve and develop in the way you think about and approach the game of DFS.