Tuesdays of the NFL week are about new beginnings; and Mass Multi-Entry DFS is a roller coaster of outcomes — so we’ll use this space to establish what our goals are and how to optimally achieve them while having some fun — and maintaining some semblance of sanity!
Who Are You?
Seriously. Who are you?
One of the coolest things about DFS (especially the highs and lows of life in these GPP streets) is what it can teach us about ourselves. Simultaneously, our own current strengths, weaknesses, passions, phobias, can go a long way towards developing our own style of lineup building.
What the hell do you want?
If you’re reading this course then I’m guessing winning a million dollars playing NFL DFS is something that sounds fun and interesting to you. Yes? OK, so now that we’ve established that, we need to figure out how to get there. I suggest we adhere to these 3 guidelines:
Don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose… (Cuz, You’re Gonna Lose)
We’ll lay out some plans for your MME budget and try to increase that allocation over the course of season. If you want to play cash, 10 player games, mow lawns, mine bitcoin or any other low-variance ways to boost your bankroll, go for it – but for the purposes of this course, we’ll keep our budgets limited to the part allocated to large-field GPP tournaments.
Wrap your mind around the fact that you’re going to have losing weeks more often than winning ones. We’ll use “Trust the Process” enough to make the Philadelphia 76ers seek legal counsel. Losing about 33% of what you invest on a given week is actually a decent outcome. It means that most of your core group of players probably did fairly well but the level of variance is so insanely high with the tournament structure so top-heavy, you just didn’t get enough of the best ones in the same lineup. You survived and advanced to next week. Congrats. Maybe you’ll hit the nuts next time.
Be cognizant of where your loss-tolerance threshold lies both financially and emotionally. Leave enough in both tanks to take another stab next week – at whatever level that needs to be.
A typical season in MME might have 10 losing weeks, 4 break-even weeks and 3 winning weeks. We just want to maximize those 3 weeks when the planets align and our overall strategy and player selection pay dividends.
Here’s 4 weekly budget templates to work from. I’ll use Draft Kings here for simplicity. Each tier features a 150 Entry MME, a 20-Max, a 3 Max and at least one Milly entry.
150 lineups x $.25 = $37.50
20 lineups x $1 = $20
3 lineups x $1 = $3
Throw one lineup in the Milly for another $20.
TOTAL = $80.50
150 lineups x $.50 = $75
20 Lineups x $2 = $40
3 Lineups x $3 = $9
Throw 3 lineups in the Milly for $60
TOTAL = $184
150 lineups x $5 = $750
20 Lineups x $3 = $60
3 Lineups x $8 = $24
Throw 10 lineups into the Milly $200
TOTAL = $1034
150 lineups x $20 = $3000
150 lineups x $9 = $1350
50 Lineups x $33 = $1650
3 Lineups x $150 = $450
TOTAL = $6450
The idea here is to start with a smaller investment as you get your feet wet in max-entering 150 lineups while minimizing risk and maintaining some real upside.
I started at Tier 1 in 2017 and by September of 2019 I had moved up to a level just above Tier 3 when I managed to bink 1st and 7th place on Yahoo for $18K (thanks for playing thru injury, Chris Godwin!). After that I started max-entering the Millionaire Maker (Tier #4) and hit paydirt 6 weeks later. It can happen that fast and it can happen to you.
I’ve never tilted from trusting my instincts and being wrong, but I have broken shit in my house when I had a gut feeling about a guy and played him too passively. If you’re gonna lose (and remember, you will lose more often than not) you might as well go down on your terms and without fear. The easiest way to be contrarian is to be yourself since no one is just like you. Embrace the parts of yourself that are unique and use them to look at football and DFS lineups differently. And by all means, when you come across a player or an approach to a slate that you feel great about, don’t play it half-way. Play with conviction and live with the results.
KG was speaking the truth in the afterglow of the 2008 NBA Championship, but what ABC’s cameras didn’t show was the ridiculous amount of preparation Garnett and his teammates put in prior to that game. There’s no substitute for hard work. It doesn’t feel like hard work if you love it though, especially when you’ve channeled your energy towards a goal that you’ve made a conscious decision to obsess over. I average about 3 hours of sleep on Saturday nights during football season because I do 50 lineups by hand and tweak my optimizer ad nauseam. My winning Milly lineup wasn’t exactly a masterpiece by theoretical standards but I busted my ass and gave myself a shot consistently over dozens of slates. The planets aligned and it happened for me, it can happen to you.
This the part where you say “it WILL happen to me”. Damn right…and better yet put your energy into what it’s going to feel like AFTER you take that shit down…
Conversation from early November, 2019
SONIC: Damn, we’re really gonna owe Uncle Sam a shitload this year. So brutal.
MRS SONIC: Huh? More than last year? Why?
SONIC: After we win the Milly, they’re gonna get almost half. We’ll have to spend a bunch.
MRS SONIC: Oh… yeah… of course. Fun!
*One of the most powerful techniques is visualizing your life when your desire is already fulfilled. Set aside several minutes a day to close your eyes and imagine your life after you have achieved your goal. Make it as vivid as possible:
Subconscious Mind – How to Unlock and Use Its Power – By
Your imagination is a limitless asset (and it’s 100% free!). Find moments in your day to act as if you’ve already won the Milly. Visualize that 7-figure number in your Currently Winning window. Allow yourself to fantasize about that moment the last game ends and your lineup is at the top of the leaderboard. But don’t stop there. What does this feel like? Get to know what being a Milly winner feels like to YOU…and live there. Who did you call first? Are you gonna buy that dream car? Tipping $100 to the unsuspecting pizza guy? Feel it. Wade joyfully in those waters. See your future, be your future, make it.
Not only does this Law of Attraction shit really work…but after this exercise you’ll be ready to run through a wall like the Dillon High football team after Coach Taylor gives his fiery pregame speech. Use that energy to propel yourself through the grind.
Who needs sleep when you can daydream.
Take your first look at the slate and make a lineup based on any plays that jump out at you.
DK is usually pretty tight, so a huge part of our process every week will be digging for any players that have volume and upside at a reasonable price. Pick a couple of RBs that fit that description and then see if you can locate a low-priced stack with upside. Throw together a lineup and put it into your 150 max contest of choice.… it’s amusing to see if that LU is still viable when Sunday rolls around.
The main reason for this lineup is to create your Player Pool Worksheet. My process isn’t particularly sophisticated but it works for me. You can obviously get fancier if you’re so inclined.
On Draft Kings, go to LINEUPS > EDIT ENTRIES and download the csv file for the contest in which your lineup was entered. Open that csv and you’ll see the full player list to the right of your lineup. Copy and paste all the players and their salaries into a new worksheet. Now you can tweak this document to make it look legible and easy to populate. Sort by position and then paste the players from each position into their own tab if you like. Create a bunch of columns that represent all of the sources of information you use to do your weekly research. I usually add a “%” column so I can start to notate how much of a player I’d like to have in my 150 lineups.
I’ll often change their name to red if I decide to make them part of my core. As the week goes on, we’ll fill this in until it’s chock full o’ information and refer to it when creating lineups by hand or populating our optimizer.
*You can use this first PPW as a template for future weeks. Just paste the new information in there each week. Also, if you don’t want to make a lineup and/or enter a contest yet, you can download the DKSalaries.csv file by selecting your tournament from the lobby, navigating to the Create Lineups page and clicking the “Export to CSV” link located below the player box on the right. The process is the same on Fan Duel except the “Download Players List” is above the players to the right.
I use the DK player and salary information to create my PPW and just make notes if certain Fan Duel-related information presents itself, such as salary differences or players that have better value in FD’s Half-PPR format.
*PPW 2019 week 2 – early in the week