Ever since I published my original Draftkings Showdown strategy course, people have been asking me, “What about Fanduel? Are you going to do something like this for FD?” My answer has always been “I’d like to, but Fanduel doesn’t share their data like Draftkings does.” On Draftkings, you can download full .CSV files of every contest entry, but you can’t on Fanduel; just putting together a data set would be a massive amount of work. Well, I’m happy to say that, with a lot of manual effort (and some help!), I now have my hands on a robust set of Fanduel contest data for the 2020 season…and I think the edge on Fanduel is even greater than on Draftkings!
Why is the Fanduel single-game format “easier?” A few reasons:
- Lack of available data means a lack of content specific to the format. We’ve seen Draftkings Showdown content pop up all over the place in the last couple of years, but there is very little focused on Fanduel because nobody has any data to use for it, outside of one NumberFire article from 2020 for which the site got access to FD data as they’re owned by the same parent company.
- A general content industry bias towards Draftkings. OWS skews towards Draftkings, as do most sites. It’s generally viewed as the “better” site, and the “sharper” site – better scoring, sharper pricing, etc. That’s wonderful if you play for ego and want to win on the “toughest” site, but if what we care about is making money, Fanduel is a great place to be. I’ve been more profitable on Fanduel in every major sport over the past few years, and I don’t think I’m a “better” player there, but I do think the competition is somewhat softer.
- Positionally, Fanduel’s single-game contests don’t include defenses. Since defense is the highest variance position, removing that variance lowers the overall volatility of the format. What this means in mathematical terms is that sharper players who build better rosters will realize their “actual” EV more readily.
I’ve been beating the Fanduel drum for well over a year now, starting with NBA two seasons ago, then NFL last year, and again with the most recent NBA season. Don’t confuse this with me saying “everyone wins on Fanduel, it’s free money!” It’s not. You still have to build good lineups. But, I firmly believe, with multiple years of data across several sports, Fanduel is a softer site in which it is easier to be profitable. You should be playing there.
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