Saturday, November 29, 2014
So yesterday I wrote a blog post breaking down Why I Suck At Daily Fantasy Sports. Today I will break down what my strategy is to improve. One of the biggest difference between fantasy sports and gambling is fantasy sports is a game of skill, with a certain level of luck involved. Gambling is a game of luck, where in some cases there is also a certain level of skill involved. This is the reason why fantasy sports for cash is legal in most states, but gambling is illegal in most states.
Whenever you engage at learning something new, there are four levels of learning and skill. Everyone starts off at level 1. As you continue to improve, you are able to advance up to level 2, then level 3 then hopefully level 4.
The Four Levels To Learning And Skill In Fantasy Sports (And Everything Else In Life)
Level 1 – Unconscious Incompetence
Everyone who starts playing daily fantasy sports starts off at this level. This is ESPECIALLY true for people who are making the transition from season long fantasy sports to daily fantasy sports. At the unconscious incompetence level, you are not good at playing the game and you are not even aware at how bad you are. This is a dangerous place to be especially if you are careless with your money. At this level you are very likely to participate in matchups, not knowing what you are doing and losing money.
Level 2 – Conscious Incompetence
This is the level that I’m currently at in my daily fantasy sports journey. At this level you realize how bad you are and you realize how good other people are. You also realize that there are a number of skills that you need to learn and if you ever want to get better, you are going to have to put in the time that it takes to build these skills. Although you are going to continue to lose money at this level, the good news is at least you know that you don’t know what you’re doing and you now can begin to take some steps to get better.
Level 3 – Conscious Competence
This is the level where you start to experience consistent success in fantasy sports. You are now winning the majority of your matchups. However, you still aren’t naturally good at it yet. At this level of the game, you probably have a step by step process that you follow. However, you are most likely looking and referring to this process every time you go through it. You are constantly double checking yourself to make sure that you are doing the right thing. You are winning but you still haven’t developed the confidence and the assurance yet that those at the professional level have obtained.
Level 4 – Unconscious Competence
This is the highest level of learning and skill in fantasy sports. This is the level that those who earn a full time living playing fantasy sports operate from. At the unconscious competence level you are good and you know it. You can implement your research and lineup selection without even thinking about it. As a result, you consistently win many of your matchups and even take down cash prizes in some tournaments. Once you get really good, you may even start to win some of the big grand prizes and be one of those players taking pictures with the big checks!
My strategy to improve is simple. Now that I know that I’m not good, I am going to spend a significant amount of time learning from those that are better than me. The good news is unlike many other industries, the people that are successful in daily fantasy sports are very generous with their knowledge and expertise. They share a lot of valuable information about how to get better. All you have to do is be willing to invest the time to learn and practice what they teach and you can begin to experience success as well!
In future blog posts, I will share with you where I am going to acquire this knowledge and how you can tap these same resources to acquire this knowledge as well!
Friday, November 28, 2014
This picture is a perfect illustration of my career in daily fantasy sports so far!
Back in September, I decided that I wanted to take on the challenge of becoming a professional fantasy sports player. I love sports! Always have ever since I was a kid. I’ve played season long fantasy sports for well over 10 years since being introduced to it back in my college days.
Daily fantasy sports is a completely different animal than season long fantasy sports. There is a learning curve involved and you must go through that learning curve even if you know a lot about sports and even if you have been playing season long fantasy sports for years.
As a result, I suck!
I’ve had my high moments. For instance, I won my first Guaranteed Prize Pool matches, defeating hundreds of opponents and winning a cash prize. I wrote about my experience in my previous blog post titled I Won My First Guaranteed Prize Pool Freebie Game In DraftDay. However, I have definitely lost more money than I won since I started.
Why Do I Suck At Daily Fantasy Sports?
One of the challenges that I am currently adjusting to is the dynamic involved in building a team for daily fantasy sports. In a traditional season long team, every player participates in a draft. You pick the best players first early in the draft and the less desirable players later on in the draft. A big key at being successful is maximizing value in your draft. You want to take your best players and most sure things early. You want to take some chances later on in the latter rounds of the draft and hope you find players that exceed what their expected value was.
However, daily fantasy sports is much different. While there are some matchups where you can employ a draft system similar to season long fantasy, the VAST majority of the matchups that you will play in utilizes a salary cap system. You are provided with a specific amount of money to spend on players. Each player is assessed a dollar amount of value.
Your job is to use that limited amount of money to put together a team that will outperform a team that other players will put together.
This new dynamic creates a number of different challenges and possibilities that simply do not exist in season long fantasy football.
For instance, yesterday on Thanksgiving Day, I played in 5 matchups. One of my matchups was a one on one matchup. The entry fee was $2.20 to play in this matchup and whoever won received a $4 cash prize. This matchup included only the games played on Thanksgiving Day so every player that I picked had to be playing in one of the games on Thursday.
My opponent and I had to draft a team of 10 players. We picked 2 Quarterbacks, 2 Running Backs, 2 Wide Receivers, 1 Tight End, 2 Flex Positions (they can be running backs, wide receivers, tight ends) and 1 team defense.
One of the challenges with a head to head salary cap game with only 6 teams playing is both you and your opponent are building a team from a very limited subset of players. Because you build your team with a salary cap and not by drafting players, it is absolutely possible for you to pick the same players.
That’s EXACTLY what happened in this matchup. My opponent and I both picked Tony Romo and Matthew Stafford at Quarterback.We both picked LeSean McCoy at Running Back. We both picked Dez Bryant at Wide Receiver.We both picked Joique Bell, I had him at Running Back and he had him at one of the Flex positions. We also both picked the Lions defense.
What this means is that for these six players we were going to have the SAME exact score with the SAME exact players!
That means the final score of the matchup turned out to be a battle between the FOUR players that we had that differed from each other. My best player from our non-shared players was Brandon Marshall who scored 10 points in a losing effort for the Bears. His best player was Calvin Johnson who scored 37.6 points in a winning effort by the Lions.
Johnson’s numbers were more than ALL four of my non-shared players COMBINED. As a result he won the matchup and the money!
That type of dynamic doesn’t exist at all in season long fantasy sports. However, it is a very real dynamic in the daily leagues and one that you have to account for. Even if you pick the best players it does you no good if your opponent picks the same players.
There are a number of similar situations like this that I am still learning and adjusting to. This is why I suck so far at daily fantasy sports. However, the good news is I have a plan on how I plan on getting better. I will share with you that plan in my blog post tomorrow!