Top 10 Mistakes DFS Players Make and How to Avoid Them

We get asked a lot for tips and tricks each day of how to improve outcomes in various sports, but nobody ever asks us to tell them what they are doing wrong. Changing ineffective or impulsive behaviors may often lead to better results long term than trying to find an edge here and there, the real edge may be looking in the mirror and realizing you’ve been making mistakes! That’s okay, we’ve all been there and most of these upcoming comments are from personal experiences from our cumulative decades of playing fantasy sports. We are not going to look at silly errors like forgetting to set your lineups or things like that, but rather intentional decisions that put you at a disadvantage. We will take a lighthearted approach to all of this because at the end of the day, DFS should be fun. That’s true for the casual players and pros alike. Prepare yourself to be directly attacked by this page, prepare to agonize over specific instances you recall falling victim to these blunders, but most of all….prepare to improve. 

#1: Only playing GPP contests

This is something every player does at the beginning because who creates a Draftkings or Fanduel account to turn $5 into $10? We all want to turn that $5 into $100k every day we play but that’s not the reality and that mindset will eventually see your bankroll slip away. 

#2: Not making a distinction between cash games and GPPS

Cash games and GPPs are very different tournament types with different methodologies surrounding building the perfect roster. It is important to know which contests you are looking to play and how to approach roster construction strategies for that sport. We do a deep dive into this topic in our other page GPP VS Cash Games. 

#3: Not entering into GPP contests properly

You need to enter handfuls, dozens, or even  a hundred lineups into GPP contests to have a decent chance of winning anything big. It’s fun to throw a team or 2 in and dream of riches but the pros out there are running 150 lineups in big contests and the odds of you having a team they don’t that is a top performer is slim. If you decide to take GPPS seriously, you have to look at how many entries are allowed and try to get as close to that number as you can do comfortably and without overextending yourself. There are often smaller tournaments with lower fees and only 20 or so entries allowed and these are a great way to practice for GPPS with albeit smaller prizes, but still something to chase. Not everybody plays in the high roller room but if you sit at a blackjack table with only $10, you probably won’t walk away with anything when it’s all said and done. You are a David in a sea of Goliaths and you have to be smart to hang around. 

#4: Playing DFS for sports you don’t really understand

They have fantasy rocket league now? I’ve played that before, I can do it. Just because you’ve played a sport or a video game before does not mean you have any business betting on it. Do you want a lawyer whose knowledge is based on having been to a courthouse before? There is a lot more that goes into crafting DFS teams than simply being a fan or player of a sport and honestly having a mathematics or data analytics background is much more of a qualification than anything else. Don’t confuse experience with knowledge and try to invest money into a fantasy sport you do not fully grasp. 

#5: Making lineups as something to do with little thought behind it

You’re home from work or spending a lazy weekend afternoon at home and you can’t find anything on TV. You don’t feel like getting off the couch but then you remember there are some games on tonight so you pull up Fanduel and fire off some teams in the next 5 minutes. Not only did that not kill as much time as you had hoped, but you also likely just blew a few bucks as well. There is nothing wrong with playing some DFS as a hobby and using it to make the sports you enjoy a bit more fun to watch, but please be smart about it. Take a few minutes to do some research so you aren’t donating your money to somebody else. The better prepared you feel before making teams, the less chance you’ll have of quickly draining your bank roll.

#6: Not knowing your limits and managing your bankroll improperly 

The rule of thumb in the industry is to never bet more than 10% of your bankroll on any given day. This is good advice for people that generally know what they are doing but we would suggest starting even lower as you figure your way around the space. Constantly depositing to fund your playing is not only unhealthy, it can be disheartening. Be smart smart about how much you are playing to make sure you can play every day for a while if you assume you will lose it all each day. Having a plan and not going beyond your set boundaries is a key to healthy playing habits and long term returns. 

#7: Thinking you’ve made the perfect lineup

We’ve all been there. You sit there, starstruck, over the majesty of the lineup you just created. “How is this team possible?” You may wonder. “Was there a pricing mistake today, because this team is too good”. You then proceed to over enter the same lineup into a bunch of contests because, of course, it’s a sure thing. But then Alex Cobb gets hit with a comebacker and is out of the game before you even blinked. The roof starts leaking and that Pelicans/Pacers game you stacked was postponed. You get the idea, crazy things happen in the unpredictable world of sports and there’s no such thing as a perfect lineup. Stay grounded in the fact that bizzare things happen and do not stray from normal strategies just because you are overhyping a team that falls apart once you see your player limp to the locker room. 

#8: Improper lineup construction

Oh god, did I seriously stack the offense against my pitcher on this team? Sometimes you screw up a team or two and that’s fine, but are you using the best strategies for your sport properly? Did you interpret stacking hitters as using the #1, #5, and #9 hitters together? Did you take the Top lane and Supp from the same team as your “stack”? There is a difference between understanding stacking and other strategies and actually using these ideas constructively and effectively. Make sure you truly understand what successful teams look like for the sport you are playing and don’t think you know what you are doing simply from a few buzzwords. 

#9: Making reactionary/biased decisions

Anthony Davis gets hurt every single time I play him so I will never roster him again. Although this is not necessarily true, I vehemently believe it to my core due to the several times he has ruined my lineups and it’s difficult for me to move past this idea. We all have biases and things that shape how we think. Just because the Yankees were held scoreless on Monday doesn’t mean you avoid their hitters for a while, just like how a hat trick doesn’t mean you have to play him in the next game regardless of his price. This type of overreacting is true not only for players, but also your roster building methods. If you have found a methodology that has been working for you, don’t scrap it because of a bad night, it happens. Letting good and bad things not get you too worked up is important to keep a level head and not avoid Anthony Davis for the rest of his career.

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#10: Not having fun!

This is a cheesy and BS inclusion, but who wants to read about only 9 mistakes? In all seriousness, why play DFS if you aren’t having fun? We have friends that get too stressed over it and if you are like that then please don’t play, just enjoy watching your favorite players. Unless this is a career, constantly fretting over lineup changes and pricing errors will not only drain the fun out of it, but it will also end up irritating your SO or others around you. “You’re on your phone again? We just sat down for dinner! But sweetheart, Anthony Davis was just ruled out and his backup is min priced and starting!” We’ve all had that conversation, no juicy play can possibly make enough sense for you being distracted before lineup lock. Please remember to have fun and not let this consume you, unless you decide to do it as a career or if being consumed means you want to register for premium and help support all of our work. 

Thanks for reading. Sign up for premium content to get inside looks at the biggest slates each day and access to our team on discord 24/7. Seriously, 24/7 we all literally can’t sleep (help). Good luck and get your game on.

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