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7 mistakes daily fantasy sports players should avoid

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Big data has become an important component of professional sports nowadays. But it has for a long time been a major drive force for Daily Fantasy Sports players looking to extend their profits.

Tom Crowley, who recently cashed out $2.254M from a DraftKings competition is a great example. Crowley won the money mainly because his analysis showed him Steelers’ Jaylen Samuels could show up big time for his team. RB Samuels completed 19 carries for 142 yards, the best record of his career.

Although we can’t promise you could win $2M from a DFS competition, you could cashout regularly. All you need is to avoid these common mistakes:

#1: Failing to conduct research

The biggest mistake you can make in DFS is to pick players without conducting research. It’s a recipe for failure. Some people visit sports sites to perform research. But they don’t look at the right data and they end up having terrible rosters.

The bottom line: Research before you pick a DFS team by looking at the data that matters. If you play NFL DFS, check out a player’s fantasy points, red zone stats and his team’s matchups. In the BA, focus on defense versus position, rankings, floor stats and ceiling stats.

Research is even more crucial if you play baseball DFS. There’s plenty of information you need to consider before you add a player to your roster. Look at Weighted on-base average, expected field independent pitching, skill-interactive ERA and throws per nine innings.

#2: Overlooking data from sportsbooks

Betting companies use sophisticated computer software to analyze sports before they set odds. They also hire teams of highly experienced odds-makers. In other words, they’re better at predicting a player’s stats than the average sports fan.

Visit a couple of your favorite fantasy sports betting sites. Our research shows does a great job of ranking sportsbooks in the US. Check out their list of DFS sites if you need a good recommendation.

Look for odds related to over/under points, goals, yards, and touchdowns. This way, you’ll discover a few gems Vegas believe will perform during a weekend and add them to your DFS roster.

#3: Drafting players too early

Some people create their DFS roosters a few days before the first game of the week. They do this to avoid forgetting or because they are confident in specific point guards and center forwards.

Unfortunately, injuries happen. Lineups change and coaches get fired. Drafting your team too early puts you at a disadvantage if something unexpected happens. Of course, you can always change your lineup constantly until the first game of the week takes place.

But when you draft your roster too early, you’re likely to leave things that way. The best solution is to wait until a day before to pick your first draft. Then on the match day, finalize your roster based on news and injury updates.

#4: Not listening to experts and fellow players

Conducting research can help you discover the players most likely to perform. But keep in mind you’re not the only DFS player out there. There are millions of competitors. Some people are so good at analyzing daily fantasy sports data they’ve become experts.

Owing to that backdrop, it’s essential to others before you complete your final roster. Visit several DFS websites and read their NFL, MLS, NHL and MLB projections. Find out why a certain expert believes Steph Curry will drop 40 points or Russell Wilson will have a triple double.

After you’re done listening to the experts, find out what the DFS community thinks. Of course, this means you need to be part of a group, or forum that speaks Daily Fantasy Sports. If there’s a pattern in the players people seem to pick, consider adding those players to your roster.

#5: Using one lineup for tournaments

If you’re like many DFS players, you field one lineup per game week. This is acceptable in most sports if you’re an amateur—you do it for fun. But in real money competitions, multiple lineups are better than one.

To be clear, don’t diversify too much. In many cases, it’s a waste of time. Create two or three teams and use them to compete at different DFS sites. Alternatively, get into different contests: H2H, 1PM, 4PM, 50/50 and GPP.

Try out different competitions with multiple lineups. If it works, then use it regularly. If your main lineup brings you the best results, then you can stick with one or two lineups per week.

#6: Listening to everyone’s opinion

Earlier on, we said you shouldn’t operate in a vacuum. Reading projections from experts can give you insights that could change your DFS skills for the better. Unfortunately, listening to everyone’s opinion can also bring you down.

The secret for winning DFS tournaments is to have unique lineups anyway. If Tom Crowley had drafted his roster based on the public opinion, he wouldn’t have picked Samuels. Steeler’s first-choice RB James Conner is out with an injury.

Instead, the experienced DFS expert took a chance on Samuels and woke up two million dollars richer. David Bergman, who won a $2.5M prize through a DraftKings competition last year, also believes in creating unique rosters.

Bergman picked three players who hardly appeared in anyone else’s roster. And he ended up winning. The point: feel confident in your unique picks if data shows they can perform.

#7: Spending too much time on GPPs

So, you’ve heard people win millions of dollars through guaranteed prize pools? But did you know you need must rank in the top 100 just to win $1000? Keep in mind there are tens of thousands of competitors out there, some who field over 100 lineups per week.

By comparison, you could easily nab $1000 if you join the right Head 2 Head tournament. Statistically speaking, there’s no reason an inexperienced DFS player should spend all his or her time at a GPP.

Start by challenging your skills through cash games. If you win consistently, then consider playing GPPs.

Story by Lars Holmström

augusta free press
augusta free press