Daily Fantasy

3 months ago

The FanTeam Rookie Blog: Episode 1

The World of Daily Fantasy can be intimidating — and I speak from experience. The different rules and nuances. The number of people with a seemingly endless bankroll entering multiple teams. The amount of sports and formats available. There are two initial pitfalls that could be fallen into. Either running away from DFS completely, or getting sucked in too deep and getting into dangerous waters.

The purpose of this new feature is to share the experience of a beginner to the daily fantasy format, and hopefully help any other beginners out there to get their head around the game. I'm sure that I will hit difficulties and struggles, but hopefully we can all learn from them together. Ready? Lets commence the FanTeam Rookie Blog. 

Introduction - who am I?

Firstly, an introduction to myself. My name's Rob, 34, from the UK. I've played fantasy football casually for as long as I can remember, but only really started to take it seriously in the last couple of years after joining the Twitter community, starting to listen to podcasts, etc. I had the chance to appear on the FPL Wolfpod a few times and have become engrossed in the fantasy football community over time.

After writing some articles and getting invited to contribute to DraftGym, I uncovered the World of FanTeam and that led to the start of exploring Daily Fantasy. It was intimidating. I've been relatively successful over the last couple of seasons in longer form fantasy games in the last two seasons with 1x top 10k in FPL, 12th place in Gaffr (Championship Fantasy)  and 2x top 100 in Sky Fantasy Football — but the concept of short form daily fantasy didn't come naturally and I definitely found myself employing far too much FPL logic. 

The DraftGym team have suggested that I should share my experience this season on daily fantasy and trying to furrow a path through it — and here I am! 

My blog next week will detail my entries into my first competition of the season, but before we get there, lets look at the key aspects 

Read more: FanTeam Scoring Explained

Step 1 — Understand the rules and nuances

If you are coming from a full season background or haven't played FanTeam before, its important to understand the variety of rules and nuances that are different from your standard gameplay. There are articles throughout the DraftGym site that can help you with this so I won't labour the point (though I'll share some links throughout this piece) but a few points to remember include defensive stacking penalties (if you have multiple defenders from the same team), impact points (0.3 extra points for your players winning during their time on the pitch), points for shots on target, and also importantly the one extra point that your midfielders and attackers gain for completing 90 minutes. All of these things are important to grasp and understand in order to have success in a format that is often going to be decided by very small margins.

Researching the scoring and ensuring you understand it feels like an important step and was the first piece of reading that I did.

One extra point per midfielder/attacker that completes 90 minutes could be a huge points swing if you can get it right — definitely a factor to consider.

Read more: How to Win Money on Fanteam

Step 2 — Focus on sports you have knowledge of

One thing I'm not going to do is be tempted into daily games on sports or countries that I don't have a grounding in. Attempting to conquer the World of fantasy baseball or fantasy NBA without any basic understanding of the game or knowledge of the players feels like a fabled dream. My intent in this weekly blog will be to focus on the sports I'm comfortable with. Naturally, thats going to lead me predominantly to English football — and specifically the Premier League and new Championship formats.  

While many will have a strong knowledge of the Premier League, I have what I feel is a potential advantage in my knowledge of the Championship for the new weekly monster competitions being run by FanTeam this season. My own club, Barnsley, have spent more years in the Championship than any other club and I watch as much as I can. I'm hoping that will give me an edge in knowing the form and the details of the league and the teams within it. 

Cricket and Golf would be the other two sports that I'd feel confident with — but right now, the focus will definitely be predominantly around domestic football in the UK.

Read more: 6 Easy Steps to Prepare for a Fantasy Football Tournament

Step 3 — Do your research 

"Winging it" won't make a successful daily fantasy manager, or thats how it feels to me. My intention is to do my research as much as I can. Understanding likely and projected line ups, having knowledge of injuries and bookmakers odds are all areas where we could gain an edge over the competition. Knowledge of injuries is particularly hard to come across at Championship level so putting the time in to find that information for weekly monsters fels like a chance to have an advantage. 

Another recommendation for this format seems to be stats. Using xG, xA and the other models are something I'm trying to incorporate into my general fantasy management but using it to project who is due to return or getting those shots on targat away on a regular basis could be a key difference maker. For Premier League players, I use FFFix but there are plenty of stats tools out there that are free to use. Championship stats are harder to come by, but they can be found too. Draftgym are about to launch its own lineup optimizer and projection tools which I will take advantage of as well. 

It feels to me that building my bankroll early is going to depend on doing that research, looking at those stats and trying to gain as much information as possible. Being 'casual' doesn't feel the way to make this work.

Read more: FanTeam Strategies Based on the Number of Entries

Step 4 — Pick a strategy & seek support

For direction here, I would look at the 'FanTeam strategies' article already within DraftGym which I won't regurgitate onto the page here. 

For me, my strategy will be to go with 3-5 teams im a competition of similar structure but with subtle differences, and aim to build the bankroll from there. This is known within that article as the 'Taking it Seriously' plan. Quite balanced — not looking to desperately spike a first place with a differential team, but a well researched and structured approach designed to pick up some cashes. 

I don't have the sort of bankroll to play the game the way that a DFS legend like TTribL would play the game (I'll be starting with a 100 euro bankroll), so I need to be realistic in my aims in the early stages.

Being able to listen to alternative viewpoints is also important. While I might be confident in my own knowledge of the league I'm playing, that doesn't mean that I'm not making mistakes in the structure and balance of my team. Seeking advice from more experienced DFS players will definitely be a part of my plan — and it should be a part of yours too. Make sure to stop by our Draftgym Discord channel, where you can ask for advice and exchange ideas with our crew.

Building around the so-called 'core group' of players is something I would recommend when entering this many teams.  


Next Week — Lets get started!

The plan for the next episode of the blog is to make my first entry and I'm going to target the first Championship 'Main Event' being run on FanTeam for that competition. I'll share my drafts and the thought process behind them, and then hopefully you can 'sweat it' with me as I see whether my bankroll gets a boost or a dent in the early stages. 

Thank you for bearing with me. This intro article is a little heavier than I'd like but I think its important for you guys, like me, to know what to look for if you're about to embark on a DFS journey. I think it'll be fun to learn together so please feel free to reach out to me at @rpick86 on twitter. 


If you are unsure whether to embark on a DFS journey yourself, please feel free to reach out to myself or another member of the DraftGym team. Also, remember to play responsibly — stay within your means and don't chase losses. Stick to a plan and a strategy — and if it's not working, ask for help.  
Rob Pick

Rob Pick

The latest addition to the DraftGym crew, FPL veteran and the Debate grandmaster.