Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments Daily Fantasy Sports Poker Stories Podcast U.S. Poker Markets

Daily Fantasy Sports: Finding A Process And Routine

Determining The Best Strategy For Setting Your Lineups


If you are looking for action, test your skills with DraftKings and their three weeks of daily fantasy football with over $10 million in guarantees. Don’t forget about FantasyDraft, which is adding $12,500 to the prize pool of both the $50k Gunslinger and the $50k War Room contests.

Using A Process In DFS

As I’ve become more entrenched in daily fantasy sports (DFS), the value of having a process or a routine for creating lineups has become increasingly apparent. When I first started playing, the goal was to have fun. Fantasy sports have been a passion of mine for years and this seemed like an even more fun way to play them. But just like it was for me in poker, having fun with the game led to me having a strong desire to become a better player. The fact that there was a lot of underlying strategy quickly became clear and really piqued my interest.

For over a year, trying to figure out the “correct” strategy kept eluding me. Or so I was convinced. Saying there is a correct strategy is about as naïve as saying there’s only one way to win in poker. What I’ve come to realize is that you have to decide what factors for predicting performance you believe are important and then develop a process that helps you highlight those factors. The goal is to make it easier on you to not become overwhelmed by all of the options.

The King Predictor

Whatever you decide is important, you should always be taking into account the betting lines and totals. I’ve written about paying attention to these before and I’m doing it again here to hammer the point home. The lines and totals should always have a place in your analysis. Companies that put these lines out have no choice but to make them as efficient as possible or else sharp bettors could beat them up. So you can believe that when an NFL team is a 6-point favorite and the total is 54, they’re quite likely to have better performance in terms of fantasy scoring as a whole than a 3-point underdog in a game with a total of 41.

Okay, But What’s Next?

Obviously, betting lines can’t be the only analysis you do when creating lineups in DFS. This is where choosing what you believe to be important and implementing a process that can highlight it comes into play. For me, a lot of this boils down to logic. I try to think about what the most fundamental premises of performance are and how they relate to different types of players. Carries and receptions for running backs; targets for wide receivers; passing yards for quarterbacks; snap counts for all players. These are some factors that have strong predictive value for player performance. The trick is how to compile this data and use it to your advantage. That’s where coming up with a process can be handy.


Some people, myself included, often turn to spreadsheets when attempting to gain an edge. In my opinion, they are a great way to get the information you want to see compiled and presented in a way that works for you. It is also my opinion that spreadsheets aren’t for everyone. This is why I think the most important method of preparation for any daily fantasy sport is whatever works best for you. I know people who play DFS very well who never look at a spreadsheet. There are also people who pretty much base every decision they make off of what the spreadsheet they’ve created spits out.

At the end of the day, my point isn’t about spreadsheet or no spreadsheet. The point is that playing DFS well is almost always the result of a solid process. Whether you’re a number cruncher or you prefer to work more in the abstract, there has to be a good amount of thought and analysis put into your lineups in order to be successful. Consider what factors you believe to be important and find a way for your lineups to reflect that. Use the betting lines as an overarching guide and tiebreaker when torn between players. Always be willing to reconsider what you think is important. Eventually, things will begin to click. And when things click, the bankroll will grow.

Find me on Twitter @IanJ300 with any questions.

If you think you are ready to play, check out our Daily Fantasy Sports page. Card Player readers eligible for deposit bonuses of 100 percent on a number of the best DFS sites around.