For the uninitiated, picking a fantasy lineup seems like a walk in the park. You’ve caught all the big matches this season, you know who is playing well, and think this is all you need to know to rise to the top of your fantasy league. This is the biggest rookie error of all – and could see you coming dead last in your league. To win, you have to give the game more thought than keeping an eye on your preferred players, and this requires your round-the-clock attention. So, what should you avoid when competing in daily fantasy sports for the first time? Making sure you don’t pull any of these rookie errors could see you cruise to some easy wins, as well as rake in the cash throughout the season.
Don’t set your lineups too early
If you want to win big, you can’t just treat this like a game – you have to keep paying attention after putting your lineup in place. After all, you don’t want to be the guy who loses because you missed the memo that the player who made such an impact last match has injured themselves in training. By all means, set an initial lineup as early as you can, but never set it in stone until the day of the big game. Consider it a test run, but not the finished article.
This advice differs depending on what your fantasy team is. If you have a fantasy basketball or baseball team, wait until the day of the game – most providers open up contests in advance, allowing users to put their drafts for future games together before they know the outcomes of the next one. With basketball in particular, you need to pay extra care and attention to the latest injury updates.
And if you’re playing fantasy football? Then the injury news is always important – a major player announced as injured at the 11th hour can help make the cheaper replacements more advantageous to your draft.
Don’t follow the crowd
Everybody wants to draft the star player, but that’s not the guaranteed path to winning big at fantasy sports. If everybody has the same lineup, nobody reaps the rewards.
But how do you follow a contrarian path successfully? This is easier said than done, and could lead you to make bad choices by picking the players nobody wants. For starters, you can’t just ignore conventional wisdom – you have to keep up to date with what fans think as much as what the experts think. No matter what the sport, you’re always advised to look at a small handful of projections from trusted sources (no more than three or four), averaging out the data to find player rankings and values that are less biased to one expert’s opinion. It’s one of the strange quirks of fantasy drafts that you have to follow the crowd initially to make sure you know where the favorites lie, and where you can stand out when you make your final picks.
In some sports this is easier than others. Basketball is very stats led, whereas baseball is more random. If you’re in a baseball draft, ignoring perceived wisdom is easier than in other sports, as perception skews daily prices of players, even as there is always more randomness at play. This is the belief of at least one professional fantasy player, who raked in $95,000 in winnings from his baseball league by embracing the randomness.
Don’t treat all sports the same
Here, we’re offering a generalized view on how you can stand out from the crowd and win big. But don’t make the mistake of assuming this advice applies for all sports – if you’re in multiple leagues, you need to follow different tactics to come out on top.
As stated above, basketball is the most data driven of the major fantasy sports, so keeping up to date with the daily projections is a must to be successful there. Similarly for football, making sure you don’t find yourself out of the loop is paramount. No other sport has as many game-to-game variables that affect player performance, from matchup to game plan and everything in between, so doing your research is required to win big.
But for baseball, the randomness is a feature, not a bug. There, you have to forget everything you know and take on a contrarian instinct – it may not always work, but it yields major results when it does.
With more newbies taking part in large pool tournaments, they are getting easier and easier to win for someone with a little know-how. To make sure you come out on top when playing against other novices, take the advice listed above as your starting point – and make sure you stick to it. Do your research, always keep an eye on events off the pitch, and never follow anybody else’s picks too closely, and you will find yourself on the way to earning some big payouts.