Let’s start with a warning. Making money from playing DFS is not for the faint of heart and the lazy ones. It takes time and intense commitment. When I say ‘making money’ I don’t mean the occasional $50 win. If you’re really in it to win it, it requires almost a full-time commitment. Assuming that you work a full-time job, that will be another one on the side! However, if sports is something you love watching and reading about even unpaid, it might actually be worth looking into and develop your skills.

Start at small sites

If you’re new and take this game seriously, then start playing at smaller fantasy sites and not FanDuel or Draftkings. If you don’t want to be gobbled up by sharks, at least. Trying out contests at a lesser-known site offering lower winnings can be a huge help. Because these sites don’t offer huge payouts, they are not as attractive for sharks. As a new player, therefore, you get to learn and try without having to fear the sharks.

Consider an algorithm

Sites like Fantasypro or Rotogrinders sell subscription packages starting at $20 per month. This is could be a helpful tool to fine-tune your rosters. Algorithms like this are a good way to maximize your points or filter out flaws in your own line-up. However, you might not want to use ready-made line ups all the time. If you use a projection from a site with no input of your own, many other people will use these line-ups. Just think about it. You enter a contest and 500 other people have used the same line-up they got through a subscription site. So the goal is to create something better with more details. Because in the end what sets you apart in any fantasy contest is the amount of detail you have incorporated in your line-up. Also, be cautious about where your numbers are coming from. Only use a reputable site for your stats.

Know the rules

When you have picked a sport you’re going to focus on (it’s best to pick one), read the rules. If you don’t know the rules, you don’t know what to take into account during the draft and making your line-up. Once you get a good understanding of the sport, you can use the learned principles to expand to other sports. If you’re in it to make money, it’s very important to focus on sports with the most events. For example basketball and baseball. It’s simple: with more events, you have more chance of winning. Also keep in mind that although football is perhaps the sport you know most about, it has fewer games than basketball and baseball. It also has a lot more competition than other sports. So it’s harder to be excellent.

Have your tools ready

To create a good line-up, you need tools. Your best tools, in this case, would be Google Drive, where you can access sheets and docs. It’s for free and offers an excellent way to create spreadsheets for your line-ups and optimize it. You have to crunch a lot of data to be good at fantasy sports, that’s why having a system like this is essential. You can use Google Drive to insert information. From player’s salary to fantasy points per game, salary and so on. The key is to create a good balance between how much a player costs and his performance. You can create a line-up optimizer in your spreadsheet or copy one you find online. If you type in “optimization model”, “line-up optimizer” or “line-up builder”, you should be able to find it. You can, of course, build your own, but that takes a lot of work.

Predicting performance

There are different factors to predict a player’s performance. The most important one is injuries, past or present. Look at the quality of offense and defense. Factor in how well the entire team would perform, fantasy points per game, time of possession and other relevant factors that could affect player’s performance. For example consistency. How good they play at their good games and how bad at their bad games? Avoid volatile players. Those type of statistics can really help create an accurate overview of their performance.