Before the UFC, there was Bloodsport, a 1988 film about a secret mixed martial arts competition. In the film, Frank Dux (played by none other than Jean-Claude Van Damme) befriends another competitor by the name of Ray Jackson (Donald Gibb). During the competition, an illegal martial arts tournament known as the Kumite, Ray Jackson must fight Chong Li (Bolo Yeung) who was a former tournament champion. Jackson is a heavy-handed fighter and he knocks Chong Li to the mat with a fearsome blow. Instead of finishing his opponent, Jackson gloats in front of the crowd. Chong Li slowly gets to his feet and attacks Jackson while he has his back turned. Frank Dux watches in horror as his friend is brutally defeated.
Don’t be Ray Jackson. Jackson got caught up in his short term success and lost track of the bigger picture. Similarly, in DFS, it is easy to get caught up in the success of a single day or tournament. It is key in GPP play to make the occasional big score, but it is more important to consistently create good lineups. Even some of the biggest players in DFS have taken a downhill turn and lost everything in spite of six figure (and even larger) paydays. If you’re reading this article, it is likely you’re learning (as I am) about LOL and trying to become better. Keep your focus and get better!
In my last article, I spoke about my desire to take a small win (and I mean SMALL – I’m starting with dime lineups here) and celebrate. It’s a good thing to enjoy your good days, but it is important to keep everything in perspective. Today’s win doesn’t give you a head start tomorrow. Only by learning more and more every day can you stay on top in DFS. With that in mind, let’s take a look at my results from yesterday:
In Ray Jackson style, I got my ass handed to me. I cashed one lineup out of twenty. For tomorrow’s article, I will look back at the week using Fantasy Cruncher’s Lineup Rewind tool. In the meantime, it didn’t take me a long time to identify a large hole in my game that I exposed on last night’s slate. It was a repeat of my first day of LOL. I had players in my lineup who never even played. Take a look at my top lineup from last night:
Clearly, if I had filled my lineup with starters, I would have made a decent cash with this lineup. Five spots out of seven showed solid numbers. Players sitting out is always a danger in DFS. The first step to preventing this is to make sure you use Fantasy Cruncher properly and filter out players who are not playing. Currently, Fantasy Cruncher is not providing projections (I have it on good authority this is only temporary). For now, I have been using player averages to calculate my optimal lineups but player averages don’t reflect whether or not that competitor is sitting on the bench.
It is important to wait for the last minute before making final lineups in order to accurately account for last minute roster changes. I finished my lineups a good half hour before lock and paid the price for my early crunch. Although he didn’t even play, I had started Cult in the majority of my lineups. With these mistakes in mind, let me share the process I have used in other DFS sports. Many of you know this already, but as this series of articles is intended for novice players, please allow me to share a few easy steps to address this issue.
First, reserve your lineups. Contests have a tendency to fill up and if you wait too long you will find yourself scrambling for a contest with open spots. I usually run a very basic crunch on Fantasy Cruncher early in the day and enter those lineups in the contest of my choice. I have seen players insert a single “dummy” lineup in all spots early in the day and I don’t recommend this. If you get sidetracked or your internet goes down prior to lock you may regret your decision. Also, it is always a possibility (it has happened, though rarely) that Fantasy Cruncher may have a technical issue that may cause problems for entering last minute lineups. Make sure the lineups you enter as place fillers still have some chance at functioning in the contest you’re entering.
Second, make sure you set your parameters in Fantasy Cruncher. The Fantasy Cruncher optimizer gives you a multitude of options and settings. Make sure you have your settings in place well before lock. Enter your salary minimums, your unique player per lineup number, your stacks sizes, etc. Don’t do this just before lock or you may find yourself running out of time. Ideally, you can wait until a few minutes before lock before doing your crunches.
Third, crunch just before lock. Depending on the size of your slate and the amount of settings you apply, Fantasy Cruncher may take a little time, so make sure you have a good idea how long your crunches will take. For a five game LOL slate, it doesn’t take a long time to crunch twenty lineups, so I am able to do this within five minutes of lock if my settings are already in place. This allows me to wait for those last minute roster changes.
Applying these three steps will go a long way when building lineups. You may find there are more steps you like to include, but these three steps are crucial. For tonight’s lineups, I have already completed the first step and will be sure to follow the next two as laid out here. Additionally, I will make sure to limit the number of lineups for any single player until I have a completely reliable picture of how much late changes can happen in LOL. I don’t want to be too reliant on any single player in a DFS sport that I am just beginning to learn.
Come back tomorrow and we will analyze the week in LOL using Lineup Rewind. Until then, be safe out there and good luck with your lineups!