Levitan’s DFS 2022 Game Pick: Which Contests to Play

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IMPORTANT: If you want to take your DFS game to the next level this season, check out our In-Season Package. It contains our Base Projections, Ceiling Projections, Property Projections, Shows, Silva Matchups and much more.

At least 90% of the reviews you’ll read on NFL DFS deal with picking the right players.

Almost all of this will ignore the game selection.

The easiest and fastest way to increase your ROI is to select games. I believe this is the most important factor in our success, which is why I have dedicated about half my book to that.

That said, I understand game selection is a complicated subject because everyone reading this should have different goals. The overwhelming majority of people should play DFS football for pure fun. A small percentage may treat DFS as a side job, seeking to generate a modest additional income. And a tiny, infinitesimal percentage of the player pool tries to gamble for a living.

The goal of our Package in season is to give you all the information and tools you need to win in DFS, whatever your personal goals.

But if you simply spend your entire bankroll in the DK Milly Maker every week, it will be difficult to maintain this turnover.

And I get it, I know everybody wants to take $20 and turn it into $1 million. Some people are perfectly fine with having negative expectations throughout the season, playing exclusively at the heavier massive tournaments. And frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that. Again, most people should play for fun.

But this article is for people who want to give themselves a positive expectation every week. This means adding cash games*, smaller field tournaments and spending time each week identifying which contests you want to play. It often ignores extreme large-field “lottery-style” GPPs.

As you will see below, focusing on smaller fields, max 20 entries or less, and being aware of rake should be the priority.

Again, if you want to learn more about game selection, I spent two chapters in my e-book talk about. Seasonal subscribers to Establish The Run get the book for free here.

* Cash games refer to any contest in which approximately 50% of the field is paid, such as heads-ups, double ups and 50/50.

IF YOU WANT TO PLAY $100 IN A WEEK ON DRAFTKINGS (44% cash, 56% tournaments)

1. Create a cash line. This range doesn’t care about ownership at all.

2. Create 20 large tournament rosters. These queues should be correlated and have thoughtful leverage in the field. Can use optimizer or manual build. Read this article for more trends to be aware of when creating these queues.

3. Create a line-up of single-entry medium-sized tournaments.

4. Create three 3-max, medium-sized tournament rosters.

5. Enter 3-max queues in the $5 Nickel. Total $15. This tournament has 11,890 entries and is a 3-max. We won’t need absolute stone nuts to earn it. The min-cash on this tournament is also 2x ($10) and 10th is 10% of the first. The rake is high in there (15.9%) but otherwise that’s the structure we’re looking for.

6. Enter 3-max lineups in the triple $3 buy-in option. $9 total. This tournament has 15,854 entries and is a 3-max. The min-cash is only 1.67x, which isn’t ideal, but the payouts at the top are fixed ($4,000 on the first, $1,000 on the third, $400 on the 10th).

7. Enter all 20 wide field tournament rosters in the $1 First Down buy-in. Total $20. This is a tournament with a maximum of 20 players (297,265 entries). We can either build by hand or use an optimizer. We can use the principles described here for list construction. It’s a soft tournament which is a good practice for those who want to eventually move on to Milly Maker.

8. Enter the list of single entry tournaments in the $12 small buy-in Fair Catch. Total $12. We know that in single entry tournaments many of our opponents will use their money roster. The “top games” will see the property inflated. Work to create leverage against this field of 4,901 entries.

Note that there are two single-entry Fair Catch tournaments. I prefer the 4,901 entry field to the 29,411 entry field.

9. Enter the cash range in the larger Double Ups field at $2, $5 and $10 single entry. Total $17. These Double Ups contain 8620, 22988 and 8620 entries respectively. They are also raked around 13%, which is tolerable for low stakes. Since they are single entry, they will be much smoother than multiple entry doubles. There are simply no more than 8,000 competent players on the site.

10. Enter the money range in 27 $1 H2H games. Total $27. Create the one-on-one contests yourself, don’t “scoop” people who are already posted in the H2H lobby. Be sure to check the box that limits the number of times someone can play against you to one.

Top players on DraftKings are not allowed to play games below $5. But if you notice that “pros” or good players regularly collect your games, add them to your block list. You can do this by going to Account Info, Preferences, Head to Head Settings. FanDuel does not have this blocking feature.

Note that if you want to reduce the variance, you can play more heads up instead of doubling down. Head to head results are not binary, some weeks you will earn 60% and some 30% and some 90%. Doubling results is simply winning them all or losing them all.

Here’s a graph of my H2H results so you can visualize what it’s like to grind a lot. These graphics are from Rototrackera DFS results monitoring platform.

And here are my H2H results by buy-in level so you can get an idea of ​​realistic returns on investment.

IF YOU WANT TO PLAY $500 IN A WEEK ON DRAFTKINGS (57% cash, 43% tournaments)

1. Participate in all of the contests above. Total of $100.

2. Enter the cash line in the larger single-entry $25 Double Up field. Total $25. This Double Up features 9,195 entries – again, there just aren’t many solid cash players on the site.

3. Enter the cash range in another 20 $1 H2H games, 40 $2 H2H games and 40 $3 H2H games. Total $220. One-on-one games released under $5 will be some of the sweetest action we can find. It also smooths out the variance due to the non-binary outcome of high volume one-on-one action.

4. Enter all 20 large field tournament rosters in the smallest $3 game action (field size of 19.8,000). Total $60. We now have a total of $4 on each of the 20 widefield tournament rosters. Again, this is a good opportunity to work on your optimizer skills for less. If you are interested in our optimization add-on via FantasyLabs, click here. If you register in this way, the optimizer will be preloaded with our constantly updated projections and property projections.

5. Enter the three 3-max lineups in the $15 Screen Pass (field size 7,843). Total $45. This unfortunately has 15% rake, but 10th place ($1000) earns 10% of 1st place ($10,000) and a min-cash ($30) is 2x the buy-in. It doesn’t matter what site you play on or what contests you watch, that’s what I’m looking for. Be aware of the rake, look at the payout structure, understand the field size.

6. Create a new schedule of single-entry tournaments for small groups. Enter it in the smaller (field size 2,272) $50 red box. Total $50. A big advantage of getting more in-game money is having access to low rake contests. This small field GPP only has 11.97% rake, a big difference from the 15%-16% we find at low/micro stakes. He also has the 2x min-cash and 10th place earns 10% of 1st.

REMARK: The above is specific to DraftKings and NFL. But the principles set out can be applied to any site or any sport:

  1. A) Be aware of the rake and look for the smallest rake.
  2. B) Understand field size and adjust your queues accordingly.
  3. C) Examine the payout structure – ideally we find flatter payouts at the top (10th place is 10% of 1st place) and 2x the buy-in min-cash.
  4. D) Find the sweetest opponents – Playing winning DFS is a hard game. Don’t feel guilty for finding opponents who don’t work as hard as you do.
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