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Yahoo Bankroll Challenge, Week 34: NFL Mega Update

For more information on the Yahoo Bankroll Challenge and to read the recap from each week, click here.

Surprise, it’s been a while since the last Yahoo Bankroll Challenge update. With the nonstop work of NFL Preseason DFS, it was hard to find the time to post in August. But don’t worry, I was still playing MLB nearly everyday on Yahoo and growing my bankroll. In fact, I ran incredibly hot and more than doubled it over the last 6 weeks, soaring from $235 to well over $550. 

This update will have a slightly different format as it will serve as a mega-preview for the NFL season. Topics include Yahoo’s new rules, NFL contest selection, and managing my time

I’m taking a much-needed break before the season opener on Thursday, so no more Yahoo DFS until NFL begins. Here’s where my bankroll stands with 4 months left in the challenge:

NFL starting $ balance: $568.02
NFL starting YSRP balance: 3,308 (thanks Yahoo for the free 2000 YSRP)

Yahoo’s New Rules

In mid-August, Yahoo DFS issued a press release announcing some changes to their platform for the upcoming NFL season. Here’s the TLDR version:

  • They’re giving everyone a $10 credit (through YSRP). Nothing required, free $10. Easy decision for all bankroll sizes, especially for my challenge.
  • They’re rolling out single game contests for the Thursday, Sunday, and Monday primetime games (single game was a contest addition late in the NFL season last year).
  • Live final! A 60-man fantasy football championship with affordable qualifiers, there’s now a chance to win up to $100K in a season finale contest. 
  • Super Veterans? Yahoo unveiled a new player designation reserved for users with significant net profits. It’s not really clear who falls into this category and how many users fit the criteria, but it’s an effort to make/keep Yahoo DFS a casual platform.

How do these changes affect my bankroll challenge? Honestly, not a ton. The biggest question is how do I spend the $10 credit. If I had a smaller bankroll, I would certainly use it to enter a lower-risk contest. But over the $500 mark and the challenge deadline rapidly approaching, I’ll likely throw it in a big GPP and pray for some variance.

As for single game, it resembles FanDuel’s format, which offers less of an edge because there are just five roster spots (compared to six for DraftKings). Still, I will monitor these contests, especially the No Veteran ones, to see if I can easily create some profit on primetime slates.

Re: the live final, I likely won’t be attempting to qualify with my challenge bankroll, but who knows -- we’ll monitor throughout the fall. Plus, there is the selling point that it's being hosted at the attractive, exotic destination of ...... the MGM casino that's like 30 minutes from my house. 

NFL Contest Selection

During the MLB season, contest selection was easy -- there were barely any to choose from, and in fact, there were just two No Veteran contests posted per slate for most of the summer. That did change, however, in July/August when the $1 No Veterans contest was replaced by an open-to-everyone $1 114-player contest. I was upset to see it disappear, but it’s not shocking -- the No Veterans version rarely, if ever, filled to capacity.

So when the NFL contests were released for Week 1, I was delighted to see 14 different No Veterans contests posted at a variety of buy-in levels. I do want to increase my allocations for NFL as a) it’s a weekly sport with more information, and b) it’s one of my most profitable sports (and my most profitable sport that Yahoo offers). Fortunately, there is enough variety in the No Veterans contests that I won’t need to venture into traditional contests, at least to start the season. Right now, I’m eyeing: 

  • $1, $2, $5, and $10 50/50s: I usually don’t play low-risk contests, but against inexperienced players, these *should* be easy wins.
  • $1, $2, $5, and $20 player leagues: The bread and butter of how I’ve built my Yahoo bankroll so far, these 20 to 200 player contests will continue to be the foundation of the bankroll challenge.
  • $3 GPP: This is likely out of my responsible allocation level for the first few weeks, especially since it’s 150-max. However, the No Veterans nature of the contest, the flatter payouts (2X min cash), and the potential overlay may dictate a few bullets each week. 

I’m planning to be aggressive with my allocation (nearing 10% of my bankroll per week) for two reasons: 1) I need to maximize No Veterans contests before they run out, and 2) it may take a higher risk level to meet the bankroll deadline. If a challenge wasn’t on the line, I likely would have a lower allocation each week.

Time Management

I thought I could still grind MLB on Yahoo through NFL Preseason, despite my actual bankroll and content production taking up nearly all of my time in August. Well, that was wrong. On two separate occasions I entered Yahoo contests with dummy lineups, completely forgot about them, then got the notification on my phone 5 minutes after the slate started: “Your contests are starting!” Fool me once, etc. 

I realized that I put too much on my plate, and I couldn’t realistically put effort into making Yahoo MLB lineups on days where there was an NFL preseason slate.

I don’t think that will be a problem with a weekly sport like NFL, but one potential blind spot is primetime Showdown. Mondays and Thursdays are particularly busy for me with content creation and FD/DK lineup building, so there’s a chance I neglect Yahoo on those days. I’ll monitor early in the year to see if it’s feasible to play Yahoo single game slates.

Next Steps

I’ve never truly played NFL on Yahoo, so the next week or so will be spent researching lineup strategies, salary discrepancies, and Week 1 anomalies. 

Turning $0 into $568 is an insane accomplishment, and I’m pretty proud of it. However, we set the goal high here: it’s $10K or bust. So while I’ve grown my Yahoo bankroll infinitely through 8 months, I now need to see a 20X boost over the final 33% of the year. If there’s one sport where I think it’s reasonable to do that, it’s NFL. 

Note: I’ll be doing a joint podcast with Kirkdiese of RotoGrinders every Friday discussing NFL DFS tournament picks with a Yahoo focus. I’ll post the link here in addition to its availability on all podcast apps every Friday.

For any questions about the bankroll challenge, hit up Brian on Twitter. For more information on bankroll management, contest selection, and long-term DFS strategy, read our flagship e-book, The Ultimate Guide