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Yahoo Bankroll Challenge, Week 4: A Calculated Gamble

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

There’s a fine line between managing your money properly and being too conservative given your results and competition in the early days of building a DFS bankroll. Assuming you’re carefully selecting your H2H opponents, targeting soft competition in smaller fields, and hammering Rookie/Veteran/Beginner contests, this early stage should be the highest ROI of your DFS career in most contest types.

While we don’t want to extend ourselves to the point of potential ruin, we also must think about taking advantage of the situation to give ourselves a chance at exponentially growing our bankroll. 

After reaching a new bankroll high in the middle of last week, I pursued a calculated gamble in NHL to double or triple my bankroll. I made a laughably bad lineup, and it failed, but the shot didn’t cripple my bankroll in any way. The results through four weeks: 

Week 4 starting $ balance: $11.10
Week 4 ending $ balance: $10.85
Week 4 starting YSRP balance: 31
Week 4 ending YSRP balance: 40

Here are some of the strategies I used this week with advice on how to implement them on other DFS sites: 

Strategy #1: Taking mini-shots

No, I’m not talking about sipping on an airplane bottle (although that may help with the swings of DFS). 

After the NFL Conference Championship games, I was up to $13.85 in my Yahoo account. With NFL basically done, my only real chance at getting to my new intermediate goal of $100 before MLB was through NHL contests. 

Unfortunately, Yahoo doesn’t offer a ton of variety for NHL, and there’s legit only one “No Veterans” contest per night. I’d need to get hot QUICKLY in order to turn $13 into $100 by playing just $1 each slate. 

So on Wednesday, instead of playing my usual $1 57-player league, I opted for the $2 57-player league (baller status, watch out). The top prize is double that of the $1, so if I won, I would immediately triple my bankroll. 

I had all day to research with no other obligations, so I knew I’d be in the right state of mind to make a good lineup. And if I lost? I’d still be at $11.85, higher than my balance at the beginning of the week. 

How to implement this on FanDuel or DraftKings: If you can find spots to take shots with your early, small bankroll, do it, but within means. It shouldn’t be a big GPP or in a field of pros -- it should be a carefully selected, historically-proven ROI+ contest on a well-prepared slate where even if you lose, you’ll still have 70-80% of your bankroll remaining.

Strategy #2:  Playing smaller non-main slates

When I decided to take the shot on Wednesday, the freaking NHL main slate was 13 games. If you’ve read our Ultimate Guide -- or have literally ever played DFS on a large slate -- you know the sweet spot for research, lineup construction, and leverage is a smaller-sized slate (usually 5-8 games). 

So instead of playing a suboptimal slate for my shot, I took a peek at the late slate on Yahoo -- just 7 NHL games. Perfect, as a couple of the stacks on my target list for the night were playing in the late games, as were two of the top goalies in our Occupy Model

The decision was easy then, play the $2 league on the late slate. Looking at the results the following morning, I finished a respectable 51st out of 57 entrants. 

How to implement this on FanDuel or DraftKings: For slates that are overwhelming in size, you can play the smaller secondary slates to a) learn a new sport / slate type in a less intimidating fashion and/or b) maximize ROI in a historically profitable sport by opting for sweet spot slates over massive slates.

Week 4’s Pivotal Moment

As we always say, play every freeroll, especially in the early days. I’m auto-entered into the PGA Yahoo Cup freeroll every week, so I’ll have 20+ shots at a bankroll-changing amount for zero cost this PGA season.

Well, this week, I got tied up and forgot to enter a lineup. I am living a lie and have dishonored my family.

DON’T FORGET TO ENTER FREEROLLS.

Next Steps

Back to the grind, $1 NHL leagues and $1 NBA QuickMatches for the foreseeable future. If I can increase my bankroll a few bucks, I’ll look to take another mini-shot. My initial thought is a mini-shot in an NHL league, but my last two NBA QuickMatch opponents have created horrific lineups, so it may be an easy two bucks if I go that route. 

Also, enter a goddamn lineup in the PGA freeroll next Thursday.

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