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Yahoo Bankroll Challenge, Week 7: A Setback

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

Well, it wouldn’t be a journey if there weren’t some setbacks along the way. Plus, this is DFS, there is no steady upwards trend -- there are going to be peaks and valleys. Unfortunately, I lost every single contest in Week 7 on Yahoo, sending my $16.85 balance plummeting below the $10 mark. 

My bankroll lost 50 percent of its value in the span of seven days. If you held onto shares of GameStop for too long, you know the feeling. 

It’s not ideal, but now I need to revert my mindset to Week 3-4 of the challenge. No one likes playing a lower volume or at lower stakes, but when your bankroll drops, it’s necessary. Time to grind even harder.

Week 7 starting $ balance:
Week 7 ending $ balance: $7.85
Week 7 starting YSRP balance: 63
Week 7 ending YSRP balance: 73

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

Strategy #1: Understanding the probabilities of losing streaks

I lost five slates in a row in Week 7, so I’m working on a new tagline as you read this: Welcome to Occupy Fantasy, where you, too, can learn how to lose every single slate in a week. 

In all seriousness, if you’re playing high-risk contests like I’m playing, there will be stretches where you lose a wild number of slates in a row just based on the laws of probabilities. 

Look at it this way. Let’s assume I’m twice as good as the average Yahoo player (bold statement, but let’s run with it). In the leagues I’m playing, 20 percent of lineups cash, but I’m so good in this scenario that I cash my high-risk lineups 40 percent of the time. In any given five game stretch, there’s a 7.8 percent chance I lose all five slates.

If I’m just an average player and cash roughly 20 percent of the time, that 0-for-5 chance skyrockets to 32.7 percent. One-third of the time! 

Yes, it sucks that I lost every contest in Week 7, but it’s not that unlikely, even if I’m a really good player. It’s why it’s so important that we play for top 1 percent outcomes in high-risk contests -- we need those exponential payouts to profit through these inevitable losing streaks. Min-cashes help the ego, but they’re not the goal over the long run. 

How to implement this on FanDuel or DraftKings: Just understand how likely it is to lose multiple slates in a row (especially in high-risk contests), no matter how good of a player you are. Given the top-heavy payouts, ensure that the lineups you’re creating can actually finish in the top 1 percent of contests.

Strategy #2: Adjusting your play for a lower bankroll

This is where most casual DFS players run into trouble (or anyone without discipline in an area that requires managing your money properly). Now that half my bankroll is gone, many players would try to “get it back” and either play the same contests they’ve been playing, or even worse, larger contests.

In fact, we should be doing the opposite -- we must scale our allocation each slate based on the size of our bankroll. So now, despite taking some shots on $2 contests when my bankroll was above $10, I can’t afford that risk right now. I’ll be playing at a lower level than I was the week before, but it’s the right risk-reward spot for my bankroll. 

We’re back to $1 and $0.25 contests for the time being, but the losing streak will end soon, and I’ll be back to my pre-streak bankroll level in no time. 

How to implement this on FanDuel or DraftKings: Carefully monitor your bankroll each week, playing a percentage of your roll each slate. Despite your dumb brain’s desire for you to get your money back, you have to fight the urges and play within the means of your bankroll. 

Week 7’s Pivotal Moment

Uh, maybe that one time where I almost got close to cashing? There wasn’t really a pivotal moment this week, just more tears after each consecutive loss.

Next Steps

I’ll likely look to incorporate more H2Hs into my allocation, especially in sports where I have a low ranking. Ideally, I can generate a couple easy wins and build up my roll to take more high-risk shots, as opposed to exclusively playing high-risk contests like I did in Week 6 and 7.

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